Letters to the Editor

Hodgson comments shameful

As a Kirkland home owner, a Kirkland business man, and a Kirkland volunteer I am shocked and terribly disappointed by what I saw during the LTAC discussion at the Kirkland City Council meeting on Aug. 4. I cannot believe that a sitting council member, Tom Hodgson, would choose to use his bully pulpit from the council dais during a public council meeting to attack Les Utley, a Kirkland citizen and volunteer member of the Lodging and Tax Advisory Committee, especially given the fact that Les was not there and had no chance to respond. I also can’t believe that our Mayor, Jim Lauinger, rather than appropriately censuring Mr. Hodgson, chose to encourage his diatribe. What have we come to on our city council?

Les Utley is the hard working general manager of the Heathman Hotel and he has demonstrated his commitment to a healthy community in Kirkland by his volunteer participation on the LTAC and in taking on the presidency of the Kirkland Downtown Association in March. He has put hundreds of hours into working to sustain our downtown business community and to recharge our struggling downtown in this economically challenged time, not to mention the times he has made available rooms in the Heathman at no charge for Kirklanders who just needed a place to stay for a night or two.

I know this because I have worked side by side with Les on the Kirkland Downtown Association Board and during many community events.

I would like to thank Mary Alice-Burleigh and Joan McBride for their well thought out and respectful responses. It is a shame that the rest of the council let their egos get in the way of doing what is right for the city of Kirkland and its citizens.

At the very least, I believe that Mr. Hodgson needs to make a public apology to Mr. Utley, to the city council and to the people of Kirkland. At the very best I believe we need to use the next election to demonstrate our degree of dissatisfaction at such mean spirited and unprofessional behavior. It’s shameful.

Jason Brooks, Kirkland

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