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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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May 22, 2008 9:22 AM

Slow move to reform at Valley Medical Center

Posted by David Postman

The citizen commission that runs the troubled Valley Medical Center is resisting change, says a reform candidate elected to the panel last fall. Anthony Hemstad, who defeated Commission President Carole Anderson, writes in a column in the Renton Reporter today:

It is concerning when the initial response to my 10-point reform program has included an attempt to move meetings to the one time I cannot attend (repealed after calls by the Attorney General’s office and the appearance of KING 5 TV crews to investigate this unprecedented move to disenfranchise an elected official) and the passage of Valley’s first ever “Code of Ethics” as the last act of the outgoing commission which, according to First Amendment advocates from the Institute for Justice, clearly blocked the freedom of speech of elected officials. Encouragingly that code is now being reviewed as well to ensure it follows the Constitution and state law. Still, it would be even more encouraging if the initial response was for openness and dialogue, not work on silencing inconvenient voices that challenge the status quo.

You can see that KING 5 report here. Robert Mak reports that when Hemstad suggested it was difficult for the public to attend commission meetings held Monday afternoons, the board voted to move them to Monday nights. That’s the one night of the week Hemstad, city manager of Maple Valley, can’t attend. And, Mak said, the other board members “knew full well he spends every Monday night with the Maple Valley City Council.”

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