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Letters to the Editor - May 22, 2017

  • Written by Readers

WOODINVILLE GARDEN CLUB

The thirtieth annual Woodinville Garden Club Plant Sale on Saturday, May 13th, was another great success.  Our non-profit organization has been serving Woodinville and the surrounding community for 33 years with scholarships, sculptures and other beautification, and educational enrichment in the schools.  We would like to thank the entire community for their support and participation which makes our efforts possible.  Our hosts, Chateau Ste Michelle Winery, once again extended their hospitality, even while in the throes of a massive road and construction project.  R and G Auto Body advertised our sale on their reader board again this year, as did the Splash and Dash Car Wash.  Dozens of community members stood in line in the drizzle, waiting for the rope to drop, and then in a giant wave, they swept up 800 tomato plants, hanging baskets, sedum bowls, and thousands of plants!  The weather was not cooperative, but Northwest gardeners are not deterred by a little rain!

Our best communication tool, the bright yellow and green signs we place around the Woodinville area, are put out on the Sunday before the sale, and are in place for only one week.  This year, for the first time, we experienced substantial removal and theft of these signs!  Other groups’ signs seemed to stay in place where ours were removed, sometimes from private property where we had permission to place them.  We cannot imagine what the motive was for such vandalism.  If any community member has found one of our signs and would like to return it, please contact us at: www.woodinvillegardenclub.org and we will be happy to come and get it.
Ann Parrish, Publicity Chair
Woodinville Garden Club

CAMP UNITY

Woodinville is blessed with a City Council and City Staff that care for all their citizens.  When there are competing interests and passions this can be a challenge.  Last year and again this year the homeless encampment, Camp Unity Eastside, has been sited in Woodinville; once on city property and soon to be at Northshore United Church of Christ.  Both times the Council has been supportive and the city staff have worked diligently to make sure that both the campers and the community needs are being met through the permitting process.  As someone who is a supporter and volunteer with CUE, I am very proud to be represented by the City Council and the City Staff.
David Orendorff

NSD

Many folks move to Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville for the great schools.  The Northshore School District (NSD) has a rich history with a share of ups and downs, especially the past 4 years.  With 4 of 5 School Board seats up for election, it’s a perfect time to review three “chapters” in our recent history.

Chapter 1 - NSD on Facebook

Social media today is a turbulent mix, especially when used by activists seeking government change.  Massive change is possible when a movement goes ‘viral’ and the community gets organized.  Since 2015 we’ve had a great resource in the “NSD Discussion Group” on Facebook.  Check it out, more than 3,300 people are there.

Chapter 2 - Bumps along the way

While NSD has many amazing things, we sometimes forget the difficulties in our past.  We need to remind ourselves that after 10 years of advocacy, our start times miss the national health standards by nearly an hour.  We have new policies and practices for equity, but we stumbled publicly after black students in our District received racist threats in 2015.  We’ve encountered controversy and litigation with land purchase and leasing efforts.  And the August 2015 Audit Findings relating to violating Code of Ethics and Open Meetings were a particularly low point.

Chapter 3 – Leadership changes

As events unfolded through 2015, it became clear to those on social media that our experiences were not isolated and a change was needed.  The election just two years ago was vibrant with a total of 5 candidates seeking 2 seats.  Thankfully, the voters agreed to a change in tone in November of 2015 with the election of two new School Board members.  The new Board has been widely praised for their collegiality, commitment to listening and an overall change in the way the entire Board interacts with each other.

Next chapter - New Board Members – our Trajectory is??

We don’t yet know all the Board candidates, yet we need to before we decide who to trust with being our elected representatives.  As we’ve seen nationally, it really matters WHO we elect.  Perhaps more important, however, is HOW we go about elections.  I’m an eternal optimist and continue to believe that transparency is key.
Please get involved if you have not, and stay involved if you already are.  We are a strong and thoughtful community here in NSD – lets keep discussing.
Ken Smith

DEYOUNG PARK

The renovation of De Young Park has been a contentious issue within the City Council, best exemplified by the disgraceful bickering at the May 16 Council meeting.  The Parks and Recreation Commission, in partnership with City staff, have held public meetings dating back to September 2016 to gather input.  These findings were presented to the Council on April 4 and a 6-1 vote passed in favor of the plan.  Deputy Mayor Evans claimed that he was unaware of the scope of the renovations but it appears he simply did understand the vote.

I find it amusing that this Council will spend unlimited funds on lawsuits and lobbyists in Olympia, fighting for land that is neither within City nor County limits.  The legal invoices have been buried among meeting agendas.  No public discussion or notification has occurred.  More than $350,000 of our tax dollars have been wasted on a lawsuit that we have no hope of winning.

And yet, a plan that would rejuvenate a neglected downtown park, supported by the vast majority of citizens, is heralded as an example of wasteful spending.  Is it the money or is it something else?  The De Young family has a long history in Woodinville politics, not all of it positive.  Mayor Talmas, Council member Boundy-Sanders and the De Young family have committed election violations against each other.  Is this power-struggle worth allowing downtown Woodinville to fall into disrepair?
Rachel Best-Campbell

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