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Letter: Removal of Duchastel showed council members' 'ethical deficiencies'

  • Written by Paul Hagen

Councilmembers,

I was troubled to learn that Mr. Nicolas Duchastel was dismissed from the Woodinville Planning Commission without cause. After reviewing last Tuesday’s (June 16) Council meeting, I was further dismayed and baffled. No legitimate reason was given for Mr. Duchastel’s removal, and instead the only “reasons” given were vague, unsubstantiated insinuations of bad behavior. Councilmember Price, who brought the unannounced motion against Mr. Duchastel, complained, for example, that Mr. Duchastel had “said some stuff that was offensive” but also said that he was “not going to get into specifics.” Councilmember Taylor said Mr. Duchastel had used “interesting language” and Deputy Mayor Harris announced he would provide specific examples but then struggled to provide any legitimate complaint and instead explained that Mr. Duchastel had used an “aggressive” tone when asking him—an elected public servant—a question. Council’s apparent discomfort with freedom of speech and accountability should be truly concerning to every resident in Woodinville. The fact that Mr. Duchastel was removed for no other reason than asking legitimate questions of city officials about the workings of Woodinville government—questions that apparently caused significant discomfort or irritation to those being asked—is simply inexcusable. Don’t you, councilmembers, represent the people of Woodinville? Isn’t your job to respond to citizens, even when they are asking difficult questions? Instead you have worked to silence critics, reduce engagement, and weaken Woodinville. This is utterly shameful behavior and should not be tolerated in Woodinville—especially from our elected officials. Worst still you never gave Mr. Duchastel even the common courtesy of informing him that you had targeted him for removal, nor did you give him the opportunity to defend his good name. Instead you hurled vile and dubious accusations against him and removed him without any opportunity to learn the truth, or hear support for him, or have him answer your unfounded accusations.

I first met Mr. Duchastel when I served on the Parks and Recreation Commission and have found Mr. Duchastel to be a thoughtful, hard-working, and highly ethical. For several years he has faithfully and effectively served this community, and I am very disappointed to see him treated so unfairly.

As councilmembers your sole responsibility is to represent the people of Woodinville and to serve the entire city. Your decision to remove Mr. Duchastel is a failure of your responsibility. Public servants should exercise good judgement, reasoned thought, and sound ethical behavior. Unfortunately, with the removal of Commissioner Duchastel, you have fallen quite short of that measure and have shown yourselves to be vindictive and petty. You have demonstrated quite clearly your ethical deficiencies, want of judgement, and lack of integrity. I hope you will reflect on your actions and motives. And I hope you will find a way to right this wrong.

Regards,

Paul Hagen

Woodinville

Letter: Removal of commissioner and conduct by council are "cause for great concern"

  • Written by Heidi Schauble

Woodinville City Council,

I met Nicolas recently, when he joined the Facebook group I administer- Woodinville Social Justice Connection. Not only has he been active in dialogue and our organizational efforts, he quickly stepped up as leader in our group and has showed an immense dedication to social justice and inclusion efforts in our community.     

Nicolas has provided more support to myself and our community than I can begin to describe, or thank him for. When I organized the Woodinville March and Demonstration in support of Black Lives Matter, and realized the scale of this event was going to be much larger than expected. Nicolas stepped up to support us at all hours of the night; with hours-worth of free labor, helping organize, communicate and ensure public safety. His entire family pitched in, and his wife worked tirelessly to make masks to pass out during the March and Demonstration. 

Nicolas has worked to make sure members of our community feel heard and cared about. Not only does he hear us, he responds and acts and is a strong advocate for marginalized people in our community. 

Working with Nicolas has impacted not only my life, but the lives of my group members and community, at large. His professionalism, empathy, kindness, selflessness and compassion are some of the first qualities I noticed about him. 

I have worked for four years to bring attention to social justice issues and involve our city council only to be met with silence, and at times, outright avoidance and defensiveness. His support has helped me mentally and emotionally by providing resources and support to take weight off my shoulders and the members of our group. His advocacy work has advanced our social justice efforts into concrete action. 

As a progressive woman leader, and a vocal social justice advocate in Woodinville, Nicholas has shown me his strong dedication to civic service and progressive values. He is both a strong ally, and a leader in our community. That is not afraid to speak truth to power.

I am appalled and disheartened to see the council ambush him, and other Councilmembers and Commissioners, in what appears to be an act of overt retaliation. The claims made against him are unsubstantiated, at best. 

Myself and other community members watched the behaviors displayed at the city council meeting and city planning commission meeting the following evening. These claims do not reflect the Nicolas we know. His removal and the conduct of the City Council during these meetings, is a cause for deep concern. 

Heidi Schauble

Woodinville

Letter: 'No credible evidence of wrongdoing' presented in dismissal of commissioner

  • Written by Amanda Thompson

Dear City Council, 

I've been a resident of the city for nine years and am writing to let you know how appalled I was watching the council meeting on June 16, 2020. The manner in which you brought up and removed Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge from the planning commission was a shameful disgrace. 

Aside from Councilmember Boundy-Sanders, I find none of you credible. Your tactics reek of unethical plotting and maneuvering. How many more city volunteers will you force out because you simply dislike them? This needs to stop.

In my interactions with Nicolas, he has only been kind, hard-working, and an eager volunteer. He has always taken the ethical approach even when being repeatedly slandered and harassed by councilmembers. His campaign focused on what he would do to help the city, he listened to what the people wanted, and he did not focus on degrading his opponents.

At the council meeting where he was ousted, there was no credible evidence of wrongdoing presented. It appeared much more like one or two councilmembers' personal vendettas against a city volunteer. Remember, he is a volunteer! 

And why were we not given a chance to hear Nicolas' side? You are a disgrace of a council to have done this and not even let him speak. The people of Woodinville will not stand for your corruption. Who will you bully and force out next? 

I would also like to express frustration at how disrespectfully the message of his removal was delivered during the planning commission meeting on June 17, 2020. No evidence was provided; the news blindsided another commissioner and brought her to tears as she recused herself from the meeting because of the lies being spewed. 

The attending councilmember (Rachael Best-Campbell) continued to focus on her personal feelings in a combative manner, which was not appropriate in any way at this time. This is a major disappointment for the city. Woodinville deserves better. 

The public is fully aware of your deceitful tactics and will not stand for it.

Amanda Thompson

Woodinville

Letter: Writer offended by pride flag, BLM, state sex education bill, face masks

  • Written by N Denyse Cook-Whitlatch

Am I Offended?

People are complaining about Woodinville City Council Member Al Taylor asking whether or not anyone is offended by the flying of the Pride Flag.  I am. I am offended by the action taken by our local city government for its decision to hoist the flag at City Hall. I am very offended that a group is singled out for praise that has not earned it. What is the world coming to when a person’s sexual orientation trumps the kind of character they have? 

But you all don’t care what I think. You do not tolerate conservative values or ideas. You do publicly whatever you want to. You are not open to debate and attack anyone who would engage you in such. And when someone disagrees with you, you want to destroy them.

The 'Black Lives Matter' mantra also offends me. All lives matter. No life is more important than another. I am so sick of the drawing attention to color (and other things like sexual orientation) rather than to the quality of one's character. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was on to what really matters!

I am offended by the ridiculous sex education bill too. Teaching kindergartners about sex and that abortion is legal and safe is not okay. It's immoral! This bill is no more than a state-indoctrination of all children that teaches life is not sacred. That’s a violation of their Constitutional rights, which allows every one the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We (parents) should have the right to choose what and what we do not want our children taught in the public schools. The State should not have the right to destroy what parents believe are good morals to impart to our children.

Oh, and face masks. What a joke. Sorry, but the way some of you talk, society should never be free of them. Truth: they don't stop the transmission of viruses. Period. Unless you want to wear an industrial n95 or higher. Not to mention, no one has batted an eye over the tens of thousands of flu deaths each year.

I’m sure this letter will generate hate in response, but I don’t care. I'm going to speak honestly. Free Speech is everyone's right. 

Live in fear or walk in freedom. 

N Denyse Cook-Whitlatch

Woodinville

Letter: Dismissed commissioner is 'honest and caring'

  • Written by Simon Labbe

Councilmembers,

I’m writing as I’m appalled by the calumny toward Nicolas Duchastel De Montrouge, heard during the city council meeting last week.

I’ve known Nicolas since moving in the Puget Sound area in 2005. He and his family welcomed our family as true friends from the first time we met.

I’ve always admired Nicolas’ passion for politics at every level, and he’s been key to improving my understanding of the American political system.

He’s the only person I know who’s passionate enough about the impact of local politics to our communities that he took on running for a seat in his town last year.

Nicolas is extremely honest and caring. His personal and work ethics are second to none, and he truly respects the rule of law. It makes me very sad to hear such false and damaging statements made against him.

Simon Labbe

Redmond