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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 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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