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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
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Letters to the Editor published in the October 26 Tribune:

Snohomish Proposition 1
Fireworks killed her son

To the Editor:
Accidents happen all the time. SUVs back over children because of blind spots. There are car collisions. Children are victims.
Shane Lynch at age 13 died from fireworks in 1999. He grew up in Snohomish. My son might still be here today if the public was taught about flash powder and told how it can ignite from static electricity, many fireworks are made with flash powder.
Every year boys get injured, houses, garages and yards catch fire. Animals need to be medicated. Many suffer from severe allergies from smoke in the air. And all the garbage left from fireworks.
Public shows are safer for families.
Shane lasted 13 days at Harborview; he died nine hours after taken off life support. Holding my son’s hand and kissing him goodbye when he took his last breath is not something a parent wants to experience. His 10-year-old brother lost his big brother because of fireworks you can buy at any stand.
Unexpected things happen in life. Writing a loved one’s obituary is hard, especially if it’s your child.
All the expert medical experience could not help save Shane because of the extensive injuries. His skull was cracked in half and most of his brain had burned from a firework. I hope Snohomish votes to ban fireworks. Save children from hand, eye, arm, leg injuries or death.

Glenda Lynch

Snohomish Proposition 2
City needs refresh

To the Editor:
Snohomish city attorney Grant Weed has been employed since the 1970s when the council supported a change from a strong to weak mayor government structure. Presumably because they didn’t like Payson Peterson, the strong mayor who was popular with the average citizens and a well-liked employee of Poier Motors on Second Street. 
At a recent council meeting, Grant Weed proudly stated his job is to represent the city manager Larry Bauman, weak mayor Karen Guzak, and the rest of the council members, but not the citizens.  Larry Bauman represents the council, not the citizens, and has been employed as city manager the past 14 years at a cost of over $150,000 annually for the small town of Snohomish with only 48 city employees. 
Proposition 2 merely adds an elected official to replace two appointed officials (city manager and weak mayor). That elected official is the strong mayor who will foremost represent the citizens and cannot become an entrenched bureaucrat because he or she will face re-election every four years.
I am against the wasteful spending and the inordinate concentration of power that we have all witnessed the past few decades.  Frankly, I don’t understand why the opponents of Proposition 2 are so worried and emotional about the citizens choosing the mayor. They must think the voters are stupid and only they, the opponents, know best.
It’s time for “new blood” (figuratively speaking) at City Hall, so I’m voting yes on Proposition 2. 

Evangeline Loranc

Judge's race
Larsen disappoints

To the Editor:
I was not surprised to learn about the Attorney General filing charges against judicial candidate Cindy Larsen. After numerous complaints and a unanimous PDC ruling that Larsen broke the law, consequences for Larsen are appropriate.
I expect more from a judicial candidate. At the very least, I expect a basic understanding of the law and a candidate who will actually follow the law themselves. Just as a number of Larsen’s endorsements have been withdrawn, I will not cast my vote for Larsen and will not reward her for breaking the law. I encourage you to do the same.

Bob Blair

Snohomish City Manager
City manager should step away

To the Editor:
Two major shortcomings by our City Manager, Larry Bauman, should conclude with his departure. Yet the City Council gives him a raise? Is this corrupt government?
First, owners of homes in the Kendall and Denny neighborhood are billed for the fees which the city failed to collect from the developers. No safeguards were in place to ensure fees were collected. Collection fell on the shoulders of one person. And she failed to collect, leaving the City with an embarrassing and costly nightmare. Billing the homeowners up to $20,000 or more for the city’s mistake. This falls on our City Manager.
Second, the deed restriction from 1922 which protected Averill Field (current Boys and Girls Club) from commercial development, was undone by our City Manager to accommodate Verizon’s desire to have a cell tower placed on the property. The Deed Restriction, granted by Snohomish County, used the phrase “For Playground Purposes Only” four times on the deed and was included in the legal description. Yet, our City Manager, evidently without Council’s knowledge and without any public notice or input, undid this 92-year-old Deed Restriction.
What a shame. Can one really think he has the citizens of Snohomish at heart? Is it too difficult to be “open” to the citizens of this great town?

April Brodel

Snohomish Proposition 2
A city manager is needed

To the Editor:
Please vote no on Proposition 2 to change the form of government in Snohomish from Manager-Council to a Mayor-Council form of government. 
Changing to a Mayor-Council creates another layer of government pitting the elected mayor against the seven member council. It doesn’t serve citizens of Snohomish when layers of government point fingers and shirk accountability.
Currently, the seven member council is accountable to each citizen. The manager, hired by the council, is a skilled professional who implements policy set by council and runs the daily administrative duties.
We could be stuck with a rogue Mayor for four years. The only recourse is a costly and painful recall process.
The Manager-Council led government in the United States was created 100-plus years ago in response to political parties and/or individuals having too much control/influence. The purpose of a Manager-Council led city is to have seven elected local citizens set policies for the manager to enact.  The manager cannot act independent of the council.  In a Mayor-Council led city, the whims of a single person can dictate.  That’s why the citizens of Snohomish changed to the Manager-Council form of government 40-plus years ago. 
We need a professional, skilled manager who understands how government works and who can competently run the day to day administrative duties, not a political figure who puts our city at risk for political infighting.  Vote no.

Lynn Schilaty

The Tribune
Undecided voter chides word choice criticism

To the Editor:
In regards to Warner Blake’s letter in the Oct. 12 Tribune: I don’t know who Warner Blake is, but he sounds unnecessarily angry.
He challenged the use of the word ‘debacle’. I thought the word was used appropriately because the city did suddenly and ignominiously fail the residents of Snohomish on the tower issue. We were not adequately informed about the rezoning change of Averill Park. Nor were we informed about the effort to build the tower where our children play until late in the game. It was only when a groundswell of opposition appeared did the city back off the tower “debacle.”
It seemed like all the mayor’s early communications were with the carpetbaggers representing the tower, rather than with the people of Snohomish.
Proposition 2 seems to be the “child” of the tower “debacle.” Many people in Snohomish feel that the mayor did not represent their best interest. That may be true because we did not elect the mayor; she was chosen by the council.
I know several people who signed the Prop. 2 petition and are personally being challenged for signing the petition. In my half century of voting and signing petitions, and from my 41 years of teaching government, I’ve never heard of someone’s First Amendment rights being challenged in this way.
I haven’t made up my mind on Proposition 2, but Warner Blake’s condemnation of the Snohomish Tribune may have helped me decide.

Mike Therrell

Letters to the Editor published in the October 19 Tribune:

Snohomish Proposition 2
City doesn't need a strong mayor

To the Editor:
The individuals who introduced Prop. 2 are trying to convince us that we need to add a strong mayor to “balance” the power of our elected seven-member council. These proponents must not be up to date on local news. Our neighbor, Snohomish County, just recently had to deal with the fall out from their elected Executive Aaron Reardon. Aaron Reardon was investigated for misuse of public funds and sex scandals. He finally resigned in 2013 in the midst of a recall effort.
This is a layer of government that I think the city of Snohomish can do without. I will be voting no on Prop. 2.

Elizabeth Larsen

Snohomish Proposition 2
City manager only accountable to a council majority

To the Editor:
Voters in Snohomish have an important decision to make this election, go back to the historic traditional elected mayor-council system or to keep the council-manager form of government.  Folks involved in this movement feel that a Mayor should be accountable to the voters.  They don’t feel that the current system is very responsive to citizen input.
I served on the City Council from 1990 through 1997 and was elected “Mayor” three times.  During those years, hundreds of citizens came to me with their concerns about how the city was being run and asked that I investigate, explain or help in some way.
I learned during those years that the city manager was not accountable to the citizens, but only to a four vote council majority.  That is not much accountability.  It puts a lot of authority in the hands of one person who seldom suffers consequences if he screws up.
An elected mayor would be required by law to be a resident of the city, to stand for election and make a case for him or herself to be the CEO of the city. And, if he falls out of favor, a new one is elected. Do you know how hard it is to change city managers?  I do, and it’s not pretty.
Folks who tell you that our city will suffer if we change to an elected mayor must have no faith in the voters of Snohomish.  It’s time for the voters to choose their leader.  
Vote yes on Proposition 2.

Steve Dana

Snohomish Proposition 2
Changing system wouldn’t improve it

To the Editor:
As a resident of the city who has worked for 15 years on land use and environmental protections in Snohomish County, I am voting no on Proposition 2.
City councils are the decision-maker on how our land is developed and how our water quality and wildlife habitat are protected.
All cities have staff, whatever their titles are, whether they are administrators, managers, directors or planners, who do the necessary work to bring ordinances to city councils for consideration. Many land use and environmental protection ordinances are mandated by state and federal laws. While each city has some flexibility in how they interpret these laws and apply them to their land use plans and codes, city councils ultimately carry the responsibility to adopt ordinances that meet state and federal laws, and even the cities’ own policies, not the staff.
Any citizen has the opportunity to be involved and can appeal ordinances they feel do not meet the law. I have been before almost every city council in this county at one time or another advocating for smart growth land use policy and strong protections for water and wildlife. There is no evidence in my opinion or experience that changing our government to a strong mayor would make our city better than it already is.

Kristin Kelly

Snohomish Proposition 2
Acrimony tiresome

To the Editor:
Much is being made of the fact that some people in Snohomish have not lived there for the entirety of their lives and, because of that, their opinions and wants for the town are somehow irrelevant or mal-intended. “The Mayor has only lived here for 20 years”, “They (Prop 2 dissenters) are outsiders”, “…don’t know our town…”, “they are just hipsters and elitists..” are just a few of the comments being regularly thrown out on social media.
Snohomish speaks very clearly. The town’s history and way of life are evident in the buildings, businesses, social clubs and activities, everywhere.  Anyone who has lived here for even the shortest amount of time can see the heart of the city.  I would even venture an educated guess that most “new” residents moved here for those exact reasons and would like to see the town’s values and traditions maintained as much as the people who grew up here. It is disrespectful and, with it being election season, unwise to completely disregard an entire cross-section of residents and potentially alienate many voters.  Votes aren’t a points system where you get more for having lived here longer. Newer residents have as much right to be heard as anyone else.
It’s difficult to understand why some people work so hard to divide.  We should be focused on having a healthy community and good schools and flourishing businesses, not on name calling, mud-slinging and making up stories about bad intentions of leadership and fellow residents/voters.

Kari Zimmerman

Letters to the Editor published in the October 12 Tribune:

Snohomish Proposition 2
Find proof petitioners cost city money

To the Editor:
In response to Mary Pat Connors’ Sept. 21 letter titled “Petitioners are wasting city money”: The author needs to prove her claims that the petitioners behind Prop. 2 are the culprits of increased record requests.
I wonder if the blame for increased record requests could be on the city manager and city mayor and City Council? If the  city manager never removed the 92-year-old deed restriction protecting the Boys and Girls Club site from commercial development, then most likely less requests would have occurred . If the city manager was open about the city’s dealings with Verizon in regards to a cell tower on the property, then less requests for information would have occurred.
Concerned about the city wasting money? Then take note of the “Open Government Committee” where the city wasted over $15,000 to $20,000 on how to be more transparent. And at a focus group held in Kirkland to work on the Open Government Committee where some citizens - committee members attended, the Mayor and some City staff, from behind a see through mirror, spied on this focus group as it convened. Not a rhythmic start of an Open Government Committee.
Maybe such actions by our city’s leaders are to blame on the increase of public information requests?
Maybe we are missing the true cause.
Our city manager, mayor and council need to be held accountable. Vote Yes on Prop 2.

Mike Coombs

Snohomish Proposition 2
City is already run effectively

To the Editor:
As someone with many years of management roles in Fortune 500 companies and the military, I know an effective organization when
I see it. You can tell they are effective by the results they are getting. 
The city has fixed many roads, improved the intersection at First and Avenue D, added an effective roundabout at Avenue D and Highway 9, added to the Centennial Trail and assisted with the Aquatic Center.   These are all great assets to the city and will be for many years to come.
Like an old farmer once told me “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”  The current organization structure works well.  With the strong mayor like Monroe, business interests were able to take over that one position and run the city in their own interest, not in the interest of the public.
Stay with the current structure.  It is much harder for any one group to monopolize and the current structure is getting great results.

Mike Waggoner

Snohomish Proposition 2
Response: Figure in letter was right

To the Editor:
Karen Guzak misrepresented my Sept. 21 letter in her letter (Oct. 5 Tribune letters), as I was accurate in stating council raised the city manager’s income to above $200,000 (salary and benefits).
Our single-branch government has the city manager (executive) representing politicians rather than citizens. This means council (not voters) controls mayoral power and City Hall. Concentration of power like this sidesteps voters and ultimately diminishes a sacred obligation to transparency and truthfulness.
Example: Our executive claimed Averill Park’s “playground use only” restriction wasn’t removed to erect a cellular tower – although documentation acquired later explicitly proves otherwise. Council, instead of reversing this secret, unauthorized move, raised the executive’s salary!
Next, council spent thousands of dollars to hire Strategies 360 and a handpicked, controlled focus group to “investigate” transparency problems, during which Mayor Guzak hid behind a two-way mirror.
At September’s Council meeting, I was ridiculed for asking if our executive hid alongside her: Our mayor’s partner shouted  “Fool!” Councilman Burke used words like Facebook troll, rat, and mole. I can’t accurately quote him because three weeks later, meeting minutes still aren’t available. Council couldn’t even raise a quorum to hold their next scheduled meeting.
Conclusion: I’m seeing wholesale desperation, evasiveness, secrecy, and doomsday distortion of Proposition 2 (and its supporters). Although hundreds of citizens created Prop. 2, we’re called a “small,” “disgruntled” group. Rather than remaining neutral, council officially condemned Prop. 2, asking citizens to “vote no.” They clearly want to preserve (their) entrenched, political power;
We the people want to preserve Snohomish for the citizens!  

John T. Kartak

Averill Field Deed Restrictions
Concerns were not “misplaced”

To the Editor:
In regards to Elaine
McClain’s letter in the Sept. 28 Tribune:  she stated I was “misplaced” with the fact that a cell tower lowers property value. If that were true, the tax assessor must be wrong.  As he explained to me, a cell tower is a “minus” in assessing your property values. It makes no difference where it is built.
Also, she is giving the City Council too much credit for stopping the tower being built. The social media, the people, the pressure, is the reason the Council changed the zoning.  They changed the code because  the people of Snohomish did not want a tower.  Had we not expressed ourselves, that tower was going to be built. (This was the cause for the deed restriction being removed in the first place). The city needs the revenue, making themselves the lessor of the property the tower would sit on.
“But wait, there’s more”:    a tower in Snohomish may still happen. The city will be joining a consortium, that will represent them in its bargaining power to negotiate a tower in Snohomish. Does that sound like the council is making the effort to protect our property values? Of course not.
My concern about property values is not “misplaced.” My concern about a tower is not “misplaced.” I care about Snohomish and the people who live here. That includes people who are “dazed and confused.”   

Bruce Ferguson

The Tribune
Paper used biased wording

To the Editor:
The Tribune wrote, “last year’s cell tower debacle”  in the Oct. 5 article (page 11) explaining both sides of the issue before the public on the November ballot.  It’s one more example of the Tribune adopting the language of the opposition rather than doing the work of reporting that illuminates the issue for its readers.  It may have been messy, as human efforts often are, but the process worked: no cell tower and the Averill Youth Complex remains protected from commercial development.
In other words, no “sudden and ignominious failure,” one definition of debacle.

Warner Blake

More letters are in this week's paper edition

Letters to the Editor published in the October 5 Tribune:

LEOFF 1 pensions
Bill robs state law enforcement pension fund

To the Editor:
Senator Barbara Bailey efficiently keeps her hands clean by not being a “visible” sponsor of Senate Bill 6668, but her fingerprints are all over it.
Bailey is chair of the higher education committee, currently court mandated to balance the underfunded TERS pension plan. Note there is an alternate plan rather than Senate Bill 6668 introduced by Republican legislators. In January of 2017, this group is seeking to raid the LEOFF 1
“surplus” in an attempt to balance the budget. LEOFF 1 pension system money came from sacrifices made by generations of fire fighters and law enforcement. My husband is a third generation Seattle fire fighter. His grandfather started collecting 50 cents a month from Firefighters in the early 1930s for the foundation of LEOFF 1 Pension system. Without an insurance or disability pension too many families suffered.
Since the creation of the union in the 1930s, LEOFF 1 had control of this pension plan, investing wisely for almost 90 years to what is now a surplus.
Bailey wants to balance her education budget gifting LEOFF 1 to the teachers (TERS).
LEOFF 1 should be merged with LEOFF 2 to continue to provide healthcare benefits to all fire fighters and law enforcement and not used to balance the budget.

Caroline Stuart
Camano Island

Snohomish Proposition 2
"Strong mayor" system didn't work in the past

To the Editor:
I am voting against Proposition 2, a return to the Mayor/Council type of governance.  
I remember when Snohomish had this Mayor/Council form as it became less effective and less efficient.  It didn’t work well for our town then and it will not work any better now.  There will be a fraction of the number of eligible, qualified, and interested candidates compared to a much larger pool of potential city manager applicants.  A change back to the Mayor/Council form will result in more administrative costs for added personnel resulting in less money budgeted for projects and services.  It is easier, quicker, and less costly to remove a city manager than to remove a mayor.  Proposition 2 may be a wish to return to simpler times.  It is, in effect, a misguided step backwards.  Please vote no on Proposition 2.  

Gary Ferguson

Snohomish Proposition 2
Prop. 2 could save city big money

To the Editor:
According to recently released City of Snohomish Finance Department budget estimates for 2017, the cost of administration is set at $563,932 (see Sept. 20th council agenda item 7(c), attachment A on page 169). 
The $563,932 covers three positions: the city manager, the HR-Clerk, and the economic development manager.  Not included is the recently created deputy city manager position at the cost of $169,155.
I support Prop. 2 because it will save city taxpayers money and streamline government operations with better accountability to the voters.
For example, one possible scenario:
The recently promoted deputy city manager would simply report to a full-time “strong” mayor with an annual salary and benefits totaling $150,000.  This new strong mayor could easily absorb some of the economic development manager’s duties, saving even more money.
Another possible scenario:
A strong mayor paid about $40,000 along with a newly created full-time “city administrator” position at a pay of about $150,000 annually.  Both the city manager and deputy city manager positions would then be deleted.  This is the model neighboring cities Lake Stevens and Monroe have chosen.
The actual determination of strong mayor pay will ultimately be decided by the 2017 city council if Prop. 2 is approved in November.  Either scenario brings significant savings annually.
Opponents of Prop. 2 already are resorting to puerile, negative letters making personal attacks against Bill Betten.
Snohomish matters. Please vote yes on Prop. 2 for better and less expensive government.

Morgan Davis

Snohomish Proposition 2
Fighting is not productive

To the Editor:
I love the opportunity I have had to live, work, and serve in the community of Snohomish for 45 years. Since my retirement from Snohomish High School, I have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering for various projects and organizations in the community. I absolutely support the current form of city government. I have always found the City Council to be attentive and responsible. I may not always get the response I wished for, however, I was listened to and treated with respect. An atmosphere of contention is not a productive environment. It appears to me that some of the supporters of changing the current form of city government thrive on contention.
I hope the good citizens of Snohomish can come together to preserve our current form of government.
Let’s continue to foster the positive and work together to strengthen this great town. Reaching consensus through shared dialogue is much more productive than future contention.
I support voting no on Prop. 2.

Susan Cedergreen

Snohomish Government model
Guzak: Letter writer wrong

To the Editor:
In my opinion John Kartak’s letter in the Sept. 21 Tribune shows little
understanding of our current Council/Manager form of government.
He calls our City Manager Larry Bauman, “our supreme Executive…with full Mayor Power.”
Wrong! Instead, our manager is a public servant, with no mayoral veto power, follows strict professional standards, not political biases; a highly educated and experienced employee of the elected City Council. Unlike a mayor, a manager can be fired immediately for not doing the job.
Your Council has consistently approved the outstanding performance of our manager and recently gave him a cost of living raise of 2.25 percent, amounting to $3,214.24 per year. This amount is not the $20,000 Kartak quoted.
Council stands behind the many accomplishments of our current Council/Manager government that has been in place since the citizens abandoned the strong mayor form in 1971.
Look at the evidence of the last 45 years of good governance: new parks and trails, thriving businesses, new road projects, water and sewer systems that exceed standards, a police force that is doing a great job. By a recent poll our beautiful city is one of the top 10 small cities in the nation!
The Yes on Prop 2 initiative wants to bring back the old days of a crony mayor.
Amateur management by a strong mayor can cause countless problems. In fact, experience shows that it encourages conflict between the Council and Mayor. Witness the current conflict.
Council unanimously passed Resolution 1351, asking voters to vote no on Proposition 2.  

Mayor Karen Guzak

Protecting animals
Toxins are still harming animals

To the Editor:
In regards to: “For the love of wildlife,” Sept. 28 Tribune: To protect wild animals we must protect and save their environment — their place to live.
Owls, eagles, hawks eating rats killed by D-Con rat poison are dying. Do not see, hear in Snohomish one owl where there were dozens a few years ago. Do not see many hawks and eagles on trees around Snohomish. This poison/chemical use is deadly, we must act to stop it now. There will be no second chance for “saved” wild animals when they will be released to the present toxic environment.

Jiri Janecek

Letters to the Editor published in the September 28 Tribune:

Averill Field deed restrictions
Rezone moots cell tower concerns

To the Editor:
In regards to Bruce Ferguson’s letter in the Aug. 31 Tribune: His concern in August, about loss of property value, is misplaced. The deed situation is meaningless because some months ago the City Council changed the zoning to “Parks.” That prevails over other restrictions. The council changed code to not allow cell towers in parks.
The council is doing the right thing to protect everyone’s property values.

Elaine McClain

City manager's pay
Pay raise should have been paused

To the Editor:
Our city manager is being awarded another pay raise (Sept. 14 Tribune, page 3). My question is why?
Since the last pay raise, we have experienced a very difficult road in the way citizens deal with City Hall. Of course people will denounce that fact, but you want proof? Proposition 2 is alive and well.
Perhaps the City Council should have postponed this pay raise after the November vote on Prop 2. I say this because a pay raise is based on past and present results by the person who gets a raise. A raise in pay is based on results, not effort.
Our city manager now is paid $147,000. Our governor is paid $174,000. A $27,000 difference. Our city has a population of 9,000. The state has 7 million. Is something wrong here?
With all that has taken place here in town, a pay raise was out of the question.
Our city manager is a smart person. He doesn’t live in Snohomish city limits, meaning he doesn’t pay city property taxes.
When the City Council hires a new city manager in the future, I for one would support making it a requirement that the person live in town. That way, he or she will share the tax burden.
I think our current form of city government is here to stay. However, I would like the city manager and the City Council to be better stewards of running our town.

Bruce Ferguson

Letters to the Editor published in the September 21 Tribune:

Government change measure - Proposition No. 2
“Strong mayor” system makes head of city accountable

To the Editor:
Joan Whitney said in her Sept. 14 letter in the Tribune that “having seven equal council members is more democratic than one strong mayor.”
Yes Joan, we have seven Councilpersons: one called “mayor” (without mayoral power). However, our supreme Executive, the unelected City Manager, has full Mayor power at City Hall. The City Council is his boss. They recently gave him a raise to over $200,000 a year for salary and benefits. Such concentration of powers is opposite of democracy. Returning to our original “Strong Mayor” government gives back to Snohomish a real mayor — the same executive power we have now, but accountable to voters, not controlled by four politicians (a council majority).
CPR-Snohomish was founded by exactly one Democrat (Rolf Rautenberg), one Independent (Bill Betten), and one Republican (myself). We welcome disagreement, and only want the people’s voice heard, regardless of their vote. Of course we hope for a “yes,” but our association’s core value is this: Advocating for all of our neighbors.
This is exactly why we made Proposition 2 amidst Karen Guzak’s bitter opposition. She literally (publicly) did not want you to have this choice.
The Strong Mayor governing form is based on the U.S. Constitution. Our current City Manager form is based on the big business, corporate monopoly model. Is our Strong-Council monopoly out of touch with small-town Snohomish? Please vote yes for Proposition 2.

John T. Kartak

Public records requests
Petitioners are wasting city money

To the Editor:
I have been waiting for the Tribune to publish a story outlining the high cost to our city due to the frivolous, nuisance requests from petitioners who are trying to revamp our form of city government (“Records requests blowing city legal budget,” Sept. 7 Tribune).
I have been a member of the Economic Development Committee, a citizen’s committee that advises the city, for many years. I have been involved in two rounds of strategic planning with other citizens. I also currently serve on the Hal Moe Pool Advisory Committee.
In all of these committees, my efforts have been toward encouraging tourism and encouraging townspeople to shop in Snohomish so we get the benefit of their tax dollars for our general fund. To now see that depleted by this small group angers me.
Where do you want your tax dollars spent? Please vote no on Proposition 2.

Mary Pat Connors

Carnegie Building
Letter writer reversed facts

To the Editor:
Certain statements about the Carnegie in Evangeline Loranc’s letter in the Sept. 7 Tribune are untrue. 
She states: “the 1968 annex...provides the structural support to the 1910 building in the event of an earthquake.”  This is not only untrue, but exactly the opposite is the truth.
The city received a federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and with those funds completed an approximately $900,000 structural earthquake (seismic) and roofing upgrade in 2013 to the historic 1910 Carnegie Library building. The 1968 annex is not seismically upgraded; the roof, mechanical and structural systems are in poor shape and is not worth saving. The annex is merely living out its last days.
Sno-Isle Libraries made a determination almost two decades ago not to remodel, and instead built our beautiful library on Maple Avenue in 2003. In the near future, the repair and maintenance costs for the annex will be more than the rental income can generate. 
It appears to me that Ms. Loranc is seeking to further the agenda of the group who have been on a malicious campaign to accuse the City Council and city manager of lacking fiscal responsibility and frugality.  

Diana Carver

Letters to the Editor published in the September 14 Tribune:

Government reform measure - Proposition No. 2
Petty attacks not pretty

To the Editor:
I’m curious as to what Mr. Betten and his cronies would do if the current mayor system is in fact changed and they happen to dislike who is elected or the decisions they make.  Remember that a strong mayor has “almost total administrative authority and a clear, wide range of political independence.”  Will they file another recall? 
It’s absolutely ridiculous to watch these adults come to City Council meetings only to spew venom at the council and then sit back down with smug grins like they have won something.  They disrupt the meetings with out-of-turn comments and then run home to their Facebook page and cry out “oh the injustice” with some very twisted half-truths they sell as fact.
Let’s remember that when community decisions don’t go exactly as you want, it is not a personal attack!  I’m appalled at the disrespect shown to the city’s elected officials.  I hope that people will do their own research on the contentious issues and not just take the word of a misguided crusader.

Kari Zimmerman

Government reform measure - Proposition No. 2
Status quo offers a stronger democracy

To the Editor:
There is an effort afoot in Snohomish to unseat Mayor Karen Guzak and the council-endorsed City Manager, Larry Bauman.
The atmosphere recently at the City Council and Parks Department meetings brought by this small group of people is shockingly negative, leaving residents and city officials feeling harassed and intimidated.
This group maintains that they don’t have “hidden agendas” and only want to change the form of “weak mayor” (council-manager) government that has worked so well for us to a “strong mayor” system, like Monroe or Lake Stevens. We love our small, historically preserved town. Why change it?
Having seven equal council members is much more democratic than one strong mayor, who can be solely influenced by outside money and interests.
I know which one I’ll be voting for: No on Prop 2!

Joan Whitney

Lake Tye Cable Park

Let wakeboard plans die

To the Editor:
As a Monroe citizen who has been opposed to a private-for-profit business using our tax supported park, I was happy that our saga with H3O had ended. The City Council voted 7-0 denying another extension.
Now we turn to Aktion Enterprises (owned by Ski Nautique) as having supposed interest in taking over the creation of a wakeboard park at Lake Tye. I hope all concerned citizens and elected officials do research on Aktion. They seem to have little use for a single-user tow line.
In Michigan they bought a single line park, shut it down and built a park that can tow multiple skiers at one time.
Lake Tye is still not the place for this business.

Trish Lautensleger

Letters to the Editor published in the September 7 Tribune:

Pink paint vandalism
Check area stores

To the Editor:
As already suggested: check out McDaniel’s, Home Depot, Target in Lake Stevens for the purchase of unique pink spray paint before the vandalism.

Ken Huck

Carnegie building
Displeased with plans for Carnegie

To the Editor:
Regarding the Aug. 31 Tribune article, “Carnegie Building meeting space plans revived”:  In 2014, the city manager and council supported the concept of a $2.5 million meeting space in a new 1,500 square foot building separate from the 1910 Carnegie Building (see July 15, 2014 council meeting minutes.).  It involved tearing down the 5,000 square foot 1968 annex because the nonprofit Carnegie Foundation members thought it was not “aesthetically pleasing,” although it provides structural support to the 1910 building in the event of an earthquake. 
With this latest item, it reinforces the public’s perception that our city government is not fiscally responsible or frugal. Eventually tearing down a perfectly good, one-story brick building and pouring more money into a two story building with no elevators for the public proves the council and city manager haven’t yet learned the value of a dollar. 
The solution for a new council chamber is to place it in the existing 5,000 square foot 1968 annex after a modest remodeling. 
And why is the council spending $150,000 on an architect to redesign the Hal Moe Pool building when the citizens haven’t decided what they want to do with the site?  One of the options that was supposed to be under consideration was to simply remove the pool building and salvage the glu-lams and plant playground grass with possibly the addition of a gazebo for rest and recreation. 

Evangeline Loranc

Letters to the Editor published in the August 31 Tribune:

Averill Youth Complex Deed Restrictions
Attorney spun facts

To the Editor:
City attorney Thom Graafstra made this statement as reported in the Tribune: “The deed restriction for playground purposes only, was not really enforceable, since the Snohomish Playground Association, is no longer around to uphold the land use restrictions” (Aug. 24 Tribune, page 3).
Who in the Hell hired this “spin doctor” ? 
This restriction was filed and recorded with the Snohomish County Court House. This restriction was of record as found in the legal documents filed years ago, before it was removed by City Hall. 
Mr. Graafstra is right in saying the people who own and filed this restriction, “are no longer here to uphold the land use.” These people do not have to be here, because having “of record”  upholds the  future, long after people have come and gone. That is the reason we all have property rights, because we have these documents in place and recorded, to protect us.
One more thing: any cell tower lowers the market value of your neighborhood and the house you live in. Ask any assessor. I did. Is there any city attorney out there who wants a tower in their “hood”? Any City Hall staff ?

Bruce Ferguson

Global education
Kids need school

To the Editor:
Time again for back to school sales and kids enjoying their last summer days, a new school year is on the way.  But for 59 million children in our world there is no primary school.  Though this is down from 100 million in 1999, we can cut this number even further.  
The bipartisan Education for All Act would work to do just that.  Cosponsored by Reps. Larsen and DelBene, this bill would guide America’s effort to create a comprehensive strategy with coordinated efforts to encourage long term sustainable systems to educate all children. 
Engaging with key partners like the Global Partnership for Education and both public and private donors, American efforts would have a greater impact. The results would decrease poverty, increase economic opportunities, and create a healthier population. 
Let’s thank Congressman Rick Larsen and Congresswoman DelBene for their leadership and ask them to double their efforts to help pass this life-changing legislation. 

Willie Dickerson

Student car wash well-run

To the Editor:
The swim and dive teams from Snohomish High and Glacier Peak did an outstanding job at their fund-raising car wash on Sunday, Aug. 21.
Not only did they have two working lines, a complete crew on each line, they had a team to dry off and squeegee windows before each spankin’ clean car left. Fabulous job. Thanks to Les Schwab for providing the venue.

Mary Dessein

Letters to the Editor published in the August 24 Tribune:

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

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

Morgan Davis

Howarth Park beach access
Beach access still closed, unsafe

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

Bob Bozorth

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

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

R. Todd Fredrickson

Letters to the Editor published in the August 17 Tribune:

Government restructure ballot measure
A city manager helps guide growth

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

Jan Lengenfelder

Letters to the Editor published in the August 10 Tribune:

Boat launch vandalism
A way to find clues

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

Bill Thomas

Fire district merger
Monroe fire chief thanks public

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

Fire Chief Jamie Silva
Monroe Fire District 3

Letters to the Editor published in the August 3 Tribune:

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

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

Lucy Moody

Government restructure
Paper assumed city admin position

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

Evangeline Loranc

(No letters in the July 27 Tribune)

Letters to the Editor published in the July 20 Tribune:

Government restructure
Not a good idea

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

Terry Cohn

United Way Senior Center funding
Tackling poverty commendable

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

Joanne Hiersch

Mayor recall effort
Don’t shame Guzak

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

Melinda Gladstone

Mayor recall effort
Writer: Council gave away money without consent

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

Susan Mitchell

Mayor recall effort
Public under attack by effort

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

Lisa Webb

Letters to the Editor published in the July 13 Tribune:

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

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

Donna Ray

Mayor recall effort
Guzak is doing a good job

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

Linda Steen

Mayor recall effort
Criticisms are unhealthy

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

Elaine McClain

Zika virus in Snohomish County
Support federal efforts

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

Willie Dickerson

Community thank you
Finding gifted gravestone brought mom to tears

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

Megan Anderson

Letters to the Editor published in the July 6 Tribune:

Mayor recall effort
Recall will cost city money

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

Mary Pat Connors

Mayor recall effort
Guzak is an upstading leader

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

Tom Pendergast

Open government
Discrepancy in goals apparent

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

Bruce Ferguson


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

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

Arlyce Hopkins

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