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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
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Letters to the editor in the Nov. 14 Tribune:

Parents, quit letting your kids run amok

To the Editor:
I am writing as a Everett resident who shops at its local grocery stores and I am writing because safety inside our grocery stores is a great concern to me. I was shopping at the QFC on Broadway in North Everett recently and a child was running in front of customers and the parents weren’t paying attention, which is a huge problem these days but the store staff here don’t do their part to make sure their customers are safe. Customers have to pay the consequences of negligent employees and parents. Store staff should make sure that their customers are safe and children aren’t running in the store. I hope parents read this and make sure their children are behaving appropriately in public. 

Elijah Edens

Letters to the editor in the Nov. 7 Tribune:

Writer: Second Street redesign a waste of money

To the Editor:
Regarding all the excellent letters in each of the Tribune’s five October editions critical of the City of Snohomish’s latest design to “beautify” Second Street:
As a Second Street business property owner, I support those critical of the design. Mayor Kartak’s proposal not only wastes scarce tax dollars and staff time but will only make congestion much worse.
Example: Kartak plans to dead-end a current working west First Street thoroughfare at the City Shop, 1801 First St.  To add insult to injury, Kartak’s plan adds a roundabout on First Street at the City Shop, because he worries some wayward westbound motorists may have missed the new dead-end sign at First and Avenue E intersection.  Avenue E residents will most certainly be adversely affected.
Instead of making First Street partially one-way, I support simply improving the awkward intersection at First Street/Second Street/Avenue J, not only for motorists, but bicyclists and pedestrians as well.  Yet, the City refuses to get a cost estimate to improve and square up that awkward intersection.
Other Kartak bad ideas for Second Street include back-in only parking and removing left-turn center lanes.
State Sen. Steve Hobbs, chairman of the state transportation committee, and WSDOT should scrap the Kartak plan and divert the estimated $15 million or so to instead build on/off ramps at the planned 4-lane SR9 Snohomish River Bridge to access the Snohomish-Lowell River Road below.
That alone would allow commuters to bypass Second Street altogether to reduce congestion.

Morgan Davis

Letters to the editor in the Oct. 31 Tribune:

More parking, not decoration

To the Editor:
As a city resident who lives very near Second Street, I have an interest in the widely-discussed revamp project. On mornings when either 2nd Street or Avenue D would be considered congested, many cars detour themselves onto the surrounding avenues as a “shortcut,” often traveling at a high rate of speed through areas where kids are walking to bus stops or the high school. Darkness on winter mornings makes it unsafe for these kids attempting to dodge drivers who don’t feel traffic rules apply to them. Neighborhood kids report being worried they’ll be hit. It seems logical to conclude that some of the “improvements” to Second Street may serve to frustrate drivers even more, causing side streets to be used as avoidance routes.
Are bicycle lanes safe for cyclists on such a busy street? Are the improvements going to be easier for inexperienced teen drivers to navigate or will they be a distraction?
If we’re looking to improve our economic growth by inviting tourism to flourish downtown, let’s improve parking. Negotiate a deal with the County regarding the bridge (put that money that’s earmarked for holiday lights toward the repairs), buy the mill and turn it into a parking area. Offer a shuttle service for those who may struggle with walking over to the shops. Build a covered area and invite the farmer’s market to establish there.
I’ve heard many times from people who’ve driven through, but not stopped-due to the frustration of driving around and being unable to park.

Susan Bjorling

Vote for 5/2 districts split

To the Editor:
I am writing this letter in support of the 5/2 districting plan which is on the November ballot for the city of Everett. It is what the people want. I have heard citizens speak at city council meetings in favor of 5/2 because it will bring more  representative government to every part of the city. At Cafe Zippy, my restaurant in north Everett, I often talk with residents who seem surprised that Everett is just now getting around to dividing the city into districts. Other cities of our size have been successful with creating districts. By dividing our city into five geographic districts, where one council member is elected from each district  by the people living in that district,  and keeping two positions elected by the city at-large, the voices of  people from more diverse backgrounds will come to the table. That is one thing that is needed for creative change in our city government.
The 4/3 proposal would neither create change nor readily bring more diversity to Everett’s Council. Considering the present makeup of our Council with 4 of the 7 council members residing in northwest Everett, it is not hard to see that we could see three at-large members and one district member residing in that same neighborhood. That is not the outcome of districting that I want to see. That situation is impossible with the 5/2 plan.
I urge you to vote for the 5/2 districting choice on your ballot in favor of fair and equitable representation.

Marilyn Rosenberg

Letters to the editor in the Oct. 24 Tribune:

Not hearing support in the community

To the Editor:
Although I’ve read a few letters supporting the re-vamp of Second Street, some with reservations, I’ve yet to talk to any resident in favor of this. This sounds like another excuse to spend money on a project that doesn’t need doing for any other reason than answering an unnecessary dream to “beautify” an otherwise very functional and very vital Snohomish street. I drive this street several times a week, looking for a needed improvement area. Other than perhaps one more stop light, the street has sufficient width for all traffic, sufficient space for most parking needs (which will lose out if the renewal goes through), and sufficient access to both residential and business areas. Why lessen this for the sake of “beautification” to attract more tourists, who are coming anyway?
This is a working thoroughfare, a very vital thoroughfare. Please find a better use for the money this would take and leave Second Street alone. It’s just fine as it is.

Linda Bresee

Vote for 5/2 split

To the Editor:
In January 2017, the 38th Legislative District Democrats voted to endorse Everett Districts Now’s proposal to transition from electing all seven City Council members citywide to election of 5 by districts with only 2 at-large. This action was in recognition of the historically disproportionate number of City Council members residing north of 41st Street. Such a change would improve representation for citizens in all Everett neighborhoods. Mayor Ray Stephanson was opposed to the measure as was a majority of City Council members. When the 5/2 proposal came to the Charter Review Committee, a committee appointed by the mayor and council, committee members rejected their opportunity to put the measure forward in their recommendations.
The nonpartisan coalition comprising Everett Districts Now persisted despite resistance from city government and now, at last, citizens have their chance to choose improved representation when they vote in November.
The measure will appear on the back of the ballot as two questions. We encourage voters to approve Proposition 1 which makes districting possible. Then we urge you to opt for Proposition 2 A , the 5/2 districting plan. 5/2 better guarantees improved representation of South Everett residents and was the overwhelming favorite when the city sent out a survey earlier this year. 4/3 was not favored and could very easily allow the continued trend where 5 councilmembers reside north of 41st Street.

Nancy Sosnove
38th LD Precinct Committee Officer

Letters to the Editor in the October 17 Tribune:

Increase the salary only if sizable admin team is cut

To the Editor:
Regarding the Oct. 10 letter in the Tribune about the Snohomish Mayor’s salary being too low: Just a few weeks ago, the City Council voted to keep the mayor’s salary at $18,000 (which was set well before John Kartak filed for the job).
After becoming mayor in November 2017, Kartak elected to hire a full-time administrator, a full-time economic development manager, and a full time executive assistant (all are very highly paid for a small town, population 10,000).
If Kartak had opted to forgo hiring all these administrators and perform the duties himself as a professional executive mayor, then Kartak would be justified in asking the council for a raise.
The letter writer claims Kartak works 60 hours a week. If that’s true, he still has not learned to delegate tasks to his expensive management team. A lot of his time is taken up in activities some consider akin to campaigning for the next election.
Mayor Kartak’s two signature projects, the $2.5 million restoration of the Carnegie building and the now estimated $15 million so-called “Second Street Corridor Improvement Project,” are in my opinion not needed, and in the case of Second Street, this project will be making traffic flow even more dysfunctional (see Oct. 10 Tribune letter by Thomas E. Hansen, P.E.)

Evangeline Loranc

Oppression in small increments

To the Editor:
The surreal U.S. minimum wage history — reconstructed: Once in late 1930s government suggested workers supporting a family deserve a break. It ordered a newly designed minimum pay to be a set amount an hour. 
It realized such law would cause hundred thousands of business closures and tens of millions workers losing their sometimes meager livelihood. But polling employees and employers beforehand — surprise! Most agreed!  No sacrifice too big! A poll among customers about products and services to be discontinued by business closures turned positive as well. Customers would tolerate deprivation if it helped stressed families!
Can you believe it? By accident many laid-off workers actually were heads of a family!

Gunnar Unneland

Letters to the Editor in the October 10 Tribune:

Redesign lacks left turn lanes, will cause backups

To the Editor:
I attended the open house in August and have continued to monitor the proposed re-design of Second Street from state Route 9 to the east city limits. I agree with many of the goals that the project is trying to meet for the “new look” and function of the street but I am very concerned about a few specific features.
The project as currently designed will not have left turn pockets at several public road intersections. Left turning cars will cause significant backups for through traffic at these locations waiting to make their left turns. I can easily envision the impacts in the afternoon for eastbound traffic quickly backing up to SR 9 as as there are very few gaps in the westbound traffic. Traffic going through town will come to a standstill on this street.
City staff told me at the meeting that their traffic engineering consultants have modeled the proposed project and they say that it will work just fine. Based on my 36 year career as a public roads engineer, design, construction, operations and maintenance, I have a hard time believing that this will be the case. In the last 16 years of may career, I was either a Public Works Director or a City Engineer, including a stint working for the City of Snohomish. I would find it difficult to defend to citizens or a City Council the proposed project without modification.
More field observations of afternoon traffic volumes, destinations, and characteristics may yield a different outcome and conclusion. The project needs to provide left turn pockets at each public intersection or prohibit left turns at those same intersections if the pockets are not provided. I hope the City Staff will come to the same conclusion.

Thomas E. Hansen P.E.

$18k a year too low to survive on

To the Editor:
Our mayor, John Kartak, has committed to serve our city as a strong mayor for a four-year term. He routinely works at least 60 hours per week at his job but is only being paid $18,000 per year. It is not enough to provide for his family’s expenses.
Five of the seven City Council members voted against having a strong mayor and it seems they are determined not to pay him for his full time service. I petitioned the council to raise his salary but they said no, in spite of the fact that the people of Snohomish voted for a strong mayor.
There is record income for the city. If the council agrees to spend $2 million to restore a historic building, they can also afford to increase the mayor’s salary. He should not have to pay out of his savings to be a strong mayor.
Please, Snohomish, support your mayor. The next city Council meeting will be Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. at the School District Administrative Building, 1601 Ave. D.

Diane Tunnell

Tax exemption will pinch everyone else

To the Editor:
A letter in the Sept. 12 Tribune showed the Snohomish City Council’s propensity and willingness to increase property taxes to fund dubious projects.
Now here’s one more source for a property tax increase for city property owners: ”The Multi-Family Property Tax Exemption.”
Under a “Presentation” agenda item during the Oct. 2nd council meeting, the council approved going forward with the tax break for developers in the so-called “blighted, high crime area” in the Pilchuck District.  (The city had in attendance Everett’s planning director extolling the virtues of their exemption ordinance in Downtown and North Broadway Everett districts).
Not discussed was the impact this exemption for developers will have on all existing property taxpayers.
Property taxes are “budget-based”, meaning each taxing district will receive the same amount of total revenue irrespective of property valuation.  In other words, if a property is sold to a nonprofit or government organization or developers with this exemption, then the remaining property taxpayers will have to increase their tax obligation in order for each taxing district to reach their budget target.
For the last 125 years of steady growth, the City never resorted to tax breaks for a favored few at the expense of everyone else.  This exemption is corporate welfare, plain and simple.
I urge residents to contact council members and tell them to reverse this unfair tax break for developers.

Morgan Davis

Letters to the Editor in the October 3 Tribune:

If you won’t stand, then who will?

To the Editor:
Thanks to the leaders of Snohomish for Equity for bringing the community together to discuss racism in our town. (“Snohomish anti-racism group grows its campaign,” Sept. 26 Tribune).
Attending, I found our small discussion groups a real chance to begin the conversation about racism. The people in my group ran the gamut from personal experiences of racism for one participant and her children, to not seeing any problem. But it was important for each of us to listen to each other and speak our truth in a safe environment. RESULTS, the group I volunteer with began the talking about anti-oppression (like the pledge expresses) several years ago, and it is progressing, but takes time. This is the dialogue all of America must have to move to true “liberty and justice for all.” So watch for the next Snohomish for Equity event and give it a try. And once again, thanks to the Snohomish women: Rachel Escoto, Lisa Odom, Elena Pullen-Venema, Robin Rotondo, Teresa Rugg, and Joan Robinett Wilson, who set this dialogue in motion.

Willie Dickerson

Plan will hinder trucks and tractors

To the Editor:
The Snohomish Second Street beautification project will restrict traffic.
The city plans to make improvements on Second Street from State Highway 9 to Lincoln Avenue. It will include about fifteen blocks at an estimated cost of $15,000,000. The landscaped corridor improvements will have wider sidewalks and narrower vehicle lanes. It will have back-in angle parking and landscaped center medians. Some side streets may not be accessed with turn lanes while others may be closed to vehicles. Community Transit turnouts will be eliminated and buses will stop in the traffic lane to load and unload passengers. Bump outs on street corners will facilitate pedestrian safety.
City leaders are optimistic that by beautifying Second Street, it will enhance First Street.
The increased traffic congestion may double the required time to drive through town. Alternative routes through Snohomish will be sought out within the residential areas. Oversized loads including agricultural equipment will also need to find alternative routes. Deliveries to current businesses will be challenging. Large trucks will have difficulty making the tight turns. Traffic on State Highway 9 may be impacted due to backed-up traffic trying to exit for Snohomish.
The city has received the initial funding for the study and design. It has already applied for construction funding before the public hearing process is complete. If you have any concerns, you need to voice your opinion.
Will the price we pay for the beautification of Second Street be worth the inconvenience?

Dan Bartelheimer

No Letters to the Editor published in the September 19 or 26 Tribunes

Letters to the Editor in the September 12 Tribune:

Do not overreact

To the Editor:
I agree with Snohomish Mayor John Kartak that racial bigotry is ugly, divisive, and wrong. But it is important to understand that the overwhelming number of our residents in this sweet town (and country) of ours are good and decent people. 
The alleged actions of a few are aberrations that will always be with us. They serve as useful reminders of what we are all capable of when we are lead by bitterness and anger. During these times it’s important for all of us to be careful where we let these dark emotions take us. 
 The mayor and council should not assume responsibility for correcting our human shortcomings. “Diversity” initiatives are ineffective at best, and at worst they become propaganda machines of restrained bitterness and anger that perpetuate what they proclaim to reject.That’s not good. Let’s not go there.

Mark Anderson

Taxes are pricing people out

To the Editor:
At the Aug. 21 Snohomish City Council workshop, the city’s finance director stated she is concerned about “systemic problems” in the property tax and the sales tax not being sufficient. The city’s 2019/2020 budget ending balance is estimated at $1.9 million or a reserve of 22.9% of the operating budget. A citizen’s utility bill will show an increase of 2.5% for water and 2.0% for storm water charges.
Yet, the City Council is toying with the idea of more property tax increases with or without a vote from the citizens. Earlier this year, the city’s park project manager favored resurrecting the MPD property tax to help fund parks improvements. During the workshop, the city administrator stated “there will be two future meetings regarding a possible property tax increase.”
The city government is pricing out low and moderate income folks and young people from being able to live in decent housing in Snohomish. In other words, “gentrification.” The Kartak/Schuller administration is squandering as much money on needless projects as the previous Guzak/Bauman administration.
Some of those dubious projects include a roundabout at the 1801 First Street City Shop for the convenience of city employees and inconvenience to motorists; the illumination of city bridges with programmable LED lights; and spending $3 million or so for a “weddings venue” at First and Cedar.
Citizens already are suffering from “property tax fatigue.” Enough is enough. The city can surely and easily live within its means without raising taxes and utility charges.

Evangeline Loranc

Letters to the Editor in the September 5 Tribune:

City could snap up site for residents

To the Editor:

Regarding the Aug. 29 Tribune article “What happens when affordable housing is lost?”:
This article is just one more indication that the city of Snohomish has been ruled by and for geriatrics and developers.
The Pilchuck Ridge site was zoned for years and years as agricultural/horticultural land (Mollgaard and later Shinoda greenhouses).
Paul Shinoda, a former city councilman, and Steve Holt, the former mayor, were instrumental in rezoning all the ag land into high-density apartments and commercial buildings.  Holt at the time was HASCO’s executive director.
Poor, low-income and/or disabled people are shunned by Snohomish city government.  The council will freely give property tax breaks to developers for senior housing. They will give a million dollar land site to a Senior Center for a dollar a year in return.  They will spend around another $3 million at the old Carnegie building in 2019 alone.  They plan to spend $8-10 million to spruce up Second Street to discourage motorists from using it to commute to their jobs.
I have a suggestion for the City Council:
Postpone the $3 million 2019 Carnegie Restoration project and instead purchase the Shinoda site and then lease it to a non-profit such as HASCO, SAHG, or Housing Hope to operate for low-income housing with no age restriction — just as it is now.
The city taxpayers would recoup their investment while helping deserving low-income folks instead of squandering the $3 million for an unneeded “wedding venue/events center” at the Carnegie site.

Morgan Davis

Service is lacking in Everett

To the Editor:

As an Everett resident and customer to local businesses, I have noticed that some stores and restaurants in Everett have some employees that don’t provide good customer service and I am appalled that I see that some of those business owners and supervisors don’t seem to care. I have noticed this at a few places in the greater Snohomish County area and I want to see change. 

Elijah Edens 

Letters to the Editor in the August 29 Tribune:

It just doesn’t fit

To the Editor:
Disneyland and Las Vegas meet the Snohomish River Bridge! Well maybe not quite that classy.
Who is planning this tacky travesty of Snohomish’s character? What regard do they have for architecture, environmental design, aesthetics, preservation or branding? What do they really know about our town?
Snohomish is not all that is modern and trendy. We are one of the few small towns left that typify early 20th century living. Because we are Snohomish we have an opportunity to showcase and brand our city for what it has; small town charm. We should celebrate what makes us special, not model our city after any other.
Yes, it is vital to our residents and businesses that we keep up with modern technologies, and life improving change. We can have wi-fi without embracing electronic signs. We can have smart phones without having the ugliest cell towers available. We can even have business parks without sacrificing character.
We can have a brand without borrowing from Vegas.
We can have success, character and dignity without changeable holiday lights on our bridge.

Colleen Dunlap

Not in Snohomish

To the Editor:
As deeply invested members of the Snohomish community, it is disheartening to report a  recent upsurge in racist activity in our town. Earlier this summer a young man in a swastika shirt stood at the corner of Avenue D and Second Street screaming, “Heil Hitler.” That same week, a photo of local teens, proudly posing with the Confederate flag reemerged on social media. More recently, a large, vulgar, racial epithet was etched on a downtown sidewalk. Then, last week, white supremacist posters were posted on telephone poles around town.
Snohomish is a wonderful, welcoming community; bigotry is not welcome here.
If you, too, feel there is no place for racism in Snohomish, please join us for the first community meeting of Snohomish for Equity on Monday, September 17th  from 6:15-7:30 pm at the Snohomish Library meeting room.
Not in our town!

Jointly signed by
Rachel Escoto
Lisa Odom
Elena Pullen-Venema
Robin Rotondo
Teresa Rugg
Joan Robinett Wilson
Snohomish for Equit

Taxes in measure will harm families

To the Editor:
In response to Karen Guzak’s support of I-1631 (Aug. 22 Tribune letters section), the voters and taxpayers should understand that this initiative is yet another state tax.
While it’s being sold as a fee imposed on the large emitters, it will not only raise the cost of our car gas, but also affect our electricity, natural gas, and propane rates as well. Some estimate this tax could cost an additional homeowner $400 a year!
This state has a horrible record of being responsible with our tax money— look at our traffic, roads, increased crime etc. Do not play into local politics that have promoted this tax during heavy smoke that has come from Canada, the smoke has been from mismanagement of our forests, not due to “extreme effects of climate change” as Ms. Guzak said. She also said this tax will be imposed on our largest polluters, but the law excludes large companies, companies that support these politicians’ reelection campaigns.
If passed, my family will stop using the clean natural gas energy and turn to the burning of heavy polluting fire wood, which will not be taxed under this measure. We are one of the least polluters in the country, this is a money grab, if you want to help the environment, go clean a beach, don’t allow the taxation of some of the cleanest forms of fossil fuels.
Please do research and vote no.

Ty Hammond

An economic killer

To the Editor:
The recent forest fires which has compromised air quality in the PNW in recent weeks is alarming to say the least. The global alarmist always taking advantage on peoples fears once again promoting another bad initiative is just wrong.
What is their next proposal? A lawsuit against mother nature for a carbon fee? Is that anymore rational then banning straws based on a child’s blog and bad science? I-1631 will not create jobs, unless you are hand picked by the governor to head up these “new” committee’s which means more legislative cronyism as these same members will be “hand” picked from the entrenched bureaucratic overlords of the department of health, department of transportation, and the superintendent of public instruction. Carbon fee’s or taxes will only hurt hard working families that will lose jobs due to the Exodus of companies not willing to pay these fees and move to other states. Bad initiatives are just that, bad initiatives. We all want clean air, we all want a clean Earth, there are plenty of great ideas, this is not one of them, do not be fooled or fall under the alarmist fear mongering, this is just wrong for Washington families and wrong again for Washington State. Protecting our home is a world effort, imposing taxes or fees on state industries is not an answer but a economic killer. Vote No on I-1631, your children will thank you.

John Lorenz

Letters to the Editor in the August 22 Tribune:

It’s a chance to cut pollution

To the Editor:
We are blessed to live in the Northwest, but many places on our planet are suffering from the extreme effects of climate change. The time for action for those of us who care about life on earth is NOW.
We have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the widely supported I-1631, known as the Clean Air, Clean Energy Initiative. It aims to: “reduce pollution by investing in clean air, clean energy, clean water, healthy forests, and healthy communities by imposing a fee on large emitters based on their pollution.” The measure would charge large polluters a fee for every ton of greenhouse gases they emit and invest the revenue in clean air, clean energy, clean water, and healthy forests in Washington. I-1631 will create thousands of rural and urban jobs in Washington, and move us toward a greener future.
A coalition of businesses, labor, tribes, environmentalists, social justice, health and faith groups, including our local group, Snohomish Rising are strong supporters.
No doubt the big polluters especially those in the oil industry will try to stop this as they have previous attempts. But we know the time is ripe for this thoughtful, balanced, and highly beneficial I-1631.
Vote yes. I am.

Karen Guzak

You can make a difference

To the Editor:
In a recent town hall, Congresswoman DelBene reminded us of the importance of working together, using our voices to make a difference. Holding two town halls on Saturday (Aug. 11), she listened and spoke on a variety of topics of importance to citizens: hunger, health care, disease control, living wages, immigration, and the importance of a free press. No stranger to working across the aisle, Rep. DelBene was thanked for cosponsoring the bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act to end preventable deaths of millions of mothers and children in our world. She also joined members of both parties as one of the 106 representatives to sign a letter to the administration, requesting bold action be taken at next month’s high level United Nations meeting on the world’s number one infectious killer, tuberculosis. She spoke of the work training programs that she set up under the last Farm Bill as a part of the SNAP program (food stamps) being in danger under the current Farm Bill passed by the House. Our voices requesting the Senate version of the Farm Bill be adopted will avoid the loss of these important programs and save 2 million people from being cut off from help putting food on the table.
This is how democracy works, town halls, and calls and letters to those who represent us in congress make the difference.

Willie Dickerson

Letters to the Editor in the August 15 Tribune:

Proposed changes are not right

To the Editor:
I used to be more pro-bicycle lanes than I am now. I’ve been to Amsterdam, I’ve seen how it’s done right, and in America, we’re probably never going to do it right.
If we were doing it right, we’d put one way bike paths between the planting strip and the sidewalk, with a six inch curb between the pedestrian and bike lanes, on both sides of the street.
When I was younger, I did a fair amount of cycling in traffic, and I’m kind of astounded I survived.
On top of requiring athletic levels of strength and stamina, to handle our hills, it’s just a higher level of stupid to mix bikes and 2,000 pounds of moving death metal.
I’d like to see our roads redesigned. Then again, I’d also like a pony, a truly functional mass transit and my 28-year-old joints and tendons.
Second Street is the main thoroughfare to get to Highway 2 going east from town. Traffic already backs up too much as it is, and we really don’t need to make it worse. The proposed changes won’t increase the quality of the ride for either cyclists or drivers.
Money would be better spent replacing traffic lights with roundabouts where possible. Either do it right, or stick with what we’ve got. First, do no harm.

Chris Bingham

Deck the Carnegie with LED lights

To the Editor:
Regarding the Aug. 8 front page article “Economic growth plan previewed”:
Snohomish Mayor John Kartak hired Wendy Poischbeg to permanently fill the longtime vacant Economic Development Manager earlier this year. According to the article, her first priority for 2019 is to “illuminate a yet to be named city bridge with programmable LED lights.” Presumably, county and state bridges are not on her list.
Ms. Poischbeg’s purpose fo the lighting scheme is to “transform a historic landmark into a destination focal point” and to “create a brand for the city that would attract new businesses.”
I have a suggestion for Ms. Poischbeg and the mayor. Instead of illuminating a city bridge, why not illuminate at the multi-million dollar Carnegie building? It’s already nicknamed “Snohomish’s Taj Mahal”?
Programmable LED lights could, for example, have a weddings theme in June, a haunted house theme in October, Christmas lights in December and January, and a Valentine’s Day theme in February. St. Paddy’s Day in March, etc.

Evangeline Loranc

Chief says thanks

To the Editor:
South County Fire wants to thank voters for supporting the community levy for emergency medical service (EMS). This levy replaced two others that were paid to the Lynnwood Fire Department and Snohomish County Fire District 1.
 After replacing the EMS levy, the final step of the plan calls for disbanding Snohomish County Fire District 1. This will be on those voters’ ballots in early 2019.
 Eighty-five percent of all our emergency calls are EMS-related. Our EMS program has received national awards for the innovative care we provide. Your support means we can continue providing the highest level of service possible for your family and area businesses.

Bruce A. Stedman
Fire Chief, South County Fire

Letters to the Editor in the August 8 Tribune:

Benefits to going without plastics

To the Editor:
Today, most of us understand that we are polluting the planet with plastics. We got rid of DDT, and the birds came back. If we get rid of plastic trash, the seas will recover.  Let’s start with straws!  It’s encouraging to see Alaska Airlines and Starbucks taking steps, and cities like Seattle, New York, and Miami Beach. This movement is spreading around the country and the world.
Consider the economic potential for Snohomish. We’re near the Port of Everett, have tracks in place, and large tracts of underutilized commercial/industrial land nearby. Snohomish could become a manufacturing or trans-shipment center for paper straws. We need forward-thinking development.
Green Snohomish is working to encourage less plastic use in our town, beginning with straws. Join us! Let’s all do our part. Simply ask your server when you order to keep the straw. 
Other things you can do: carry a set of flatware in your purse or car to avoid single-use utensils. Bring your cup to the coffee shop. Use a cloth or paper bag for groceries. Haggen sells a 25-cent re-usable grocery bag, of biodegradable stuff that lasts months. Plastic bags recycle at Fred Meyer, in a bin at the entrance. Changing the plastics habit takes time but isn’t hard. Think of the world you want to leave for your children and grandchildren.

Bonny Headley

Pay raise talks had reporting errors

To the Editor:
Regarding the Tribune’s front page reporting on this agenda item from the July 17 meeting of Snohomish City Council please note:
Linda Redmon did not support a pay raise for the mayor. She explained her reason for wanting the agenda item discussed by the full Council. In summary remarks Council Member Redmon said, of the residents contacting her, only two supported a raise for the mayor, the rest (apparently more than two) did not. She would honor the majority “nay” votes of her constituents.
Steve Dana did not support a raise for the mayor. Rather he supported a citizens’ salary review to determine whether a raise was warranted, based on competitive factors, and Snohomish’s ability or inability to attract candidates to the city to run for mayor. Think about the weirdness of that statement for a minute.
Larry Countryman was the only Council Member who suggested raising the Mayor’s pay; suggesting an amount of $60,000 annual salary as appropriate. As a prelude, Larry Countryman confirmed that he is related to John Kartak by marriage, that he has employed John Kartak in the past, and that he considers him a good friend.
This was a discussion item; there was no vote taken. Reporting the results as a vote of Council is inaccurate and biased. But if you want to report a “show of hands,” for the record, the accurate result would be 5 against the Mayor’s request for a raise, 1 pro raise, and one punt.

Janice M. Lengenfelder

Editor’s note: The Tribune stands by how it reported there was a division among council members and also crosschecked with Dana and Redmon on the concerns raised in this letter. When asked, Dana replied that the article represented his thoughts fairly and that he supports increasing the mayor’s salary. Redmon replied that she currently does not support increasing the mayor’s salary, and when asked post-publication said she meant to give a clear statement to this effect in her comments during the July 17 City Council meeting.

Letters to the Editor in the August 1 Tribune:

Wagoner is true

To the Editor:
I am a military veteran and 39th district PCO in good standing who has given my full support and endorsement to Senator Keith Wagoner since April of 2018.  Senator Wagoner has done an exemplary job in Olympia since taking his seat in January 2018.
As veterans, Senator Wagoner and I uphold honor and integrity.
We are no strangers to the moral obligations, and sometimes, the constraints of public service.
After giving Elizabeth Scott, his opponent, notice that I was changing camps in April (and receiving her personal response by email),  I find my name under Endorsements on thousands of Elizabeth Scott campaign handouts and mailers.  When I protested to her campaign staff, I was called petty.  Need I say more?
I am casting my vote for someone who says who he is and is who he says.  I am voting for Senator Keith Wagoner.

Rod Eggerling
Sedro Woolley

Harmsworth declined meeting

To the Editor:
I decided to email both the candidates for representative in my district, Jared Mead and Mark Harmsworth, and ask for an interview.
Mead responded within 24 hours and agreed to a face-to-face meeting. We met and he gave me an hour of his time and I published a summary of the interview on Facebook. Meanwhile I reached out to Harmsworth twice and heard no response. When I published the interview with Mead,  I forwarded it to Harmsworth and said I would like to have a similar interview with him. He sent me his own responses to the interview I had with Mead. I responded that the published article was a result an hourlong interview with Mead, and that I would need more details if I were to publish his response. He declined to meet in person but agreed to an email exchange and I emailed some follow up questions. After a week with no response I followed up, then again after a few more days. Finally I received a Facebook message that he did not wish to participate further with the interview.
Being a State Representative means representing the people of your district, and you cannot do that if you are unwilling to engage with your constituents. Jared Mead understands this. I plan on voting for Jared Mead this fall. 

Michael Hammond

Letters to the Editor in the July 25 Tribune:

Restoration path costs taxpayers

To the Editor:
The Snohomish City Council on July 17th voted 5-2 to award a $277,000 contract to the ARC Architects for another redesign of the old Carnegie Library site at First and Cedar streets.
In 2013, a quarter of a million dollars of city funds together with a federal grant of three quarters of a million dollars were invested at the site.
The City in 2017 awarded ARC $80,000 for a preliminary concept, now outdated.
The City expects to invest well over $2 million next year to complete the latest plan.  Funding will come from a city fund dedicated for parks (REET), the city’s Utility Fund, the city’s General Fund (sales taxes and real estate property taxes), and an expected state grant of $500,000, courtesy of Sen. Steve Hobbs.
As we recently learned from the county courthouse debacle, construction bids are coming in well over previous estimates.  The same thing will happen with this Carnegie project.
Snohomish Mayor John Kartak and the council have made this project irreversible.  It will be completed no matter what the final cost and harm it inflicts on other critical city priorities.
In other words, this very fluid project over the years has become a “bottomless money pit” — so that Snohomish can have one more place to hold weddings, receptions, and other events.

Morgan Davis

Keep salary the same

To the Editor:
I strongly oppose raising the salary for our new mayor, John Kartak. He has only been in office for 6 months! Would we be having this conversation if Ms. Guzak was still in office? I think not. She was paid less than half of what Mr. Kartak is making and never had her friends lobby the city for a raise. John Kartak ran for office knowing what the salary was and it seems disingenuous for him (through his friends) to ask for more. As far as I can see, this transition in government has already cost the Snohomish property taxpayers more money.
It seems pretty clear to me now why the mayor and his friends did not want to set the salary before the election.

Joan Whitney

Letters to the Editor in the July 18 Tribune:

Don’t soften the curriculum out of sensitivity concerns

To the Editor:
A 2010 Think Progress Report found that states whose resident have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth and that while teens across the country have largely been having less sex and using more contraception, teens in rural areas have actually been having more sex and using birth control less frequently.
When one suggests we “Snohomish-ize” the curriculum because the neighboring county where the curriculum originated is too liberal does that mean we are dooming our youth to fall victim to these statistics? (“School district pivots on sexual health curriculum,” June 27 Tribune). Are we doing a disservice to our youth by not fully educating them on their sexual anatomy and sexual health because we as adults are too conservative? To act as if our students have “specific needs” different than those of our neighboring county students is to deny them knowledge. Why would we ever ask our educators to withhold teaching our children, to edit out facts, or to water down the curriculum when statistics show that those who possess the wisdom make better choices in protecting their sexual health and feeling empowered to use their voice to say no? Our children are being raised in a new era with social media and internet at their fingertips 24/7. They aren’t as naive about sex, genders, or sexual orientation as us adults were at their age. The least we could do is make sure the information they have is factual. 

Kate Kelley

Dangers seen yet again

To the Editor:
July Fourth in Lake Stevens, Washington was extraordinarily loud for a work day/night. Several homes burned. Many burn injuries did not make it to the news or 911 call center.
Several fireworks were thrown at my front door and car. We do not allow fireworks in our HOA property.
Noise continued past midnight. I did not get any sleep. Nearby neighbors have no common courtesy for others. The garbage left behind was not picked up by the neighbors. The air was full of stench smoke fumes for days. Some light flying lanterns of course landed on someone else’s house roof.
Two women at my work said a mortar flew in between her and a lady with a small baby in her lap, the mortar hit her 14 year old’s arm and explode just beyond him, caused ringing in the ear for quite a while. The other woman told me, her friend’s son was taken to Harborview Hospital in Seattle. A firework exploded in his face and blew off several fingers, he’s in a coma as we speak. At my other job a staff person’s son blew several fingers off.
I should not have to listen to or participate in such a dangerous act of unpredictable explosives around me. 
My 13 year old son Shane Lynch died from fireworks.
The firework shattered his forehead to tiny bits, cracked his skull in half from the left ear to the right and burned 90% of his brain.
He lasted 13 days at Harborview Hospital before we had to take him off life support.
Consumer fireworks should be banned completely.

Glenda Lynch

Letters to the Editor in the July 11 Tribune:

Are more cyclists on Second Street a good move?

To the Editor:
This is an open letter to Snohomish city government regarding the redesign of Second Street to reduce the number of motorists using it and to increase the number of bicyclists and pedestrians using it.
I live on Second Street and am concerned about “making Second Street be more like First Street” as envisioned by Mayor Kartak.
Narrowing vehicle lanes, installing separate bicycle lanes and encouraging small children to ride their bicycles on Second Street are not going to make the street safer for anyone.
The bicycle clubs from Everett and Seattle currently arrive in Snohomish from Riverview Road and Airport Way via First Street which has “Sharrows” and a lower speed limit. Why in the world would you want to divert them to Second Street instead? And according to city project manager, Denise Johns, her survey brought an “indifferent response” to the City’s plan from these bicycle clubs.
How many of our elected officials bicycle from home to shop on Second Street?
I understand state Sen. Steve Hobbs was instrumental in getting WSDOT to award Snohomish the $323,000 redesign grant as he is the chairman of the state Transportation Committee.
I respectfully request Mayor Kartak invite Sen. Steve Hobbs to attend the City’s third public meeting on Second Street in August and explain why they believe spending $8-10 million “to make Second Street more like First Street” will benefit Snohomish area citizens.

Evangeline Loranc

Children can be saved through bill

To the Editor:
Thanks for the wonderful visual of the beginning of summer fun, with plenty of free family activities in the area. (“Goodbye school, hello summer,” front page photo of the June 27 Tribune).
We are so blessed here in Snohomish County. Meanwhile, in our world nearly 16,000 children under five and 800 mothers die every day of preventable causes.
We know how to save these lives. The Reach Every Mother and Child Act would help to end these preventable deaths by making our work to do it more efficient. Unfortunately, this life-saving legislation is currently stuck in committee. Our calls, letters, and visits to those who represent us in Congress can build the political will to pass this bill and help save millions of lives. In the midst of our lovely summer days, let’s take a few minutes out to speak up with calls, letters, and visits to those who represent us in Congress to build the political will to pass this bill and help save millions of lives.

Willie Dickerson

No Letters to the Editor published in the June 27 or July 4 Tribunes

Letters to the Editor in the June 20 Tribune:

Consider the facts

To the Editor:
I’d like to respond to some unsettling comments made by Snohomish Mayor John Kartak, council members Sanders, Merrill, Redmon, Dana, and city administrator Steve Schuller during the June 5th city council meeting. All of them attacked the veracity and professionalism of the local weekly Tribune for its reporting of credit card account fraud, uncovered during a state auditor’s office review of city government.
Here are the simple facts:
1.  Three city credit card accounts were fraudulently charged a total of $4,319.70 between May 2017 and April 2018.  Fortunately for the taxpayers, as with most banks, U.S. Bank absorbed the loss.
2.  The City didn’t promptly report the fraudulent charges to the bank to close the account to block further unauthorized charges.
3.  The Snohomish Police Department closed their “stolen funds” investigation as “unsolved”.  To this date, the perpetrators of the fraud have not been identified.
For our elected officials and City staff to attack our local free press for their accurate reporting shows for all our citizens what kind of city government we have now.  (Audio comments of the June 5th council meeting are now available online.)

Bill Betten

Pro 5/2 districts

To the Editor:
The People have spoken. We want 5/2 districts. 
The Everett government survey showed: 
31 percent want five district city council members and two at large. Second place, 29 percent of the people want ALL seven city council members to be from districts. The People have said what we want and its not what city council member Paul Roberts has proposed. 
  This Wednesday, June 20, Everett City Council will introduce an ordinance to put 5/2 and 4/3! on the November ballot. 4/3 received 13 percent on the survey. HALF of the other two plans. 
  Everett Districts Now EDN research and the League of Women Voters found anything less than 5 districts won’t give people fair and equitable representation. 
  Ignoring thousands of People who signed the EDN petition and now ignoring their own survey proves something is wrong.  This opposition is why many People say they “don’t feel represented at all.”
  That said, two city council members support the People’s Choice 5/2. Brenda Stonecipher and Judy Tuohy. But, why not all of them? Why don’t the people have at least a majority of our city council’s support?
  If our system worked, city council would make decisions based on the People’s will. The majority of the people who elected them into office want the People’s Choice 5/2.  
  Our Founding Fathers said the People run the government, not the government runs the People. 
City Council swore a commitment to uphold our U.S. Constitution’s representative democracy.   Everett can do better.  The People deserve better.  If you feel as passionately about this as I do, please email City Council members at 
Brenda Bolanos-Ivory 

Letters to the Editor in the June 13 Tribune:

Making Second similar to First Street a backward step

To the Editor:
Regarding the June 6 Tribune article on the proposed Second Street
corridor project:
As the former business owner of the River’s Edge Cafe on First Street in Snohomish, I know something about the traffic patterns on Second Street.
The reporter writes: “Mayor Kartak envisions how ‘nice’ it would be for Second Street to be more like First.”
I strongly disagree.
Adding bicycle lanes in both directions, constricting the width of vehicle lanes, and planting more landscaping, trees and shrubs obstructing sight distance will not increase pedestrian safety.
What’s needed instead are more modern traffic signal lights at Maple and Pine avenues and a complete revamping at the Avenue D intersection.
Several years ago, bicycles were encouraged to travel on the designated bicycle-friendly First Street and Avenue A. You can still see the “sharrows” the city installed at the behest of Mayor Guzak. Spending $2 million on each of the three phases just so bicyclists from Seattle or Everett can, what, shop at a Second Street furniture store or attend a function at the Events Center? Makes no sense.
The public grant money will be coming from taxes paid by motorists, not bicyclists.
Mayor Kartak should spend the money on road improvements such as more roundabouts and better traffic signals which will
increase safety for pedestrians and motorists as well as the bicyclists.

Gwen Parker

Get the issue figured out

To the Editor:
Only in Snohomish do councilmembers refuse to legislate and then place the blame on the city attorney.
For over two years the city council has failed to produce a viable solution to nighttime noise nuisances from commercial businesses. The loud late night and early morning activities of Fred Meyer, Home Depot, Haggen, Safeway, and the Post Office continue to adversely affect residents’ lives. It is no surprise that the affected residents, who are left in the role of enforcement officers, live outside the favored Historic District where the mayor and most of the councilmembers reside.
Rather than modeling the codes of surrounding cites which effectively handle commercial noise issues, Snohomish continues its long tradition of government impotence.
The council and mayor need to forgo the excuses and contribute to a solution post-haste.

Carey Clay

Be sure to keep theatre in town

To the Editor:
Every time I attend a production of the Village Theatre and KidStage, I am absolutely amazed and thankful that this extremely high quality arts organization is in Everett.  Ticket prices are much lower in Everett than at theaters in Seattle, yet many of the Village Theatre performers have also graced the stage of the 5th Avenue Theater and other large venues. 
According to the article in the May 23 Tribune titled “City arts center contract losses questioned,” the city of Everett’s contract with Village Theatre for management of the Everett Performing Arts Center will be up in August. 
I urge the Everett City Council members to find a way to keep the Village Theatre in Everett.  The city’s expenditures for management and maintenance of the Everett Performing Arts Center facility will be incurred regardless of the name of the company hired to manage the building.  Let’s keep high quality art in Everett by supporting the Village Theatre and the Everett Performing Arts Center.

Suzanne Dahlquist

Put onramps at Airport Road

To the Editor:
Attention all East County motorists who commute through Snohomish to the major job centers using Airport Way and/or the Snohomish-Lowell River Road.
Mayor Kartak is promoting the revamping of Second Street from SR9 to Pine Avenue.  His purpose is to encourage more bicyclist and pedestrian usage while discouraging motorists from using the street as a major arterial to and from the job centers in Everett, Paine Field, and King County.
The mayor’s project manager, Denise Johns, during the May 24th public meeting, indicated she hoped construction would begin in 2020, irrespective of WSDOT’s final SR9 new Snohomish River bridge design, expected to be completed the same year.
The city has placed the cart before the horse.  Whatever design WSDOT and Snohomish County finalize is what should drive the redesign of Second Street.
For example, on/off ramps from SR9/ Snohomish-Lowell River Road, if any, will have a huge impact on commuting motorists.
Mayor Kartak and the city council are making another bad decision bulldozing ahead now instead of waiting for the WSDOT/Snohomish County final design at the SR9 bridge over the Snohomish River and the Snohomish-Lowell River Road.

Morgan Davis

Letters to the Editor in the June 6 Tribune:

Save city money for higher needs

To the Editor:
There seems to be much talk over mayoral pay in Snohomish. In a town of 10,000 people, we cannot afford an expectation of big city level salary for our mayor.
I admire those who are doing their civic duty, and step up to serve their community with their time and talent. It’s not about dollars. It’s about maintaining the quality of life and maintaining the character of our town.
Over more than 40 years of having a council-manager form of government, mayors had a full-time job outside of their city responsibilities. The council and mayor got a stipend for their efforts on our behalf, minimal recompense for the time they gifted to the town they love.
We have a professional city administrator. We have a professional administrative assistant. We have a professional economic development director.
If the mayor chooses to devote time to cutting ribbons and visiting city commission meetings, that is commendable but please don’t ask for the dollars we need for other, more important services.

Julie Davis

Letters to the Editor in the May 30 Tribune:

The salary was set well before election

To the Editor:
Regarding the May 23rd letter, “Mayor’s Salary - Just pay the guy”:
I agree with the letter writer’s words that “I am really disappointed that government is so corrupt in our little town (Snohomish).”  I also agree partially with her statement “Instead of wasting money on the old (Carnegie) library, give the man a paycheck.”
Here’s where I disagree.
Everyone who filed (or not filed) for the mayor’s position knew the salary and what it entailed ($18,000 per year with no set hours to work).
Mayor John Kartak had the option of not filling the City Administrator position and doing the work himself as a full-time, professional executive mayor with a salary similar to the City Manager’s salary of $153,376. Instead, he opted to hire the Deputy City Manager/Public Works Director, Steve Schuller, as the City Administrator with a salary of $166,092 in 2020.
Mayor Kartak also created a new Executive Assistant position and filled the vacant Economic Development Manager position, which each position costing over $100,000 in salary and benefits.
This little town’s government hasn’t changed for the better. Mayor Kartak has kept all the old managers and even hired a couple of new ones. Yes, I agree. Just pay the guy: $18,000 per year.

Evangeline Loranc

Donation means new shelter roof

To the Editor:
The Snohomish Carnegie Foundation is proud to announce we have received a donation from Weyerhaeuser Timberlands.  This donation consists of cedar shake material, valued at $1,500, and will replace the existing roof on the shelter protecting our city’s historic log on the Carnegie grounds.  A big thank you goes to Weyerhaeuser Timberlands and Eric Fritch, owner of Chinook Lumber.  Eric is responsible for securing this donation from Weyerhaeuser.  Our board members are working closely with the city’s parks staff in coordinating the repair work on the shelter this year.  Foundation members and supporters are donating their time and labor for this important project. 
This historic log was donated to the city in 1940 by Lervick Logging Company.  It was paraded up First Street on Kla Ha Ya Days and then ceremonially placed at the Carnegie grounds.  Imagine, this Douglas Fir was 620 years old when it was cut in 1940.  That means it was a seedling in the Lake Roesiger area in 1318 A.D.! 
Our community is marching ever closer to the day that the Carnegie site will be fully restored and once again open to the public for cultural, recreational and educational purposes. 

Melody Clemans
President, Snohomish Carnegie Foundation

Letters to the Editor in the May 23 Tribune:

You, too, can help

To the Editor:
Congratulations to students and other residents of Snohomish County who recently took action to fight hunger. (“Students help fight hunger,” May 16 Tribune).
The students’ fundraising efforts are also to be commended.  There are many next steps available to all of us in a democracy:  calling, writing, and visiting those who represent us in Congress to do something about hunger, in our country and our world.  Right now, the Farm Bill being debated in the House would increase hunger in America with cuts to SNAP (food stamps).  Our Congresswoman Suzan DelBene wrote a great piece in the Seattle paper that explained why she was voting against it. Time to thank and encourage her for her work to end hunger in America.  Not sure how?  Check out RESULTS (, including the Snohomish group, that will teach you to use your voice to make a difference.

Willie Dickerson

Just pay the guy

To the Editor:
I always have to laugh at the letters to the editor. You can always tell who the letter writer voted for by the tone of the letter. I am really disappointed that government is so corrupt in our little town. We can’t get along with each other and yet wonder why there is gridlock in D.C. Mayor John Kartak needs to be compensated for his work just like any of you letter writers would expect to be compensated if you had stepped in to this mess. Instead of wasting the money away on the old library, give the man a paycheck so that he can continue refereeing your petty arguments, biased opinions and pet projects. Instead of calling him names and pointing out his shortcomings, why not volunteer some of your time to see if you can be of some real assistance?

Caroline Baertsch

Letters to the Editor in the May 16 Tribune:

Use a citizen group

To the Editor:
Regarding Bruce Ferguson’s May 9 Tribune letter supporting a full-time salary for Mayor John Kartak: I have to strongly agree with Mr. Ferguson’s premise, implying the equivalency of the mayor’s salary with former city manager Larry Bauman’s salary of $153,376.
It was myself and other charter members of CPR that led the effort to reform city government through the passage of Proposition 2 in 2016. The city had become bloated with a top-heavy management structure. (Snohomish is a small town of only 10,000 population, 50 City employees and has no police force to manage. It’s contracted out to the Sheriff’s Office to manage).
As a candidate, Kartak supported a full-time City Administrator position. He chose Steve Schuller as city administrator. Schuller’s salary contract shows a salary of $166,092 in 2020. Additionally, Mayor Kartak created a new “executive assistant” position and filled the vacant economic development manager position.
Working a “10 hour day every day” is only a sign of “motion,” not “thoughtful action.”
An example: Mayor Kartak’s Carnegie project manager is now saying the basic purpose of restoring the 1910 building, costing multiple millions of public dollars, is to create a weddings venue.
I support a truly independent citizens salary commission to study and recommend to the council an appropriate part-time mayor’s salary based on comparable cities in Washington state.
This is following the “best practices” principle and performing “due diligence.”

Bill Betten

Community embraced us

To the Editor:
It was some 39 years ago that we visited Snohomish from our home in Orange, California. We bought property just outside of Snohomish and moved here in 1996.
We arrived as strangers. During the 22 years we have been here, we have been welcomed with love and given the opportunity for active community involvement, Bob connecting as a social worker and Pat as an educator. We joined St. John’s Episcopal Church, Rotary clubs, and the Chamber of Commerce. Pat was a substitute teacher, and Bob was involved with senior and disabled services at the state, county, and community levels.
It is our desire to use this letter to express our appreciation to the many people we were not able to personally thank, and to say goodbye to this wonderful community. This year we moved to Florida to be near our daughter.

Bob and Pat Knight
Palm Coast, Florida

Letters to the Editor in the May 9 Tribune:

What does it take?

To the Editor:
In the April 25 Tribune was a story about Mayor Kartak’s pay. 
With that being said, how in the world did our past city manager earn a pay raise? Remember the Kendall housing plat that turned City Hall sideways? Under his management, a police investigation, fraud, forgery, pay-offs, and audits took place. Four months later, the guy got a pay raise. 
Next came the Averill Field cell tower deed restriction being removed, by him.  Never approached the City Council for their approval.  Then he gets another pays raise.
John Kartak is making a mistake by allowing himself to work full time.  The city manager worked 40 hours a week, making mistakes, and got paid $153,000 a year. 
I ask the City Council this question:  What mistake must our Mayor commit, other than working 40 hours a week,  to be given a raise in pay?

Bruce A. Ferguson

Study salary before raising it

To the Editor:
The Snohomish City Council is set to discuss whether to increase the mayor’s salary set prior to last November’s mayoral election.
Changing it now after just a few months is premature.  Even civil service positions have a lengthy probation period.
State law states once a mayor has been elected, the council can increase the salary but can’t decrease it; if for example, the mayor takes a part-time job elsewhere.
The council can’t set the hours to be worked.
Giving the mayor a raise now is akin to a “bait and switch” tactic.
The proper thing to do is for the council to appoint an independent citizens salary commission.  It could include good government groups such as the League of Women Voters.  To avoid any hint of a conflict of interest the salary commission would contain only citizens not affiliated with city government, including city boards and commissions members who are appointed by the mayor.
The parameters of a salary survey would be Washington cities with a population between 8,000 and 12,000 under a ‘strong mayor’ form of government. Mean, median, and mode averages could readily be determined by AWC statistics to establish a benchmark.  The citizens’ recommendations should go to the council by the end of the year.

Morgan Davis

No letters to the editor published in the April 25 or May 2 Tribunes

Letters to the Editor in the April 18 Tribune:

Levy’s failure would be impactful

To the Editor:
In response to the questions posed in last week‘s letter in the Tribune titled “Oh no, more taxes,” the answers are a simple Google search away…
The Sno-Isle Libraries web site clearly states that a failure of the levy will result in reductions in staff, reduced purchases of library materials, and reduced hours. While these cuts may seem insignificant to some, many in our community who rely on, and value, the services Sno-Isle provides will feel the impact if the levy doesn’t pass.
If the author, or anyone else, is really interested in the “books” (no pun intended), the answers are only a click away…Sno-Isle budgets are a model of transparency and accountability — a great infographic on their website shows how our taxes are being spent and detailed budgets for the last 10 years are readily available as well.
Like the author, I, too, believe in libraries; if taxpayers want accountability, just search and you will find Sno-Isle is a fine steward of our trust. The $140 (0.38 cents per day) in taxes my family paid last year were a fine investment in our community!

Gregg Lince

We’re already taxed enough overall

To the Editor:
I love the Sno-Isle Libraries; I’m a voracious reader and I use their services every day. We are so fortunate to have such a valuable resource in our region. What I would have given as a child to have had something half as nice.
However, I am concerned to see another request for a property tax hike. Our property taxes are already higher than they’ve ever been and our region’s home prices are rising faster than any in the United States due to the demand from our population growth.
Snohomish has more people paying more property taxes than at any time, ever. Our top-ranked libraries have plenty of money, and our homeowners are taxed enough already.
I hope that voters will begin to prioritize where our hard-earned wages are going and recognize that some families cannot afford every tax, especially in light of inevitable hikes from other bureaucracies in the coming years.

David Kavanaugh

Ballots due soon

To the Editor:
Three cheers for our libraries overachieving with our tax dollars. (Letter by Candace Jarrett, “Support the levy,” April 4 Tribune.)
I have belonged to around two dozen libraries in my life and Sno-Isle is easily the best. Our friendly Snohomish librarians help people of all ages find what they are looking for, from books to videos.
Libraries are essential to a successful democracy. Libraries help inform us of what’s going on in and being a part of our democracy, with newspapers, magazines, and public meetings. We can learn about issues like the No. 1 infectious killer disease: tuberculosis. Or the preventable causes of death for 6 million mothers and children in our world every year and what is being done about it: the bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act. We can find out how to contact those who represent us in Congress and even ask the library to invite them for a public meeting. Of course we can also use the library as a source of entertainment and learning with videos, books on CD, or put them on our phone, not to mention endless adventures with books.
Take the time to vote for keeping all of these wonderful services. Ballots are out now and you can even drop them off at the ballot drop box outside, where else, your local library!

Willie Dickerson

Beware wildfire season

To the Editor:
Congratulations on the opening of its new Fire Training Academy (March 28 Tribune). This new facility offers great training for fighting domestic/industrial fires, the most common problem west of the Cascades. But we are all aware of the explosive increase of wildfires in the dryer Eastern Cascades, thanks to our hotter summers.
Scientists universally agree that from British Columbia to Los Angeles that global warming is creating forest desiccation, making fires spread more quickly and harder to fight. County firefighters have generously travelled to fight fires out of county, even to Klamath.
Residents should visit the county’s “Wildfire Preparedness” website for tips on preventing a wildfire from attacking their homes. But also we must reduce our release of carbon dioxide, the heat-absorbing gas that is the principal cause of global warming. Economists agree that the most direct and least disruptive approach is to apply an escalating fee to carbon-based fuels to cut dioxide emissions. Even ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell endorse the plan. Such a fee on carbon fuels has been proposed by Republican leaders
and the Citizens Climate Lobby. Both groups propose sending all the fee money back to the people, equally, to spend as they wish. Radical idea!

Charles Bagley

Why is the study so expensive?

To the Editor:
Why does Lord Hill need $150,000 for an environmental research study? (“Lord Hill Park users share diverse visions,” April 4 Tribune).
I am curious what would go into a $150,000 research study. Aren’t there established techniques to prevent erosion, promote biodiversity, etc.?
I have made numerous environmentally conscious modifications to my lifestyle based on my personal research: reusing grocery bags, planting bamboo in a barrier for carbon fixation, and buying local food (mostly vegetables). These changes will have saved me money in the long run. Think outside the box!

Thomas Albertson

Letters to the Editor in the April 11 Tribune:

Don’t give tax break to developers

To the Editor:
Your real estate taxes are going up.  If the City Council adopts a 12-year tax moratorium for multi-family developers in their  “Pilchuck District” (roughly Sixth Street south to a block past 2nd, along Maple and Pine), everybody else’s taxes will go up to compensate by their tax levy increasing.  Sad that a 2011 created district, which has had extremely limited development since 2011, now may get a jumpstart at tax payer’s expense.  Maybe the creation of the Pilchuck District was a bad idea  in the first place.  Do we need 3,000 more people in that small area?  Who wants multi-story apartment houses?  Who wants to pay higher taxes to support multi-family developers?  Traffic will be much worse.  It is already horrible.  Leave the “Pilchuck District” alone.  Let Snohomish be left alone.  All these unneeded grand schemes at the cost of higher taxes, more traffic and more crime creates a lessening of the quality of life.
Go to the city website and search “Pilchuck District,” then contact council members and tell them “No!” to a tax benefit to developers.

Mike Coombs

Oh no, more taxes

To the Editor:
Here we are again, another tax. Oh, I mean “levy” because levy is such a softer word to use. 
What exactly are these services that will be terminated? How responsible are they? Where are the books (pun intended) that the tax paying public can examine? Has there been surplus?  When we negotiate budgets in the business world, you bring forth what was spent the previous year, and how that money was spent and projected analysis of the coming year, has anyone ever asked the library overseers for this information? 
I believe in libraries. I believe they serve the greater good. I just believe more in accountability and I see none.

John Lorenz

Has it lost faith?

To the Editor:
The Snohomish Easter parade was a hit again this year and the weather was favorable.  A few of the local churches were present and participated, but the Easter message wasn’t mentioned throughout the entire parade.  I would hope that next year it will be shouted from the roof tops that “He is risen. He is risen. Alleluia, Alleluia.”

Dan Bartelheimer

Letters to the Editor in the April 4 Tribune:

Support the levy

To the Editor:
Our public libraries are the most inclusive, creative and efficient institutions we have. Every member of our community can benefit from what libraries have to offer and now we need to support the Sno-Isle Library system’s request to maintain funding.
When you vote April 24th it is very important to recognize just how fiscally responsible the libraries are. Because our libraries have been so incredibly careful with their funds it is only now, after 9 years and not the 5 originally predicted, that it is necessary to restore the levy rate.
Snohomish’s wonderful library was honored as one of the best in the nation, but it cannot be one of the best if there must be serious cuts in staff, services, programs and acquisitions because not enough people vote for the levy. When libraries have limited resources then opportunities for learning are also sadly limited.
Vote yes for libraries so we can continue to enjoy and be proud of our first class library system.

Candace Jarrett

Analyze first before criticizing

To the Editor:
Regarding Lanni Johnson’s letter in the March 28th Tribune: Johnson is attacking Councilman Larry Countryman and myself for criticizing the council’s August 2017 plan (and re-affirmed on March 6th) to demolish the 1968 Annex without first getting even a cost/benefit analysis of improving both the 1910 and 1968 structures.
The city ordered ARC Architects not to look at an alternate 2018 design submitted by the 105 Cedar Avenue Foundation. That design, also favored by Councilman Countryman, would have restored the original western facade of the 1910 building and constructed a more aesthetically pleasing hip roof on the 1968 annex.  There would not be a necessity for four new restrooms and expensive elevators in an all new, incompatible looking, flat-top annex to the eastern facade of the 1910 building (required for ADA accessibility).
The cost of the city’s plan is yet to be determined.  It could easily end up much more than the $5.1 million public money spent and allocated to be spent.
The 105 Cedar Avenue Foundation’s plan would certainly cost no more than $750,000. (This plan shouldn’t be confused with the City’s 2005 or 2008 plan which would be costlier.)
Compare getting 9,000 usable square feet at a cost of $750,000 with the city’s plan of getting less than 2,000 square feet for $5.1 million (and maybe millions of dollars more).
Finally, basing a multi-million dollar decision on a show of hands in the audience of a council meeting is no way to do “due diligence” which is a critical responsibility of all elected officials.

Morgan Davis

It’s time to move Carnegie forward

To the Editor:
Regarding Councilman Larry Countryman’s March 21 letter in the Tribune:
At the last Town Hall, Larry Countryman was all in favor of saving the annex, with historic Carnegie attached, without benefit of cost analysis review or professional estimates what so ever. When recent citizen turnout (the packed meeting room, Mr. Countryman refers to) clearly supported the removal of the annex, it was time to change strategy.
What is Mr. Countryman’s next gambit? He is saying the amount to be spent on the Carnegie is too much, too variable; that there have been no uses identified for the historic library.
None of these contentions is true. The only valid, supportable cost analyses done to date have been done by professional architects and engineering firms. They all validate original findings; that is, the annex is not economically viable, and the historic Carnegie is worthy of restoring.
The historic Carnegie has many uses awaiting it: arts festivals; performances; ceremonies; children’s gatherings; civic gatherings. The park to be formed when the annex is gone is likewise eagerly awaited, as expansion space for our growing farmers market; more music on the green; outdoor civic gatherings, and picnics.
Mr. Countryman’s insinuation that every resident within the city will have to dig ever deeper to come up with the funds for the project is also disingenuous. The project has funds available to demolish the annex, complete the external restoration of the historic Carnegie, and return the building to functionality.
It’s time to go forward.

Janice Lengenfelder

Letters to the Editor in the March 28 Tribune:

Council acted for public majority

To the Editor:
What I find amusing about both Mr. Morgan Davis’ and Councilman Larry Countryman’s letters to the editor (March 20 Herald and
March 21 Tribune) objecting to the expense for the rehabilitation of the Snohomish Carnegie building and the demolition of the attached annex is their blatant hypocrisy.
Until the City Council had made their decision on what to do about the Carnegie site, both men were working hard to save the annex. Mr. Davis was a proponent of saving the annex at every council meeting, handing out drawings to the audience and the council.
But once the decision had finally been made to move forward with saving the Carnegie, and demolishing the annex (consider how much money saving the annex would have added to the cost of the project), they are both now decrying the expense.
And they whine that the public meetings were packed, as if only supporters of demolishing the annex were allowed in. Not hardly! It was wide open to the public and announced everywhere and anyone who cared could have come. I have been at all the public meetings and they were all overwhelmingly in favor of saving the Carnegie and demolishing the annex. That is why the council voted as they did.

Lanni Johnson

Demolition is being rushed

To the Editor:
Regarding the Tribune’s March 14th article: The reporter wrote: “A private funding plan became a city-funded plan, and a city grant request to the state for $1.95 million was reduced to a $500,000 request this year, a concerning financial flux for some community members.”    And “City project manager Denise Johns would work with ARC Architects to complete as much of the project as possible in one round rather than two phases.”
Phase 1 would spend $1.2 million in city real estate taxes and $450,000 diverted from the City’s Utility (water/sewer) Fund.
So now the city, rather than waiting for a possible phase 2 state grant next year, wants to rush the demolition of the Annex and restoration of the 1910 building in “one round” this year.
What shortsightedness and fiscal irresponsibility from the Kartak administration!
The city is rushing the demolition of the annex even without assurances of secure funding for phase 2, knowing that no matter what the total cost of the project, the taxpayers and utility ratepayers, with their “deep pockets,” will have to cover the eventual cost — whether it’s  $5.1 million or $8.1 million.
This project has become more about an expensive  memorial to Andrew Carnegie than a useful public meeting room, and the veterans I talked with consider it an insult calling the proposed puny lawn a “Veterans Park.”

Bill Betten

Phone meetings provide better reach

To the Editor:
I attended a Town Hall, conducted by state Rep. John Lovick, in Mill Creek a few weeks ago.  There were about 20 people in attendance and, even though I am of a very different political persuasion, I found the discussion interesting and commend him for taking the time to meet with his constituents.
More recently, state Rep. Mark Harmsworth had a Telephone Town Hall, which, as I understand it, included more than 500 participants.  Questions covered a variety of topics: the usual — car tabs, property taxes, I-405, the trestle, etc. — and, those who weren’t able to ask their question in the limited amount of time were encouraged to call his office.  There were folks calling in from Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Mill Creek and other parts of the 44th Legislative District.
Doesn’t it make sense to utilize today’s technology to reach more people? 

Jeannette Sumpter

Letters to the Editor in the March 21 Tribune:

Councilman: Is this path we’re on the right one?

To the Editor:
Are we using Snohomish city funds wisely?
There is a reason that the Carnegie Foundation has taken 12 years to determine what to do with the historic building located in Snohomish’s downtown business district. The Carnegie Foundation Group has not been able to determine the end cost of the construction of the building, they have not been able to determine a use or purpose for the building and after it is finished who will be responsible for the expense of the maintenance and servicing of the building.
It appears that no one is able to realize that the funding for this demolition and renovation will be coming out of the city budget with help from a possible state grant. In my opinion, it is the council member’s responsibility to be accountable and be good stewards for how we spend the taxpayer’s money.
The Snohomish City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 6 was packed with over 100 people supporting the tear down of the 1964 annex. They plan to pay for this project with excise taxes and money from our water and sewer utility funds. The residents who live in the City of Snohomish are already burdened with high real estate taxes along with high utility bills and typically, are not aware of how the City spends their tax money. Many of these voices were not heard and represented at this City Council meeting.
As a Snohomish City Councilmember, my question is, are we using the City revenues for this possible $4 million project wisely?

City Councilman Larry Countryman

Countryman was in the 5-2 council minority on pursuing the Carnegie plans as proposed. (See story here)

No Letters to the Editor in the March 14 Tribune

Letters to the Editor in the March 7 Tribune:

Levy renewals make no sense

To the Editor:
With the passing of the two Snohomish school levies, the District was given another “hall pass.”
Since 2014, the Administration made no effort to avoid the 2018 redundant levies. They will again simply wait for 2022 to show up.
Why the need to “fill in the budget gaps” with a levy?  Did these gaps create themselves?  No.  These gaps were allowed because staff decisions were made to support extra programs without money. The public really doesn’t know how or where all this money is spent.
The unpleasant truth is a fact. 43 percent of your new property tax will go to School District 201.  Our district will receive $30 million in 2022  levies. What-in-the-Hell are these “extracurricular programs?”  

Bruce A. Ferguson

To have peace, end hunger

To the Editor:
Wonderful responses to the thoughtful idea of peace in honor of Martin Luther King (“Student voices beckon for peace in honor of MLK,” Feb. 28 Tribune).
Peace begins when hunger ends, not to mention the 6 million preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and children under five in our world, every year. Like these students, members of Congress from both parties are supporting peace in our world by ending these deaths. Nearly one-third of the members of Congress, including state Rep. Suzan DelBene, have cosponsored the Reach Every Mother and Child Act to end these preventable deaths. Let us be inspired by the children, and thank our members of Congress for this working together to pass this life-saving legislation.

Willie Dickerson


Letters to the Editor in the February 28 Tribune:

Writer: Kartak blew it

To the Editor:
At the Feb. 20th Snohomish City Council meeting, Mayor John Kartak announced his appointment of Steve Schuller to the position of City Administrator.  Mr. Schuller is knowledgeable, experienced, and well-respected, and most people agree that he is a good choice.  
However, upon making this announcement, Mayor Kartak revealed that he sought input from a small, exclusive group of individuals, including at least one private citizen who (presumably) does not hold an elected or employed position at City Hall.  Mayor Kartak refused to reveal who was on this advisory panel and also refused to explain the process he followed in making his decision. To defend his actions, Kartak stated that this hiring decision was personal, and his use of these advisers “wasn’t for the benefit of anyone but myself.”  
Is the City Council simply expected to approve the mayor’s appointments and decisions without all of the relevant information?  Is this really more democratic than our former, collective, council-manager system? 
John Kartak championed Proposition 2 (which resulted in our now “strong mayor” government and his subsequent election) as a means for the community to have a greater voice in leadership and an end to what he characterized as “back room deals.” For someone who ran on a platform of transparency and representation, Mayor Kartak’s words and actions Feb. 20 were anything but.  

Alyson Knappe Davis

Good job on taxing yourselves

To the Editor:
Congratulations Snohomish, you’re now taxed on an already set tax, good work.
Your taxes passed by thin margins. Now that we all end up paying, I would now expect the school board to be accountable with the monies they receive now? But what happens now? How fair is this when only select “the homeowners” have to pay? You do realize this means higher rent being passed on to those who cannot afford it, and higher taxes for those in the middle class with a modest income and a modest home. 
The state in 2017 already imposed more taxes for education!
That is called trickle-down taxanomics and it is a killer of economic prosperity for families already over taxed and burdened, just ask Carnation in King County who sees now 30 percent higher tax rate on the homes they own. My question is when will it be enough? When will we demand that these districts actually account for the money they receive? 
Do not be fooled Snohomish, taxing more is not the answer.  It is too late to say no to more taxes this round, but when is it enough 50 percent? 80 or 90 percent?
After all, we live by budgets. Why not they?

John Lorenz

Letters to the Editor in the February 21 Tribune:

We need out-of-the-box thinking

To the Editor:
With projections indicating one million more people will be moving into Snohomish County by 2040, I don’t think three lanes for our proposed new U.S. 2 trestle would be adequate and I believe we need to focus on four lane options.
A gas tax will become less of a viable financing option for our new trestle construction as more cars on our roadways become increasingly fuel efficient. On top of that, no one likes the idea of financing by tolling. A toll is just another tax that very likely will never go away. So without any appealing financing plans, we are put right back behind the eight-ball.
We need to develop a solution to this problem that our citizen commuters can accept with the understanding that our pace for population growth will not be slowing. We need new ideas here, something of that out-of-the-box sort to solve our need for infrastructure expansion without leaving that sour taste in our mouths from tolling or an expanded gas tax. As a native to this region, I know there’s no magic wand to wave and make everything work out but if we have the technology to land two booster rockets autonomously following a space launch, we should have something available to solving our infrastructure financing predicaments.

Faron Shanklin

Letters to the Editor in the February 14 Tribune:

Choose your seafood wisely

To the Editor:
When you are sitting in a restaurant, do you wonder where the food came from? Will that same food be there for generations to come?
These are the questions that had me start asking local restaurants where they got their seafood. I received answers ranging from local markets to “some big company, I don’t know.”
The Puget Sound region is known for some of the best seafood but, how are we getting it? This question strikes a debate for two reasons: sustainability and cost.
When I considered distributors of seafood for our lovely town of Snohomish, I wanted to know which providers were looking to the future and which were looking at their wallet.
I am not here to bash companies but, among better options, Ocean’s Beauty, Aqua Star, and Trident Seafoods all had their mission statement front and center, showing what and how they were making a positive impact on the industry. Keep that in mind the next time you head to a restaurant and ask the waitress/waiter where they receive their seafood, take a note in your phone and look them up later. I am not suggesting that if it isn’t one of the listed above that you should leave, but keep it in mind when you decide you want to go out in the future.
One of the main ways to effect change is to affect the bottom line and if you support those that are making environmentally conscious decisions to be sustainable then that is a step in the right direction.

Bryant Widener

Leaders not fiscal conservatives

To the Editor:
According to county assessor Linda Hjelle, for the average-valued home or condo, the owner (and indirectly renters) will be paying a tax increase of $600 in 2018 versus last year.
Two-thirds of this increase is due to last year’s Republican-controlled state Legislature trying to partly implement the McCleary court decision to fully fund basic K-12 education.
44th District Republican state Rep. Mark Harmsworth voted for this disaster of a plan.
Rep. Harmsworth also in December sponsored a state capital grant of $1.95 million for the City of Snohomish to demolish the 1968 Carnegie Annex and construct a new eastside annex with elevators to serve the original 1910 basement and its upper level.
This $1.95 million grant is supposed to be matched with $1.65 million of city funds for a total project cost of $3.6 million.
Now, what are the citizens going to get? Less public meeting space as the annex will be demolished.
Rep. Harmsworth and his fellow politician friend Mayor John Kartak are not fiscal conservatives. They are beholden to special interest, while the city and state taxpayer are the ones left “to hold the bag.”

Evangeline Loranc

Letters to the Editor in the February 7 Tribune:

Board president calls levy passage critical

To the Editor:
I am asking the citizens of Monroe to please support the Replacement of Expiring School Program and Operations levy on the February 2018 ballot.
Here are a few important reasons why I support the levy:
Health & Safety. Our top priority is the health of our students and to ensure all of our schools are a safe learning environment. This requires local funding for things such as School Resource Officers, nursing staff, safety equipment, safety and emergency preparedness training, student safety programs and more.
Athletics. We have an incredible athletics program in Monroe. Athletics open many doors for our students and teaches lifelong skills that students may not gain in classrooms.
Extracurricular activities. Clubs and extracurricular activities are important in developing well-rounded students and are crucial in helping students develop social skills, create a sense of belonging, and add to students’ skillsets outside of the classroom. Our levy dollars make up the majority of the funding source for all clubs and extracurricular activities.
This critical levy bridges the gap between what the state funds and what our district relies on to open doors and do great things on a daily basis. I encourage everyone to have your questions answered with facts. Contact a board member or the district and be an informed voter. When you have the facts, you will see that it is clear that you need to vote yes to support the great work that the Monroe School District is doing in support of our students!

Darcy Cheesman
Monroe School District School Board President

Letters to the Editor in the January 31 Tribune:

Ample public comments help guide council

To the Editor:
As stated in the Tribune (Jan. 24 edition), the City Council agreed to permit public comments during discussion items for now.
Many people thank you.
By doing this, the council will be more successful in meeting the will of the people.
Now, this new council will not force the dazed and confused to be quiet. You want to know who the geezers are.

Bruce A. Ferguson

A proposal

To the Editor:
In Communist Russia, store shelves were frequently empty with customers lining up in the morning to capture a few sparse necessities. In capitalist countries supermarket shelves are filled to overflowing. Abundance is wonderful!
Could jobs become abundantly available as well? In any country? Examine the following: There are currently proposals of a $15 an hour minimum wage. Let’s imagine instead a $30 an hour wage enforced. Would
that not be wonderful for some? Yes. But enormous numbers of businesses would have to fold, leaving fewer remaining jobs for a greater number of jobseekers. Even the most ardent Democrat would have to agree. By going in the opposite direction, however, even Republicans get nervous! If wages were allowed to descend to near zero an hour — what certain Congressional pages are said to be “paid” — job offers could go from sparse to abundant! Why would anybody work for miserly wages? Giving invaluable learning experiences besides testing of interests and talents are some reasons.
Scandinavia has abandoned socialist thinking in this case with no minimum wage laws. Will the USA follow?

Gunnar Unneland

Letters to the Editor in the January 24 Tribune:

Equitable education can be made worldly accessible

To the Editor:
Exciting times for the community to participate in the technology with students and teachers. (“Snohomish School District’s first Future Ready Education Expo,” Jan. 3 Tribune)
We can be so grateful the Snohomish schools do this kind of teaching that will definitely create better futures for students and citizens.
Sadly, in other parts of the world, 263 million children don’t get to go to school. Thanks to our democracy, we can participate in changing that. Right now there are bipartisan resolution in the House (H.R. 466) and the Senate (S.R. 286) supporting the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) efforts to give these kids a chance. We can help make sure 25 million of these children get the opportunity to go to school by using our voices. First, thanking Snohomish County Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene for cosponsoring the House Resolution. Second, we can request Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to cosponsor the Senate Resolution. Let’s change the future through education around the world, just like we do for our local students in Snohomish.

Willie Dickerson

Town halls a more appropriate venue

To the Editor:
11 p.m.
That’s what time the city council meeting on Jan. 16 ended, two hours past the scheduled end time.
Because of the citizen comments on every agenda item.
The council discussed stopping the citizen comments on discussion items and instead allowing them only on action items at council meetings - with a new and better opportunity to learn about and discuss all upcoming agenda topics at Town Halls.
There were a few loud citizen comments (of course) that didn’t like that idea. However, as a full-time working parent of two young children, as are many in the community, I can’t be at council meetings until
11 p.m. In fact, the crowd that stayed that late were mostly older citizens or those heavily invested in the meetings. The majority of the crowd left before hearing about the exciting news of walkability and biking improvements to Second Street and the new Community Outreach Officer.
Encouraging open conversation and citizen comments at Town Halls will allow the
City Council to listen to citizen comments, discuss and spend quality time thinking about the topic and community input prior to a council meeting, where they can then efficiently and confidently conduct business at council meetings.
I encourage citizens to support shorter, more productive and well-informed council meetings by limiting citizen comments at council meetings to action items only and hold accessible Town Halls dedicated to public comment on discussion items.

Jessica Newkirk

No letters were published in the Jan. 17 Tribune.

Letters to the Editor in the January 10 Tribune:

Where’s the economic development?

To the Editor:
At the December 5, 2017 council meeting in Snohomish, six people brought up the importance of hiring an economic development person for our town to continue to thrive. We need to keep our local business strong and recruit new businesses as 52% of the cities revenue comes from sales tax.  Three of our current council members, Guzak, Sanders and Schilaty, all expressly stated this should be a top priority. Four citizens brought up the importance of bridge building, to bring our community together after a contentious election. At the end of the meeting the new mayor, Mr. Kartak, seemed tone deaf to these issues as he addressed neither economic development or bridge building, instead brought up the non-issue of safe injection sites (something that this city has no plans to do and not one has even considered as there isn’t the demand or infrastructure). It is disappointing to me that the new mayor would so easy dismiss actual Snohomish issues and council goals. Homelessness and addiction are a priority for the council but this non-issue, for Snohomish, addresses neither and is a complete distraction. Are we going to continue to be distracted with issues that take place in Seattle, or Lynnwood, or Marysville? Towns that Mr. Kartak, while campaigning, continued to state he didn’t want to become but chose to attend some of their council meetings and mirror what they are doing while disregarding the real issues at home.

Mary Curry

Not knowing is half the battle with Kartak

To the Editor:
My email to Mayor Kartak mid-December offered congratulations: He was now in charge of the city’s website. I pointed out that the long-neglected History of Snohomish page was rich in embarrassing errors, not the least of which was the link to Wikipedia that still listed Tom Hamilton as mayor!
Within short order, Mayor Kartak got the Wikipedia page about Snohomish corrected, listing Mayor John T. Kartak; while the city’s history webpage was not.
In my December message, I included the quick fix suggestion to use the excellent synopsis of Snohomish history written for the Historic District Design Standard’s upgrade that was approved at Mayor Kartak’s first council meeting.
The change could have been done by the time Mayor Kartak left for lunch.
Further unhappiness: Mayor Kartak has not responded to my email, as requested, to let me know he had staff working on my suggestions, or not. Could this oversight be due to the fact he knows I did not vote for him and that his boast to the press to be the mayor of all Snohomish is easier said than done?

Warner Blake

Herald showed bias, writer says

To the Editor:
An editorial published in the Tuesday, Nov 21 Herald referred to Everett City Councilman Paul Roberts’ proposal to create a citizen districting committee.  According to the Herald, Roberts suggested several things need to be done: Appoint a nine-member committee by the Mayor and City Council; appoint a Districting Manager by the committee to work on a districting plan to be completed by May 2018.  Roberts announced at the Dec. 20 City Council meeting that he is now considering having the Everett City Council members develop their own districting proposal, without creating a citizen committee.
 In my opinion, the Herald editor was biased in his approval of Roberts’ proposal, which has not been approved by the Everett City Council.  Unfortunately, the editor’s bias could influence the council members’ vote on this districting proposal plan. 
City Councilman Roberts has not submitted any final proposal on districting to the city council for their vote. This Herald editorial should not have been written until the Everett City Council approves or disapproves Paul Roberts’ proposal.  If the Herald’s
editorial staff thinks the Everett City Council consisting of four districts with three at large members would serve Everett better, then why haven’t they spent the time, money and effort to create a proposal to bring it to a vote by Everett citizens?

Bob Creamer

Alternative group founder explains building vision

To the Editor:
Regarding the Dec. 27th Tribune letter: “Snohomish Carnegie Building—Changing funding plan shortchanges civic project”:
The 105 Cedar Avenue Foundation was established in 2017 to save and protect all of the historic properties at 105 Cedar Ave. in Snohomish. That would include the original 1910 building (a 2-story 4,000 square foot building); the 1968 Annex (an ADA friendly 5300 square foot one-level); the “killed in action” War Memorial Statue and pedestal (to be returned to its rightful place, front and center to the main entrance at the western facade of the 1910 building, where it would be a solemn reminder of the ultimate sacrifices our local soldiers made); and the 600 year old Douglas Fir stump.
Another foundation, the Snohomish Carnegie Foundation, has a different goal. It is the 2011 Master Plan.  It involves demolishing the 1968 Annex; adding a new annex to the east side of the 1910 building; moving the 600 year old Douglas Fir stump off-site; planting grass where the 1968 Annex once stood; and moving the War Memorial to the southeast corner of the plat (directly across the street from the Stewart’s Bar).
The 105 Cedar Avenue Foundation’s plan will cost the taxpayers no more than $450,000 or about $50 a square foot for over 9,000 sf of usable office and meeting room space.
According to the city’s Carnegie website, the Snohomish Carnegie Foundation’s 2011 plan (in yesterday’s dollars) would cost $5.1 million.  If implemented in phases, the ultimate cost could be closer to $8 million or $2,000 per square foot for the 4,000 square foot 1910 building.

Bill Betten
105 Cedar Ave. Foundation

Letters to the Editor in the January 3 Tribune:

Training dates for volunteers available

To the Editor:
By the time you read this letter, the Snohomish Cold Weather Shelter will have been opened 20 nights (240 hours) since November. The forecast for the first weeks of 2018 shows more freezing weather on the way. The Shelter will be ready!
The grassroots, community based emergency shelter operates with volunteers and financial donations. Will you consider joining your neighbors by becoming a volunteer? Free training is offered:
Saturday, January 13th, 10 a.m. - noon or Monday, January 15th, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Registration is requested to Therese Quinn, or (425) 339-5268.
Men, women, and children set up their cots each night and make their beds with blankets and a pillow that are provided. Guests warm their hands around a hot cocoa or coffee to chase away the cold before bed and receive a light breakfast and sack lunch to start their day. Thank you, Snohomish, for your compassion and hospitality to those in need!
There is always hope.

Janet McElvaine

On taxes & fiscal responsibility

To the Editor:
Next year, 2018, as a result of the McCleary court decision and the state Legislature, Snohomish area property taxes will increase. A homeowner of a $330,000 home will pay about $330 more in school taxes than in 2017.
In the city of Snohomish, the new mayor has collaborated with the city councilwomen and the Carnegie Foundation to pad the Carnegie restoration project even more.
Last August, the city council approved an ambitious $1.65 million Carnegie project using city real estate taxes and diverting utility ratepayers’ water/sewer funds. That plan involved demolishing the historic 1968 Annex and planting grass in its place because some residents consider mid-20th century architecture “ugly” (A city councilwoman and city parks board chairwoman reside across the street from the Annex).
Now, after just a few months, the cost of the project has ballooned to $3.6 million. To make up the $1.95 million shortfall, the City is counting on a grant in that amount from our local state legislators. In my mind, demolishing a 5,000 square feet building because of “aesthetics” and spending $3.6 million to refurbish a 4,0000 square feet building is simply a “vanity project.”
Aren’t there more pressing priorities in our city and state governments? This expected $1.95 million state grant indicates our local state legislators, Mark Harmsworth, John Lovick, and Steve Hobbs are not fiscally responsible as is our mayor, John Kartak, a big disappointment.

Evangeline Loranc

City should have done due diligence

To the Editor:
The City of Snohomish’s Carnegie Building website shows a very misleading statement. Namely, under the 2011 Master Plan, the website author writes, “Those past Carnegie Building outreach efforts have shown a strong interest in preserving and improving the original 1910 building, removing the 1968 Annex, and restoring the surrounding property to provide public gathering spaces.”
Intentionally or unintentionally, the author failed to mention the fact that the 2011 Master Plan had no public opposition because the $5.1 million restoration project was to be paid for by PRIVATE donations to the Snohomish Carnegie Foundation.
Now, the city TAXPAYERS and utility RATEPAYERS will have to foot the bill. After a dozen years of fundraising, the Snohomish Carnegie Foundation was able to raise only $45,000 in private donations, far short of the $5.1 million goal.
City officials should now take a fresh look in 2018 at ALL viable options, including keeping the 1968 Annex and deleting the planned new Annex to the east side of the 1910 building.
Further, the City, in its rush to remove the 1968 Annex, didn’t even call for a structural engineer’s report on the viability of the one-story, 5,300 square feet 1968 Annex. What were they afraid of?  
In my opinion, this lack of “due diligence” is grounds for misfeasance charges against city officials.

Morgan Davis



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