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Guest Editorial - State Senate was right in protecting domestic violence victims

  • Written by Vicci Hilty
On Tuesday (February 28) the Senate released its proposed supplemental budget, which made protecting victims of domestic violence a priority.

The Senate’s proposed budget preserves funding for domestic violence emergency shelters and other crucial social services, without shortening offenders’ prison sentences.

On a single day in 2011, Washington state domestic violence programs served 1,884 domestic violence victims, including providing 1,080 victims with emergency shelter or transitional housing, and 804 victims with non-shelter services, such as individual counseling, legal advocacy and children’s support groups.

On that same day, Washington domestic violence programs were unable to meet the needs of 502 requests for services due to a lack of funding or resources.

Clearly, the Senate understands that further cuts to these life-saving services for domestic violence victims and their children would have grave consequences.

We appreciate the Senate prioritizing the protection of life-saving services for domestic violence victims.  We hope the Legislature  makes sure the final budget preserves these services for victims and their children.

Vicci Hilty is the deputy director at Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County

Letters to the Editor - Feb. 27, 2012

  • Written by Readers

EXPENSIVE LESSON

The Woodinville City Council is paying, let me get this straight — $600 an hour to have someone teach them how to operate more efficiently as a council?

I would start by finding someone more cost-efficient to run the meeting.

Susan Milke, Woodinville


LINES ARE ASKEW

Just wondering if the city had to pay for the line painting job on Woodinville/Duvall Road?

So many of the marks are askew that one has to guess that a cut-rate firm was hired to do the job.

Those marks are a terrible distraction as one drives and I certainly hope that the responsible company is legitimate enough to come back and correct their shoddy work.

Andrew Cook, Woodinville


DON’T USE KING COUNTY DOLLARS

I just spent a few minutes researching the economic benefits of public investment in major sports facilities.  In short, any benefits are doubtful, and often there is a  net drain on the local economy.

Little to no new money is brought in from outside of the area, and local money not spent for sports tickets will be spent in other local venues.

We’ve already had two shiny new ego-boosters forced on the public to bolster a few politicians’ egos, and what has it gotten us?

The opportunity to smash through ever-deepening potholes on the way to see football or baseball games.

Dow Constantine is a good King County executive who seems to have the public’s interest in mind, but in this case his ego is getting the better of him.

The  Giants play in a stadium built completely with private money, but you can bet that San Francisco gets tax revenues from every ticket sold and with no public subsidy of the stadium.

If it’s a good idea to build a stadium in Seattle, it’s a good idea to do it without King County dollars!

John Snow,Woodinville


HELP WANTED

The Sammamish Valley Grange “Sleeping Bag for the Homeless” project (now in its 12th year), needs volunteers to help them keep up their production.

They meet on Tuesdays, 9:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Grange Hall on 148th next to Hollywood School House.

If you have time, stop by and see where you might help  – pinning materials, tying knots, button hole stitching,  etc.,

Bring your lunch; coffee is provided).

For additional information or if you have questions, call 483-2693 or Joan Brennan at 481-6567 or the Grange at 398-3701.

Thank you for reading and considering participating.

Helen McMahon, Woodinville

‘No cuts’ budget does not mean the Legislature has met its paramount duty

  • Written by Jeff Vincent

The recently released house budget includes significant cuts to state spending in order to address a $1.2 billion shortfall.

Despite the significant deficit facing the state, the K-12 education budget was spared the more drastic reductions faced by social services.

Clearly K-12 education was a priority in this budget.

The preservation of levy equalization funding, and funding for 180 days of instruction, is a relief to school districts across the state.

Understandably, the initial reaction to the K-12 budget is generally positive. Yet, what standard are we to apply in judging this budget?

Just because the budget proposal is better than what was expected, does not necessarily mean it will satisfy the State Supreme Court.

The Court, in the recently released McCleary school funding decision, made it clear that current levels of school funding are inadequate and unconstitutional.

The Court also made it clear that it would not “idly stand by as the Legislature makes unfulfilled promises for reform.”

The 2010 Legislature promised significant funding enhancements phased in over time when it passed Substitute House Bill 2776. In McCleary, the Court states unequivocally that the magnitude of prior phase-in steps have been unsatisfactory; even pointing out that full day kindergarten, at the current pace of phase-in, would not be fully implemented until the year 2090.

This budget, the first issued after the release of McCleary, makes no meaningful improvements to this timetable.

A “no cuts” budget does not mean that the Legislature has met its paramount duty – nor does another school funding study.

And while it is true that a short supplemental budget session is probably not sufficient to develop a comprehensive solution to funding SHB 2776, the State Board of Education believes that a meaningful down payment is needed to send a “good faith” message to the Court and to schools and set the implementation of SHB 2776 on a reasonable and attainable course.

We appreciate and acknowledge the leadership of the House in protecting K-12 from further reductions, but we believe the post-McCleary era demands a higher standard.

Jeff Vincent is Chair of the Washington State Board of Education.

Letters to the Editor - Feb. 20, 2012

  • Written by Readers

THANK YOU

I have regained the back-up of packing materials, thanks to the gracious deliveries of residents.

I am overwhelmed with the response.

My new storage unit is packed, and I am fine for now.

I would like to remind folks I take their packing materials all year long.

Thank you all for your donations and your caring.

Diane/Pony Mailbox


A VERY GOOD THING

This letter is in response to Fr. Schuster’s letter published in your February 6th edition (“State Doesn’t Need to Support Best Friends”).

You could title it: “Marriage Evolves Across Centuries”

With due respect, Fr. Schuster (Feb 6, “State Doesn’t Need to Support Best Friends”) knows little of the history of marriage in society and in the Catholic Church. Until the 17th century or so, there was little difference between civil and church authority. In fact it was common for church officials to hold civil positions. This is important to understand with respect to the so-called “institution” of marriage. Marriage was – and is - a legal contract sometimes blessed through a religious rite.

Marriage had little to do with mutual lifelong commitment between a man and a woman as Fr. Schuster asserts. A marriage was brokered between the male leaders of families often with the consultation and approval of the local church leader and was undertaken to increase the wealth of the man or woman’s family, to gain a higher social status, to end a feud, to seal a treaty between countries – you get the idea. The couple in question rarely met before their wedding day. In royal circles, a marriage between two royals would be considered binding if their representatives signed the contract, pledged their vows, and laid in bed together with their bared legs touching.

As for the vocation of raising a family, the first and foremost reason for getting married was to beget a male heir to inherit the father’s estate. Girls rarely inherited. Parents often sent their children away before they were teens to live in the homes of Coontz’s excellent book “Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage.” She reminds us that marriage has changed dramatically over the centuries, with the greatest evolution taking place in the last century. Marriage in the Catholic Church has changed just as dramatically. Not so long ago, the church would not marry interracial couples, nor would it marry or bless those of different religions. You cannot escape the fact that the concept of marriage changes and adapts as society changes and adapts. And that is a very good thing.

Steven Kaczmarek, proudly partnered for over 26 years and committed to him for life, Woodinville


IT’S ABOUT LOVE, COMPASSION, TOLERANCE

In response to Father Schuster’s letter on “best friends.”

I liked it better when the only bad smell from the riding club was horse manure.

Father Schuster has a silver tongue. And, to his credit, he’s willing to accept gay couples as “best friends,” which, for an organization with a history of dealing with folks they disagreed that involved burning at the stake, that’s a good baby step in the right direction.

His sophistry needs a bit of work. To attempt to marginalize gay relationships, he reduces marriage to a “social unit of baby making”  –removing all married couples without children, those of us whose children have grown up, and ignoring the fact that, in today’s world, many gay couples have and raise children (and do every bit as good (or bad) a job as we straight folk do).

In an overpopulated world, where the ability of the planet to support life is being severely threatened by some 7 billion human beings,  this obsession with Genesis 1:28 (Be fruitful and multiply) shows a stunning ability to simply ignore reality.

Marriage can be about having and raising children. But it’s so much more –it’s about love, passion, commitment, making a life together, having a partner to travel with on the great and mysterious journey that is life. If Father Schuster understands this, and, as the shepherd of his flock, I sincerely hope that he does, he’s decided to ignore it for the sake of his “best friend vs. babymaker” silliness.

It is my great hope that the parishioners of Blessed Teresa, like so many of their Catholic brothers and sisters, are years ahead of the hierarchy of Holy Mother Church in understanding that it really is about love, compassion, tolerance.

As a very wise man once said “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Ronald Long, Woodinville


UNINCORPORATED AREA COUNCILS

In 2011, King County withdrew its stipend support of Unincorporated Area Councils. The county felt that the six existing UAC’s did not adequately represent the entirety of the county’s unincorporated areas.  Some of these UAC’s have a long record of representing their communities in dealing with county issues.

Upper Bear Creek Community Council is the youngest of them, with just under 15 years of service, and known for producing summer concerts at Cottage Lake Park.

The Community Service Areas Project plans to cover all of unincorporated King County, serving as foundation for residents, businesses and organizations to have access to County programs and services, along with participation and engagement opportunities.

Boundaries now exist for urban areas of unincorporated King County and Vashon-Maury Island, so the  February 29th meeting at the Woodinville Library will focus on creation of boundaries in rural unincorporated areas.  We hope to see you there!

Information on the Upper Bear Creek Community Council can be found at www.UpperBearCreek.comCreek.com.

Nancy Stafford, Woodinville


PET FOOD DRIVE IS SUCCESS

The third annual “Who Let the Dogs Out” pet food drive to benefit the families with pets at Maltby Food Bank, held last Saturday to provide families in need with help in feeding their beloved companion animals, exceeded all expectations by collecting more than 1,000 pounds of pet food donations from the local community.  Our challenging economic circumstances have a trickle- down effect that reaches the four-legged and helpless among us.

As their owners struggle with financial challenges, once-pampered pets may be turned over to animal shelters because their owners simply cannot afford to feed them. Others will find themselves abandoned to fend for themselves for similar reasons.

When struggling families visit food banks they don’t usually find a pet food aisle. If they do, that aisle is sadly under-stocked.

To help address this problem Ann Chase Photography, Cottage Lake Veterinary Hospital and A Positive Dog Training School has again organized and stocked Maltby Food Bank with pet food for the third straight year.

“This outpouring of generosity and compassion for families with animals is truly heart-warming, especially considering the current state of the economy,” said Ann Markley, organizer of the food drive and owner of Ann Chase Photography. “Our four-legged friends are treasured members of the family. In these tough times, we hope to ensure that families in crisis don’t have the added stress of worrying about how to also feed their cat or dog.”

The Maltby Food Bank knows how important pets are to families during times of stress.

The goal is to keep pets with their families and away from shelters.

Maltby Food Bank regularly serves over 150 local families each week and about 300 families a month, many of whom are thankful that their furry friends now have a lot more food.

About Maltby Food Bank

Maltby Food Bank is an independent, non-profit organization.

Through advocacy and actions, Maltby Food Bank reaches out to people in need through God’s love. Maltby Food Bank, 21104 86th Ave SE Snohomish, WA (360) 668-7900 www.maltbyfoodbank.org.

To learn more about the drive’s organizers:

About Cottage Lake Veterinary Hospital -

(425) 788-0693. www.cottagelakevet.com

About A Positive Dog Training School -

(425) 788-6350, www.positivedogtrainingschool.com

About Ann Chase Photography -

(425) 485-2927. www.annchase.com


DISMAY

I read with total dismay Don Mann”s article in this week’s issue of the Woodinville Weekly concerning the passing of the downtown development ordinance 524.  I wonder why you showed bias, as opposed to reporting from a neutral standpoint?

If one cannot read an article filled with factual information, from a neutral platform, trust is lost. Why would I believe what you wrote, noting that you have a negative attitude toward Susan Boundy-Sanders? Did you add or omit relevant things because of that fact – to make your article sound a particular way?  I may have a negative attitude toward her also, but if it were my JOB to report on council process, I would certainly refrain from toxic attitudes. It does no good. It makes one want to dismiss the entire text of what has been written.

At a time when vitriol seems to be the mood of the day, you fit right into it.  It is always refreshing to read an article that has clearly been written with the intention being to disseminate relevant information – there is no need to add in one’s personal opinion, unless of course the article is specifically an opinion piece.  I saw no such notation.

I enjoy the Woodinville Weekly, however articles such as yours encourage me to dismiss this paper in favor of something more reliably presented.

Ruth Gibbs, Woodinville

Letters to the Editor - Feb. 6, 2012

  • Written by Readers

SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL

My partner Rick and I were one of the first same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts back in 2004.

We were living in Florida at the time, so while the marriage was symbolically important to us, it carried no legal weight.

In fact, we spent thousands of dollars in legal fees to establish a trust and “marriage-like” contract when we decided we wanted to protect our relationship.

We relocated to Woodinville at the end of 2004 and were ecstatic when the state passed a domestic partnership law in 2007.

While it only included 11 of the rights of marriage to same-sex couples, it was a start.

A year later, another 170 rights and responsibilities were approved, and in 2009 “everything but marriage” was signed into law.

While the law provided real protections to same-sex partners, it still implied “separate but equal.”

Separate is never equal.

We work hard at our relationship, just like every other married couple should.

It involves commitment, communication, patience and strong beliefs. These are some of the foundations of every marriage that we respect and honor equally with opposite-sex couples.

Our friends and neighbors here in Woodinville recognize that and value our contributions to their families, the city and local businesses.

Kudos to the Washington Senate for doing the right thing, and particularly to our representative, Andy Hill, for taking a difficult stand against his party’s position on gay marriage.

We look forward to renewing our vows in our home state this summer.

Steven Franz, Woodinville


LET THE PEOPLE DEBATE AND VOTE

After reading Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe’s letter to the editor, I would like to share my thoughts:

Sen. McAuliffe thinks her support of same sex marriage is to protect citizens from discrimination.

Following this logic, any person or group against same-sex marriage must be supporting discrimination.

She then assured us that there is an exemption for religious groups to continue to exercise religious freedom.

Based on this context, I guess the religious freedom Sen. McAuliffe mentioned must refer to actions against same sex marriage which are also actions of discrimination according to Sen. McAuliffe.

So it looks to me that the “exemption for them to continue to exercise religious freedom” will actually be an exemption to exercise “discrimination.”

I don’t see why we would give an exemption for any groups to continue to exercise “discrimination.”

However, I don’t think discrimination is the only reason people oppose same- sex marriage.

Throughout human history, in any society, in any culture, marriage is always defined as the union of man and woman.

Whether or not it is written into a law or whether it is written as the union of “two persons” or “one man and one woman,” society recognizes this special relationship of man and woman is the only way the next generation can be created.

The next generation is always key for a civilization to survive.

That is why, until recently, all societies or cultures recognize and define marriage as the union of man and woman because this is the only natural way to have children and form a natural family.

This is a law of nature, a fundamental biological fact.

Thus, there is no marriage inequality in the U.S. based on this common definition of marriage.

Now if someone thinks our society is sophisticated enough to redefine marriage, let the people debate and vote on it.

But don’t call it marriage equality legislation.

That is actually marriage redefinition legislation.

Using “discrimination” to preempt any legitimate opposing arguments reminds me of Anderson’s tale “The Emperor’s New Suit.”

Just as people did not want to be considered “stupid” in the story, people may choose silence on this issue because they don’t want to be labeled as “discriminatory.”

It would not be a fair process if people are hindered from freely expressing their view on this issue.

Jun Tang, Woodinville


STATE DOESN’T NEED TO SUPPORT BEST FRIENDS


I am responding to Senator Rosemary McAuliffe’s statement endorsing same- sex marriages.

I  wish to begin by recognizing that Senator McAuliffe is a good person who cares deeply about the state of Washington.

The issue of same sex marriages has been framed by the politics of discrimination.

I believe the instinct to fight against discrimination is a holy one, but it is not discrimination to say that biologically a father cannot be a mother, a mother cannot be a father and a child cannot be a child without a biological father and a mother.

Because it takes a couple decades to raise children into adulthood, marriage throughout the centuries has been best understood as between one man and one woman who make a lifelong commitment to each other.

Everyone can have a best friend.

Marriage is something more. I don’t think the state needs to give special recognition and help to those who have a best friend other than what can better stated in a living will or other legal documents.

It makes sense that the state would give special recognition and help to married couples who raise families because of the common good of having a next generation and the significant cost and sacrifice involved with this vocation.

I personally believe the state would be better off doing more to support single parents as well as supporting adoption services for married couples who cannot have children. I know the senator cares deeply about these issues as well.

Fr. Frank Schuster, Pastor, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Woodinville


HOMEWARD PET ADOPTION CENTER CELEBRATES 22 YEARS


February marks the 22nd year for Homeward Pet Adoption Center, one of Washington’s biggest no-kill animal shelters.

Operating in a 1,200-square- foot space and under the name Hooterville Pet Safehaus, the organization helped 370 animals in 1990.

2012 finds Homeward Pet in an 11,200 square foot shelter,  adopting over 1,300 animals into permanent, loving homes each year, and helping many more through their low-cost spay and neuter clinic, microchipping services and the newly opened pet food bank.

Throughout the month of February, events are planned to celebrate all that Homeward Pet and their amazing community of donors and volunteers have achieved over the last 22 years and to help even more animals.

On February 1 Homeward Pet kicked-off its goal of securing 220 $22-donations.

Just $22 goes a long way toward helping a homeless animal; paying for care like a month’s worth of food for a large dog, vaccinations to help prevent life-threatening illness in a cat for a year or enough canned food to feed a litter of kittens for a week.

Donations can be made online at homewardpet.org.

February 22 is the 22nd anniversary adoption event, with adoption fees discounted to $22 all day, for kittens, puppies, cats and dogs.

Anyone considering providing a permanent home to a deserving cat or dog should visit Homeward Pet during this event, and if a perfect match is made, take advantage of the discounted adoption fee.

Homeward Pet was established in 1990 by founder Peggy Barnish, with the belief that there could be an animal shelter where euthanasia was a last resort, used only to ease suffering from injury or illness, and where every adoptable cat and dog would eventually find their forever home.  With the help of their generous supporters.

Homeward Pet has continued with this belief and helped rescue, shelter and adopt over 19,000 cats and dogs since 1990.

Located in Woodinville, Homeward Pet Adoption Center (Homeward Pet) is a no-kill, non-profit animal adoption center.

Homeward Pet cares for homeless animals from all over Washington state, whether surrendered by owners, transferred from other rescue organizations or removed from shelters that euthanize.

For more than 20 years, Homeward Pet has given these animals a second chance through rescue, shelter and adoption.

With the amazing efforts of 16 employees, 200 volunteers and the generous support of donors, Homeward Pet helps over 1,300 dogs and cats find their forever home each year.

For more information, please visit www.homewardpet.org.

Franni Holman, Homeward Pet Adoption Center, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.