Letters to the Editor - Sept. 24, 2012

  • Written by Readers

My name is Tom Quigley and I have enjoyed more than 22 years of running a business on farmland just south of Woodinville. Early on I became interested in the farmlands and how they could be used to grow and market farm products, and from that interest I found myself serving on the King County Agriculture Commission. I served as chair for two years.

During the several years that I was on the commission we worked on many challenging issues, including the listing of certain salmon as endangered and how that would impact farmland and agriculture.

We worked on marketing strategies such as Puget Sound Fresh and we worked to make farm markets more prolific in our urban communities.

We recognized the visionary work of early farm preservation advocates.  Without the farmland preservation work done in the 1980s our remaining fertile valleys would resemble what is now the Kent Valley or even closer to home, the Sammamish Valley west of the river where today concrete tilt-up warehouses and asphalt pavement cover what was once vital wetlands and fertile  land.

As mandated by county code, we must from time to time review whether the Urban Growth Boundary should remain where it is.

We are now considering  whether certain parcels should retain their agriculture designation and zoning.

While  it may be true that these  certain parcels may never again be tilled for crops, the buffer they provide to adjacent tillable land is invaluable.

Media has covered the advocacy for or against a change in the Urban Growth Boundary.

Yard signs say yah or nay.  I believe there is another option.

It was visionary thinking that created the Farmland Preservation Act and innovation and leadership that created our Agriculture Production Districts.

Where is the innovation and visionary thinking today?

If we are so complacent as to say that policy made some 25 years ago is the best policy for today, we are likely missing an opportunity to improve on what we have accomplished thus far.

As a community we value the open space and the production of our nearby farmlands. We have before us an opportunity to assess what we have and to consider what it is our farmlands need from us in order to continue to provide the benefits that we know and enjoy.

Perhaps there is a new agriculture overlay that retains the ag zoning while providing for the additional services needed in close proximity to the production lands; better markets, better educational opportunities, better resources needed by today’s small scale farmer.  And always, better connection to the community.

What clever ideas have we failed to consider?

Woodinville is not unlike so many places that are truly defined by the natural beauty of the surrounding area but it is unique in that the surrounding natural beauty could so easily be lost if we so casually disregard the heritage of the open space of this place.

From the early Native Americans to the first white settlers, people came here to enjoy the bounty of the land: trappers’ pelts, salmon and fowl, timber and later the rich agriculture lands.

As we reaped the bounty, young families thrived and a community emerged.

This is our community and our natural beauty — our opportunity to be visionary.

Tom Quigley, Woodinville

Guest Editorial - It’s not up to USPS to pick winners and losers

  • Written by National Newspaper Association
The newspaper business  — both small and large papers — has sounded full-throated opposition this past month about a plan by the U.S. Postal Service to purposely entice advertising out of the newspaper so ads can be placed instead with USPS favored stakeholder Valassis Inc., which bought direct mail company ADVO in 2006.

The goal of USPS is to create more advertising mail. To newspapers that count on advertising to pay reporters and cover the news, this new venture is beyond alarming. Many think it will push some newspapers — already made fragile by the economy and the Internet — over the edge. If that happens, it is the communities across our country that will feel the most long-term harm.

People have a love-hate relationship with advertising, whether in the newspaper or in the mail. When advertising helps them find deals or shop smartly, they love it. When it doesn’t happen to scratch the shopping itch, they may not like it so much. But most people understand advertising drives the economy and it brings other intangible benefits, like paying the bill for news coverage that keeps communities informed.

On every level, advertising is highly competitive. Local, regional and nationally, newspapers compete with a growing field of ad media, from Internet to television and door hangers to direct mailers.

But now the Postal Service wants to pick winners and losers in this market. It is providing postage rebates to Valassis of more than 30 percent if Valassis can divert more ad inserts into direct mail from newspapers.

Not everyone can play. The discounts can be offered by Valassis only to large national retailers. Newspapers cannot get the same discount for their own mail because they can’t sign one national postage contract, as the direct mail company did, with USPS.

Neither can a small clothing or bookstore or a hairdresser or auto parts shop.

We — the newspaper and our small businesses — are all local.

This deal is only for the big guys. For the little guys, USPS has another advertising plan that enables businesses to bring unaddressed advertising directly to the post office.

What’s wrong with this picture? It is that USPS isn’t a business. It is owned by Uncle Sam. It exists to serve all. It shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in any marketplace. It shouldn’t be competing with and undercutting its stakeholders, which are all of us.

It should deliver the mail that exists, promptly and affordably.

One of USPS’s big goals is to carry even more advertising, as the Internet saps away letters and bills.

But we have to ask ourselves: Does America need a federally-owned advertising service? This newspaper says no.

Northshore students honored

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Seven Northshore School District students are National Merit Semifinalists and will now be considered for National Merit Finalist status and the opportunity to receive a National Merit Scholarship next spring. Students are Rahul Bachal, Henry Sokol, Kathleen Zhou and Cynthia Zhu from Inglemoor High School and Dante Chiesa, Christian Matthews and Karthik Ramesh from Woodinville High School.

Bothell High School seniors Miquelle Brito and Andrea DelRio were recognized by the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) for their academic achievement. Requirements for recognition include achieving a minimum required PSAT/NMSQT score in their junior year, be of at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino descent and achieve a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher by the end of their junior year.

Letters to the Editor - Sept. 17, 2012

  • Written by Readers


I am 41 years old, wife and mom of three kids and last year I was diagnosed with brain cancer.

After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, I am doing well.

Unfortunately, others don’t always fare so well.

Brain cancer is known as an “orphan” cancer because it is so rare that it isn’t worth the investment for big pharmaceutical companies to research treatment drugs or a cure.

At the Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at Swedish Cherry Hill, Dr. Greg Foltz is working to give patients hope — hope for new, more effective treatments and eventually, hope for a cure.

This is why I am taking part in the Swedish Brain Cancer Walk to support the cause this year on September 22, 2012. (The walk is from 9  a.m. to noon at the Seattle Center. For more information, visit

Please ask your readers to consider donating to this cause.

Elizabeth Fell, Woodinville


I have been watching with interest the debate about the proposed park at Wellington Hills. I have two soccer-playing boys, so I must admit to being in favor of the project all along. However, I can understand the worries of the neighboring families in regard to noise and parking.

It is wonderful that the park planning commission has made adjustments that should make the park not only acceptable, but welcome, to the entire community

. A large buffer zone is the first step.  A huge open community park is another item I noticed neighbors asking for. Walking and mountain bike trails appeal to a wide range of park users and neighbors.

I see that a pedestrian overpass and a traffic roundabout at the park entrance will help mitigate traffic concerns. The natural playground looks fantastic! Dogs get an off-leash area. And soccer players still get several much-needed new fields.

Wow! I am very excited to have this wonderful park in our neighborhood!

Carolyn Houser, Woodinville


This is in response to Matt Gerhardt’s letter to the editor of August 27, 2012.

Matt, look at the good side. You have an important job serving your fellow man. There’s a lot to learn at your job. Most people are nice, a few can be mean at times. Will Rogers said he never met a man he didn’t like. We too, can look for the best in people.

You won’t be at this job forever. You had the gumption to write your good letter and send it in.

You will eventually find a job in the field you love because you have moxie.

Please don’t be too cynical about those “in search of larger profits” because they allow us to keep our jobs and provide more jobs.

These are frustrating times. But we have better people coming into our Congress and hopefully a new administration which will provide a brighter future for all. Hang in there Matt. Be of cheer. Better times are on the way.

Mal Anderson, Redmond


Thursday nights have not been the same since the “Music in the Park” at Cottage Lake ended for the summer.

This free event was a great way to get ready for the weekend. The concerts this year were wonderful with such variety of music ranging from jazz, big band era and rock and roll. All performances were excellent.

It was great to be exposed to different types of music. A special thanks to the Upper Bear Creek Community Council for having this summer series.

I would encourage anyone who has never gone to the concerts to go. The event is very family friendly in beautiful surroundings and is a nice way to meet other music lovers. I hope this event continues. Thanks again to the Upper Bear Creek Community Council and all the terrific musicians for their hard work in making the concerts happen.

Cheri Dix, Woodinville

The farms in the Sammamish Valley are special. Not only is the open space a big part of our city’s beauty, the lands also provide opportunities for new farmers and help support our local wine-tourism industry.

Unfortunately, there’s currently a proposal before the King County Council that would expand the urban growth area and allow sprawl into the valley — losing our farmlands forever.  As there is plenty of land available within the city limits for urban growth, this is completely unnecessary. Please support protecting our farmland and tell the King County Council to vote down the proposal. You can learn more at

What an amazing place we live in. Don’t spoil it.

Debbie Shapiro, Woodinville

Letters to the Editor - Sept. 3, 2012

  • Written by Readers


For those of  you who wonder why the neighbors of the Wellington Hills area are opposed to the building of a park at the Wellington Hills golf course site by the Snohomish County Park Department, you have to consider the intent of these feelings.

A regional sports park is best suited in industrial or business park areas where traffic, noise and lighting are not a problem.

The proposed development would bring all of these to our area.

Traffic is one of the biggest problems as 240th St S.E. is already a traffic problem area.  Before Costco was built, the traffic count was 400 cars per day and it has now risen to 2,800 per day.  The parking lot for the proposed development is the same size of that of the Costco lot.

The parks department is proposing as many as nine ball fields, four lighted artificial fields, three natural grass and two more if needed.  The fields will be primarily used for soccer with as many as four or more major tournaments a year.

This could bring in an extra 2,800 or more cars per day during tournament play.

Snohomish County currently has no other such type of park, which is in the close proximity to a residential area as this park will be.

The main use of this park will be organized sports, which of course will have to pay to use the facility.

If the Marymoor Park is any indication, the people parking in this park will also have to pay to park.

Funding for this park comes from mitigation funding from King County when the Brightwater plant was built.

The implication is that the Brightwater plant negatively affected the people living in this area.

The ONLY negative impact it had is in the loss of property taxes on the site due to the fact it is now owned by King County.

It does not create noise, traffic or lighting problems, which is exactly what it will create for those of us living adjacent to this site, which is why we are in opposition to the proposed development.

Larry S. Nelson, Woodinville