Write Councilmembers


The following argues for writing each Pullman City Council Member now and continuing. This allows all of us to “be on the public record” without all of us needing to go to zoning hearings. There are thousands of us. Of course, we could go to the hearings, but consider what follows:

Some people believe that constituents cannot write to Pullman council members during this rezoning decision process, but this is not true. What is true is that councilmembers cannot interact directly about the pros and cons of the issue with citizens, or they will be recused from voting. This has led to some confusion. Writing letters and emails to the council is fine. After all, the right of informed citizens to speak up to our elected officials is a cornerstone of our democracy. Councilmembers must put the emails and letters they receive into the public record to comply with Washington state law.

WA state law “Appearance of Fairness Doctrine” essentially puts council members in quasi-judicial roles, in “Quasi-Judicial Proceedings” in certain situations such as rezoning. In court cases, judges must avoid input that doesn’t come from official processes (such violations are called Ex Parte Communications). Similarly, local decision-makers must also avoid interactions outside what can be placed into the official record, in order to avoid bias or the appearance of bias.

In the WA-specific “Mayor and Councilmember Handbook,” Appendix 7, “Sample procedures: Appearance of fairness and quasijudicial hearing,” appearances of conflict of interest involve interactions with business associates, family members, nearby property ownership, ex parte communications, and the like.[1] Ex parte communication does not include written arguments from constituents, as they will be put into the public record.

The Handbook endorses writing comments to council members in Appendix 8 “Public participation: Tips for talking with the council.” It provides great suggestions for providing good public input, and encourages written input in addition to hearings.[2]

Why not flood ALL the council members with written input? Send our opposition to every member, at each step of the process – essentially a citizen letter-writing campaign. Talking points are available to use in emails. Email addresses are listed below.


[1] “Mayor & Councilmember Handbook,” Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), Report No. 44 Revised October 2021, "Appendix 7: Sample procedures: Appearance of fairness and quasijudicial hearing", p 83-84, https://mrsc.org/getmedia/034f13b6-7ec2-4594-b60b-efaf61dd7d10/Mayor-And-Councilmember-Handbook.pdf.aspx?ext=.pdf . Who is MRSC? “For more than 80 years, local governments have turned to MRSC for independent and reliable guidance on every topic imaginable.”

[2] “Mayor & Councilmember Handbook,” "Appendix 8: Public participation: Tips for talking with the council," p 85.



1st Stage, Environmental Review - RJ Lott: RJ.Lott @ pullman-wa.gov  

2nd Stage, Planning Review

3rd Stage, City Council vote

At each stage of the process, email opposition to the Mayor, the City Administrator, and ALL Councilmembers:

Mayor Glenn Johnson: Glenn.johnson @ pullman-wa.gov

City Administrator Mike Urban: Mike.urban @ pullman-wa.gov


Francis Benjamin: Francis.benjamin @ pullman-wa.gov

Becky Dueben: Becky.dueben @ pullman-wa.gov

Megan Guido: Megan.guido @ pullman-wa.gov

Eileen Macoll: Eileen.macoll @ pullman-wa.gov

Ann Parks: Ann.parks @ pullman-wa.gov

Nathan Weller: Nathan.weller @ pullman-wa.gov

Pat Wright: Pat.wright @ pullman-wa.gov 



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