Yakima Council Committee Recommends Kenton Gartrell for Planning Commission Seat | Local
A group of Yakima City Council members recommended former school board candidate Kenton Gartrell for a vacant position on the city’s planning commission.
The board’s nominating committee, made up of board members Matt Brown, Patricia Byers and Holly Cousens, voted unanimously to recommend Gartrell for the position after interviewing him and another candidate, Wyatt Marchand, on 17 February, according to the documents provided in the agenda. package for Tuesday’s meeting.
Gartrell is a former candidate for public office. He ran for a position on the Yakima School Board in 2021 and a position on the Yakima City Council in 2019, but lost both races.
In the 2019 election, Gartrell knocked people down during a bar showdown with a supporter of his then-opponent.
After the 2019 election, Gartrell launched harsh attacks on his Facebook page accusing local politicians of “racial bigotry, name-calling, producing a fake voter guide, hateful rhetoric and political terrorism.” He was temporarily suspended from refereeing duties by Washington Youth Soccer for making inappropriate comments to a female referee in 2015.
In 2021, the Yakima School District issued a warning to Gartrell after an incident with Nob Hill Elementary School staff about masks on the first day of school and warned him that behavior similar to the future could result in a trespassing order prohibiting it. of all school district properties.
Gartrell has been active in local political groups and supported a neighborhood mural project done by children.
Marchand is a senior data analyst for the Yakima Training Center. He graduated in geography from Central Washington University.
Brown declined to answer questions about his recommendation, but he said in an email that the two candidates asked the same questions in interviews that lasted 30 minutes each.
Details of the interviews and a summary of the nominating committee’s discussions were not included in the meeting minutes, but the Yakima Herald Republic obtained the interview questions from a public recording request. . Candidates were asked about their interest in the council, their vision for the city, their time commitment and experience related to land use planning, as well as their ability to serve fairly and impartially in public hearings, according to the document.
Cousens said in an email that the nominating committee interviews candidates when there is no clear choice for a recommendation or if the committee does not agree on who should be recommended. Both candidates were asked the exact same questions to keep the process fair, she said.
“Between the two candidates, Kenton was the better interviewer, and his name will then be sent to the full board,” Cousens said. “That doesn’t mean we will nominate him because we still have a lot of options, and the full board will discuss and vote.”
She said the board could still appoint Gartrell or Marchand or restart the process with new nominees.
“In that case, I’m leaning toward reopening applications and restarting the process,” Cousens said.
Gartrell, reached by email, declined to comment. Byers was unavailable for comment.
The nominating committee’s recommendation will be considered by the full board at Tuesday’s meeting. New members must be nominated by the mayor and confirmed by council, according to the city’s website.
The planning commission is a citizen’s council that gives recommendations to the city and council on matters relating to long-range planning, growth and development, zoning ordinances, and land use issues. The seven members of the commission must be Yakima residents or owners of a business or property in Yakima, the website said.
Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting:
• The board will consider a resolution to update the board’s rules of procedure to include meeting voter-approved attendance requirements in the 2021 general election and changing the time allotted for each public comment to 2 minutes and half.
• The Engineering Division will update council on capital improvement projects including North First Street, Nelson Dam and projects planned for 2022.
• Yakima Valley Tourism will provide its annual report.
Community members can comment on agenda items during the public comment portion of the meeting. Sign up to receive public comments by visiting www.yakimawa.gov/council/public-comment and completing the Request for Comments form. People can also email [email protected] or call 509-575-6060.
The meeting will be in a hybrid format. Anyone present in person must wear a face covering over their mouth and nose at all times. Masks are available at the entrance of the town hall. The meeting will also be broadcast live on Y-PAC, the city’s website and Spectrum Channel 194.
This article has been updated to correct the title of Wyatt Marchand. He is a senior data analyst for the Yakima Training Center.