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Letters to the Editor - April 17, 2017

  • Written by Readers

FUNDING K-12 EDUCATION

As a parent of two grown children who were able to flourish academically in alternative educational programs in Washington state, I wish to express my support for a tax system that can supply the revenue necessary to keep our state-based educational programs, including the gifted, homeschool, running start, and high school technical opportunities that we were able to access; plus many others that should continue to be funded and available to students of all learning styles. Not all kids benefit from a one-size-fits-all traditional learning environment. My kids didn’t fit that mold and could have been lost in the shuffle, but because of the availability of our state’s educational choices, they were able to find and pursue their passions and become the successful adults they are today.

The Democratic House budget proposal will not only fix our upside-down tax code, but it effectively sets Washington state up for a brighter future by fully funding K-12 education for students of all learning styles, thus creating the means for our state to sustainably invest in our shared future.

The house budget does this in part by closing the capital gains loophole, which will generate almost $715 million that can be invested in education, infrastructure and our fellow Washingtonians.

Thriving communities depend on excellent educational opportunities. We need to clean up our tax code to raise the $4 billion needed to fully fund our schools, as mandated by the Washington Supreme Court. Every year, we lose billions of dollars that could be invested in our schools because powerful special interests and the wealthy have manipulated our tax code to benefit themselves. If we eliminate wasteful tax breaks and make sure the wealthy chip in what they owe, we can close the McCleary Gap.
 
Robin Wyll,
Concerned Woodinville Parent
 
OUR CIVIC CAMPUS IS ABOUT TO BE ANYTHING BUT CIVIC
 
Merriam-Webster’s definition of Civic Center is “a large public building for sports events, concerts, etc., a section of a city or town where there are public buildings.” The definition did not include five-story apartments or hotels!
 
At the March 28 meeting of the City Council a consulting firm presented four ideas which they considered suitable options for our three-acre Civic Campus between City Hall and City Landmark Woodinville School. Their discussion can be viewed at http://www.ci.woodinville.wa.us/CityHall/CouncilVideos.asp?view_id=2
 
Unfortunately, except for the YMCA, none of the proposals even mentioned public buildings. Townhouses, five story apartments or hotels with huge parking garages were the ONLY options! Five story hotels or apartments, in the middle of our Civic Campus between City Hall and Woodinville School, mean the campus will no longer be civic. Except for the Y, there will be NO public places for Woodinville residents. Apartment dwellers or hotel guests will occupy our town’s unique and irreplaceable three-acre Civic Campus.

If you have concerns and opinions about the future of our Civic Campus, please let our council members know. Their email addresses are on the city’s website http://www.ci.woodinville.wa.us/CityHall/CouncilMembers.asp.
 
Phyllis Keller
 

Letters to the Editor - April 10, 2017

  • Written by Readers

Litter

Thank you to Grace Baird for bringing attention to the trash along Avondale. I would like to add my voice to hers regarding the litter problem in Woodinville.  Every road leading into and out of downtown Woodinville is littered. We live in a beautiful part of the world but it looks like a third world country where they just dump truck loads of trash beside the road. (FYI. It is mostly beer bottles and pop cans so you can guess who is tossing their garbage.) I have called the city, county and state about the litter problem but nothing has improved.  If the city of Woodinville would declare a city-wide cleanup day a couple of times a year and encourage everyone to go outside their homes or businesses and pick up the litter, it would be great! I have been picking up the litter coming up on Hollywood Hill past the medical center for the past year. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a senior citizen and my children are not happy with me being out on the road but I just can’t ignore the trash. I count the litter and when it reaches a certain point, I clean it up. The last couple of weeks there has been a litter fairy. As I was thinking about stopping to pick up the trash, I noticed some of it was gone. The next day more of it was gone. Whoever you are, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!  Let’s be good citizens and appreciate this beautiful country!
 
Carolyn Norton, Woodinville

DEYOUNG PARK

I feel it is important for the community to know the Parks and Recreation Commission supports the transformation of DeYoung Park 4-1. Three design concepts ranging in cost were developed by Site Workshop, the consultant chosen to create a design concept for DeYoung Park. There are several reasons why the Commission felt investing in such a small park was the right decision. The Park is small; but, its location is both ideal and unique, in the heart of the downtown surrounded by retailers and lots of activity. I voted in favor of the transformation of this Park; because, this alternative achieves the goals expressed by the community through the public engagement process. Many expressed the importance of adding lighting, incorporating play, enhancing the existing tree canopy, and creating infrastructure that supports events; such as the Saturday Market. This alternative meets all of these objectives along with enhancing accessibility for all users and creating a warm and inviting unique gathering space for the community to relax and play. Revitalizing the park will benefit both the community and will support the businesses in the vicinity by drawing in people looking for places to shop, eat, relax and play outdoors. Investing in parks is an investment in the future of our community as well as the youth. 

Julie Elsom
Woodinville Parks and Rec Vice Chair

Letters to the Editor - April 3, 2017

  • Written by Readers

ENCROACHMENT

I understand the concern about commercial business encroachment onto designated farmland that Tom Quigley addresses in his letter to the editor of March 20. King County needs to step up and make a decision on this controversial issue.

I would like to point out that the City of Woodinville is also responsible for this problem. Commercial growth should be happening within the City of Woodinville as required by the State Growth Management Act.

Unfortunately, any commercial growth and development is limited at best.

The current mayor and City Council have a long and well-documented history of opposing commercial development.

The City Council asked the former city manager if the city could refuse to comply with the urban development requirements stipulated in the Growth Management Act. The former city manager pointed out the absurdity of this request.

The City Council has rejected proposals to develop the Old Woodinville School site.

The City Council has made it impossible to develop the proposed Woodinville Wine Village site located at the base of Hollywood Hill. That project is for sale again, making its completion indeterminate. Thousands of square feet of legally designated commercial, retail and residential space are left undeveloped indefinitely. The city also continues to lose opportunity for significant tax revenue, which could benefit our community.

If the City of Woodinville would work with – not against – developers and our business community, there would be more space for urban services our growing community requires. That would take pressure off encroachment onto county designated farmland.
Reed West, Woodinville

TROOP SUPPORT

Everyone in my neighborhood knows I buy Girl Scout cookies from any young lady who knocks on my door or has a table set up outside the supermarket. They don’t even have to ask – I gravitate straight to them. Because I’m on a mission.

This year I bought over a dozen boxes of cookies, but I’m happy to say I did not gain a pound! Because I did not eat any of them. Zero. None. Was I tempted to try the new S’mores flavor? Goodness, yes! Did I want to bring Samoas home for my kids? Uh-huh! But no one in my household ate a single cookie, because I asked each Scout to please pick out their favorite type and send them directly to the Troops.

I don’t know when the Girl Scouts started this program, but I am so grateful it is still around. I remember when my son was deployed to Iraq, how much I wanted to send a part of home to him. What could be more American than Girl Scout cookies? (Apple pie wasn’t going to survive USPS transport). We tend to think of the troops at the holidays, which is wonderful because it is probably the most difficult time of the year to be away from family.

We do our patriotic duty and think of them on the 4th of July. But what do we do for them in between? Girl Scout cookie season is over, but you can still do your part to make a service member’s day just a little bit brighter. The VFW Hall in Redmond sends packages to Troops on the front line. How do they do this? Strictly with volunteers. Who do they need to keep making this possible? YOU!

To donate your time at a local Fred Meyer collection site, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To donate financially, please write your check out and mail it to:
Lake Washington Post 2995
4330 148th Avenue NE
Redmond, WA 98052
Cassandra Sage, Kirkland

DEYOUNG PARK

I wanted to share something wonderful with the community. The city staff and Parks Commission have been working tirelessly for over a year now on a plan to transform DeYoung Park from an unused and unknown park, to a beautiful, playful, inviting space in the heart of Woodinville’s downtown. DeYoung Park was given to the city many years ago by the developer TRF in order to leave a space in the center of town for people to come together or pause and enjoy.

Across the street from Molbak’s, adjacent to the Big Fish Grill, part of the fabric of the city’s downtown shopping areas, and home to the Woodinville Farmers Market, DeYoung Park could be a place to gather, eat, sit, and appreciate the Douglas firs and gardens for the many people who not only pass through but for those few thousand people about to move into the downtown part of Woodinville (Woodin Creek Village). The residents of Brittany Park, the folks who work in our city, the families who eat in all of the great restaurants in downtown ... this park is for you.

I believe in community and the important role parks play in communities. The transformation of this park is one of the first steps the city will take to redevelop our downtown, with purposeful intent to cause community, civic pride and joy.

“Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead
Elaine Cook, Woodinville City Council

I feel it is important for the community to know the Parks and Recreation Commission supports the transformation of DeYoung Park 4-1. Three design concepts ranging in cost were developed by Site Workshop, the consultant chosen to create a design concept for DeYoung Park. There are several reasons why the Commission felt investing in such a small park was the right decision. The Park is small; but, its location is both ideal and unique, in the heart of the downtown surrounded by retailers and lots of activity. I voted in favor of the transformation of this Park; because, this alternative achieves the goals expressed by the community through the public engagement process. Many expressed the importance of adding lighting, incorporating play, enhancing the existing tree canopy, and creating infrastructure that supports events; such as the Saturday Market. This alternative meets all of these objectives along with enhancing accessibility for all users and creating a warm and inviting unique gathering space for the community to relax and play. Revitalizing the park will benefit both the community and will support the businesses in the vicinity by drawing in people looking for places to shop, eat, relax and play outdoors. Investing in parks is an investment in the future of our community as well as the youth. 

Julie Elsom, Woodinville Parks and Rec Vice Chair

Garbage Along Avondale

I was stopped in traffic on Avondale the other morning, so I thought to look around me instead of wondering how soon traffic would get moving again. It is getting light earlier and so I could see the majestic pines, and flowering trees with beautiful pink blossoms. Then I saw the garbage, and the longer I looked the more garbage I saw. I was shocked and dismayed to see how much garbage lines both sides of Avondale between Cottage Lake and 124th. Soda cans, beer cans, water bottles, fast food wrappers, cigarette boxes, miscellaneous paper, plastic, and scrap metal. You name it, it can be found along Avondale. And now that I have seen it, I can’t seem to un-see it.

I have never seen so much garbage along this stretch of road before – and it is obvious that no county or city agencies are doing any type of road maintenance here. Maybe there is no longer any money in the budget for this sort of service in outlying areas of King County.

Anyone from out of town who came in by this route would surely think they were approaching a city dump site, and it truly looks like Avondale is becoming a dumping ground. I’m sure that most people wouldn’t stand for having this sort of garbage in their front yards, and yet there doesn’t seem to be any concern that it lines the road leading into our neighborhoods.    

There is a lot of talk about ‘making this country great again’. However, greatness starts with integrity and personal responsibility. Be a part of the solution and not the problem – please pick up your garbage! And if you are waiting for someone else to do it, don’t count on it. We need to stop looking just in front of our noses, and start envisioning the sort of community we want to live in. Do we want Woodinville to be known as ‘Trash Central’? It certainly looks like we are well on the way to claiming that title!
Grace Baird

Letters to the Editor - March 27, 2017

  • Written by Readers

The Parks and Recreation Commission has forwarded a recommendation for a substantial renovation of DeYoung Park. I am unable to support that recommendation. There are two reasons for my lack of support, the cost and the process used to arrive at that proposed renovation.

The renovation recommendation is in excess of $700,000 for the park which is less a third of an acre in size. In my judgment, this is an excessive amount to be spent on such a small parcel of land. To spend this amount of money is in my opinion irresponsible. There are needed improvements that would increase the functional use of the park which could be done for a reasonable and responsible amount.

The process that the city used to arrive at this recommendation was flawed in my opinion. Instead of obtain a ballpark budget approval and then going to the public with a visioning process for the park, the staff did the visioning process without the ballpark budget from the Council. The staff will tell you they have the $700,000 in the budget so technically they have Council approval. The $700,000 is a place holder, not an approval. The staff is seeking the budget approval of the Council at its April 4th meeting.

Why the staff has chosen to do the public visioning before receiving Council budgetary authority is a valid question. When asked, staff replied that this was done as an “educational process.” I believe staff’s motive to be more blatant. I believe the visioning process was done before budgetary approval in an attempt to develop public support for this project to influence the Council’s approval at the excessive amount.

I hope the Council will assess the information and approval reasonable improvements for a reasonable amount for DeYoung Park at its April 4th meeting.

Paul O. Cowles, Woodinville

Letters to the Editor - March 20, 2017

  • Written by Readers

Random acts of kindness

Random Acts of Kindness Week is an excellent idea.  (“Random Acts of Kindness Week Will Be March 6-12” by Monique Linz, The Woodinville Weekly, Feb. 13, 2017). Of course many people are just that way and always practice kindness, so it seems more intentional than random. One act of kindness that will save lives and can be done anytime, is asking your representatives and senators to support full funding for PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.  These two programs have saved over 20 million lives in the last 10 years by providing antiretroviral medicines to people with AIDS all over the world. In the process they are strengthening the health care systems of these countries and stopping the spread of AIDS, since the same medicine to save people’s lives also acts as to cut down the risk of spreading the disease.  Remember this funding is less than 1% of our overall budget.  The call you make is kindness shared with millions by keeping their medicine coming, stopping the spread of disease, and providing hope in the process.

Willie Dickerson
Snohomish

Alzheimer’s
 
The Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 Facts and Figures report found a soaring prevalence, lack of effective treatment and enormous costs for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

In Washington state, with over 110,000 people living with Alzheimer’s, it is the 3rd leading cause of death in our state. The 5.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s will grow to almost 16 million by 2050.

The federal government has been making progress towards shining light on Alzheimer’s and other dementias, having doubled the small research budget in the last three years. Congress requires the National Institutes of Health scientists to submit a professional judgment budget each fiscal year to help guide the size of funding for Alzheimer’s research.

I urge Congresswoman Suzan DelBene to support the scientists’ recommendation of a $414 million increase in Alzheimer’s research. This increase will help achieve the national goal of a treatment for Alzheimer’s by 2025.  The Congresswoman has been very supportive of our efforts in recent years, for which we are most grateful.

I care about this because I’ve lost loved ones to Alzheimer’s, and I don’t want the disease to claim more victims, who are dear to me.

Visit ALZ.org or call 800-272-3900 to learn more and get involved with the fight against Alzheimer’s.
 
Pete Minden
Kirkland

King County Code Enforcement
 
I write you today to urge you to take immediate notice of yet another zoning code violation of the agricultural lands of the Sammamish Valley.

King County has failed to take action on clear and indefensible zoning code violations on the Rural zoned properties abutting the Sammamish agricultural lands for too many years now. In mid- 2016 the county decided to place a moratorium on code enforcement until a Sammamish Valley Area Wine Study could be conducted. The county hired a consultant and many meetings were held. We were promised action by late 2016 or early 2017.  Early 2017 has come and gone and the county continues to shirk their responsibilities.  No one else can do this code enforcement work, not the City of Woodinville, not local citizens; only King County has the authority and responsibility.

Now, a new, more egregious violation is in the making. A new “Opening Soon” sign has popped up, this time on land zoned as Agriculture. The proposed use is a coffee shop and bakery, neither of which is permitted in an AG 10 zone. And the “bakery” will be no more than a retail outlet for goods produced offsite. A similar business had located at this site previously and had operated in violation of the code. Despite formal complaints, the county failed to take action on the previous owner. Now is the time to nip this newest proposed violation in the bud.

The particular property in violation was commonly known as the Kirschner Trailer property and is located at 16507 140th PL NE in Woodinville. Parcel #152605-9028 is now owned by Icarus Holdings, LLC. There is no doubt that this property is zoned Agriculture. It may appear unable to sustain crops but it could provide agriculture support services that are permitted on Agriculturally zoned properties. It also provides a slight buffer between nearby rural zoned properties and the more intensely farmed property that it also abuts.  

To allow this use to go un-checked is just another cut by which our valuable agricultural lands will die of a thousand cuts. This community loves and appreciates the agriculture lands for their open views and for their increasing production of locally grown food. King County was innovative and visionary in protecting these lands back in the 1980’s, you must now act to protect the investment made and to secure the vision going forward.
 
Thomas Quigley, President
Sammamish Valley Alliance