Gloves come off in ADA lawsuit against City of Montesano

The Salzer vs. City of Montesano federal lawsuit just took an ugly turn. Below is a letter sent to the city by the plaintiff, Marisa Salzer yesterday. Copies were sent to media and posted on Facebook by Ms. Salzer. It is a public record.

I’m not going to comment on the retaliation focus of the letter. In this post. The letter speaks for itself. Most of you are not aware of the smelly situation concerning the “forced annexation” referenced in the letter. You are not aware of what is going on for a reason. Don’t worry….I do know and am waiting for something to bring you allllll the juicy details. Be patient.

I always try and reference that I do know Marisa well when posting about this subject, although I have not contacted her on this matter. I want to bring to you only public information at this point. I suspect the settlement figure just went up. To see a copy of the Montesano announcement of closing off public comments see yesterday posting SHUT UP MONTESANO.

———–begin letter—-SENT APRIL 24TH 2021——

Dear Montesano city council members and mayor,

Because I love my hometown I closely monitor the city’s government and activities by following council meetings and any information posted on the city’s website.

I was alarmed when I saw the posting on the city’s website Friday that limits public comment that is not in-person to filling out a form or by sending an email in advance of the meeting. 

This is extremely problematic for a couple of reasons – the council meetings are designed with public comment at both the beginning and end of the meeting. The reasoning behind the last public comment at the end of the meeting is to allow the public to comment on what was discussed during that meeting.

Submitting a public comment in advance does not allow the public to be an active participant in that night’s meeting.

Secondly, the discussion of the “annexation updates” as listed on the agenda for the April 27, 2021 meeting, is clearly an issue I have been closely following and am not in support of as I’ve voiced before in public comment. 

I do not believe this new limitation of public comment to be a coincidence. Especially with the timing of the discussion of annexation.

The Municipal Services Research Center (MSRC) as you all should be familiar with, states that with the update of March 21, 2021, proclamation 20-28.14 remains in effect-essentially that all public meetings need to continue to offer a remote attendance option. The proclamation also states: 

“The public agency holding an in-person public meeting shall accommodate, to the extent practicable, those wishing to participate in and/or attend the public meeting (to include the press) by allowing persons to attend the meeting by listening and speaking through operable telecommunications devices (examples include using an attendee’s cell phone with service to connect to a conference calling service, or allowing persons to call in using an attendee’s cell phone with service)”

Nowhere does the proclamation state that the public agency can restrict a person who is remotely attending from providing comment or “speaking” during the meeting.

I believe this new limitation of remote public comment is retaliatory and is singling me out specifically because of my simple request for access to my city’s government and my position of annexation of my neighborhood.

Speaking of my request for access, I have not been afforded to have full access to meetings remotely – not even once. For those of you who believe the problem is solved, please go watch one of your council meeting videos with the “captioning” on but the sound off. Then tell me that you believe a deaf person participating in the meeting is equally afforded the same access as a hearing person also remotely participating. 

For some reason, and I’d speculate that it is again an excuse to either continue to make things difficult for me or to make it seem like I’m unreasonable in my request for accomodation, this simple request has still not been met. Even when I formally requested the accommodation back in August with the attached information on how to provide the request or get help with providing the request. 

Bottom line, I need accurate, live captioning. This service is easly provided by CART and is common practice everywhere in online meetings. It is not necessary for you to reinvent the wheel, as one of you likened this request to. This is not the first time a deaf person has needed accommodations, and it won’t be the last. 

Lead by example, don’t keep taking away the basic rights and restricting the citizens of Montesano from accessing their government.

I encourage you council members to do what is right. You were voted by the people of Montesano to serve the people of Montesano. The people you represent deserve to provide input on those decisions you are making for them. Those same people also deserve to be included in all government proceedings and the more inclusive you make these proceedings, the healthier the city will be in tune with the needs and wants of its residents.

Sincerely,

Marisa Salzer

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