SEQUIM — Sequim Council member Brandon Janisse brought up concerns about Sequim’s recent reputation during the last council meeting.
Janisse spoke briefly on the topic at Monday’s meeting saying he wanted to present questions to the council about the city’s image as a whole and that his concern isn’t centered on one single issue.
“(We’ve) been hit left and right with everything under the sun,” he said.
He described how citizens were feeling as “tense … it’s just a powder keg.”
Some of the questions he posed were: “How are we going to improve our public relations with the public and the community at large?” and “How are we going to build trust not only with constituents but as a whole with each other?”
“Rifts have begun to open up. How do we trust each other?” Janisse said.
“Right now, people should be worried about kids, school, finances, jobs, every worry out there; not being able to trust their government should not be a worry for our citizens.”
He refereed to an open letter to the community from the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce dated Monday; the letter quoted Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “We call on all elected officials across the country and at every level of government to promote calm in their communities.”
The letter also states that “hundreds of phone calls, emails and letters have poured into our offices from deeply concerned citizens, customers and business owners. Folks who have decided not to retire here, shop here, or even visit because of concerns about recent events.
“The Chamber emphatically stands behind our small businesses — they need our support as they weather the economic storm, not punishment.”
Janisse said: “We want to make sure we’re not pushing people away or from starting businesses in the city.”
Janisse received response only from Mayor William Armacost, who said building trust with council members and the public was a good point.
Armacost added that the council has been unable to hold an annual retreat because of the pandemic, which has prevented them from meeting in person.
Armacost expressed an interest in “developing that trust (between constituents and council members) and looking at those concerns of council ethics.” He also encouraged councilors to review parliamentary procedures.
Janisse said he’d look to discuss the topic later when Deputy Mayor Tom Ferrell, who has absent Monday, was in attendance.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].