Sandoval elected mayor for third time in 19-year career

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Long-time City Council member Michelle Sandoval was elected mayor for the third time in her 19 years of service by her fellow council members at the first regular meeting of the new year, Jan. 6.

Sandoval first served as mayor from 2008 to 2010 and was re-elected in 2010 until 2012.

She succeeds Deborah Stinson, who was unseated by Monica MickHager in November.

Sandoval said where the City of Port Townsend is today versus where it was when she was first elected mayor is like night and day.

In 2008, national economic downturn shuttered storefronts, the city had lost its ferry service and the Hood Canal bridge was closed for several weeks in 2009. Today the biggest issues she hears from people are the housing shortage and the street infrastructure.

Sandoval said council members and community members recognize that right now the city is in a transition period with the relatively new City Council, the new city manager, several new or retiring department heads as well as a large population of new residents.

She said she sees herself as being the ideal person to help the city transition and keep its valuable institutional knowledge but once the end of her four-year City Council and two-year mayor term is up in 2022, she will not be running for re-election.

Sandoval has lived in Port Townsend for close to 30 years, and when she retires from the council she will have served for 20 years; five consecutive terms.

Sandoval said she sees an important part of her role as facilitating the discussion on agenda items at City Council.

While a regular member, she was known for her outspoken nature but she said as mayor she thinks it’s important to take time to hear from every voice on the council.

Something she said she wants to bring to the attention of Port Townsend citizens is that a community, in order to be fully whole, must make room for everyone. She said she hopes to see the prevailing “us versus them” attitude dissipate into a more accepting and welcoming spirit. She said this applies to anything from a youth versus retirees mentality to a locals-versus-transplants mentality.

The City of Port Townsend operates under what is called a council-manager form of government.

Residents get direct representation by electing City Council members who execute legislative functions like passing ordinances, writing budgets or setting priorities for city staff.

The city manager is selected by the council and is responsible for overseeing city administration and implementing policy. This is similar to a CEO and board of directors relationship as in a publicly traded company.

The mayor is a mostly ceremonial role. Councilors nominate and elect a mayor from the council who will chair City Council meetings, mediate discussions, work closely with the city manager, represent the city to the public, assign people to committees and set the council agenda.

Besides those roles, the mayor enjoys no extra executive powers such as hiring and firing of city staff, additional voting authority or veto power. This is known as a weak-mayor form of government.

The next regular City Council meeting is Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m

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HarveyW-Collateral Damage

Term Limits and a Fairly Elected Mayor Appointed Mayor Sandoval illustrates why.

The following from a much longer newsletter/email sent this week to the No Term Limit Council and all policy making public employees. Think. For. Yourself. Lip service is lip service. Facts are facts. $17 million debt and 1.7 million yearly debt service is Sandoval's 19 year legacy. Forgive the length of the following. It is important that some facts are known and not skimmed over for short attention spans. Please answer specifically if you choose to wade in.

First, "I'm not running again" has as much weight as Marshawn Lynch not

playing any more. Its like something someone's attorney would make up for

them to deflect criticism. There's always "my team needs me" later to keep

at it. Few would remember what you said 2 years ago.

One day of parking enforcement was seen in late September, when the Transportation Committee headed by an always silent 16 year No Term Limit Council member fired up. The show lasted only one day. Daily for years on end, regulars and others continue to set a well documented "norm" eliminating much parking, that is not normal. This is because the incumbent City Council is not functioning normally according to a police parking volunteer, on the record. He seemed to know exactly what the police chief was thinking. Sandoval has been silent.

Who studied deconstructing parking enforcement and related issues before

doing so? The "Anarchy is always an option" Parking Committee? Sandoval was silent to questions asked.

Public input can be a broadcast with no reception, like the years long parking fiasco overseen by the new Appointed Mayor and incumbent No Term Limit Council. They have no issues or seeming understanding with breaking Municipal Code and many related problems that followed. If you remove a gauge you still run out of whatever needs to be quantified. Sandoval did nothing. Her business has a private parking lot.

Parking, the visitor center park, Adams Street, and a 17 million dollar debt are just some examples of The No Term Limit Council being dysfunctional, shut off from public input, and in denial. I know, you deny that. :)

All incumbent No Term Limit Council members appointed (elected is not the correct term), for the people, your most senior, most at fault due to years on Council and position as past Appointed Mayor, Mayor once again. That illustrates that a failed and corrupted system with unqualified individuals mindlessly plays on and can't self assess its incompetence. It is tribal at its core.

A Leader cartoon had appointed Deputy Mayor Faber explaining how important institutional knowledge is, just before Sandoval was appointed. What strange timing.

There is also embedded institutional dysfunction and corrupted thinking that was not addressed. Current city debt, lack of planning in several areas, and the $1.2 million (no public input) visitor center concrete park are some examples. Sandoval is a major player in its scope and cost to taxpayers for years to come. Some council members will always vote with the status quo. Even when it harms the public.

I would take my chances with an un corrupted Mayor consulting with fellow Council and the array of City employees at their disposal, such as the City Attorney and others. Continuity and institutional knowledge are not held by any individual, as

long as the City Council has term limits and regular turn over of fresh ideas and talent. The institutional knowledge must evolve slowly. Currently not the case.

I am required to say you are nice people, just far out of your league as the debt heavy record clearly shows.

The distraction of a new City Manager is like yelling "squirrel !!!!!!!" to get your dogs attention away from what you don't want him to pay attention to. Appointed Mayor Sandoval commented in the paper how well he researched the job requirements, and state of affairs here. She said "Very modern. Northwest in his blood". Does that mean salmon spawn there and he walks upright?

The horse (brains) is the No Term Limit Council. The cart is the salaried City Manager. This was reversed over the last 19 or 20 years. The Appointed Mayor, more importantly than the City Manager, needs to aggressively meet face to face those she impacts and damages, as does the full No Term Limit Council. If you can't afford the time to do that, you don't deserve to serve. If you don't have the nerve to do that, you don't deserve to serve. Its not a social club or mechanism for social climbing. What contacts can a 3 time mayor and 19 year council member make that are beneficial to their business? What would be a real estate agent's priorities? Look at all the curb appeal and deteriorating roads.

Power flows through you. Not to you. That sizzled the last Appointed Mayor. Term limits would keep Stinson from running again, and would have kept the current appointed mayor from this third term as mayor, to influence the new City Manager. What really happens and what not supposed to are often different things. Systems should be designed to minimize special interests and thinly cloaked incompetence.

Will your new Mayor (recycled is not always good) wonder how two, curb, rain garden, and bulb projects at the Post Office and Washington and Adams cost a total for both of $80,150 and the visitor center eyesore cost $600,000 and $1.2 million final cost. Where is the over $500,000 or $1,000,000 final cost difference? Could the project not have been designed at least to a cash on hand budget? Or better yet not at all? Ask Sandoval to explain her "outspoken' thinking and priorities. Stinson claimed the office of mayor was about leadership. This article seems to say it isn't. The city does need a responsible and accountable person at the wheel.

The curb projects had costly demolition and haul away of considerable concrete. The scale of the 2 curb projects seem very similar to the concrete park not needed or approved by the public. By what percentage was the park larger and more complex for the huge difference in cost?

Lets hear from the Appointed Mayor what the costs per square foot were for all projects. Not from the employee, the new City Manager. He had no part in it. Only the current Appointed Mayor and incumbents are fully responsible for the money spent and end result. Corruption happens. Even here. Perhaps especially here. Are we tracking local projects as carefully as State funded projects? Are you the taxpayer?

The new City Manager knows the nature of the muddy incompetent waters in which he swims, and must keep his job in. From day one he was set to fail "The City Manager is responsible for the preparation of the City’s annual budget, enforcement, and implementation of all laws, policies, and services of the City." Parking? Municipal codes? Time is passing. The last City Manager was directed to ignore his mandate and law by the No Term Limit Council. For years on end. Newly appointed Mayor Sandoval was a big part of that. She never responded to this neighbor's well documented concerns. Now she is Appointed Mayor again. No laughing matter.

Dirty hands appoint from within, and hire the new City Manager, their sole employee. Week after week he does not enforce Municipal Codes, and is expected and allowed not to. Fixing parking includes admitting there is a problem, and what and who created it. The transportation committee is headed by someone who silently supported deconstruction of volunteer enforcement, and no parking policy or plans. So much damage and discrimination to business, visitors, and locals.

The cure is real respect for your neighbors, doing onto others, and recognizing when you aren't up for the real and entire job. The real and entire job. The real and entire job. That includes being a role model. It includes being the keeper of peace and culture.

The new Appointed Mayor, who has a private parking lot for her business, and one she is associated with, ignores public parking problems she helped create for other business, and all visitors from near and far as she spends public money for tourism promotion. Welcome? Not really. The Chamber and Main Street are sucked down with the dysfunction. Career first. Say nothing.

Meet the new boss, the recycled role model for the just departed old boss. There are so few clean hands to influence the dirty ones on the No Term Limit Council. Proof? Look who you appointed. Over the last 19 years with Sandoval a major player $17 million in city debt, nearly 10 fold of County Debt per taxpayer and a 1.7 million dollar yearly debt service that hamstrings things like affordable housing. Skewed priories. Curb appeal and rotten foundations like your worst real estate agent nightmare.

It is awards season so the FFA (Future Fascists of America) award goes to an employee of the newly re appointed Mayor and No Term Limit Council Member, he is on the planning commission and has run already for Council. He came here a few years ago from Seattle to sell bits and pieces of Port Townsend. He sees that can be taken pretty far. He stands tall for censorship of my thoughts twice on record. He tells everyone on Facebook that "everyone knows to stay away" from my business and names it. Forest Gems. His boss looks on. Empty sound bites in hand.

They are politicians who sell Port Townsend for a living, themselves living in a culture that keeps buyers and sellers apart. The walls between the public and city hall started about 19 years ago. I am a citizen with specific concerns that I voice. The Appointed Mayor's close associate wants censorship and trashes a local business without any reason publicly. Welcome to the future of Port Townsend. The current appointed mayor parroting buzz phrases on issues that myself and others brought up has no substance. The Appointed Mayor is aware that more people than before are aware and watching. The appointed mayor is part of the problems that now need to be solved and defined.

If you would like to help with petition work for term limits and a mayor elected by the people, not a city manager that evolves into Mayor for life under a No Term Limit Council, please contact me. parking20@forestgems.com

I started my business and life here 24 years ago under a reasonably competent and friendly city government with priorities not on curb appeal. What/who happened? Get involved. Term Limits. Elected Mayor. Then stay involved.

Harvey Windle

Forest Gems Gallery

Wednesday, January 15
Paul Rice

Give it a rest Harvey. Also, thanks for the shoutout!

Wednesday, January 15
HarveyW-Collateral Damage

Send a long letter get back a post card. Times are hard. So is articulating thoughts you cannot defend.

This would be the third time on record you come out strongly in favor of censorship. The first time you told me I was harming a candidates chances of being elected. She won. Would she have by a larger margin if I had "quickly shut up" as you directed me to?

The second time was on the Adams Street story where I commented about posturing for media and those attending the Council meeting by your boss, who as a council member was aware of the situation for over a year, and part of having no contingency fund to finish the job. The cities credit card is maxed out. Her public face feigned frustration for what she is a big part of. Many see that. A person affected by the no due process street closure answered your call for silence, saying he thought I was doing a public service with all my work. You define Paul Rice, not Harvey Windle.

Please do tell everyone why "everyone knows to stay away from Forest Gems" and why you were not fired by appointed mayor Michelle Sandoval for very un Chamber of Commerce like behavior, the unfounded attacking of another business for expressing political views. By the way, my local business has been way up for custom furniture and other items I carry. Word is out where to go, not where to stay away from.

Thanks for illustrating my points Paul. Tapping into a towns history isn't contributing to it. A parasite isn't the host. Council seats should be taking the cities business on like a foster child for a set time. It is not an adoption where you mold the child into your image with the help of a 20 year City Manager. Your best hope is voters who are shallow thinkers like yourself. I wish you the best. What you represent must be accounted for by term limits and a fairly elected mayor.

I did know you or similar would be here, I began with "It is important that some facts are known and not skimmed over for short attention spans. Please answer specifically if you choose to wade in." Deeper waters require deeper thinking. Show who you really are. Don't drown.

Thursday, January 16
HarveyW Collateral Damage

If you missed just retired Council member Robert Gray's Letter to Editor regarding the Carmel apartment affordable housing project that is over 100% over budget and stalled due to bad planning, look for it in this weeks opinion forum. Another No Term Limit Council legacy. It shows once again that no one seems to be held responsible under the current political system that appoints an "outspoken" Mayor from within, incompetence appointed by incompetence. Is this the sharpest tool in the shed? Does she even have to be? It was a very publicized story in the idea stage. Pretty quiet now.

A 120% over run into the millions all city residents are paying for in interest only, with no results. I saw recently around 20 comments regarding Trump and the impeachment that no one locally can really impact. In your back yard where you can have long lasting changes and participate in a very meaningful way the same folks are silent. It is a very timid population. Easily manipulated. You only get the respect and results you demand. Term Limits. Elected Mayor. How much evidence of incompetence and skewed priorities do we all need?

Part of the Carmel numbers below. Link to full letter no one commented on here https://www.ptleader.com/stories/why-the-carmel-building-project-has-stalled,67224?

…….After about two years, it was determined that an additional $1 million is needed to complete the project, and because the loan payments by Homeward Bound relied on rental income from the project, Homeward Bound is unable to start paying the $834,000 loan to the city. The city continues to make annual payments on the debt without payments from Homeward Bound.

As a result, this affordable housing is on hold because neither party has money to finish construction.

Monday, January 20