Letter to the Editor: Bicycles, bucks, and equal access to roads

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To the Editor:

This letter is a response to Mr. Foy’s letter in SAN of July 11. Mr. Foy claims that Mary Jane Goss’ concern over the redevelopment of the Burke Gilman trail was for the safety of trail users, but she advocated narrower trails and that lakeside property owners should be able to drive over the trail without stopping, neither of which protects the safety of cyclists or trail pedestrians.

Most readers probably don't care much about bike riders and bike commuting. They're more concerned about maintaining important city services during the severe cutbacks due to the $960,000 deficit. But they should know that the big bike battle that Mary Jane Goss started with the county cost LFP about $360,000. See for yourself by reading copies of the invoices that LFP paid lawyers and engineers in the trail fight at the following website:


$360,000: that's $72 per household in Lake Forest Park. Does Ms. Goss regret that expenditure? Doesn't she wish it back, so that senior services would not have to be cut, park maintenance wouldn't have to be curtailed, etc. Or was providing privileged liability-free right-of-way to lakeside trail owners worth more than $300,000 of LFP taxpayers’ money?

Even now Ms. Goss spends City money fighting bicyclists’ equal access to the roads. I am told that she has sued LFP for access to emails and other records related to the routing of the detour for the trail renovation. This obsession of hers with fighting bicyclists will require the expenditure of thousands of LFP dollars in staff time and outside lawyers to vet the records of sensitive correspondences. This is a lousy use of my tax dollars and I would bet most LFP residents would feel the same, no matter what their attitude is toward cyclists. Is this an example of the kind of fiscal responsibility she would bring to the office of mayor?

Stuart Strand
Lake Forest Park


Be Careful with Property Rights,  July 20, 2011 at 8:52 AM  

Well..I guess I'm super glad that SOMEONE is looking out for the rights of PROPERTY OWNERS even if I live VERY far away from Lake Forest Park.

I'll have to look into this more, since I've not read very much about it. However, when private property owners are being told what to do with THEIR land, then, someone should challenge that.
Perhaps they should even lose?
Perhaps the property owners knew this was possible when they bought their property..
However, it should NEVER be easy for any agency, governmental or otherwise to usurp the rights of the private property owner.

Anonymous,  July 20, 2011 at 5:01 PM  

Having examined these documents posted by Mr. Strand, it appears that an appeal was heard by the hearings examiner on the Burke Gilman. Is there anything wrong with filing an appeal? No, there isn't, it is your right under the Washington State & US Constitution to seek administrative redress under the law.

Some of the expenses that are show were going to be incurred anyway in the preparation of a conditional use permit (CUP), so where's the fire? The appeal was filed after a great many of these services had been contracted for to support the SEPA review process, it didn't matter if an administrative appeal of the decision was filed or not, the money was already spent because the city and county had to prepare the technical review documents in support of the CUP.

In brief examination of the legal billing, the majority of it was not connected to an administrative appeal, but connected to the routine contractual management of a large project.

Which brings up the question - did Mr. Strand read the detailed documents he posted on his website or did he just look for the total amount, assume it was all connected to the administrative appeal and blame one person?

This is a pretty sketchy letter, but thanks for your working papers, next time use them.

Anonymous,  July 21, 2011 at 7:46 AM  

Same poster who had been reading Mr. Strand's documents - the county apparently had been engaged in a legal action with LFP, there is a single line item referring to 5.10 hours re: county estoppel action letter draft. There are hours and hours of billings totally unrelated to any land use actions whatsoever but routine municipal matters. However, Mr. Strand just takes the total amounts of each document and adds them to the total project costs and claims Mary Goss caused them.

The City Council would have had to approve these expenses as a body and some date back to 2006 to the Burke Gilman trail ordinance, which means they are unrelated to restricting access to the trail.

Stuart Strand,  July 28, 2011 at 9:16 PM  

The anonymous poster is simply not telling the truth about the documents. In order to fight the County over their plan to improve the trail, the City hired their own engineer to prepare a second plan more to the liking of Mary Jane Goss and her allies on the council. That contract with Huitt Zollars engineers alone cost $91,314.81. Then there is the initial examiner’s charge, $10,227.80, which was needed only because Ms. Goss and her allies picked the fight with the County. And the lawyer’s fees associated with representing LFP in the two year long hearings, totaling $89,268.81. These documents were provided to me by LFP staff in response to a request for the expenses incurred by the city defending the anti trail improvement ordinance 951. But Anonymous makes up rationalizations that it was all going to happen anyway, when in reality the fight with the county was deliberate and far from business as usual.

It is telling that Anonymous does not say what he/she thinks the cost of this unnecessary fight with County was. Anonymous wants the reader to think that this fight, which occupied the attention of the Council for several years, cost LFP taxpayers nothing. Far from it! LFP’s figures are correct. Nearly half of the LFP deficit could have been avoided but for Ms. Goss’ misguided campaign against the County’s plan to improve the trail. LFP taxpayers: Don’t be fooled by anonymous posters trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

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