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Letters Archive

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.

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 August 24 Tribune:

Government restructure ballot measure
Praise on ‘steady growth’ left out land fight

To the Editor:
In response to the Aug. 17 letter “ A city manager helps guide growth”: The letter writer implies it is because of city manager Larry Bauman, that Snohomish has enjoyed slow, steady, smart growth as opposed to other cities with ‘strong’ mayors who “are responsive to developers.”
The letter writer conveniently forgets to mention the City of Snohomish’s Northern Planning Area (NPA) land grab initiated by Larry Bauman, the “weak” mayor, and council members a few years ago.
The city assigned its planning director, Corbitt Loch, to head-up the NPA project in conjunction with Mike Reid, a developer from Bellevue.  The City then hired Owen Dennison as senior planner.
The NPA area the City wanted to annex for development was a large chunk of land north of the US 2/Highway 9 intersection. This same acreage is also claimed by the City of Lake Stevens.
I remember the controversy well.  The developer’s attorney, Tom Erhlichman, is the son of John Erhlichman, a former cabinet official in the Richard Nixon administration, 1969-1973.  Thankfully, Erhlichman, Bauman and Loch failed in their attempt to develop the NPA.
During the Great Recession, Corbitt Loch was laid off and Owen Dennison was promoted as the new Planning Manager.
With a “strong” mayor system, the citizens determine the level of growth, subject to the state’s Growth Management Act, through elections.  The city manager and “weak” mayor are not elected by the citizens.

Morgan Davis
Snohomish


Howarth Park beach access
Beach access still closed, unsafe

To the Editor:
Here we are, almost two full summer’s worth of a closed beach. The structural report was done a month after it closed. Fish habitats enhanced.
We spend money for everything but for the people wanting access to the beach. I ride the train each day and see the people on the beach. How do they get there? Jumping fences and crossing the track.
Let’s solve the problem now, and make it safe again to enjoy the beach.

Bob Bozorth
Everett

Public safety sales tax measure failure
Use ‘sin’ taxes as funding alternate

To the Editor:
The county tried but failed to raise a sales tax to pay for drug addiction  programs. There are other options. There is a new source of revenue that they should be looking at. The legalization of marijuana has proven to be a cash cow in Colorado. Here also, soon.  Let’s pay for drug and incarceration programs by increasing the sin taxes: marijuana, booze, cigarettes and porn. The porn tax would include the coffee stands, i.e. adult entertainment. There is no other way to define it. 
Anyone willing to consume those items will pay whatever is being asked so they can get their fix.
The rest of us have a budget to meet.

R. Todd Fredrickson
Monroe


Letters to the Editor published in the August 17 Tribune:

Government restructure ballot measure
A city manager helps guide growth

To the Editor:
I write in support of Snohomish’s current form of city government, that is the Council—Manager (aka the weak mayor) form of government.
The City of Snohomish adopted the Council—Manager form of government in 1972 when the city was considerably smaller in population, about 5,000 residents. In their wisdom, they recognized that a small town may face big city issues of land use, redevelopment, and budget management, and the talent pool within a small city for experienced, professional city governance is slender. They hired a city manager.
Two other comparably sized cities, Monroe (1970 population 3,000) and Marysville (1970 population 5,000) maintained strong mayor governments.
Both Monroe (2015 population 17,304) and Marysville (2015 population 62,000) undertook rapid growth, which I assume is what their residents wanted, because citizens are ultimately responsible for their government.
These cities are characterized by a loss of Marysville’s old city center (replaced with a mall), Monroe’s Fryelands development (was dairy land), and Walmarts, among other changes. These improvements are the result of choices made by strong mayors, who had the backing of the citizenry, their city councils, and who were responsive to developers. If they made a mistake, they may have been voted out, perhaps too late. There are no do-overs.
Snohomish’s population in 2015 was approximately 9,000. We have certainly grown and will continue to do so. Because we will grow, I will vote for a collaborative government which is responsive to the community’s wishes for well planned and quality growth.

Jan Lengenfelder
Snohomish


Letters to the Editor published in the August 10 Tribune:


Boat launch vandalism
A way to find clues

To the Editor:
How hard is it to visit the stores selling bright pink spray paint (”Police need leads on boat launch vandal,” Aug. 3 Tribune)? There can’t be too many people who bought bright pink spray paint during the week prior to the vandalism.

Bill Thomas
Snohomish

Fire district merger
Monroe fire chief thanks public

To the Editor:
On behalf of Monroe Fire District 3, I want to thank our community for approving the merger with Snohomish County Fire District 7 during the August election. Working together as one agency will improve emergency services for both communities and be more cost-effective for taxpayers long-term.
I will continue on as Assistant Chief for Administration at Fire District 7. I am proud to continue serving my community in this capacity. Together, we will continue to provide the most advanced emergency response system in Snohomish County with highly-trained personnel, facilities, apparatus, and rescue programs.
  We will communicate with you regularly about the next steps of the merger, and thank you for your support.
In the meantime, my door is always open to answer any questions from the community.

Fire Chief Jamie Silva
Monroe Fire District 3



Letters to the Editor published in the August 3 Tribune:

Public safety sales tax ballot measure
Stop using “quick fixes” such as tax

To the Editor:
Proposition 1 is a measure on the Snohomish County ballot. This bill proposes a tax to increase funding for police and prosecutors. They say this will help combat the heroin epidemic.
The answer to our drug problem is not to lock our citizens in cells. I would hope to see them spend the money on outreach or harm reduction programs. Addiction is classified as a disease and should be treated as such.
We do not need increased policing to combat drug use. What we do need is affordable and accessible programs aimed at healing these addicts, not shaming them through imprisonment.
There is no argument against Prop. 1 on the ballot, so I feel the need to make our side of things as public as possible.
It’s time we stop these “quick fixes” and start building on real, long-term solutions to this nationwide epidemic. Even if this proposition is merely an excuse to increase our forces — which by itself I have nothing against — this bill inadvertently promotes a defunct philosophy that increases public misinformation.

Lucy Moody
Bothell

Government restructure
Paper assumed city admin position

To the Editor:
Regarding the July 27 fact sheet (July 27 print edition) comparing “Weak Mayor versus Strong Mayor city government structures:” The comparison basically compared large cities, with the exception of Granite Falls. Apparently that is why the Tribune assumed first, there “would be” a city administrator  and second, the administrator’s salary “usually exceeds $120,000 a year.” 
Last year, when I opposed the Metropolitan Parks District (MPD) tax, I also suggested the city voters implement the “strong mayor” system.
The strong mayor would be a full-time position, elected directly by the voters, with the mayor having the power to hire and fire city department heads without the need for a city manager. Snohomish has been and will be a small town for the foreseeable future as it is constrained by two rivers and the valley. 
Snohomish’s current population is only 9,400. Therefore, a city administrator position is not warranted. Just as current department heads report to a deputy city  manager who in turn reports to the non-elected city manager, under the “strong mayor” system, the department heads would report to the voter elected mayor or his or her deputy. A  $120,000-plus per year administrator position is clearly only appropriate for much larger cities than Snohomish. 

Evangeline Loranc
Snohomish


(No letters in the July 27 Tribune)

Letters to the Editor published in the July 20 Tribune:

Government restructure
Not a good idea

To the Editor:
It tortures the imagination to understand why anyone would want to fire a trained professional city manager and replace him with an amateur with no training or experience in managing a city (“Petition to turn Snohomish into a ‘strong mayor’ city filed for ballot,” July 13 Tribune). And while being an amateur is bad enough, the only reason the person wanting the job gives us is, he wants to get a full-time job with full-time pay so he can be a strongman.
If we go with an elected mayor/manager, every four years we will get a new amateur with his own agenda after a very divisive election.
I love Snohomish. Let’s keep it the way it is.

Terry Cohn
Snohomish

United Way Senior Center funding
Tackling poverty commendable

To the Editor:
Re: “Senior centers stymied by funding cut,” July 6
Tribune
: There is an old adage titled, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” In this case that hand has been feeding local senior centers for about 40 years. There is no entitlement here. United Way has generously supported local senior centers because at the time, they believed this was the best way to support the needs within communities.
That thinking has changed.
After much research, United Way has decided to attack homelessness and poverty in our neighborhoods differently. I commend their decision to tackle the never ending cycle of poverty by identifying and attacking those issues individually, instead of cumulatively. Causes for homelessness and poverty have many components.
Not all persons in need fall into each and every category. There is: 1. Addiction (drugs and/or alcohol) 2. Mental health 3. Lack of education 4. Homelessness, need for safe housing 5. Domestic violence 6. Job opportunities 7. Child care 8. Nutrition.
By focusing on each of these components, United Way is able to select those organizations who already are in place. These additional United Way funds will allow them a greater
opportunity to address the root causes of poverty. My wish is they will divide and conquer.

Joanne Hiersch
Snohomish

Mayor recall effort
Don’t shame Guzak

To the Editor:
I am in the process of moving back to Snohomish, precisely because of the positive changes that have occurred in Snohomish during my absence. Downtown is vibrant and flourishing; I witnessed music and art, restaurants, boutiques, and the ever-present meandering of the Snohomish River.
As I transition back, I now pick up a copy of the Snohomish County Tribune, as I once did when I lived in Snohomish full-time seventeen years ago. I was stunned to read of the recall statement that was filed against Mayor Guzak in the Tribune’s June 29th edition, since I credit her and the current City Council with so many of the improvements and enrichments to the city.
My association with Karen is through her Yoga Circle Studio in Snohomish. I have witnessed compassion, intelligence, grace, and kindness for each student.
Those qualities of service translate to her position as Mayor as she also brings honesty, integrity, realism, and leadership skills - facets that help identify her as a pragmatic progressive.
The recently filed Statement of Recall by Bill Betten and the follow-up Letter to the Editor by David Clay are harassment: filing a recall statement against Mayor Guzak drains the city’s coffers with legal fees.
“Violation of her oath of office” and “an act of malfeasance (secret ballot)” are incongruent with the person I know Karen to be.
Mayor Guzak’s integrity and honesty are cornerstones of her service to the community, and I am grateful that she represents our city.

Melinda Gladstone
Snohomish


Mayor recall effort
Writer: Council gave away money without consent

To the Editor:
I wish for the truth to come out, therefore, I will share it with you. At the last Snohomish City Council meeting dated July 5, Mayor Karen Guzak appealed to the City Council members to cover her court costs of up to a point of $15,000 to pay to cover the recall process that she is involved in. The council was very apprehensive about the decision when it was brought forth by the City Attorney at this meeting...They had a pause....There was a large turn out that evening of citizens. They were asked to make a decision to”pass” her appeal right then. The council finally came to vote on it and it was passed. Thus, the city council voted and passed her appeal. Karen Guzak was basically given a check, up to $15,000, to cover her court and attorney costs. This money came from the taxpayers without consent from the citizens.

Susan Mitchell
Snohomish


Mayor recall effort
Public under attack by effort

To the Editor:
It appears Snohomish residents are under attack by those who claim to have the best interests of our town in mind. I beg to differ.
When your divisive rants and harassment of the elected gem of a mayor we have in Karen Guzak are simply taking away funds taxpayers have paid, you are not helping, but hurting our special and unique town.
How many frivolous public information requests do you need? This is costing an awful lot and just another form of abuse. If you want to change things, an expensive recall which we all will pay for, is not a way to progress.
Your undermining and nitpicking need to stop, for you are just a burden now, and should redirect your efforts in a way that does not affect the town negatively. Try running for office. What have you done for our city? I have the answer: nothing.

Lisa Webb
Snohomish


Letters to the Editor published in the July 13 Tribune:

Snohomish government restructure
Strong mayor city would give one person too much power

To the Editor:
I feel compelled to speak out about the ongoing efforts of Mr. Betten to disrupt the current city of Snohomish government. First, regarding the petition to change our city government from weak to strong Mayor. The question to me is whether we want one individual making all of the important decisions or a committee. I prefer a committee as I think there is more oversight and it is more democratic. Our current mayor system doesn’t give broad sweeping authority to the mayor and I like it that way.
Second, regarding the recent recall petition. The type of infractions that Mayor Guzak is being accused of are very minor and inconsequential events in the general scheme of things. Calling writing down of a vote and then reading it out loud as “secret” balloting? Making a huge issue out of asking for a person’s full name? Mr. Betten has the right to petition for what he believes to be true, but I find absolutely no merit in his accusations and think that the council’s time could be spent on more important issues than trying to make the universe line up perfectly for him.
Contrary to Mr. Betten’s insistence that he considers our mayor to be a friend, I think he has a personal bone to pick and hope that once this process is complete, we can all move on to more positive endeavors. In these times of global unrest, I feel it is important to sift out the inconsequential events, put them in the background so we can focus on what is important.
We have a plethora of important issues to focus on like feeding the hungry, fighting crime and building cooperative communities that work together, not fight against each other.

Donna Ray
Snohomish

Mayor recall effort
Guzak is doing a good job

To the Editor:
I think Mayor Guzak has done a fine job so far and can see no reason to recall her.
Just look around and see how well the city has done so far. We have no new fast food places in the historic sections of town and we have a great shopping center that is thriving upon Bickford.
I say leave things as they are. I have lived here with my family for almost 30 years and have been very happy here.

Linda Steen
Snohomish

Mayor recall effort
Criticisms are unhealthy

To the Editor:
In the five years my husband and I have lived in Snohomish, I’ve heard nothing but good things said about Mayor Karen Guzak and all the growth she has brought to Snohomish, including a yoga studio. Yet there are people who berate her with so much anger and hate in every City Council meeting, public mayor chat and in letters to the editor.
A recent wellness brochure from a popular health insurance company suggested that in order to avoid stress, which causes sickness and disease, one would benefit from avoiding negative thoughts and people who mostly think negatively.
Unfortunately the mayor is confronted often and although she handles it with strong fortitude, I would like to speak out and see other positive-thinking people come to a council meeting or chat with the mayor or write a letter in the Tribune so that those few negative people see that there are far more who like what Mayor Guzak has done, and is doing for the city of Snohomish for schools, parks, businesses, elderly and others.
Mayor Karen Guzak is a visionary, and visionaries always have enemies, but visionaries are the ones who keep us moving forward as a people, and evolving and taking care of the planet we live on.

Elaine McClain
Snohomish

Zika virus in Snohomish County
Support federal efforts

To the Editor:
Zika virus arriving in Snohomish County is not surprising.  (‘Zika virus confirmed in Snohomish County,’ July 6 Tribune
While we are not in danger from the mosquito that causes it in our state, 41 other states are. The question is, what will we do about it?  Urging Congress to fund the President’s request for $1.9 billion to fight the virus is one way.  Both of our Senators and most of our House delegation has been pushing for this funding, including Snohomish County Reps. Larsen and DelBene.  Congress has done well, robustly funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria with life-saving results. 
In addition to over 15 million lives saved comes the possibility of controlling these three pandemics.  Now it is time for Congress to fund the fight against the Zika threat. Our calls and letters will help this happen.

Willie Dickerson
Snohomish

Community thank you
Finding gifted gravestone brought mom to tears

To the Editor:
In the midst of the political din, there are some who without fanfare, quietly make meaningful contributions to the very soul of our community. I drove through the GAR Cemetery today where I have a child buried. Never able to afford a marker, I was deeply touched and moved to unstoppable tears to find a marker and a statue at his grave.
To the anonymous soul who made this gift, I offer my sincerest gratitude. This is an example of the small town heart and soul I seek to preserve for future generations.

Megan Anderson
Snohomish



Letters to the Editor published in the July 6 Tribune:


Mayor recall effort
Recall will cost city money

To the Editor:
Bill Betten claims to want “fiscal responsibility,” yet this recall statement will cost the city.
The cost will come in dollars spent to refute his charges, and in staff and council time. Our current City Manager, Mayor and staff brought us through the fiscal downturn with flying colors, they deserve our support.
I have attended many council meetings over the years and served on city committees, I am an owner in two business in the city and have found our manager, mayor and staff available, trustworthy and responsive in my dealings with them.
These charges are spurious and unfounded.

Mary Pat Connors
Snohomish

Mayor recall effort
Guzak is an upstading leader

To the Editor:
I’ve never known Karen Guzak to be anything less than a person of great integrity, acting in the best interests of the citizens of her city. This is one citizen who will not back this recall petition or the bizarre and unfounded claims against her.

Tom Pendergast
Snohomish


Open government
Discrepancy in goals apparent

To the Editor:
It appears the members of the “Open Government Committee” and the City Hall of Snohomish have different objectives and goals (“Council doesn’t keep Open Gov. facilitator,” June 29
Tribune). From the beginning, the two parties were never on the same page. Toss in the overpaid facilitator, and we have a 3-way tie for failure.
Councilman Michael Rohrscheib was correct in saying don’t waste more money on the facilitator.
The committee will introduce their recommendations on July 19. Had I been selected to be on this committee,  I would have provided a “completion date,” by which City Hall would honor the recommendations.  If no date is given, could it be nothing would change? 
City Hall answers to us, we don’t answer to them.

Bruce Ferguson
Snohomish

 

Government responsiveness
A "to-do" list for city leadership

To the Editor:
In December of 2015, I attended a meeting with City Manager Larry Bauman and Owen Dennison, the former City Planning Director.
The topic: restore the years-old deed restriction, “for playground use only,” to Averill Field.
They both assured the group that it would be re-established.
To date, it has not been done, 7 months later.
I have a to-do list for the city officials:
1. Restore the deed restriction.
2. Provide detailed timeline of dealings with Verizon and who first contacted who.
3. Apologize to the citizens.
4. Undergo an audit of internal procedures, quit holding back room deals kept secret from the citizens of Snohomish!

Arlyce Hopkins
Snohomish



Letters to the Editor published in the June 29 Tribune:


Open government
Be transparent or leave office

To the Editor:
Legitimately formed or not, the City of Snohomish “Open Government” committee does exist and volunteer members are likely doing what they can to make it work. This, in spite of an unreasonably short time frame, being instructed as to how they should proceed by the City Manager and Mayor, and having a “facilitator,” Margaret Norton-Arnold, with a known reputation for being condescending, unprofessional, and biased.
Committee members are caught up in what really is a communications divide between city officials and citizens who want to hold the city officials accountable for their decisions.
NO Open Government committee recommendations will bridge that divide. The idea that a committee to address the lack of transparency in local government, sanctioned and tightly controlled by the very government officials who refuse to be transparent, can be relied on to affect meaningful results defies logic.
City officials don’t get a pass simply because they threw some money and lip service at a problem of their own making.
Nothing short of the City Manager and the Mayor coming to the table in a non-defensive manner, in a neutral environment, bringing their authentic voices will do.
If they are unwilling or unable to directly participate in the difficult process of rebuilding trust, then they need to go.

David Clay
Snohomish


United Way
Don’t shame United Way over its priorities

To the Editor:
Regarding the June 22nd Tribune letter from Bob Dvorak, the Snohomish Senior Center executive director: I have to disagree with his negative portrayal of United Way of Snohomish County.  The United Way is a wonderful private charity, focusing its priorities on helping the truly needy and breaking the cycle of poverty in our communities.
Snohomish city taxpayers have been and still are very generous  to the senior center.
After the city government spent well over $200,000 (see July 26,2006 Tribune article “Senior center woes continue”) in a failed attempt to build a new senior center on top of a known cemetery on Cypress Avenue, it then leased a city-owned lot on Fourth Street (which cost $1 million or so in the purchase price plus all the extra costs to make it buildable) to the nonprofit senior center for only a dollar a year up to 50 years.
The center has thrived with about half of its members driving from Everett, Lake Stevens, and other areas outside Snohomish city. Its attractions include pinochle, bridge, and yes, poker games for money.  The city government just increased its annual allotment to the center which now has a well-paid staff instead of all volunteers.
Don’t blame United Way for spending its donations on the truly needy poor.  All poor people matter, not just seniors.

Morgan Davis
Snohomish


Letters to the Editor published in the June 22 Tribune:

Snohomish Water Sourcing
Keep both sources

To the Editor:
Re: “City proposes an ‘all-Everett’ drinking water plan,” June 15 Tribune: Given the effects of global warming — like dry water reservoirs in California — we should keep both resources of water for Snohomish to avert future water shortages. Earthquake protection note: Keeping water sources from two different sources could be wiser choice than Everett only.
Remember the history and cost of moving waste water treatment to Everett (44 million) that ended up to be necessary. The main motivation for the “progress” in our society seems to be quick profit, not the benefit of the citizenry or society.

Jiri Janecek
Snohomish

United Way
United Way shut seniors centers out

To the Editor:
The United Way of Snohomish County (UWSC) recently announced a new round of funding for community programs.  What they did not discuss was what they chose not to fund.  UWSC has decided to exclude all senior centers in the coming round of grants; this breaks a four-decade long partnership between senior centers and UWSC.  UWSC’s new theme “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty” was interpreted in a bizarre way as if no seniors are poor, when in fact seniors are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population nationwide.  Five regional senior centersapplied collaboratively for funding ($30,000 each for a total $150,000) to create a county-wide network to address poverty issues among Seniors.
Poverty is a real issue for many Snohomish County seniors — adults 65 and older sustained the largest increases in poverty of any group in recent years.  UWSC’s decision is both sad and outrageous.  Once a respected leader in the community, United Way of Snohomish County is now saying seniors don’t matter.  Whatever UWSC is becoming, it no longer has the right to call itself the “United” Way.

Bob Dvorak
Director of the Snohomish Senior Center


Letters to the Editor published in the June 15 Tribune:

Snohomish park renames
Don't rename Averill Field

To the Editor:
In the article “Transgender school policy talk is June 22" (June 1 Tribune), you state: “The policy must be implemented per state law, which allows people in the State of Washington to use the bathroom of with which gender they identify.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Citizens of the State of Washington are not governed by a 5-member unelected panel (Washington Human Rights Commission) and appointed by one person (the Governor). This five member panel cannot make law. They can interpret laws passed by our legislature, but their interpretation cannot go against the intent of the legislature regarding the law.
This ruling which permits males to access to restrooms and locker rooms and showers, presently used by females exclusively (and vice versa) is presently under several appeals and has a long road to becoming “law.”
We need good governance by our government. This is not. Such a drastic change to our way of life should start in our House, then move to the Senate, from there to the Governor’s mansion. Where was the open discussion of this issue? The citizens of the State of Washington should be concerned and alarmed by this abuse of power.
The Snohomish School District should cool their jets until all appeals of this rule are exhausted.

Michael Coombs
Snohomish

Sheriff's Deputy Shortage
Training program was defunded

To the Editor:
Re: Sheriff’s Office deputy shortage (May 25 Tribune): A great follow up would be sharing with the public the lack of funding at the Police Academy.
Since 2009, the Legislature took the funds that use to fund the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission from ticket revenue and put it into the general fund. The state has about 500-700 officer openings this year and passed a budget that at the most can train 300 cadets. So even if Everett, the county or Seattle try to hire more officers as suggested by studies like this, the departments would not be able to get them trained.
Currently there is about a 6-month waiting period to get a person into the Academy. Anything beyond that actually violates state law requirements for training.

Henry Simon
Bothell

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