Thursday, September 24, 2020

Council Limits Some Meeting Topics To Ten Minutes

At the beginning of Council's Study Session (or Regular meeting) this week councilmember Varisha Kahn proposed each item on the agenda be limited to 10 minutes owing to a full agenda. It was unanimously approved.  Councilmember David Carson was concerned that the Light Rail topic may need more time for study but was assured by staff the presentation wouldn't be long.

The meeting breezed along.  In the past, meetings could last as long as 11 p.m. -- by law meetings must end at 11 p.m.  Many other meetings have lasted to 10 p.m.  In my 13 years of reporting on Council I can't recall ever seeing a problem with excessively long meetings.

Perhaps meetings are long owing to the process of educating three new representatives.  Meeting management by the President may also be a contributor. Though I'm certainly not one to judge! 

Bob Yoder, opinion

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Two Patients At EvergreenHealth Tested Positive For COVID-19 This Month

 Kirkland, Wash. – EvergreenHealth confirmed today that two patients receiving inpatient care at the EvergreenHealth Kirkland campus have tested positive for COVID-19. The organization notified the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) immediately following receipt of the test results.

 “We believe these two patients contracted the novel coronavirus while in our care. However, due to the nature of how this virus is transmitted, the actual transmission source is unclear,” said Ettore Palazzo, MD, Chief Medical & Quality Officer of EvergreenHealth. “The virus may have been transmitted through a health care worker, family member or visitor. We cannot be definitively certain. What we are sure of, is that this serves as a very unfortunate reminder that everyone needs to remain astutely vigilant to ensure we’re collectively working to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

UPDATED OPINION: MAPS-AMEN Should Unclench Their Teeth

In a Facebook Forum Aneela Afzali of Maps-Amen verbally attacked four members of council (Padhye, Anderson, Kritzer, and Carson.)  She was after them to approve a Resolution supporting her cause. (AWWPP) related.  

Fields threw me under the bus when I challenged him about Aneelah's "bridge building."  In these situations Varisha Kahn seems a pesky activist; and Jessica Forsythe appeared as Fields' puppet. Redmond has a strong interfaith community!  What makes the Muslims so special?  Let's treat all faiths equally!  Let's focus on the rich diversity of religions we enjoy in our city! Let's pray as one. - Bob Yoder, 9/17/2020

                     Aneelah Afzali

                               Executive Director

Aneelah Afzali is Executive Director of MAPS-AMEN. She is also on the board of the Faith Action Network, and on the Steering Committee of the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network.  A graduate of Harvard Law School, Aneelah left her legal career in 2013 to serve as a community activist and interfaith leader.  Since then, she has worked on addressing the growing divide in our nation by building bridges of understanding and unity to advocate for justice together.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Redmond's Pandemic Plan

City of Redmond's Pandemic Plan:


Redmond Officials Urged To Declare A State Of Climate Emergency

 Dear Mayor Birney and esteemed council,

 First, while I am a member of the Redmond Parks and Trails Commission, I'm writing solely in my capacity as a resident of Redmond and a concerned parent.


This past week, we have seen climate catastrophe fall upon the west coast. What we saw in Australia in January is here now. Entire towns are being burned to the ground, and others evacuated due to fire danger or deadly air quality. 10% of the entire state of Oregon has either been evacuated or put on some form of evacuation notice.


What is worse is that climate scientists are telling us that today’s disasters will pale in comparison to what will come. We no longer have the luxury of time. We can no longer think that this is an issue for the future, that we can take small steps. The timeline for action, not just planning, needs to be months instead of years or even decades.


Therefore, I urge in the strongest possible words and in no uncertain terms for the mayor and council to take immediate action and declare a state of climate emergency.

EvergreenHealth Launches Clinical Trial To Study COVID Antibody Therapy

I’m reaching out to share that Kirkland-based EvergreenHealth, the hospital with the nation’s first recorded patient death due to COVID-19 back in February, has launched a new clinical trial to study an antibody therapy as a potential treatment for the virus.

The BLAZE - 1 Study is designed to look at the safety and efficacy of treating adults who have recently tested positive for COVID-19, and who are not hospitalized, with the investigational study drug, LY-Co-V555. EvergreenHealth is the only health system in Washington state to serve as a trial site for the BLAZE-1 Study.

-- EvergreenHealth Press Release, 9/15/2020

Monday, September 14, 2020

School Board Limits Their Comment Period To Thirty Minutes

The City of Redmond Council has recently been burdened with over 30 hours of verbal comment on an anti-Muslim religious issue.  They also received over 1300 emails on the same topic.  A Muslim council member appeared  pleased with the hundreds of emails she received.  Is it possible the City of Redmond  could learn from our LWSD Board in dealing with testy issues?

"In the 8/10 Board meeting there were 13-pages of public comments compiled on three topics: Inclusion/Equity (4) and Return to School/Fall. Board members read the comments for Inclusion/Equity and summarized comments submitted for Return to School/Fall for the 30-minutes set aside for public comment."

"In the 8/20 meeting there were 6-pages of public comments regarding Inclusion/Equity; these comments have also been posted on the district websiteBoard members read all of the comments submitted during the 30-minutes set aside for public comment."


 In order to provide a full remote learning environment in September, every K-5 student will be provided a device and mobile hotspots will be provided to ensure that all students have connectivity. 

Board of Directors of the Lake Washington School District No. 414 hereby adopts the 2020-21 budget:

General Fund $491,088,202 

Associated Student Body Fund 6,470,521

 Debt Service Fund 79,128,277 

Capital Projects Fund 132,906,498 

Transportation Vehicle Fund 1,161,241

-- Excerpts from LWSD Board Packets, 8/24 and 8/10/2020

-- Bob Yoder, 9/14//20

Saturday, September 12, 2020

"Support Democracy/Police" Signs Are Protected Free Speech Signs.

I did confirm with legal that these signs are protected political free speech signs, just as Defund the Police sharing another political viewpoint would be as well.

The signs are not being placed out by City staff.

In regards to the “fine” specified on the sign - a citizen does not enforce the laws of Washington (RCW’s). They would have to seek guidance from the State or County if their signs were removed.

Please let me know if you have any other questions


Carl McArthy
Code Enforcement Officer,
City of Redmond

King County Councilmember Newsletter

 Kathy Lambert's Newsletter - Excerpt

This month is full of budget work. We have just completed our fourth CARES budget to help meet many needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coming up on September 22nd, the new proposed two-year budget for King County will be introduced to the Council from the Executive. Finalizing a two-year budget while our economy continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19 will certainly be a difficult challenge. A number of revenue sources have been hit hard during this time, and there will need to be some reductions made. King County continues to provide so many vital services to the residents of this region (you can view the complete list here), and this budget process will be extremely important.

In this Issue, 9/11

      1. East Lake Sammamish Trail segment closure: September 14 – 25

      2. Hello4Culture

      3. Update from the Department of Local Services

      4. COVID-19 testing at the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital

      5. Update on Charter review

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Bear Creek/ Keller Rehabilitation Expenses To Improve Salmon Habitat

 Bear Creek looking south

Project Overview

"The City of Redmond will be constructing log jams in Bear Creek to improve salmon habitat. The project is located adjacent to the Keller Wetland Mitigation Bank (KWMB) project on the former Keller farm. In the fall and winter, the City’s Washington Conservation Corps crew will plant 3 acres of the Bear Creek buffer.

Restoring habitat in this stream reach is important for Chinook salmon recovery. It is identified in the WRIA 8 Chinook Conservation Plan, along with the adjacent KWMB project. The Bear Creek project is funded by City stormwater fees and by a $340,000 award from the Cooperative Watershed Management grant program." sign photo by John Reinke.  

Monday, September 7, 2020

Bear Creek Restoration At Friendly Village

The restoration is intended to improve Chinook breeding habitat 

The Adopt A Stream Foundation (AASF) has launched a major project to restore chinook salmon breeding habitat in the portion of Bear Creek that flows through Friendly Village, a forty plus acre manufactured home residence park operated by the King County Housing Authority in eastern Redmond.
The project involves modifying the banks of the stream in ways that create pools and backwaters that encourage salmon to spawn and provide safe habitats for salmon fry, while they mature enough to be able to migrate back downstream to the ocean.  Stream modification is accomplished by using boulders to stabilize woody debris and logs securely into the banks in pre-designed patterns. (click image to enlarge.) 
The first phase of the project began in the last week of August and is expected to last about a month.  The idea is to recreate the salmon-    favorable stream conditions that existed before the land was cleared and cultivated.
AASF received grant funding for this project from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, which was created by the Washington State Legislature to protect and restore salmon habitat. In the near future, native shrubs and trees will be planted along the banks to cool instream temperatures and provide future woody debris.

-Reported and photos by John Reinke

Friday, September 4, 2020

UPDATED OPINION: Point - Counterpoint: Religious Distress In Redmond

POINT: (an excerpt from my post)

"....a VIRTUAL FORUM exposing the group "Alliance for Persecuted People Worldwide" (APPWW), which has been promoting anti-Muslim hate and bigotry, even as it masquerades as a human rights organization."

COUNTERPOINT:  (a comment on my post)

"Please refrain from calling this a hate (APPWW) group.
Please explain how Muslims putting people to death for their Christian beliefs is not hateful.
Please also explain how Muslims peacefully pushing homosexuals off of buildings is not hateful.
Please also explain how female genital mutilation is not hateful towards young women, and towards women in general.
If you can explain all of these things, then maybe you can redefine what hate really means.
You are condoning hatred of Christians in your post - you do realize this, right?"

Another controversy accusing Hindu discriminating against Muslims brought forth by councilmember Varisha Kahn, a Muslim. This became emotionally challenging for Council President Tanika and her family;  the mayor intervened.

I met with Councilmember Steve Fields yesterday, with whom I supported in three of his campaigns; disparagingly, he introduced me to two elected officials as a "trouble-maker."  In his coffee shop we discussed his problems with the mayor. He was also distressed about my views of  the anti-muslim hate group.  Very sad outcome.  


City Council has received 3 thousand emails and scores of presentations addressing this topic.  I know of one councilmember that responded to 300 emails.  Council spent over 3 hours listening to APPWW topics during their last 2 Regular Business meeting.  When will Council find a solution to move forward on the work the public is expecting of them?  Write a proclamation and be done with it!  The LWSD manages their firebrand issues with finesse.  Maybe they can help our council. 

-- Bob Yoder

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Gripe Session

I've taken time out of my day to learn remotely what the city is up to and I haven't been pleased.

1 ) The Parks Director stated 1000 viewed the So Bazaar "event' and now 1800.  I find this very hard to believe owing to the lack of publicity of the event and it being virtual.

2)  The Director said the Rec. Department is developing 150 virtual recreation programs.  Really?

3)  The Director said "Picnics in the Park" has been popular.  I'd love to go to one but where and when?

As I write this, Council is in a Regular Business meeting.  I don't think I'm missing out in anything because over 30 are lined up to speak during Items from the Audience. That's two hours of hacking away.  Most appear to be speaking about APPWW, a group that lobbies on racial issues surrounding Muslims.  It was a repeat of the Regular meeting 2 weeks ago. 

Councilmember David Carson (and myself) feel "worldly" politics have no place in city government. Apparently, our city lawyer said outside issues and local election measures are in the purview of council. It seems many of the speakers drum on for over 4 minutes. The mayor should take Marchione's approach saying " summary" as advisement to stop. The LWSD school board allows only four speakers per topic. 

While I'm at it, why doesn't the mayor furlough (with benefits)  5-10% of her employees who aren't working or essential during these times?  She knows who they are. The money saved could be reinvested in the community.  At the end of the meeting Councilmember Vanessa Kritzer recommended a facilitator be hired for conflict resolution.

-- Bob Yoder

King County Council Approves $100M In Response to COVID-19


Response Prompts Nearly $100M in Additional Emergency Funding

The King County Council has approved a fourth round of emergency funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Totaling nearly $100 million, the Fourth Emergency COVID Omnibus budget was passed unanimously Tuesday afternoon and provides funding for a variety of needed services and programs. The vast majority of funding is to continue to bolster Public Health’s response to the pandemic, to support and continue to expand testing, and to maintain the isolation and de-intensification sites throughout the County. The funding package:

  • Continues to fund isolation/quarantine and recovery centers through the end of the year: $12.6 million.
  • Funds the public health response through the end of the year: $29 million.
  • Continues to fund hotel vouchers for the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness through the end of the year: $2.5 million.
  • Provides funding for an outreach and compliance initiative to help restaurants, bars and taverns increase compliance with the Governor’s safe start orders: $2.7 million.
  • Provides funding to support arts, culture, and science organizations: $2.5 million. ($2M to 4Culture and additional $500K to arts, culture or science organizations that have been adversely affected by closures, cancellations and loss of work).
  • Provides funding for emergency child care: $4.3 million.
  • Provides rental assistance for local businesses that are responding to Covid-19. $1.5 million.
  • Provides expanded flu vaccination in communities disproportionately impacted by Covid. $650,000.

Significant Private Projects In The Pipeline

LMC Marymoor Proposal
LMC, 265 dwelling units. 5 story, by Marymoor trail
On August 11, Planning and Development Manager, Sarah Pyle presented the City's annual summary of Private Development Projects in a Council Committee meeting.  Below are the facts:

In 2019: 132 SFH, 233 multi-family units and 24,400 s.f. commercial space were built.

2020 YTD: 61 SFH, 895 multi-family units, 610,766 sf commercial space.

Single Family Home construction hasn't changed significantly between 2019 to 2020 but increases in multi-family units and commercial square footage are exceptional.  

About 11 projects were presented; I'll focus on five:  

The most significant is "Redmond Square."  It's on the corner of 166th and Redmond Way.  Over 13 businesses will have to move. To name a few: John L. Scott, the Pony Express, Ed Wyse, Pizza Hut, Noodeland, Beyond Beauty, Flying Apron, Bamboo Gardens, Modera Bakery, Beauty Supply, Acupuncture, Vision Clinic, and a Yoga business. 

What we will get:  "Redmond Square" looks like two separate buildings but functions as one. It's a monolith.  613 dwelling units, 61 affordable units (80% AMI,) 33,000 sf commercial space, adjacent to transit station. Parking?  I was informed by one of the business owners demolition will begin early 2021. (The city throws up barriers when validating timelines.)  

"Harmony" drew the most questions and comments from Council.  Councilmember Vanessa Kritzer seemed skeptical about 1) it's absence of affordable housing and 2) the unusual housing type for our downtown. Harmony living spaces are tiny. It has 9 dwelling units of 465 sf and and 91 "residential suites" of 155 sf each. They will rent out for $1100. No school impact fees. The residential suites share a kitchen and living room with each other.  Steve Fields wanted Council to be more involved in these developments and Tanika Padeya suggested an amendment to require affordable housing.

The "Together Center, a nonprofit human services center of over 20 years will be redeveloped. Paid-off.  49,000 sf commercial, 280 dwelling units, 280 affordable units at 60% AMI, 30 parking spaces, 2-stories, art at gateway.  Completion expected by 12/2021. 

Proctor:  NW Redmond -- Willows Road & 124th.  Construction will be challenged by steep slope. Stats:  

87, 3-story townhomes, 9 affordable at 80% AMI, signal at 124th. two community parks.  195 dwelling units, 80% AMI, 22,000 sf commercial, trails and open space. Proctor will be a "10-minute community" servicing the businesses on Willows Road, including a subsidiary of Facebook. 

Amazon:  Macy's in Redmond Town Center is being renovated to accomodate ~ 300  Amazon engineers, working on their satellite space project.  Macy's departed.  

-- Bob Yoder

Monday, August 31, 2020

Superintendent Jon Holmen Reaches Out To Community

Superintendent Jon Holmen, PhD.
More than ever I want to stress the importance of kindness, acceptance, empathy and grace. Each of us has been affected by the global health crisis differently. As an organization, we are acutely aware of the challenges that many in our community have faced and are currently facing. As a leadership team, we are taking every action possible to advocate for funding and supports that will provide real-time help to our community as well as long-term support that will allow us to return to in-person experiences when conditions allow. As we start this year; we must be thoughtful and considerate of those around us and, particularly, those that have been most impacted by COVID-19. Our kindness, acceptance, empathy and grace allow us to create stronger community bonds while possibly allowing those around us the space to work through their difficulties. 

I wish you the best as we start the 2020-21 school year. 

Excerpt from "Connections," 8/31/2020

Saturday, August 29, 2020

ERRATIC Art Relocation Costs A Million Dollars

"As shown on the spreadsheet we provided, the total (city) cost to relocate the Erratic Artwork, including landscaping, was $486,756.  Sound Transit has agreed to pay for all the relocation costs up to $576,300."


Tess Wilkinson
CIP Coordinator
City of Redmond

Total costs for the relocation is $1,060,054 including land.  The original construction cost for this ERRATIC art was  $155,000.  The art was relocated because it was built too close to the light rail easement! It's new location is south of the Matador near Leary.  Residents pay taxes to Sound Transit so there is no free lunch here.  Bob Yoder, 8/29

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Five Of Twelve Letter-Sorting Machines At Redmond Post Office Dismantled

Councilmember and activist Virasha Khan reported on Twitter that 5 or 12 letter sorting machines at the Redmond Post Office were removed or dismantled.  This news created a flurry of comments and reactions on a Redmoned Facebook site....most about Trump trying to slow voting in November.

Source:  KUOW, 8/19/2020:

Monday, August 17, 2020

UPDATED: The APPWW Muslim Hate Group To Be Exposed

Join us for a VIRTUAL FORUM exposing the group "Alliance for Persecuted People Worldwide" (APPWW), which has been promoting anti-Muslim hate and bigotry, even as it masquerades as a human rights organization. Over 130 local and national organizations have issued a Public Statement condemning the hate promoted by APPWW and its leaders. Read that here, with supporting documentation here

Over 200 individuals, including elected officials like King County Executive Dow Constantine, have also condemned the hate promoted by this group and its leaders. You can sign here too: THE SIGN-IN DOESN'T WORK.

This group presented to the City of Redmond in March 2020, seeking funding, partnership and support; and the Redmond Council President -- even after hearing community concerns about this group in June -- participated in APPWW's July event (the same event where four other panelists withdrew).

In early August, over 300 community members reached out to the City of Redmond seeking a statement condemning the hate promoted by APPWW and its leaders, affirming that no funds or support will be provided to APPWW, and seeking an explanation and apology from the Council President for her participation in an event by this group. Tanika was not a panelist....just an observer.