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09/18/2018 07 Public Comment Distributed at the .-7 Meeting y'),c j g GREATER YAKIMA September 18, 2018 To each member of the Yakima City Council: Before getting into the reasons for this letter, it is important that I reintroduce to all the missions of both the City of Yakima and the Yakima Chamber of Commerce and specifically how they align. The Chamber's mission states, "The Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce is an organization that promotes pride in our diverse communities through positive leadership aimed at creating a cohesive, successful business climate in our County." Similarly, the vision and mission of the City of Yakima, reads, "To create a culturally diverse, economically vibrant, safe, and strong Yakima community. To provide outstanding services that meet the community's needs. To govern responsibly by effectively managing and protecting public resources. To build trust in government through openness, diverse leadership, and communication. To strategically focus on enhancing Yakima's quality of life." Clearly, the purpose of the two entities are quite similar and even where different, they complement each other. The Chamber desires nothing but success for the City of Yakima and the City Council, which is charged with governing the will and needs of its people. Therefore, it is imperative (and we believe our duty) to share our concerns and examples of what we (and many of our members and other citizens) believe show a steady decline in the productivity of the Council and its leadership. These include: m A lack of professionalism displayed by the Council. While disagreements are expected, discussing these differences should be done in a respectful manner. Snarky responses, eye rolling and speaking over one another has been consistently witnessed at Council meetings over the last several months. This public display of unprofessional behavior has lessened the effectiveness of the Council and the leadership we expect from our elected officials. Post Office Box 1490 • 10 North 9th Street, Yakima,Washington, 98907 • Phone (509) 248-2021 • Fax(509) 248 0 01 ® The Council should represent the majority, not just the few vocal constituents who have their ear. To be successful at the mission of providing "outstanding services that meet the community's needs", the Council needs to understand what those needs are. It is crucial the Council speak and work with, a greater majority of our community, to gain an understanding of different perspectives throughout Yakima. In addition, without this broad involvement of our community, how will we grow or develop our future leaders? ® A lack of cohesiveness, specifically as it relates to honoring votes and initiatives passed prior to current councilmembers' time on the Council. Where are we at in follow-up and implementation of the citizen survey from 5 years ago? This full access input was the basis of a great deal of strategic planning, which feels that it has essentially been forgotten in the last 3 years. You stand on the shoulders and efforts of those who preceded you. Instead of a uniform and consistent body that can engender a level of trust over a period of years, and moves decisions forward, a lack of trust and respect has formed. Progress appears to be bottlenecked or stopped altogether. Council members will, of course, have personal thoughts and beliefs regarding initiatives and city decisions, but need be reminded that continuing to disregard decisions and initiatives of previous Councils may lead to the undoing of many of the decisions and initiatives that this council puts in place, by future councils. In other words, you are setting a precedent of disregarding decisions made by ANY previous council, including yourself. O Inconsistent problem solving and managing solutions. Over the last several months, rather than working with community members and others to come up with viable solutions and/or solve problems, the response to issues and projects has more often been a simple and quick, "no". We hear often from Chamber members and other citizens that they do not know what you, as a Council represent or what you, as a governing body want to push forward as a mission. If an issue or project is brought forward, even if all the details are not fully sorted out, the Council should be trying to understand the "why" behind the conversation and help Yakima's citizens accomplish its goal — as long as it is reasonable and will not cause harm. For example, the business incubator project was proposed and rejected. Its mission, to help grow small businesses, is viable 2lPage and if the incubator is not the solution, what other avenues are you proposing to help businesses succeed in Yakima? We understand there are budget restraints and challenges, but Yakima will not grow and change without an actionable vision for the future. As stated earlier, on paper the Chamber and the City Council both have the best of Yakima at heart. How both entities operate and act have a huge impact on businesses and the perception of our city in the region. To be successful, we must take the steps, no matter how small, toward fulfilling the vision of "enhancing Yakima's quality of life". For the greater good, we encourage each of you to step back and ask yourself, "How am I helping to solve problems? Are my actions and behaviors at meetings contributing to progress?" Thank you for taking time to read and reflect on the points in this letter. We look forward to working with each of you in rebuilding the public's trust and confidence in local government. Thank you. Sincerely, y Verlynn Best, CEO Greater Yakima Chamber Board of Directors, members and staff CC Yakima Herald Republic • Yakima Business Times KIMA KNDO KAPP Town Square Media Radio Yakima Wage