Kathleen Hernandez, l., was presented a Blaine Builder’s award by mayor Bonnie Onyon at the Blaine City Council meeting on July 25. Onyon cited Hernandez’s many years of volunteer work on behalf of the city and its residents and quoted Hernandez as having declared that she is a “professional volunteer.” Photo by Pat Grubb
Just before the gavel hit the desk to adjourn Monday night’s Blaine city council meeting, council member Scott Dodd announced his resignation – effective immediately.
Dodd cited two reasons for his decision: He would be moving from Blaine to Birch Bay, and he wanted his successor to have time to come up to speed.
Dodd first ran unopposed in November 2007, receiving 551 votes. He was sworn in the following January along with fellow council member Harry Robinson. A longtime Blaine resident, Dodd’s father was a mayor of Blaine and a city council member.
Dodd suggested Blaine planning commissioner Dennis Olason as his replacement, to what appeared to be general consensus among council members and staff.
City clerk Sheri Sanchez said an appointment could be made as early as the next council meeting and that there was no requirement that the vacancy be posted or advertised. If Olason does step up, he would be required to vacate his planning commission position immediately.
Olason moved to Blaine in 1948 at the age of 12 from Hensel, North Dakota. He taught high school biology for nearly 30 years in the Renton school district until he and his wife decided to retire to Blaine in 1990. A longtime observer of Blaine political life, Olason was appointed to the planning commission in January 2009 after his second application to the board.
At the time, current council member Paul Greenough said he voted for Olason’s planning appointment because of his regular attendance at council and planning commission meetings over the past few years in addition to his personal attributes.
“I think he’s an honest man who has courage of his convictions, and I think he will have no reluctance to express them,” Greenough said.
Olason’s planning commission appointment was approved in a 5-2 vote, with Dodd and Jason Overstreet voting against.
In other news, city council voted to accept the donation of an electric car charging station from Bob McFarland, the owner of a Tesla electric car. According to staff, the station could be placed on Peace Portal Drive at the G Street plaza. The staff have not determined how or if drivers of electric vehicles would pay for the charging.
The charging station is a Type 2 system, which typically takes an hour or so to charge a vehicle. Type 3 systems can take much longer, while the still-to-be-introduced Type 1 systems will be able to charge a vehicle in five minutes or so.
Public works director Steve Banham told council that staff was looking at pairing a parking meter with the system that would correspond to the charging costs but hadn’t decided on a final approach.
“How much would it cost to charge a car?” council member Paul Greenough asked, suggesting it might be worthwhile to forgo the revenue.
“If it cost [the city] 10 cents to charge the car and they have to wait around for two hours downtown, it would benefit the city,” Greenough said.
Council voted 6-0 in favor with council member John Liebert abstaining.
“I think it’s stupid,” Liebert explained.