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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
All letters must be signed by the author and include a phone number and address for verification. The Snohomish County Tribune will edit all letters for brevity, clarity and style.
Letters must be 250 words or less.

Authors may be published once every four issues.

Letters policy
The Tribune provides a general forum for pertinent local public comment, but the viewpoints published in letters to the editor do not carry any implied endorsement or fact verifications by the
Tribune.
Send us a letter: letters@snoho.com


Letters to the Editor published in the July 19 Tribune:

Snohomish High Reuinion
Flying in from Turkey

To the Editor:
I would like to inform the community that after 50 years I will be in Snohomish on July 22 for the 50th Class Reunion for Snohomish High School.
I was an exchange student from Turkey during the 1966-1967 school year.
I will be in Seattle on July 17th, and though I am not quite sure on the date when I will be in Snohomish, it is certain that I will be present for the class reunion on July 22nd.
I would like to express my gratitude to the people of this lovely little town, who have done their bestå to make me feel happy and comfortable during my stay.

Cegniz Karagöz
Istanbul, Turkey

Harvey Field
A novel idea to put runway elsewhere

To the Editor:
Regarding Harvey Field runway realignment (June 21st Tribune): Currently, the runway at Harvey Airfield runs north and south along Airport Way, with highly populated areas at both ends. Airport consultant J-viation has recommended relocating a large portion of Airport Way and eventually placing hangars and warehouses near the east side of state Route 9.  Their reason is to improve pilot convenience, reduce pilot errors, and get away from the congestion caused from all the activities along the west side of Airport Way; for example, storage of boats, RV’s, and motor homes; apartments, espresso stand, and a busy restaurant and bar.
Instead of county and federal taxpayers spending tens of millions of dollars to reroute Airport Way southward with serious environmental issues and impacts, why not the FAA and County simply purchase basically undeveloped agricultural land for a new runway just west of SR 9 and between Marsh Road and the Lowell-Snohomish River Road and lease it to the private, for-profit Harvey Airfield to operate?  This new runway would run parallel to state Route 9 or at a NW to SE tilt.
I understand the FEMA and county development regulations are less stringent or restrictive there than the current major floodway density fringe designations at Harvey Field and the farmland south of Airport Way.
The end result of this suggestion would cost county and federal taxpayers much less and at the same time provide greater benefits to General Aviation, the environment, and the residents than what J-viation is proposing.

Morgan Davis
Snohomish

Thrift stores
Prices are not too high

To the Editor:
In response to past letters in the Tribune: It appears some eBay sellers feel it’s the responsibility of a thrift shop to price their items “cheap enough” so they can resell an item on eBay at a higher price. It’s not the responsibility of any shop to price their items “cheap enough” to let others make a profit through resale. Check out Value Village or Goodwill — these, too, are considered “benefit” resale thrift stores.
Fabulously Frugal’s prices are always lower than anything I’ve ever found in the other stores.
Each store benefits people and the local communities. They all have bills, payroll, volunteers, training, rent, they all recycle. Fabulously Frugal gets a ton of stuff that needs to be sifted through. It’s no small effort.
In real world business, it’s whatever the market will allow. I’ve spent years comparing prices also. I found a crystal bowl in a shop on First Street for $35. I found the same bowl at Fabulously Frugal three months later for $15. What? Price too high??
I donate a lot to this shop. I want the shop to benefit from the donation. I want the senior center programs to flourish and expand through the sales from the shop.

Becky Alke
Snohomish


Fire District 4 levy
Consider what the department does

To the Editor:
People have said that they typically do not see many government officials until election season when they want more tax money from the public. I try to be out in the public and accessible all year round but not all of my messages are related to tax issues so I do understand the perception.
As a public servant, I think one of my most important job duties is doing everything I can to assure that our services are always readily available to the public when they find themselves in need of calling 911. Of late this is difficult as we seem to find the need is even greater and folks depend on us to respond without delay.
Many people are not aware that if they receive service from a Fire District, the majority of that service is funded from property taxes, up to 90 percent or more. In many cases the failure of a tax levy proposition truly affects the way a Fire District is able to deliver emergency services to an area.
I would ask you as a voter to look at all of the issues in your community and become as informed as possible. I encourage you to call the agency responsible for any issue and ask questions, but above all, make sure your voice is heard. If you want to voice a stronger opinion, attend a meeting and meet the elected officials.
We exist to serve your emergency needs and are proud to do so.

Ron Simmons
Fire Chief, Fire District 4
Snohomish

Snohomish Mayoral Race
Burke is the level-headed candidate

To the Editor:
I will be voting for Councilman Derrick Burke as Snohomish’s new strong mayor for these reasons:
1. He is the only councilmember who spoke out against no-bid contracts, against the Economic Development position, and spending millions of city real estate and utility funds at 105 Cedar Avenue for a new so-called “Carnegie Educational Center” when the owner of an average home will be paying an extra $330 next year in real estate taxes for the school district (Source: July 6 Seattle Times).
2. Of the two council member candidates for mayor, he was the only one who supported lifting the ban on legal medical and retail cannabis in the city.
3. He has seven years of council experience, working with staff and the department heads. As executive strong mayor, this institutional knowledge gives him a short learning curve and the edge in running the city compared to the other candidates.
4. Unlike two of the other three politically “hyper-partisan” candidates, Burke is an independent thinker with an even temperament and the “broad shoulders” to accept and even embrace criticism of city government.
Vote Derrick Burke for a new beginning in Snohomish city government.

Evangeline Loranc
Snohomish

Snohomish Mayoral Race
Kartak will uphold traditions

To the Editor:
The upcoming mayoral race in Snohomish offers new and effective, local leadership. The success of Proposition 2, and the failure of the MPD initiative (raising already high property taxes) was a clear indication the existing administration is out of step with the people of Snohomish.
Councilwoman Karen Guzak was a feel-good appointee on council which didn’t pan out for many reasons including numerous ill-advised spending initiatives. The champion of the people, John Kartak, is a local man whose ambition is to reinvigorate citizens in a collective effort to maintain the city’s charm. He promises to keep our city from becoming another densely-packed, strip mall town, by supporting local businesses and inviting citizen involvement. John is not a tax-and-spend bureaucrat, but rather a hands-on advocate, with applicable skills who will utilize our assets prudently, contain the cost of governing, improve transparency, and thwart aggressive expansion. John will be a full-time, strong mayor, dedicated to the job 24/7. I’m an independent who caucuses democratic.

David Shedivy
Snohomish

Global education
Tell Congress to continue support

To the Editor:
Congratulations to Staci Tuck for making “the learning process more fun.”  (“Learning English with enthusiastic pen pals,” June 28 Tribune). This is the way learning works best, when there is fun.  For over 200 million children in our world, there is no school, fun or not.  But there is hope: the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is working to give all children a chance to go to school.  By working with countries to create education plans and giving them a hand up on funding these programs, hope is created. Our donation to the GPE is important. Write to your local congresspeople. Millions of children will be grateful for the hope it creates.

Willie Dickerson
Snohomish

Letters to the Editor published in the July 12 Tribune:

Snohomish Mayoral Candidates
We deserve better candidates than this

To the Editor:
Regarding the June 28 Tribune story on the mayoral candidates’ “ideas”: What ideas? A pot shop! Are you silent investors? Two incumbents with nothing new, two outsiders with nothing to offer as I read nothing but canned responses.  When I read words like “non-partisan” all that tells me is nothing but partisan.  What we have is the old guard running to protect the old guard. What Snohomish needs is not a pot shop, no, Snohomish needs leadership that is not a Democrat or a Republican shill. Leadership, which promotes small business and will keep Snohomish as a place to visit and do business.  It needs leadership that will include all citizens that live inside and outside our city with an equal voice. 
I believe the majority of Americans are growing tired of the same tired political, party and or personal agendas.
If the proposal of a pot shop is the biggest thing you all consider important to Snohomish than none of you are worthy of the job. There are more pressing issues in Snohomish such as homelessness, drugs, taxes and safety on First Street.  Snohomish does not need a government controlled by a small handful of citizens; it needs a government that does the work of all citizens.  If there was a write-in candidate I would toss my name in.

John Lorenz
Snohomish


Marijuana stores
Fight against pot shop is to preserve Snohomish

To the Editor:
Do we want to allow marijuana stores in Snohomish? The pro-pot side wants to label anyone against shops in town as “uninformed” or say we’re reacting out of “fear.” I could not possibly care any less about an adult smoking pot at home. That’s not what this is about. 
The person who’s secured a license to open a shop at 202 Ave. D expects council to rewrite our municipal code to allow a business that is against federal law. Council is willing to rezone and find a way to fit this type of “vice” business into Snohomish. Strip clubs, bikini barista stands, and casinos are all legal, too, but that doesn’t mean they work with the long-term vision of our citizens. People who have invested here and built their lives around volunteering in the schools, shopping in the local stores, and creating a life have a vote.
This isn’t an “anti-pot” movement, it’s a “preserve Snohomish” movement.

Susan Bjorling
Snohomish

Fireworks
Ban fireworks to help save wildlife

To the Editor:
The 2017 Fourth of July was extremely noisy and many birds with young still in the nest left and young are now starving and dying. People in and around the Snohomish were exploding fireworks everywhere — near the nests. Eagles that are the symbol of free America are some of the victims.
The environment is stressed — there is not so much fish left in the drying rivers and the diversity and food is diminished. Some animals have a magnitudes better hearing than man. Just imagine to be in the middle of this explosions. Be human — learn, understand, protect. No more fireworks in Snohomish County.

Jiri Janecek
Snohomish


Salmon preservation
A few dollars for screen blockers can save a lot of fish

To the Editor:
Hundreds of returning spawning salmon are lost each year in the Smokey Point area as they end up in roadside or shallow drainage ditches. The spawning fish follow a heavy rain or storm event when water is flowing in many of these small ditches. After several days without rain, the ditches are dry again and the fish become stranded and die.
I (Sno-Valley Farms) farm in the vicinity of Hayho Creek in north Marysville. About 15 years ago, it was late November and there had been heavy rainfall followed by a freeze and about six inches of snow. Chum salmon in Hayho creek entered a small drainage ditch that was through the middle of a hay field. What I saw when walking the field was very disturbing. The water may have been a foot deep when the fish entered the ditch but when the rains stopped and the weather turned cold, a sheet of ice formed on the water surface before the water disappeared and the fish swam up the ditch banks in the snow seeking water. I counted a couple of hundred dead chum lying in the field within 30 feet of the ditch.
This could have been prevented. Few realize that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife allows the installation of screens and barriers to restrict fish from roadside and small drainage ditches. A few thousand dollars invested in restricting fish from entering these shallow ditches will contribute more towards fish recovery than some of the multimillion-dollar fish enhancement projects.

Dan Bartelheimer
President, Snohomish County Farm Bureau
Snohomish



Letters to the Editor published in the July 5 Tribune:

Thrift stores
Manager: Greed slant unfair

To the Editor:
As the manager of Fabulously Frugal Thrift Store I feel compelled to respond to the comments Thomas Niemeyer made about thrift stores such as this important nonprofit organization in the June 21 Tribune.
Fabulously Frugal is owned and operated by the Snohomish Senior Center. Mr. Niemeyer may not be aware that all proceeds benefit the Senior Center and provide activities for the members.
During a time of diminishing financial support from local government and other organizations, the Senior Center is flourishing and has an amazing facility that is used not only by the seniors but by many others in the community through events such as breakfasts, bingo, bazaars, teas, and memorial services, to name a few.
While most of the proceeds from the thrift store go to support daily operations and the Senior Center, we have given back to the Snohomish community by donating to several churches and organizations.
Our thrift store also provides local students the opportunity to fulfill their community service hours, a requirement of graduation from high school. Additionally, our charges are fair and reasonable as we must cover rent, minimal labor costs and utility expenses. We survive by the goodwill of many seniors who work as volunteers.
I welcome Mr. Niemeyer to discuss our prices with me. He may not be aware that the third Saturday of every month we discount all items by 50 percent.
“Greedy” we are not, we are running a fair business, giving back to our community.

Shirley Mock
Manager, Fabulously Frugal Thrift Store
Snohomish


Randy Rush
Randy was one of the good guys

To the Editor:
We are saddened to hear about the passing of Randall Rush, “Randy” to us.
We met him about 10 years ago at the Snohomish Farmers Market where he would come by nearly every week to buy a big bag of large tomatoes. We would talk about cooking, food and what was going on down on First Street.
From time to time we would  stop in at the antique store and chat for a few moments.  He was a kind soul and one of the good guys that made Snohomish a cool place to be.  He will be greatly missed.

Neil and Dorothea Landaas
Snohomish

Gratitude
Seniors dinner helps remind us of kindness

To the Editor:
My husband and I attended a marvelous event at Snohomish High School. Senior citizens were invited by students of both high schools to a free and lovely dinner, with performances and art by students and staff at the school. We were met at the parking lot by student escorts. Our escort was an attractive student who writes her own music, so she, too, was thrilled when my husband Jerry serenaded her all the way to the dining hall.
More students greeted us for signing in and another attractive student took our picture; and what beautiful pictures they are!
After dinner, we viewed a gym full of art by students.What a magnificent display of talent!
Often, as we seniors grow old, we forget to smile and be grateful. That night I was reminded of how beautiful a field of smiles is, because every student face wore a smile. It was the most heart-waming and memorable experience of the night — the smiles, and their kindness.

Elaine and Jerry McClain
Snohomish



Letters to the Editor published in the June 28 Tribune:

Snohomish City Council
Criticisms can be helpful

To the Editor:
Our city, Snohomish, made the paper again, this time the Daily Herald front page. The story dealt with the “Critics” of our City Council and City Hall.
I understand the effect criticism has on people. When a person is judged, that person assumes a defensive position. Members of the council push back. But a lot of criticism has merit.
To all city staff and the City Council: People who make us uncomfortable, just may change the world to become better. Also... you don’t get paid for your opinions, you get paid to hear and represent our opinions.

Bruce Ferguson
Snohomish


"Soy sauce"
Quick decision not fair to teacher

To the Editor:
(Regarding Mike Coombs June 14 letter): Has ‘Student A’ been asked to refrain from his “Soy Sauce” skit because it is racist?  What were the motives of these young teenage girls?  What other incidents in that class may have occurred which may have prompted these girls to vindictively attack Mr. Coombs?  What would the girls’ text messages reveal?  Were the girls asked any of these questions by SHS Administration?  Do the parents of these minor girls even know these complaints were written?
False accusations against teachers by students can be very damaging.  False accusations can take down in one minute a solid reputation built on a lifetime.  It is not acceptable that my brother does not get to defend himself in a hearing.  What kind of incomplete investigation occurred? I hold SHS Administration accountable for this unjustified treatment of my brother, Mr. Coombs.
Being called a racist is a big deal.  And especially when it is completely unsubstantiated. Since when did “Soy Sauce” become a racist slur?  
SHS Admin, I challenge you to admit that you were wrong, acted too quickly, without merit and to take the proper steps and do the right thing. I believe that SHS Admin should give Mr. Coombs a formal apology and expunge these complaints from his record.  Bet the U.S. Supreme Court would agree as it did recently for the (band) the “Slants” in their 6-0 decision.

Mary Hendrickson
Snohomish


Snohomish Carnegie Building
Criticisms can be helpful

To the Editor:
(Regarding the June 14 Tribune Guest opinion by Melody Clemans):
Although her opinion is somewhat more informative than Warner Blake’s May 3 Guest Opinion and follow-up June 7 letter, I must say this whole Carnegie saga, starting in 2002, when city manager Larry Bauman arrived and became the “project manager” (see Feb. 2005 Carnegie Master Plan by BOLA Architects), to present day has been fraught with indecision, neglect, and delay.
The City-paid BOLA plan recommended the 1968 Annex be saved and its roof repaired. As late as March 21, 2017, deputy city manager Steve Schuller convinced the city council to spend an estimated $15,000 to repair the Annex’s leaky roof that was soaking into the roof’s under layer to extend the useful life of the Annex “another 20 years or so.”
In April the cost estimate to fix the roof jumped to about 50 to 60 thousand dollars, still a bargain for this valuable asset.
Compare this to the almost million dollars in city and federal taxpayer money to replace the Spanish style roof on the original 1910 building in 2013.
Even a completely new roof for the Annex surely won’t cost $400,000 that Ms. Clemans claimed was the cost estimate in 2008. By the way, why won’t the City get a new roofer’s cost estimate now to fix the leaky roof? Could it be because of favoritism and/or simply aesthetics that the City is determined to destroy the Annex and pour millions more of city taxpayer money into the 1910 building?

Judy Kirkland
Snohomish



Letters to the Editor published in the June 21 Tribune:

Snohomish City Council
Non-city residents still deserve a voice

To the Editor:
During the June 6 Snohomish City Council meeting and also in a recent front page article in the Herald, councilwomen Schilaty and Guzak complained that citizens who live outside the city limits do not have “standing” and are not “constituents” to help determine council policy.
How hypocritical!
For example, in 2014 and again last year supporters of councilwomen Schilaty and Guzak lined up speakers, including children, to keep the ban on legal medical and recreational Cannabis in the city. Eighty percent of the speakers lived outside Snohomish and a lot of those lived in or near Clearview. When a citizen pointed out 55 percent of the voters in the city approved I-502 in 2012 and that most of the council speakers were not city voters, Guzak replied “the greater Snohomish area community must be considered.”
Another concrete example showing the councilwomen’s hypocrisy:  Councilwoman Schilaty is the liaison to the city’s powerful Economic Development Committee and former Mayor Guzak appointed several members to the EDC committee who are not city resident voters, including Gordy Cole, Ray Cook, and Mary Pat Connors among others.  Gordy Cole also has served for decades on the city Planning Commission.
The council should embrace and welcome any citizen who wants to speak and contribute at council meetings. Isn’t that why the council spent $25,000 for an “open government”committee in 2016? 

Evangeline Loranc
Snohomish


Thrift stores
Quit being greedy

To the Editor:
For years I sold on eBay for fun. Over the past decade and a half, my passion for selling eventually turned into “expertise.”
Having just recently moved my small enterprise to Snohomish, I have a lot to learn about this great place that many call home; one thing that I realized right away however, is the sense of true ‘community’ which seems to fill every nook and cranny of this town, contributing greatly to its rustic charm.
For me, a vital component of any location is a local community ‘thrift store’; it is my supply chain and main source of goods which I turn into profit, but which in turn I give back in the form of buying from local businesses.
At a thrift store, goods must be priced reasonably enough for people like me who need them in order to improve our lives. Wait a minute! There’s a problem with this one.
Three community thrift stores suddenly started pricing items way above ‘thrift store’ values. For instance, a Tonka toy truck, still covered in dried mud and leaves, is being sold for $20. A set of hand-made lawn furniture are selling at $60 for each piece. For items that were obtained at a total cost of zero, that’s a hefty markup. These are eBay prices.
Enough is enough, thrift store owners. Thrift stores are provided abundant tax privileges and perks to allow your place as a service to the community. Please shake the greed bug.

Thomas Niemeyer
Snohomish



Letters to the Editor published in the June 14 Tribune:

Snohomish School District
False accusations on teacher given too much power

To the Editor:
These “Salem Witch Hunts” need to stop.  Unidentifiable kids making false accusations against teachers. Teachers deserve to face their accusers. 
I have been falsely accused of using a racial slur while substitute teaching at SHS. Due to these false accusations, coupled with a one-sided investigation, the principal at SHS removed my subbing privileges and cancelled a dozen scheduled sub jobs.
  I have known “Student A” for 4 years.  He does an extremely popular and hilarious skit about “soy sauce.”  Immensely popular with his classmates.  Through the years,  my addressment to him has evolved to  “soy sauce.”  I have a great relationship with Student A.  He is a terrific young man.  I call him “soy sauce” solely from his skit.  It has nothing to do with his race.
When conviction occurs for what two students think in their minds (in this case two 9th grade girls), this is dangerous territory. Too much leverage was given to the anonymous accusers. One should have proof. And if proof is what someone believes in their minds, then our culture and society, as a whole, are in for some big trouble. 
Student A (and his mother) have no complaint against me.  I would think this would be enough to exonerate my actions.  Not so, says SHS Administration.
Political Correctness has reached critical mass.  Pretty soon teachers will not be able to speak at all, for it would “offend” someone.  Let’s be reasonable.  Let teachers bless kids.  And not have (anonymous) 9th graders dictate how it is best to bless.  Who is running the Zoo?

Mike Coombs
Snohomish

Snohomish Carnegie Building
Attacks in letter unwarranted

To the Editor:
Regarding Warner Blake’s June 7 letter “Call to keep annex building is too late”: I am deeply disappointed that Mr. Blake has to resort to ad hominem, personal swipes against me, instead of sticking to the facts.
Even at the June 6 Snohomish City Council meeting, while I was exercising my First Amendment rights speaking to the council, Mr. Blake couldn’t contain himself and heckled me, knowing the mayor would not say one word of admonishment to him.
Here are the facts concerning the Carnegie annex:
1.  His “public discussion” resulting in “overwhelming consensus in 2002” that the annex be destroyed is not set in concrete as he claims or even factually correct. See the Feb. 2005 Carnegie Master plan, which is available at City Hall. The BOLA Plan recommended saving the annex and repairing its roof.
2.  A search of city records revealed no council documents showing any lease to the Snohomish Carnegie Foundation or even the existence of a partnership agreement.
3.  The 2011 council did approve a master plan but it required the Carnegie Foundation to raise the necessary $3.3 million from private donors, not from city taxpayers.
4.  Mr. Blake conveniently fails to mention the exact amount of cash the foundation has raised from private donors, 2005 to present date.
In summary, Mr. Blake’s latest scheme of “switchback” wheelchair ramps is just another boondoggle that the city taxpayers will end up footing the bill for if he and his longtime partner, City Councilwoman Karen Guzak, get their way.

Bill Betten
Snohomish

Marijuana
Support freedom— let pot shops open

To the Editor:
People opposed to pot shops in Snohomish claim to want to protect SHS kids from harm. Don’t believe them, if they support football. About 1 out of 100,000 high school football players die on the field every year. Far more are permanently damaged. I only bring it up because there seems to be a heavy correlation between high school football enthusiasts and belief in reefer madness.
Meanwhile, a non-jock kid with a 4.0 who gets caught with pot loses everything. (Pot shop opponents like this idea!) Felony convictions for pot have harmed far more than even lifetimes of heavy pot use ever will.
But it’s always someone else’s kid, isn’t it?
As long as we create a black market for drugs, there will be someone willing to profit from the risk. Legal pot takes a revenue stream away from the guys who will also sell these same high school kids opioids.
I live between the proposed shop and SHS. I don’t smoke pot or watch football. The location is at a busy intersection that discourages foot
traffic because of the all the cars. It’s not a people friendly corner where
anyone is inclined to loiter. We’ve been living with an empty store front for at least two years.
I want our town to be an example of a free America, where people can buy pot and watch or play football, even though football is far more dangerous. Be a real American, support legal pot shops in Snohomish!

Chistopher Bingham
Snohomish


Letters to the Editor published in the June 7 Tribune:

Snohomish Carnegie Building
Call to keep annex building is too late

To the Editor:
My introduction to Bill Betten’s active mind was when he wanted to take the Kikendall Log Cabin from the Snohomish Historical Society while I was its president in 2008.
Now he writes: “Making a case for the Carnegie annex.” (guest opinion, May 24 Tribune)  “He-the-people” is years late and a sandwich short to our imaginary picnic on the Carnegie Green.
The public discussion of what to do with the Carnegie property began in 2002 and the overwhelming consensus then, as it has been straight through to this date, was to remove the 1968 addition, restore the historic facade of the 1910 structure and create a park on the south lawn. This plan was made formal with a final set of drawings approved by the City Council in 2011 (the plans are available on the city’s website.)
My proposal of ramps that meet ADA criteria is mistakenly referred to as a “scissor jack” in Betten’s commentary.  A scissor jack is a tool “for heavy lifting, operated by a horizontal screw.”
My friend Jason, sent to a wheelchair by a random shooting, confirmed for me that ramps work. What doesn’t work as well, Jason​ said, is being directed around back to use the elevator — which is the current plan in the Carnegie
renovation.

Warner Blake
Snohomish




Letters to the Editor published in the May 31 Tribune:

National Health Care
Time to speak up

To the Editor:
Time to speak up for millions that will lose their health care if the bill that just passed the House becomes law.  Fortunately, it is currently being rewritten in the Senate. This gives us a chance to weigh in with our senators.  Both Senators Murray and Cantwell champion affordable health care for all Americans.  They still need to hear our stories about how important affordable health care is to each of us and what will happen if this bill is not changed.  Currently, nearly half of Washington’s children are covered by Medicaid and they stand to lose this coverage if the House version is passed.  The results of a 12-year study by the Congressional Management Foundation show that it is the voices of constituents that have the most influence over their elected representatives’ decisions.  So call, write, or visit our senators and ask them to make sure ALL Americans receive affordable health care.

Willie Dickerson
Snohomish


No letters published in the May 24 Tribune

Letters to the Editor published in the May 17 Tribune:

Bob Heirman
He inspired us all

To the Editor:
Melanie Russell had an excellent article on Bob Heirman (May 3 Tribune), an extraordinary man who inspired all of us to do our best.

Ann Bjorneby
Everett


Urban planning
Progress shouldn’t hit pocketbook

To the Editor:
In response to Kari Zimmerman’s letter in your May 10th edition:
I guess I am “one of those people fighting tooth and nail” against our Snohomish city government when it comes to unnecessary tax hikes and wasteful spending. I guess I am “one of those folks that scream the loudest to squash any effort to increase the source of (city) revenue.” See my letter to the Tribune printed April 19th, “Property tax cap - Koster bill (HB1764) risks too-high tax hikes.”
For the record, in 2011, I supported the Transportation Benefit District sales tax increase of 0.2 percent to build the roundabout at 15th and Avenue D and opposed councilwoman Lynn Schilaty’s attempt to raise city property taxes without a vote of the citizens to keep Police Chief John Turner employed. 
In 2015, I strongly opposed city manager Larry Bauman’s and council’s idea of creating an Metropolitan Parks District to almost double city property tax revenue. It isn’t “strange” that well over two out of three city voters weren’t  bamboozled by the council and rejected the MPD.
Citizens should be aware of City Hall’s looming boondoggles, including wanting to spend millions at the Hal Moe Pool site and at the Carnegie properties at First and Cedar. 
The wants, wishes and desires of this current city government are insatiable.
If Ms. Zimmerman would like to increase city revenue and help local businesses at the same time, she should support the movement to require the City’s management team to live in Snohomish, not King County. 

Evangeline Loranc
Snohomish


Carnegie library
Turn it into a city archive library

To the Editor:
Thanks to new state legislation, the deed restrictions placed on the Carnegie property by its donor cannot be changed without a public hearing. 
The library property is limited to use as a free public library. That means No theater, No rental space, No admission charges, No removal of deed restrictions.
Government transparency is a problem in Snohomish, it is a problem that needs a solution. A public access Transparency Library would be a solution for Snohomish, about Snohomish.
The City Clerk is the librarian for all city documents, by-laws, permits, budget, contracts and archives. The Clerk’s office records and maintains the documents covered in the transparency component of open government.
The clerk’s office and archive could be relocated to the new Snohomish Transparency Library. This move would make records more easily available to the public. It would open up space at City Hall, hopefully delaying the need for rebuilding, moving or remodeling our historic City Hall. 
Remaining space could display our visual, written and oral history. This would create an educational library for schools, residents and visitors.
Transparency and open access to city documents, plans and actions is our right. 
The generous gift of the property is someone’s legacy, given with the sole intent of use for a public library. We owe it to the donor to honor this intent.

Colleen Dunlap
Snohomish



Letters to the Editor published in the May 10 Tribune:


Urban planning
History can be preserved with planning

To the Editor:
It’s strange that there are many people in Snohomish that are fighting tooth and nail against any kind of improvements that will keep our city a desirable place to live and raise families. It seems they are completely lacking understanding of the need to maintain city-owned property as well as support local businesses.
If 43 percent of the city budget comes from sales taxes and another large portion from utility taxes, it stands to reason that we need to encourage people to live and open businesses here. Much is made of the desire to maintain buildings and parks that are owned by the city, but the folks that scream the loudest want to do everything they can to squash any effort to increase the source of revenue to do so. It is absolute nonsense.
I personally am completely onboard with the idea that Snohomish preserve its place as a unique, historical small town. However, that cannot be accomplished by throwing a tantrum to fight every bit of growth. Growth is a part of life and it does not come without some change. The past can certainly be honored but only as part of a solid, thoughtful plan for the future.

Kari Zimmerman
Snohomish


Deed restrictions
H.B. 1959 is enforceable

To the Editor:
After a request from citizens interested in restoring all the deed restrictions at the historic Averill Field site, Snohomish Mayor Tom Hamilton discussed the request with his fellow councilmembers under New Business during the May 2nd meeting.
Councilwomen Guzak and Schilaty seemed to think a zoning change to “Parks” would trump the necessity for restoring the deed restrictions that were removed without a public due process hearing or even any kind of transparency for the citizens (now required by state Rep. Mark Harmsworth’s House Bill 1959 law).
Here’s a recent concrete example where zoning doesn’t trump deed restrictions:
The Stocker family granted the city 20 acres of floodplain, agricultural land for $500,000 with three deed restrictions:
1.  The city can’t prevent the Stockers from running their cattle and farm equipment across the land.
2.  Unless the city pays an extra $10,000, the Stockers will approve the name for the boat launch and/or park.
3.  The city can’t prevent the Stockers from using the acreage for overflow vehicle parking during soccer tournaments occurring across the road at Stocker Soccer.
So if the city rezones the land “Parks,” does that override the need for deed restrictions?  Of course not.
The logical conclusion is for the city to simply first restore all the deed restrictions removed at Averill Field and then ask the public via Harmsworth’s law if they want to remove the restored deed restrictions, giving the public the city’s compelling need and justifications.
That is being open, transparent, and ethical.

Judy Kirkland
Snohomish


Deed restrictions
Thank you Rep. Harmsworth

To the Editor:
Many thanks to Representative Mark Harmsworth for spearheading legislation that promotes transparency by requiring municipalities to hold a hearing prior to the removal of protective covenants on public properties. This new law is a direct result of the Snohomish City Council’s mismanagement of the 2015 cell tower fiasco. 

Carey Clay
Snohomish


No Letters to the Editor published in the May 3 Tribune


Letters to the Editor published in the April 26 Tribune:

Future mayor's salary
Making wage low is sabotage

To the Editor:
According to an article in the local daily newspaper, the elected strong mayor will be paid $18,000 per year.  Yet, in an email the same day from the supervisor in the Elections Dept. in the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office, she reported the City informed her to set the elected mayor’s salary at $8700.  The candidate’s filing fee is 1 percent of the salary or $87.
The article reported city councilwomen Schilaty and Guzak were the most vocal councilmembers wanting a lowly paid, part-time mayor.
They feel Snohomish doesn’t have a talent pool to produce a full-time professional to run the city with 50 employees.  They also cite the requirement of the 2018 city budget due by Nov. 30th for setting the mayor’s salary now.  (Curiously, they didn’t mention the same budgetary requirement for setting the salary of the recently created City Administrator position that most certainly will be needed to complement the lowly paid, part-time mayor position.)
Fortunately, the 2018 city council can undo the sabotage inflicted by this council and give the elected mayor a full-time, commensurate salary.

Morgan Davis
Snohomish

Tuberculosis
TB patients need stigma reduced

To the Editor:
The news bite stating “County TB load is 23” (April 12 Tribune) caught my attention.  Behind these numbers are 23 people who likely need family and community support to help them through their treatment process. TB Photovoice.org, a Snohomish based organization, works locally, nationally and globally to connect and support persons impacted by TB.  Too often this disease makes people feel isolated, stigmatized and the side effects of the treatment can be a challenge to endure.  Yet, there are common themes expressed by people with TB. They want the community to be educated about TB so there is less fear and more compassion.  They want family, friends, and the medical community to support them as a person first not a patient.  If you know of someone with TB, educate yourself and let them know that there are people who have walked in their shoes that are here to help. 

Teresa Rugg
Director, TB Photovoice
Snohomish


Letters to the Editor published in the April 19 Tribune:


Ductless heat pumps
Suggested improvement didn't save on power bill

To the Editor:
This letter is for others like me who tend to purchase costly items without doing adequate research.
I have a small three-bedroom, one-bath house approximately 1,000 square feet built in 1971. The attic and crawlspace were insulated in the early 1980s. I had new electric baseboard heaters installed in 2010, plus two room air conditioners ($350 each).
I did not skimp. I kept my house comfortable; I had no complaints with my electrical charges but had heard how wonderful ductless heat pumps were, so in May 2015, I had one installed.
Yes, it is nice but no more so than my previous heating and cooling, and not much more economical to use. If I have the unit serviced yearly as recommended, I might save $100 a year in electrical heating costs. Also, you have a fan blowing constantly when in use. With my previous system a fan was only on during cooling.
I write this hoping to save someone from the same mistake I made. I guess the old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” fits well here.

Joan Keller
Snohomish


Property tax cap
Koster bill risks too-high tax hikes

To the Editor:
Republican State Rep. John Koster has co-sponsored House Bill 1764, which would increase the limit local governments can annually raise property taxes without voter approval from 1 percent to 5 percent.
I urge the citizens to contact their state legislators and tell them Koster’s HB 1764 is a bad idea. It would be a huge increase within just a few years because of compounding and appreciation. It would be a major burden on renters in general and especially on low-income renters since by law they are not eligible  for property tax discounts. Only eligible homeowners can get the tax break. 
Property taxes are much more regressive than capital gains taxes or even sales taxes. 
The 1 percent cap has worked just fine the last 10 years. If local governments want more money they can go to the voters and ask for it. 
Koster’s HB 1764 is a blank check without any accountability to the taxpayers. 

Evangeline Loranc
Snohomish


Tuberculosis
Work to get TB under control

To the Editor:
Thanks for reporting about tuberculosis in our county.  (News bites:  County TB caseload is 23 in April 12 Tribune).
Although these numbers are small in our county, tuberculosis remains the No. 1 infectious killer in our world. Although the number of deaths is dropping, more than one million people in our world die from TB each year.  The important part of the cure is for people to take the full course of the medicine. When that is not done, the disease can turn into drug resistant strains that are difficult and expensive to cure. Because this disease is airborne, it passes easily, and therefore must be treated globally. 
America has been doing their part through both the unilateral programs and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.  This funding is threatened by current budget proposals that significantly cut America’s development assistance.  Our voices can turn this around.  Call, write, or visit your senators and representatives and ask them to fully fund this part of the budget (less than 1 percent of the total).  In that way we can help continue to get the TB pandemic under control.

Willie Dickerson
Snohomish


No Letters to the Editor published in the April 5 or 12 Tribunes

Letters to the Editor published in the March 29 Tribune:

Lord Hill Park
Bike trails should go elsewhere

To the Editor:
Lord Hill Regional Park is a wildlife oasis in the middle of what used to be rural area. The wildlife is being poisoned in Snohomish by rat poison D-Con. Owls are very useful in keeping the nature balance — one nesting pair can kill up to one thousand rodents. Now Snohomish owls are killed eating poisoned rodents.
Lord Hill Park in present form and intensity of use fulfills the need of both humans and animals. To make it a playground for mountain bikes would negatively affect this unique environment. Let’s build bike trails outside the park. Old Monroe-Snohomish Road needs a parallel bikeway, for example. Our environment is under stress. We need to preserve this diversity and beauty.

Jiri Janecek
Snohomish


Vandalism
Riverview student project destroyed

To the Editor:
We are fifth and sixth graders at Riverview Elementary on Fobes Hill. In November, our three classes started a field study where we were learning about birds/squirrels and their food preferences. As a part of this study, we set up eight feeders on our school grounds. Imagine our surprise when we went out to collect data March 22 and we found several smashed into many pieces.
We are heartbroken that our hard work, time, and money have been wasted. It is sad that someone felt that it was all right to go onto our school grounds and destroy something that has brought joy and experiential learning to our whole school. The feeders were located by our playground and the younger students enjoyed watching the birds and squirrels too. We pride ourselves on learning many different academic and life lessons at our school. Unfortunately, we learned what it feels like to be victims of vandalism.

The fifth and sixth grade students in Mrs. Cross,
Mrs. Spaetig-Peterson and Mrs. Lawless’ classes
Riverview Elementary
Snohomish


State budget
Reform tax code

To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the two-year state budget that Senate Republicans released this Tuesday, March 21. The budget cuts vital services in health care and other critical needs across the state, and does not raise the necessary revenue to fully fund needed programs, from education for our kids to funding infrastructure.
I encourage all of my legislators to instead do the budget the right way and vote to clean up our tax code, which is the most upside-down in the nation, causing low income people to suffer financially. A good start would be to close the loophole on capital gains, which is a tax on the profit of more than $50,000 per year on the sale of luxury investments. Closing this one loophole could raise close to a billion dollars per year — money that can be invested in a smart and healthy future for our communities.

Tiffany Kelly
Snohomish


Harvey Field
Airport can’t just declare it was first

To the Editor:
Regarding your March 22nd letter, “Harvey’s donations not factor in plans”:
As a property owner in west Snohomish city, I agree with the letter writer that rerouting Airport Way and lengthening the runway to accommodate larger aircraft and small corporate jets will lower property values at both ends of the runway.
Proponents of the runway expansion such as Mr. Robinette always use the tired old excuse “the airport was there first.”
It was Mr. Robinette who in 2012 got the City Council to pass a city letter of support pleading the County Council to allow commercial passenger jet service at Paine Field and divert general aircraft to smaller rural airports such as Harvey Airfield.
Here’s a little history:  In 1944, Eldon Harvey founded Harvey Airfield for small aircraft with an east-west runway configuration.  When state Route 9 opened in 1959, the runway changed to a north-south configuration.  Most homes at both ends of the runway were built well before 1959.
We are asked to be taxed to reroute Airport Way at a cost of millions only to lower the equity in our properties by 20 percent just to enrich one private, for-profit business.

Morgan Davis
Snohomish


Letters to the Editor published in the March 22 Tribune:


Marijuana vote timing change
Questions raised on changing date

To the Editor:
The City Council will discuss moving the public advisory vote on marijuana stores from November to August. (“Council ponders moving pot vote to August,” March 1 Tribune).
 The current proposed store location is within three blocks of Snohomish High School and just feet from private homes. It’s about 440 feet from a middle school bus stop and approximately 700 feet of Kla Ha Ya Park.
Council is sympathetic to the marijuana store licensee because he’s signed a lease before having been granted a license to open his prohibited business — a bold move. Seems he felt confident that the council was going to make this happen. He took a risk, which does have financial ramifications and requires patience. This was a risk he chose to take, knowing the vote would not take place until November.
 Council hopes to determine the rules surrounding this issue before the November vote — the same election in which five of them could be replaced. Perhaps before there will be a new mayor in town who will have an opinion on this issue. Is the vote being moved up in order to facilitate this for the shop owner because the players (council and mayor) may change? Valid reasoning for people to question the timing and motives.  
Please email the council and attend the March 21 meeting where they’ll be discussing this. Please note a location change — the meeting will be held at the Carnegie building on Cedar & Pearl (former library) Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. Check the city website that day to confirm location.

Susan Bjorling
Snohomish


Garbage contract
Poor common sense used

To the Editor:
The new seven-year garbage contract is simply another example of the following: When public money is spent, common sense goes out the window.
Our Snohomish City Council knew 46 percent of the people  were not satisfied with their rates, versus 26 percent that were satisfied. Knowing this, they made no effort to provide us with a different provider, which may have lowered our rates. But to negotiate with a new garbage company, wasn’t that important.  Why? It wasn’t their money.
By now, we see the “spending pattern” wisdom of the Council. If you see this pattern, you can’t fix today’s  problems by re-electing those who created them.

Bruce Ferguson
Snohomish


Harvey Field
Harvey’s donations not factor in plans

To the Editor:
In response to Mr. Robinette’s letter (March 8 Tribune, “Unfair treatment given to Harveys in letter”), I would like to say that with him being involved with aviation over the years, I appreciate his opinion. On the other hand, these issues have absolutely nothing to do with how much money has been donated to our community by the Harvey family. It has to do with the quality of life for the residents on 111st Street and surrounding areas, and where the money is coming from.
According to a Snohomish real estate agent, a drop of 20 percent could occur and this is just one person’s opinion.
Who do you think will be paying for the alleged new elevated road?
Praising the Harveys for their contributions is admirable, however, it is not relevant to these issues. It boils down to who will be most affected, and those of us who will need to stand up for what we think is right.
Maybe you know more than we do and can enlighten us so we are more knowledgeable. As a resident of Snohomish, I certainly appreciate all that is done for this town and mean no disrespect to anyone. It is a great place to live and I hope it continues to be!

Aneene Potts
Snohomish


Letters to the Editor published in the March 15 Tribune:

Snohomish garbage contract
Choice to not go to bid bothersome

To the Editor:
Last year the City Council authorized the City Manager to negotiate a multi-year garbage contract extension with Allied Waste without even asking a competitor, Waste Management NW, to offer a lower bid through the open competitive bid process that other cities employ. For example, Monroe’s residents enjoy 20 percent lower rates than Snohomish for the same services from Allied Waste. 
The Snohomish City Manager justifies the no-bid contract by citing a recent city survey saying “most residents were satisfied with their garbage service.”
Yes, Allied Waste’s garbage truck drivers are competent, but so are Waste Management NW drivers. What the City Manager and the Council failed to mention was that the same survey indicated most residents were unhappy with the high costs of garbage collection shown on their bi-monthly utility bill. Apparently, this is the reasoning behind the city now separating Allied Wastes bill from the City’s water and sewer bill. (Allied Waste will directly bill residents quarterly while the city will continue its bi-monthly utility billing system).
The City Manager touts the “free” community clean-up at the city shop site every April as another reason for extending the no-bid contract with Allied Waste. Well, the $50,000 true cost is built into the garbage rates.
As a single mom with no pickup truck, I don’t think it’s fair that I have to subsidize homeowners who throw away large items when they can easily spend $20 at the county’s transfer station. 

Evangeline Loranc
Snohomish


Snohomish garbage contract
Author: City could have saved thousands by switching

To the Editor:
Dereliction of duty and/or double dealing? I have to stop attending Snohomish City Council meetings. My blood pressure can’t handle the ill-advised spending and atrocious lack of cost controls.
The city entered into a multi-year contract for garbage service without getting competitive bids.
As condo treasurer, I got a cost-saving, competitive bid for our garbage but the city won’t allow it. By my calculations, the city may have saved $200,000 a year ($1.4 million over seven years) if they had gotten a bid from Waste Management, instead of blindly re-signing with Republic Services. Ironically, that $200,000 would have paid the salary of the city manager who failed to get competitive bids. It would have taken Waste Management a day or two to write up a bid, while it took the city six months or more to decide which service to use. The city eventually based its decision on a survey suggesting citizens are satisfied with the garbage service, and some iffy regional cost comparisons.
It’s garbage. It isn’t rocket science. If you can save big bucks by switching to another qualified company, you do it. Parenthetically, Waste Management and Republic Services were both founded by the same man who imbued both companies with similar expertise in the fine art of garbage removal.

David Shedivy
Snohomish


Lowell-Snohomish River Road
Debris alongside road shameful

To the Editor:
I, like many, travel Lowell-Snohomish River Road every day to and from work. It is one of the most scenic roads in Sky Valley.  Unfortunately there has been a change, a change that cannot nor should be ignored. Those who know this route understand what I am about to share, as the debris and piles of garbage, the burnt-out cars; the homeless encampments are destroying this precious river route.  It has increased over the past year and continues to grow increasingly daily as a problem. 
I do not have to describe the carnage along this road as it is visually obvious and I do have empathy for those less fortunate. The question I have is how we as a civilized society allow people to live like animals and accept this. Laws are being broken here, environmental destruction from human waste into the river system, garbage piling up uncontrolled is surpassing acceptable limits. Right now it looks like a war zone with cars being dumped burnt out, trailers being discarded, encampments that look like a third-world slum. 
Why is the City of Everett and Snohomish not enforcing vagrancy laws? Why are the land owners allowing this to continue? Why is our City Council silent? If I was mayor of Snohomish, and I may just run, I know exactly what I would propose; I will see you all at the next council meeting March 21st.

John Lorenz
Snohomish


Letters to the Editor published in the March 8 Tribune:


Marijuana shop
Too close to SHS

To the Editor:
Concerning opening a pot shop on Avenue D and Second Street at the 76 gas station, in my opinion it is too close to Snohomish High School only 3 blocks away.

William Thomas
Snohomish


Harvey Field
Unfair treatment given in letter

To the Editor:
The Potts’ Feb. 1 letter to the regarding Harvey Field and slamming the Harvey family must be addressed. 
Most of their comments regarding airfield and aircraft operations are false and/or misleading and shows a complete lack of knowledge regarding aviation including funding.
The Harvey family and Kandy don’t deserve their accusations.  Very few can match the time, energy and dollars that have been given to our community by the Harveys.

Hank Robinett
Snohomish


City Council districts
Evenhanded story

To the Editor:
Thanks to Karen Law for her article on Everett City Council elections (March 1 Tribune). It was refreshing to read both sides of the issue so people can make an
informed decision.

Brenda Bolanos Ivory
Everett


 

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