Are we bored with local politics yet? I hope not because it’s about to get interesting and it starts with a letter to the editor in the YHR today.  The letter is called “time for a change” and it’s about me and why I need to go!  Ouch!

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That’s fine, I don’t mind honest critique, it’s all part of the political process …but I don’t like unsubstantiated accusations and insinuations…so, for me to be consistent you know I have to challenge .  Here is the letter and my response which is also posted at the Herald’s opinion page.

Time for council change Posted on July 17, 2013 By Diana Cooley

To the editor — Over the past four years I have seen the Yakima City Council make great efforts to better our city. But certain council members up for re-election concern me this election season.

Dave Ettl seems to make promises to placate the community, yet does exactly the opposite of what he claims. He changed his vote on the two-thirds initiative twice and has done little to prove his involvement with any progression of the Gang Free Initiative efforts, yet only states statistics as to money appropriations running around proving his involvement, or lack-thereof.

At one time, Ettl was a solid, honest guy who truly worked for the people. Those days seem long gone. Ettl seems to have forgotten the “community” that had once elected him, and now seems to only care about “his community,” which are the other power players outside of us commoners, the community.

It is definitely time for a major change. We need someone we can trust and who has passion for our entire community.

Last election Dave Ettl had my vote; this election, my vote goes to Isidro Reynaga.

My honest thought is this…I really doubt that she voted for me over Sonia Rodriguez given what she writes about the “community”…and I think she is saying that to demonstrate how open minded she was and how far she has come in reaching her new found support for Mr. Reynaga.  So why not say that?  Why the personal attacks on me?  If Mr. Reynaga is the better choice, tell us why, tell us about him and give us some specifics but let’s keep the conversation to a higher level.


With that thought in mind, here’s my response to  Diana Cooley…who’s number two friend on her face book page happens to be Sid Reynaga’s campaign manager…interesting.  I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.


Hey Diana, Dave Ettl, (my computer is down and I’m using Mike Bastinelli’s machine to post) I respect your decision to change your vote. Thanks for your past support. I know this must have been a difficult decision for you since it must represents a major change in philosophy- since four years ago, in order for you to vote for me, you had to vote against Sonia Rodriguez and her level of activism in the “community”.
So as you unfortunately leave my camp, so to speak, how about a quick exit interview so that I might learn from my mistakes? That seems only fair, right?
You mention I made promises to “placate” the community. That doesn’t sound very good and a politically savvy person such as yourself knows how easy it is to make a critical sounding charge like that with nothing to back it up… so since this IS a serious charge of being disingenuos- which I try never to be - I was hoping you could name one or two specific examples of my placating promises. That way I can review and make a course correction. Thanks.
As a former supporter of mine, I know you’ll remember that I ran for office with a promise NOT to make idle promises. Voters hate pandering promises. Because there are so many factors that go into what a councilperson can and can’t do, it’s easy for an overzealous or uninformed or even an unscrupulous candidate can be tempted to misrepresent or overstate their capability and make lots of promises they can’t keep about what they will actually be able to accomplish on behalf of the “community”. If you could please provide just a couple of examples it will help. Oh, and just who do you mean by “community” in quotations? I think a lot of readers would like to know that.
Also, how can the council get more accurate information out to you and others? I ask because I changed my vote on the 2/3 tax majority only once, not twice as I’m sure you mistakenly wrote. Saying I changed my vote twice would make me seem unfocused or unsure, or even easily influenced and as a former supporter I know that couldn’t be your intent. In fact, I changed to make a symbolic statement about how strongly I feel the council is in doing a responsible job with financial stewardship.


Our budget is balanced, we found money without taxes to fix streets, we saved money in transit and police and have our strongest reserve ever. As far as 2/3 goes, after the first vote failed (and I supported it) we knew that Mr. Lover planned to bring the matter forward through the signature/initiative process and that voters would still be able to have a say. Our subsequent votes changed nothing in actual practice.
The gang thing is a tough one. You seem most let down here and I’m sorry. I’m not sure what your expectations are in fighting gangs, so I’m not sure just where I let you down. It is true, I have never been a gang member but I know I have intentionally continued the model and efforts of the gang free initiative as started by my predecessor Sonia Rodriguez . I know it’s not much but I have been the GFI committee chairman making our case in Olympia and Washington D,C., I orchestrated the only direct city funding for GFI which is kind of unique in the state, I helped established the partnerships that now generate over half a million in contribution to help prevent and intervene with kids and I devised the plan to provide for 12 more police that generated the manpower for a second gang unit to increase suppression. So short of going under cover as a gang member myself, I’m not sure how much more I can do …but I am willing to consider your recommendations. What have I missed? What more should I have done?…Thanks.
You write that I used to be solid, honest guy . That would indicate that you now consider me to be shaky and dishonest today. Wow, that hurts. Nobody wants to be accused of being dishonest, so I really would like a see a couple examples of that so I could fix those right away. Win or lose, I want to be known as an honest guy and anyone making that kind of serious charge I sure has a few ready examples to back up what they say. What are they please?
I can’t believe that you, as a former supporter, see me now as working for some “outside community power players”. That’s very disheartening and I am disappointed in myself. Who are these outsiders again? And who have I deserted? I don’t even know who that might be but I guess you do, so again, a specific reference or two really might help get me back on track. Even if you do wish to change your vote, I would appreciate it. Also, what specific action or votes lead you to reach that conclusion? Perhaps I can explain? I think the “community” at large would appreciate more detail so all future candidates can avoid making the same mistakes

And while you are at it, I know you wouldn’t mind helping me to understand what it is that makes you no longer trust me. Trust doesn’t go away without some precipitating event. This could be a great learning experience for me on council and in everyday life as well …so let me thank you in advance for the reply.
And finally, with all due respect to you, as my former supporter, I am troubled by your reference to my passion for our “entire community”. Who is in the “entire community”? That almost sounds like some kind of racial divide reference. You, of all people , should know I was able to overcome that in defeating Yakima’s first ever incumbent Latina councilwoman in my last election. Heck, your vote back hen helped to make that happen… so now I am really concerned about what happened or what I did to break that down. I have been racking my brain and really hope you can provide some specifics so that all sides of all communities feel comfortable with whoever is their future representative.
Thanks again Diana. It’s one thing to change your mind, which I respect (I did once on the 2/3 tax majority!) but it’s important not to leave unsubstantiated accusations in your wake. I look forward to your letter or response to clear that all up. Thanks and Good Luck!