Open Letter from Mayor Penny Sweet to Our Community
Published on April 11, 2022
Communications Program Coordinator
KIRKLAND, Wash. – The City received service of the lawsuit regarding King County’s purchase of La Quinta Inn for permanent supportive housing filed by the Keep Kids Safe organization on Monday, April 4, 2022.
Upon review, the complaint is without merit. The allegations against the City that the Kirkland City Council did anything illegal or in secret are simply false. No violations of the Open Public Meetings Act occurred by any Kirkland City Councilmember.
We are confident that the court will dismiss these speculative, unfounded claims against the City.
The Council prides itself on being an open, transparent, and accountable government. We have received recognition for being so from both the State Auditor’s Office and the Washington Coalition for Open Government.
We are disappointed that the plaintiffs in this case, by asserting without evidence that the City violated the Open Public Meetings Act, seem willing to jeopardize the confidence that Kirkland’s residents and businesses have in their City and its government. At the same time, however, we want to make it clear we hear and understand the concerns members of our community have expressed about this proposed use.
Anyone interested in the facts and circumstances of King County’s decision to purchase the La Quinta Inn and the City’s role related to permanent supportive housing in Kirkland is encouraged to visit the City’s comprehensive informational Health Through Housing webpage, which outlines in detail each stage of that process.
The Council remains committed to the County’s purchase of La Quinta with the public outreach and proper agreement terms and conditions outlined in Resolution R-5522, adopted by the Council on March 1, 2022. Resolution R-5522 and the terms and conditions were created in response to the numerous public comments the City has received through virtual stakeholder meetings, emails, phone calls, and testimony at City Council meetings. Additionally, City staff have sent email notifications to thousands of email subscribers and have responded to hundreds of direct inquiries from community members.
Both the Council and City staff, at our direction, have been transparent in this process and will continue to be. The Council remains committed to helping ensure that Kirkland’s efforts to support the provision of housing for individuals experiencing homelessness occurs on a basis that helps address this urgent societal challenge while also protecting the public health, safety, and welfare of our community, including particularly our children.
As we have stated from the outset, we will conduct additional, robust public outreach to help ensure that community concerns are addressed in the agreements between the City and the County referenced in Resolution R-5522. This effort will continue at our City Council town hall in early May and in subsequent months. We encourage community participation in this effort.
Mayor Penny Sweet