Sunnyside City Council hears from residents about working together

Sunnyside City Council members this past Monday night heard from some concerned citizens about what they perceive as public scrutiny of one another.

Sunnyside resident Gerrardo Ruelas said he has seen some very positive things happening in the community. Ruelas also said the Council has taken a number of steps geared towards bettering the community. But, he said the bickering that has been taking place on the Council over certain matters has put a very unprofessional light on its members. Ruelas encouraged the Council to find ways to work together to address issues and solve problems.

Another local resident echoed Ruelas' comments.

"I do not feel comfortable seeing some of the attacks," said Sunnyside resident Maria Partida.

Partida said she doesn't enjoy reading about the bickering on the Council in the newspaper. Partida expressed to the Council that it should work with one another, instead of against each other.

Another Sunnyside resident, Juan Aguilar, switched the tone of the discussion to a resolution of censorship Councilman Don Vlieger is scheduled to bring before Council at the Jan. 19 meeting.

Vlieger was not in attendance at this past Monday's meeting.

Vlieger is proposing to implement an ordinance, that if adopted, would publicly censure a Council member who is delinquent in bills to the city or Yakima County.

"I haven't ran across anyone in our community who hasn't seen this as mean spirited," said Aguilar.

Aguilar turned his attention to newly elected Councilmen James Restucci and Alex de la Cruz and urged them to help provide leadership in addressing the proposal by Vlieger.

He urged Council to get past its "pettiness" and work on activities bettering the community.

"We do rely on you," said Aguilar.

One local citizen who regularly attends the meetings views things differently, though.

Sunnyside resident Don Outhet told the Council he doesn't attend the meetings to see all seven members agree with one another.

"I've seen that too much in the past," said Outhet.

Outhet said he would rather see a council member stand on individual merits than agree for the sake of agreeing.

Outhet said he encourages people to come to the meetings because what they read in the newspaper doesn't give the full value of what happens in the Council chambers.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at


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