Thursday, August 4, 2022

"Water Lily Impressions" by Lynn Colwell

 

"Water Lily Impressions"  by Lynn Colwell

"When I am complimented on my photography, I admit to having “a good eye.”
"I was walking back to the condo after a disappointing half hour shooting when I noticed striped light falling on these lily pads. I added a bit of contrast to end up with a keep-worthy shot. The secret to developing a good eye is to LOOK and light is almost always key."

Viewpoint neighborhood

Lynn Colwell, who had been told by a teacher at age 10 or 11 that she should engage in other endeavors than art, finally gained the courage to try it anyway at the age of 69. For the last eight years, she has been turning out almost one piece a day, all of which she gives away for a donation of $25 or more to any nonprofit or person in need. Photography has been a lifelong passion. She often combines her art and photography to create new digital pieces. She’s lived in Redmond with her husband of 53 years, for seven years.

Comment Below:

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

"Save The Oak Tree"

 

  
 A member of the  "Chat Cafe" Facebook site said: "Interestingly, I saw this on a sign along the river trail today."  (8/2/2022)

UPDATED: Redmond 2050 Visioning Workshop

My beautiful wife Pam on left.  Planning Manager Jeff Churchill wearing red shirt. Yasir Alfarag with Berk Consulting in middle. Credit, Bob Yoder

This map is the starting point, before participants shuffled Legos according to their perspective of 2050. The white Lego stacks represent existing jobs.  Five urban centers including residential neighborhoods were mapped:  Overlake, Downtown, Marymoor, SE Redmond, and "NE 90th & Willows" local center. Overlake is slated to accommodate half the jobs in the city.  Can you find the "NE 90th & Willows" local center?  

The Redmond 2050 "Draft Environment Impact Statement" (DEIS) is much more than visioning the Redmond environment.  It's a living story about "how we can accommodate anticipated growth."  

I enjoy visioning in general, but was confused by the "DEIS" acronym and so brushed Redmond 2050 aside until Pam and I attended a "Visioning Lego Tabeling Workshop."  I was hooked.  It was super fun, productive and exceptionally engaging (one if the city's favorite words.)  The workshop was organized and managed by thc city's Long Range Planning Manager, Jeff Churchill (Jeff is a Redmond High graduate, with lots of equity.)  

Mr. Churchill described the participants' Lego conclusions at a Council Study session, saying the Lego community chose "SE Redmond"  for the most job and housing growth as compared to Marymoor, the downtown, residential neighborhoods, and Willows.  However, Churchill noted SE Redmond and Marymoor had infrastructure challenges. 

Councilmember David Carson was "utterly baffled and confused by the first two slides" of the Lego workshop.  Said Carson, "if someone could actually explain it to me...." and "what do I take away from that."  Mr. Carson, a 13-year councilmember, probably knows the Development community better than any representative.  A Council conservative, David is connected to "One Redmond"...Redmond's Chamber of Commerce, "on steroids."

Council's focal points for growth were "Centers"  and "Centers & Corridors"  Mr. Carson preferred the "Center and Corridor" option.  "Centers & Corridors" is defined as:

  • highest concentration of jobs near light rail, frequent bus routes (compared to other options)
  • higher job growth in Overlake (compared to other options.)
  • greater risk of manufacturing displacement compared to "Centers" option.
  • low housing displacement / affordability, diversity of housing types (58,179 targeted housing units, second to Overlake)
  • need to study potential of new local center at "90th St. & Willows"
  • high jobs along Willows.
  • can accommodate 27,000 new jobs. 
The "Centers" focuses on Overlake for high job growth, then Marymoor and SE Redmond; studies for potential protection of industry and manufacturing are required.  "Centers" accommodate 30,100 new jobs and targets 53,697 housing units. Mr, Churchill advised development in Marymoor and SE Redmond area could be influenced by wastewater and sewer infrastructure challenges.

Last week the Planning Commission evaluated the 90th St.& Willows local center.  Commissioner Sherri Nichols worried about consequences to some of the long-time businesses like Eastside Gym. (I went there for years. Loni, the owner, is a super dude.)  The "district" is zoned for 2-4 stories.  According to Churchill, upzoning is likely so buildings could go even higher. 

And then there's "benefits."  After developers deliver "benefits" to the public like Open Space, water fountains, plazas, and mini dog-parks, they can qualify for Bonus stories to boost their building height.

According to the Story Map, the 90th St. & Willows local center has potential for households second only to Overlake.  I was surprised by the high stack of Legos there.  The corridor is a sleeper.   

-- Bob Yoder, photo Yoder, 8/2/2022

Monday, August 1, 2022

Work Begins On The First Building Of "Nelson Village"


Short clip of "Project One" demolition site showing trees to be removed.
I'm videotaping looking east from the Shell station, 7/29/2022

Grand Peking Restaurant and *Aqua Quip buildings will be demolished.

The Nelson Legacy Group is the owner and developer of the "Project One" project.  The Nelson Legacy Group owns 22 additional acres in Redmond which are approved for development.  

Project One is eight stories, 244 mixed use multi-family units, 4316 s.f. commercial, 221 parking spaces (21 spaces are free for commercial/retail use within the building. Minimum 25 affordable units (meets code.)

The "Project One"  building is highly visible. Eight stories.  Boundaries:  Adjacent to the Downtown Park,  Chevron gas station and Jimmy Johns to the west, Redmond Way to the South. On the east Aqua-Quip, Grand Peking Restaurant, and Dark Horse Brew will be demolished.  1.4 acres. 80052 -161 Av. NE.  

A one story bonus (making eight stories) was granted by the city for provisions of 20 percent on-site usable open space in the form of plazas, arcades with water features that are accessible to the public during extended business hours.  Is the standard now set for Nelson's other buildings?  The amenities are on the project site or within the zone in which the building is located. The applicant will provide 22,700 sf of open space whereas 12,180 sf is the minimum required in-order to achieve the additional building height to eight stories.

Sources:  Design Development Review memo, 11/6/2020

Clark Barnes, NLG Design Review Board


double click to enlarge
This permanent urban food truck rests on the Project One site. The owner plans to move to a different downtown Redmond location.  Police and construction workers frequent the eatery. It's the only "permanent" food truck in Redmond.
* Aqua Quip is moving to a larger facility in Woodinville.

-- Bob Yoder, Photos Yoder, 9/5/2021

Redmond Historical Society Grand Opening

 

It’s official! Redmond Mayor Angela Birney and RHS President John Oftebro cut the ribbon at the Society’s Grand Opening on June 27, 2022 (pictured above). OneRedmond organized the event. See page 3

L-R: Council Members Melissa Stuart and Vanessa Kritzer, RHS Administration & Collections Manager Halee Turner, Mayor Angela Birney, RHS President John Oftebro, Senior VP Laura Lee Bennett, and Collections Committee Member Joe Townsend. In back: VP Collections Mary Horabik and Collections Committee Member Dean Jowers.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

UPDATED: Affordable, Pleasant Housing At "Friendly Village"

The Village is surrounded by nature.  
Restored Bear Creek runs through the Village. Homes on right / credit: Yoder
(click to enlarge)

I was kibitzing with long-time resident John Oftebro at the Derby Days Historical Society booth.  I found myself at a loss when the subject of the "Friendly Village" came up.  

Fast forward:  Last week, on a sweltering day Pam, I and Zoey took a ride to the Friendly Village.  Driving east on NE 95th Street (also known as Conrad Olsen Road on Google maps,) the Friendly Village, 55-plus mobile home park, immediately came into view. The Village opened in 1971.

I was surprised by the beautiful landscaping, an old growth tree, and the attractive, well-maintained homes.  The varied amenities include a common hall, fenced dog park, new pool, and salmon-bearing Bear Creek running through the 40-acre parcel.  

In the common hall, I bumped into Mary, a kind lady and long-time resident of the park.  She was selecting gleaned groceries from the food service area. 

I really enjoyed my conversation with Mary.  She pointed towards the creek saying the land was first a "wash" and later a turkey farm.  She is happy her home is creekside.  Mary said Ms. McRedmond, a descendent of the McRedmond founders used to live in the Village.  She now lives a bit east on Conrad Olsen Road. Mary suggested I knock on her door.  It's possible, Ms. McRedmond may still be going to the Redmond Cafe once a week.

The Village, including 224 pads, was purchased by the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) in 2017.  The Housing Authority apparently charges $850/month per pad. Some utilities are covered. The county also gets credits for housing seniors.  Mary said the Village is a "cash cow" for the county.

Village living is affordable, attractive, and green.  Home prices are roughly $90k - $375k (RMAX)  

-- Bob Yoder, 7/31/2022

EXTRA!  FOR SALMON WATCHERS:  The City of Redmond's NE 95th Street Bridge Bear Creek Enhancement Site  (excellent map.)  The Bridge is a great  place for viewing salmon (Sept.-Nov.) 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

MOMENT Townhomes, Three and Four Bedrooms

 
A very rare downtown three and four bedroom apartment / townhouse  7/30/2022

"The site is located in the Downtown neighborhood, just SE of the municipal campus at 8440 160th Avenue.  A one-story building which is home to the Guilt Trip restaurant will be demolished.  

The Applicant is proposing the construction of 17 townhomes located within two different buildings. The North building has seven townhome units, while the South building has ten units. 

The building is 3-4 stories with a rooftop patio on each unit. A mix of units are anticipated with three, and four bedrooms, and single, double, or no garages. Each unit is projected to be anywhere from 1500, to 2300 square feet. Penthouses are planned.

Open space for the homes has been provided in the form of rooftop decks of 61 to 114 square feet, patios, and balconies. [Open space may be a "public benefit" provided by the developer in return for an extra story, parking spaces, a plaza with water fountain, and the like.]

"MOMENT" will activate the parcel into a vibrant, exciting new community.  The centralized location of this parcel in relation to downtown Redmond allows and likely encourages walking, bicycling, public transit use as it sits not more than ½ mile from light rail and the downtown Park.  

The Design Review Board and Applicant spent a lot of time analyzing building color. They settled on "dark grey." 

-- MainStreet Property Group, Design Review Board, 3/3/2022

Posted and excerpted by Bob Yoder, 5/25/2022


Credit:  Bob Yoder

RED OAK COMMUNITY CENTER, "City Of Redmond's Finest"

Attractive "Red Oak Community Center" signage may complement the building's wood design.

Video Tour

City Council recently studied community feedback for naming the new Senior/Community building.  Over 30 comments, including those from seniors were reviewed.  All explicitly stated why they felt the word senior should not be included. The primary reason is that seniors are a vital part of the community, and the name is meant to represent a welcoming and inclusive space of all Redmond residents.

My quick story:  I'm a Baby Boomer.  By eliminating "senior" the community center would be more vibrant and diverse for me.   More community members would  bond to "Red Oak Community Center" than a more generic Senior Center.  According to the city's definition, I've been a senior for 16 years. That's a turn-off.  I'm 71 now ("a gray hair") but I don't consider myself "senior."  I can play pickleball as good as the rest of them.  Other seniors can teach youth computer skills, throw clay, and swap stories.  Kids can teach older members computer and gaming skills. 20-60 year olds could do planned activities with the "seniors."

Are we including the other two community centers?  Are there opportunities for cross-pollination? The President of the Redmond Historical Society (RHS) John Oftebro reminded me of their "schoolhouse community center."  (We play pickleball there too.  Others play ping pong.) RHS members trend older like me.  Could we welcome them and visa versa?  Historical Society membership would grow and become more diverse.  Any ideas for the Marymoor Community Center?  Administrative activities like for solar panel donations?  Something totally different?

Branding:  I think CM Forsythe and Mr. Fields prefer "Redmond" in the name.  How about "Red Oak Community Center" as the header, with a Redmond tagline?  Include Redmond LOGOs at the front desk and on select outdoor signage?  Once inside the Red Oak LOGO may fit into the architectural design (CM Stewart.)  

Throughout community engagement, community members expressed during the design process that the name “Redmond Senior & Community Center” implied that this space was only for seniors and did not feel that their feedback was important to the process. Additionally, senior centers throughout the region have moved toward more inclusive naming such as the Edmonds Waterfront Center to be representative of the community in which it exists.

Redmond's Heritage Northern Red Oak
credit, Yoder

The Parks and Trails Commission discussion on July 7, 2022 focused on whether “Senior” should be part of name but determined that “Community” is inclusive of all the people who would use the center. After discussion, the Planning Commission passed a motion 4:3 in favor of the “Red Oak Community Center.”  It will be going to the City Council for action August 2022.

-- Report & opinion by Bob Yoder, 7/30/2022
    Parks Committee of the Whole memo.





Thursday, July 28, 2022

EvergreenHealth CEO Planning Bond Measure

 

CEO Jeff Tomlin, EvergreenHealth


EvergreenHealth CEO Speaks on the State of the Pandemic, Contemplates Bond Measure.  


At a Woodinville Chamber of Commerce event, CEO Jeff Tomlin explained a "need for greater public funding for hospitals, perhaps through a new unlimited tax bond"

“We did in 2000, and it’s about 20 years where the taxpayers pay an extra five cents on that thousand dollars in excess property value,” Tomlin said. “It’s about to expire, so the timing is good for us to start thinking about what the community can do to support us.” 

-- Woodinville Weekly, 6/22/2022 Chamber of Commerce  (Excerpt) 

Comment:  EvergreenHealth is long overdue in allocating bond dollars to a Behavioral Health Clinic; especially in light of the COVID-induced mental health crises.  

Posted by Bob Yoder, 7/28/2022

More news and stories

###

During the EvergreenHealth Public Hearing of November 15th, 2019 the seven commissioners voted unanimously to approve a 2020 Regular Tax Levy of $19,311,562 (Resolution No. 907-19.) 

An Excess Proper Tax Levy authorized for 2019 for repayment of UTGO bonds is $8,292,000 for calendar year 2020 was approved (Resolution No. 907-19.)  These bonds are the residual of a bond measure passed by 60% years ago to pay for the Silver Tower and new Emergency Department. 

You are welcome, says the Redmond taxpayer.  

EvergreenHealth CEO Jeff Tomlin, 32 Years Distinguished Service

CEO Jeff Tomlin, EvergreenHealth/ credit NY Times

EvergreenHealth Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Jeff Tomlin became CEO of EvergreenHealth in July 2019, and is responsible for the leadership of all aspects of EvergreenHealth's purpose, mission and vision. He had served as interim CEO since March 2019.

Dr. Tomlin came to EvergreenHealth in 1990 as a staff anesthesiologist after completing medical school and his residency at the University of Washington. He was subsequently named medical director for the Evergreen Surgical Center, and then added the medical directorship for surgical services at EvergreenHealth. In 2010, he joined the executive team as senior vice president and Chief Medical and Quality Officer. 

He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and spent six years as a Marine Corps pilot prior to medical school and continued his military service after medical school as a member of the Navy Reserve Medical Corps. He has served on the Northshore School District Wall of Honor Committee, and in 2017 was named winner of the Seattle Business Magazine Washington Leaders in Health Care Award for Outstanding Medical Director/Chief Medical Officer.

-- EvergreenHealth website

More news and stories

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

ADA Curb Ramp Construction On Education Hill

 πŸ˜ƒAnd I thought the work was being done here because its in the Mayor's neighborhood! 😁 

Hello Mr. Yoder, 

I’m writing in response to your question about ADA curb ramps as I serve as the City's ADA curb ramp program manager.

 

Curb ramp replacements on 166th Ave NE are part of the City’s comprehensive ADA curb ramp program. Projects in the city, including ADA curb ramp program projects, are prioritized systematically through the Capital Investment Strategy (CIS) and Capital Improvement Plans (CIP).

 

As part of the ADA curb ramp program, the City completed a curb ramp assessment in 2013 for compliance with ADA regulations. The City also gathered community input in 2019 on existing locations where curb ramps should be replaced and created a prioritized list of locations for ramp replacements. Projects under the ADA curb ramp program were prioritized based on proximity to facilities such as schools, state/local government facilities, public bus and vanpool stops, places of public accommodation, and proximity to major employment centers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

History Of EvergreenHealth Hospital CEOs

yours truly

Check this out.  During a hospital tour in the mid-80's the Communications manager inadvertently showed me the commissioner's concealed public chambers. She was immediately fired.  Suspicious, I began reporting on their meetings (photography and videotaping is forbidden.)  A few Public Record Requests were filed.

One Public Record Request shockingly revealed an executive/pediatrician's salary of $600,000 and other misfeasance (1988.) It's unknown how long the commissioners paid him to participate in hospital governance.  CEO Brown, a likeable fellow abruptly resigned, saying goodbye to all employees by email and flew off to Pennsylvania.  

With that, the commissioners then hired Bob Malte from Colorado Springs as CEO. Bob is genuine and a real pro.  Mr. Malte reshuffled personnel and re-branded Evergreen to "EvergreenHealth."  The hospital began winning regional awards under Malte's helm. 

It's well known, one in five Americans have a mental health condition in a given year; and only half are treated.  Under the Malte Administration, EvergreenHealth developed a new mental health service (I think required by law.) but the bursting EvergreenHealth community still doesn't have an out-patient psychiatric clinic nor employ a single, full-time psychiatrist. 

With Malte's departure, Jeff Tomlin, MD took over as CEO. He practiced anesthesia for years at EvergreenHealth and was a military officer.  CEO Tomlin took a national leadership role when the pandemic struck in 2020. He steered EvergreenHealth through some pretty tough waters; we are ever so grateful.  

Sadly, the thrust for an "Outpatient Urgent Care Behavioral Health Clinic" lost momentum. Dr. Tomlin took Mental Health off the 10-year facilities plan, despite the explosive incidence of mental health conditions uncovered by COVID.  I hope a rumor. 

-- Bob Yoder, 7/26/2022


Transparency Lacks At EvergreenHealth Hospital, A Public Tax District

EvergreenHealth Public Hospital District No. 2

Check this out:  Here's some vital Public meeting information (in red) that the Administration doesn't openly provide.  I had to make a Public Record Request to find the meeting time for the  Board's Business Meeting where public comment is taken.   


Public Board Meetings are located in the "Public Tan 250 room" first floor of the Surgery and Physician Pavilion.  Public comment is taken Third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m.  Call 425- 899-1000 to confirm times. 

EvergreenHealth's Board of Commissioners meet publically several times each month:
  • The first Tuesday of the month is a Study Session, which is to consider matters for later decision by the Board and other information pertinent to the District. Begins at 5:30 p.m.  No comment period.
  • The third Tuesday of the month at 6:30PM is the Board's "Business" Meeting. Board and takes official action on matters before it.  Public comment is taken at 6:30 pm. Call 425-899-1000 to confirm.

Location:  Room Tan 250  Located in the EvergreenHealth Surgery & Physicians Building, located at EvergreenHealth Medical Center. To confirm public meetings call: 425-899-1000

###

"Participation is the foundation of Open Government

Photography and video-recording are forbidden in Board chambers. The website isn't clear.
Hospital commissioners do not participate in community events other than to raise
 money.  Five of the seven commissioners are appointed, not elected. Appointees don't 
 represent the public; they have no constituents.  Budget Hearings are held at 
7AM with 2-week Seattle Times newspaper notice.

Open Government

"By enabling the public to observe the workings of government, Open Government helps them hold the government accountable. In addition, enhanced public participation can result in more informed and better government policies, practices and decisions, and in more responsive, innovative and effective governance and services."

EvergreenHealth Public Hospital District No.2 government is NOT Open.

-- Bob Yoder, Opinion, 7/26/2022

Monday, July 25, 2022

Redmond City Council Approves Public Safety Levy Resolution

Redmond police in the library watching over the Community Court.
The Body-worn Camera Program will be funded by the General Fund
not the Levy.  photo credit, Bob Yoder

REDMOND, WA – At their July 19 business meeting, members of the Redmond City Council voted five to two (Fields,Kahn) in support of adding a proposition to the November 8, 2022, King County election. With a majority vote, Councilmembers passed Resolution No. 1560, which places a proposition on the ballot to fund a comprehensive public safety program beginning in 2023.

“Placing a levy on the November ballot empowers Redmond voters to choose the future direction of our public safety programs,” said Redmond Mayor Angela Birney. “Our community has consistently requested alternative public safety approaches to address today’s challenges. This levy goes beyond retaining and expanding police and fire staff. It also funds alternative approaches to crisis intervention while connecting our community members with appropriate services.”

The proposed measure would raise property taxes beginning in 2023 by *$0.366 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which would generate $10.4 million per year. This would cost the median Redmond homeowner $30.50 a month or $366 a year, based on the City’s 2021 average home assessed value of one million dollars.

Redmond voters last passed a public safety levy in 2007. By state law, revenue from the levy is limited to a 1% increase per year, while expenses have increased approximately 5% per year. As a result of expenses outpacing revenue, the City is proposing a new levy to maintain the existing services and fund innovative service enhancements requested by the community.

“The 2007 levy no longer supports the services our changing city needs,” said Mayor Birney. “Now is the time to strategically invest in our growing community and address our evolving public safety needs. The proposal before the voters will strengthen the community through innovative programs that provide safety, stability, and resources for anyone in crisis.”

If approved, the new revenues would fund the traditional and innovative safety approaches outlined in Redmond’s Comprehensive Public Safety Plan, including: Hiring additional personnel to increase mental and behavioral health services, crisis response, and resources to support special need community members.
  • Enhancing mobile health services through the Fire Department
  • Expanding fire personnel to increase fire suppression capabilities within Redmond
  • Adding police personnel to support rapid response to a growing and changing community
  • Reinvesting in the fire and police personnel supported by the 2007 property tax levy lid lift

More information about the levy and Comprehensive Public Safety Plan can be viewed at www.LetsConnectRedmond.com/Safety.  City Press Release, 7/25/2022

###

I am very, very happy with this resolution.  I'm especially pleased the Police are honest about the Body-worn Camera Program as being entirely funded by the General Fund / One-Time money.  Funding 6 mental health specialists to work the streets, including one mental professional and five social workers/case managers is a God send.

  -- Bob Yoder, 7/25/2022 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

The Status Of Mental Health Care At EvergreenHealth Public Hospital


This "Silver Tower" and second Emergency Department was funded by the taxpayers of
EvergreenHealth Public Hospital No.2 in Redmond, Kirkland, Sammamish,Woodinville,
Kenmore, Bothell, Mill Creek, Duval, Carnation, Shoreline and Sammamish County.

EvergreenHealth serves the community well. 
A gross exception is their failure to provide on-site mental health treatment.

Click title:

Friday, July 22, 2022

Ten-year Redistricting Leaves Voters at a Loss


Check this out.  When voting in the Primary yesterday I was shocked that 45th District Legislature "candidate bubbles" were on my ballot!  I've been in the 48th for as long as I can remember. I called King County to report the error only to learn redistricting takes place every ten years and this was the year.

That made me think. Why didn't King County Elections Director Julie Wise report this in the  Primary Voters' Pamphlet?  Why no press release?  Surely, some affected voters have lost confidence in the system.  Some may not have voted.  I was unhappy with the lack of notice and losing my representatives.  Our civic duty is to vote, not do the State's work.  

KING COUNTY ELECTION DISTRICT MAPS:

DEFUNCT MAP:    An excellent 2022 map of our State Legislature Districts and U.S. Congressional Districts.  User-friendly, but, don't be fooled!  It is inaccurate.  

DECENT MAP from a google search. however, candidate names don't show up.  Enter your address to find your district, no more.  

WASHINGTON SECRETARY OF STATE ELECTIONS -- Go here first!  Reliable, Comprehensive, Accurate. User friendly. Everything you need and more!

QUICK STORY:  LETTER FROM MS. MATTINGLY. ELECTIONS SPECIALIST III  

"Unfortunately, the Secretary of State’s office has not updated their map information to default to current maps.  That would be the link you mentioned when call which is: https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/ You can contact them directly to let them know that this needs to be updated immediately in order to keep voters informed with accurate information.  However, there is a box at the top of that page that directs you to current 2022 maps.   [It's a lousy map.]

 

District Finder

The District Finder map below displays legislative and congressional districts for elected officials currently in office. New district boundaries are in effect for elections taking place in August and November 2022. To find your new 2022 legislative and congressional districts please see the new 2022 Legislative and Congressional maps.

 

Please feel free to contact me directly if any additional information is needed." 

 

Shunneia O. Long-Mattingly

Pronouns - She/Her/Hers

Elections Specialist III

Voter Services

King County Elections

206-263-3748

206-296-VOTE (8683)

kingcounty.gov/elections

Thursday, July 21, 2022

King County Councilmember Proposes System To Uncover Covid Fraud


Dunn proposes whistleblower reporting system to uncover COVID-19 relief fraud

 

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn on Thursday introduced legislation that would establish a whistleblower hotline for reporting illegitimate uses of emergency COVID-19 funds, in an effort to catch any attempts to scam the system.


“As we are seeing historic increases in inflation, taxpayers are rightly concerned with how their hard-earned dollars are being spent, and elected leaders at all levels should be acting as watchdogs under that same mindset,” Dunn said. “With such a large influx of money rapidly moving through our County to provide critical aid to restaurants, small businesses, and folks on the margins during COVID-19, there almost certainly will also be a few scammers seeking to abuse the system for their own financial gain. It is my hope that with this legislation we will be able to catch bad actors and safeguard the communities that these funds were meant to support.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

UPDATED, 7/28/2022: EvergreenHealth Allegedly Misused CARES Money

EvergreenHealth's "Silver Tower" and their second "Emergency Department" were funded
 by the  District taxpayers of Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, Woodinville, Bothell,
Kenmore, Duvall, Carnation, Shoreline, and Snohomish County. 

On July 7th, I received an anonymous letter from an alleged EvergreenHealth Public Hospital employee.  The letter was postmarked July 5th and signed:  "Concerned Employee."  The employee asked me to post the letter on my blog. -- Bob Yoder.

The Letter:

"On Tuesday evening, June 21, 2022, the EvergreenHealth Board approved management's proposal to use Federal Covid CARES money in the calculation of their incentive bonus scheme, which they otherwise did not earn. The CFO stated, "The CARES money is fungible and we can use it to calculate our bonuses." The CEO and Board Chair concurred. The proposal passed 4 in favor and 3 opposed. Management can now use that money to pay almost $2m in bonuses to the administrative team. The hospital is struggling to keep nurses and other key staff to serve its patients and those funds could have been used to serve the community and not line the pockets of the administrator."

The employee went on to say: "In a separate presentation, management prepared a 10-year facilities plan which does NOT include any consideration for behavioral health and will be going to the taxpayers for another bond."

I gave testimony to the Commissioners, CEO and CFO at their Tuesday, July 20th public meeting.  The Board Chair Tim McLaughlin and Kayse Dahl, Director of Strategic Public Relations & Marketing gave differing explanations as to "why there was no misuse of funds." 

U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene is investigating the actions of  EvergreenHealth.  

After a Delbene staff member completed the investigation I was told she had a "bad feeling" about EvergreenHealth.  Staff needs to hear from the whistleblower to proceed. 

-- Bob Yoder, 7/20/2022,  425-802-2523

The following are two possible places to report EvergreenHealth C.A.R.E. fraud (or call me.)  

Office of Inspector General:  


Monday, July 18, 2022

UPDATED: The Unique Character Of Redmond's Wooded Hillsides

Six-story Redmond Square Apartment construction - Can you see the evergreen hillside? / Bob Yoder

Guy Jakobson, an urban landscape consultant with Berger Partnership, said at a Council seminar in 2007 "the unique character of our "wooded hillsides" surrounding the city is special. He said the wooded hillsides were an under appreciated city asset. 11/9/2007 

This picture made me think about the city's current "urban center" plan developed 25 years ago.  Do you see the trees on the ridge?  The treed hillside will "vanish" (from this angle) once all six-stories from the apartment building are up.

Quick story:  The "urban plan" was to "ensure that Downtown building heights respect views of tree lines and adjacent hillsides and contribute to the development of urban space that feels comfortable for pedestrians.  This would be achieved by limiting heights to 5-6 stories. The height is to be in proportion to the Town Center zone and elsewhere but could increase in height when accompanied by exceptional public amenities."

Fast-forward to today with the coming redevelopment of Redmond Town Center:  The city is keeping the current "urban plan" unchanged except for broadening the developer's ability increase height when "advancing business diversity, housing, and environmental sustainability goals"  

Thirteen years ago we really didn't appreciate "the unique character of our wooded hillsides."  We took them for granted.  Look around today.  Almost from any angle we are losing our evergreen hillsides.  Guy was right. 

Yet, as an astute reader said, looking at the bigger picture, if we value our green spaces we need to grow "up" versus "out".  

-- Bob Yoder, 7/18/2022
   Source:   Attachment B. Urban Centers Element Amendments DT-11

Saturday, July 16, 2022

"New Woodinville's" Family Recreation Place


YMCA, restaurants, wineries, apartments
Do you see the foosball tables?

(something the City of Redmond could learn from)

(we've got some serious - and fun - work ahead of us)

-- Bob Yoder, 7/17/2022