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Letters to the Editor - Nov. 7, 2011

  • Written by Readers

FITNESS WALKS

I’m writing to respond to Rebecca Gerhart’s response to the letter about WHS “fitness walks.” First of all, that this is a topic to be “insulted and outraged” about suggests a need for prioritization. My daughters have also participated in these approximately 2-1/2 mile walks. I don’t particularly have a problem with them, although they certainly don’t provide the aerobic activity that a well-run PE class would. My daughters found them fun, and since they got their actual physical activity from sports teams they’re on, I didn’t mind them taking a walk and eating some junk food with friends once a week instead of doing yoga or aerobics.

My younger daughter was in PE last year for both semesters, and did these walks once a week, weather permitting. I asked her if the walks were well supervised and she laughed. The details? Two PE classes would go together, and she said that meant roughly 60 students and two teachers. She told me no other adults ever accompanied them. They walked to Starbucks, where the teachers would stay and drink coffee.

The students were free to go where they chose as long as they came back to Starbucks at the appointed time. She said that normally meant they had 30 minutes to go where they chose, completely unsupervised, while the teachers stayed in Starbucks. A friend of mine works downtown and confirmed that these students are most definitely not supervised while they’re downtown.

As far as local merchants suffering if they don’t get students in their stores during school hours — seriously? While I’m sure they enjoy the extra sales, they shouldn’t be counting on them because after all, generally speaking, during school hours students should be ... in school.

As I said, I know my daughters enjoyed these walks and found them more fun and far less strenuous than doing the PE activity they’d signed up for, so I didn’t mind signing the permission forms.

But to suggest that the students are well supervised the whole time is unrealistic and untrue.

Lynn Kirkpatrick, Woodinville

FIRE CHIEF

Were I a resident of Woodinville,  I would demand the city attorney file criminal charges of blackmail and/or extortion against Daniels, as his suit was filed solely “to inhance his pocketbook” as the extra $40,000 proved.

Jay Lyons, Bothell

GET enrollment now open

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

OLYMPIA — GET enrollment opened November 1 for families looking for a safe and convenient way to save for college. Record numbers of new accounts have been opened over the past three years, as thousands of parents opt for the state’s guarantee and GET’s flexible, tax-advantaged saving options. The new enrollment year runs November 1, 2011 through May 31, 2012.

More than 135,000 accounts have been opened since the program began in 1998.

The prepaid tuition program welcomed 15,284 new accounts last year, which was the second highest year ever for the program.

GET accounts can easily be used at nearly any public or private college, university or vocational school in the country. Already, GET students have used their accounts at colleges in all 50 states and five foreign countries. GET is a 529 plan offering tax-free growth and withdrawals. It is a self-sustaining program and is not dependent upon state general funds for ongoing operations.

The cost of one GET unit today is $163. The future value of 100 units is equal to one year of resident, undergraduate tuition and required state fees at the highest-priced Washington public university (UW or WSU), no matter how much tuition increases. Families can buy any amount from 1 to 500 units per student, and the average GET account holds just under 200 units. Betty Lochner, director of the GET program, encourages families to save an amount that fits best within their budget. “The important part is to get started,” she said, “and then have a plan to contribute regularly over the years. Even smaller amounts will add up over time.”

The value of a GET account is measured in “units.” The monetary value is the same wherever GET units are used. If a college costs more than UW or WSU, the student pays the difference. If it costs less, a GET account can also be applied towards room & board, books or other qualified expenses.

“We are expecting another strong year,” said Lochner. “With surging tuition costs, GET is a very good option, especially for families with young children. Parents who start early have the opportunity to save literally thousands of dollars on the future cost of college.”

Over 11 percent of new accounts are opened by a student’s grandparents.

GET’s Web site at http://www.get.wa.gov offers details, charts, planning tools and answers for many of the questions families may have about the program. Accounts can be opened online, and customer service staff is available at (800) 955-2318 to help in any way needed.

Letters to the Editor - Oct. 31, 2011

  • Written by Readers

VETERANS DAY

As Veterans Day approaches, I want to send a RAVE to Jubilee Cleaners, a family-owned cleaners in Woodinville, Wash.

On August 5, I stopped into the cleaners to pick up our son-in-law’s army dress uniform for my daughter and son-in-laws wedding reception.  The elderly gentleman helping me said he replaced the button on the upper right chest of the army jacket.

I asked him where he found the button.  He responded, “I took the button off my army uniform jacket.”

Here is a U.S. veteran helping a young army reservist as he begins his life serving our country.

Maureen Blum, Woodinville

QUESTIONABLE COFFEE SERVICE

Last year I permanently relocated my family to Woodinville (Snohomish County) as we really loved the area.  One of the reasons we selected our home was because it was in the Northshore School District which colleagues of mine had suggested.  Approximately  six months ago at the intersection of Maltby & State Route 9 (I believe this falls in the city of Snohomish) a “coffee stand” opened up staffed by girls in bikinis. One side of the no more than 10’x10’ building is all glass with a sliding glass door which allows these girls to be seen in plain view from the busy intersection.  This intersection is a popular route for Northshore school buses and today my 6-year-old daughter shared that she and her classmates “can see a girl in her underwear on the bus ride to/from school”.. Kids as young as 5 are being exposed to barely dressed women on a daily basis as they go to elementary school and I ask for your assistance in preventing this to continue.  Thank you!

James Campbell, Woodinville

WOODINVILLE WATER DISTRICT

The letter written by Michael Tanksley last week accused me of unspecified “inaccurate accounting” and then goes on to describe his concern with the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

I personally agree with Michael’s alarmist concern over the UGB. Unfortunately, the Woodinville Water Commissioners do not have jurisdiction or control over the boundary. For that reason they are not part of my WWD campaign. I only address the policies of WWD that are allowed by law. Those current WWD policies are a threat to the Woodinville “country living” lifestyle you also embrace.

For those of you concerned about being forced to hook-up to sewer, my position is simple. First, I will NOT force people who are on functioning septic systems to hook up. Second, I will not encourage or lobby for legislation that endangers our motto.

So, Michael, you see we are on the same side. It’s just that WWD and the commissioner job is not one that can control UGB decisions. But we can control the way that laws are crafted to protect the consumer as much as possible from the sewer encroachment that you clearly do no want. I welcome your support to guide our community in positive ways since my opponent clearly does not share our views by passing the laws they have. Those laws make it easier to force sewer connections, not to mention lobbying goals that are contrary to our goals.

I hope you will agree that our concern is real, honest and not false. We are addressing the areas of WWD that I can legally influence as a WWD commissioner.

In conclusion, your letter agrees with my position. Please work with us since it’s a job where we all need to have the same goal.

Jack Vermeulen, Candidate for Woodinville Water Commissioner

NORTHSHORE SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD

I grew up chanting that I bled that Bothell blue. Little did I know that even though I supported my school district, my school district did not support me. In 2006, I was a freshly grown Bothell graduate ready to make my way in the world. I headed first to Seattle Central Community College where I took a placement exam. That was my first realization that although I loved my hometown and my Bothell pride I was not up to snuff with the rest of the world. When my placement exam came back I was shocked to see that my math results placed me in the lowest math bracket that they offered.

Like most kids in elementary I was great at math but as soon as I entered fifth grade it all started to get confusing. Trying my hardest wasn’t enough; I always left school more confused thAn when I started. My pre-college years were spent going home and asking my mother (an art major) to help me with not only understanding the math but also understanding how the problem was written. Every year I became more confused and frustrated, the same thing could have been said for my teachers.

Everyday math or “fuzzy math” as I like to call it, not only left kids in the dark but it also did not prepare them for college.  I am one of the many that came out of that district not even close to college ready. Dawn McCravey heard many stories including mine and it is because of our stories of failure that she ran for the Northshore School Board. She not only hoped to change the math curriculum but to give kids the chance at a better future.

Since Dawn has been on the board we have seen many changes for the better, all focusing on the children of Northshore. The math has been updated ... Literacy curriculum has also gotten a face-lift in the last 3 1/2 years, not to mention the upcoming improvements to the science and many other programs. All of these changes happened in the last few years. While the boards before worried about where the next cut was going to be, the current board, with Board President Dawn McCravey, has done “magic” with what they have been given.

Dawn McCravey brought back learning to our schools; she gave children the chance to achieve.

As we all should know, giving children that chance to achieve their goals is the same as giving ourselves the chance to have goals worth achieving in our future.  Dawn McCravey has known this all along.

Katie Bell, Bothell

It is hard to believe it has been 3½ years since the Northshore School District (NSD) proposed closing Woodin Elementary to save money. Parents across Woodinville loudly opposed the plan, which would have destroyed an award-winning Dual-Language Program, and relocated about 1000 students from their neighborhood schools.  Only one member of the School Board in place at that time was willing to meet with parents to hear their concerns – Dawn McCravey.  I feel confident that if it had come to a vote, Ms. McCravey would have been the only School Board member to vote no on the closure proposal.

Since that time, NSD has undergone significant and positive changes.  We have a new Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents, and 3 new School Board members (2 members lost re-election over their stand on the school closure).  The new school board has approved a new set of goals for the district – measurable goals that will prepare more of our students to be ready for college or their chosen careers.

Teachers are being supported with new curricula and training.  The most recent new curriculum prior to that was everyday math – and we all know what a disaster that math program was!  In some classes, teachers were using materials that were 18 years old.  Now, there is a schedule for updating curricula in every class.

At the school board candidate forum, one of the questions pertained to the fact that some schools in the district are over-enrolled, while some are so small that they have begun to lose staff that serve students —  specialists and possibly even their librarian.  I paid attention to how each of the four candidates answered this question, as several elementaries in Woodinville fall into this category – Cottage Lake, Hollywood Hill, Eastridge and Sunrise are all underenrolled.

All candidates agreed this is a problem, but the differences in the answers offered by Ms. McCravey and her opponent, BZ Davis, stood out. Ms. Davis, who served for 16 years on the Northshore School Board (during the time when the district had weak goals and was not updating curriculum), clearly indicated that she would be willing to close school(s). Ms. McCravey offered a potential solution — magnet schools, which offer parents choices and attract students and their state funding from other districts.

To me, the choice in this election is clear: we can go backward, or continue moving forward with innovative, student-centric ideas.  I choose to move forward with Dawn McCravey.

Nancy Chamberlain, Woodinville

WOODINVILLE FIRE & RESCUE COMMISSIONER

I am a firefighter for Woodinville Fire & Rescue, and have been honored to perform that service to this community for 26 years (2 years as a volunteer, prior to becoming a full time paid employee). I have also resided in the Woodinville community for the past 31 years. I am very concerned about the direction that the district has taken in the last 18 months — not just as a firefighter, but also as a parent and as a resident of Woodinville.

Public Education from our fire department has been slashed.

My children have been recipients of the fire district public education programs through their pre-school, elementary, junior high and high school years, and those education programs no longer exist.

The department no longer offers infant car seat checks to those new parents delivering at local hospitals.

No longer does your fire department provide bicycle safety presentations or offer low cost bicycle helmets, as well as helmet fitting.

The fire department no longer contracts with Northshore School District to host the NEVAC program, a vocational high school program, which introduces students to careers in public safety.

I also now work for, live, shop and recreate in a district that has gutted its fire prevention office. This office is responsible for fire safety inspections, for local businesses and schools, new construction plan reviews and code enforcement. It concerns me that the safety of my family, neighbors and friends in this community, as we go about working and living in this district, has been compromised.

There is an obvious solution: CHANGE. It’s time for a new voice on the board of fire commissioners, and I’m very happy to see Mark Emery running for the position.

I have worked with Mark Emery my whole career with Woodinville Fire and Rescue and can personally vouch for his character. He is very capable, hard working and honest and has impeccable integrity. He, like me, is a long time resident of this fire district, chose to raise his family here and has the community interests at heart.

I will be voting for Mark Emery to change the direction of our fire service, and I ask you to do the same.

Ross Van Vactor, Woodinville

I have over 10 years of experience on the administrative side of Woodinville Fire and Rescue, and I am supporting Mark Emery for fire commissioner. I have looked at his resume, his record of service, and his education.

I want to know that the person who sits behind the desk knows how to run a fire commission.

That means understanding the issues, understanding the service, understanding the people and understanding the budget.

Mark Emery has all the experience and more to do a superb job on our fire commission, and I have a lot of respect for his background and his priorities. He knows what the firefighters need, he knows what the taxpayers want, and he knows the critical importance of providing emergency service efficiently and properly.

I am deeply troubled by the cutting of education and prevention services, and I’m concerned by this fire commission allowing Woodinville Fire and Rescue’s accreditation to lapse.

These are unacceptable reductions in service and they should never have happened. Mark Emery will put WF&R back on the right track. Please vote for Mark Emery.

Pam Crawford, Bothell

FITNESS WALKS

I would like to respond to K. Brady’s letter regarding the Woodinville High School fitness walks.

As a parent, of a student participating in these walks I am insulted and outraged at several of K. Brady’s remarks.

First, it is not the job of one local busybody to tell me what activities and snacks are appropriate for my child.   Students walk 3+ miles on this excursion, so if my daughter chooses to buy a beverage at Jamba Juice or a cup of frozen yogurt at TCBY, it is none of Brady’s business.  I signed the permission slip allowing my child to participate in these walks because I feel that the walks are a creative and fun way to exercise.

However, if I hadn’t signed the permission slip I can think of worse ways to spend a two-hour block period than in the beautiful WHS library reading or working on homework.

Additionally, I have been in the downtown area during these walks quite a few times and I know with absolute certainty that the students are supervised by the PE teachers and other district employees and to suggest otherwise is irresponsible.

I haven’t seen any objectionable behavior and I am offended by the implication that our teachers’ pay should be docked during the fitness walks.

Finally, I have to wonder how many Woodinville merchants would like to thank K. Brady for their immediate loss in business.  As far as I am concerned, K. Brady was totally off the mark!

Rebecca Gerhardt, Woodinville

INFORMATION NEEDED

Does anyone have any information who put what once was a hydraulic dam that stands in Cottage Lake Creek between The Polo Club and the Homestead Division l?

From what I have been told the 40 acres just south of the Tolt Pipeline was owned by the Kindall family and the Tourtelo’s … I’m not sure of the spelling.  I also heard that the property was once a pig farm.

I would like any information available as to who put in the dam, what it was used for. (I presume it generated electricity)  and when it was built.  I also would like copies of any pictures if there are any.

Jeanne Hannah, Woodinville

HIBULB CULTURAL CENTER

The Spirit and History of the Tulalip Tribes at the new Hibulb Cultural Center (9/5 edition) was fascinating and much appreciated.

The Duwamsh Longhouse in Seattle has a similar story.

I also noticed that Brightwater’s grand opening last month ((9/19 edition) featured a Blessing of the Water ceremony by local tribes.

Last spring Transition Woodinville welcomed Puyallup tribe members to offer a blessing of the Woodinville Heritage Garden.  These cultural activities not only enrich all of us but help to heal wounds of the past.

Trish Knox, via email

DANGEROUS BUS STOP

My daughter is a sixth grader at Kokanee Elementary.  She is a member of band and orchestra and therefore rides the Leota bus T33 every morning. She catches the bus at Maltby Road and Little Bear Creek Road. The bus stops as it is traveling East on Maltby Road. The children are required to cross Maltby Road to board the bus.  This is a new stop this year; in prior years the bus came down Little Bear Creek Road to pick up the students.

This is an unsafe bus stop.  We are two months into the school year and there have already been 2 incidents where children were nearly run over by a car. The first incident was on September 12 when a car almost didn’t stop as the children were entering the road to cross to get on the bus.

The second occurrence was just this week when a student who was running late ran into the road after the bus driver had pulled in her sign and cars going in the opposite direction had already started to go. This incident was so disturbing that my daughter told me the bus driver even started crying because the girl came so close to being hit.

I will also add that this is the same location that had a five car pileup in August and I, myself, have almost been hit twice.  This is not a safe location for a bus stop.It is a dark, busy road.  Drivers can be distracted in the morning and are in a hurry to get where they are going.  The mornings are dark now, often foggy and will soon be icy as well.

I have made two requests to the Transportation Department to have the bus stop changed.  In September I asked that the bus stop be moved to Little Bear Creek Road where it had been in previous years and my request was denied.  Simply telling the students that they need to wait until the bus driver gives them the “all clear” (Transportation’s solution) is not good enough as became obviously clear on Monday morning.  I submitted my second request in early October and asked that if it couldn’t be moved to Little Bear Creek Road, that possibly the bus could pick up the students as it is traveling Westbound on Maltby Road instead, so that they wouldn’t have to cross the road.  My request was again denied due to “time constraints.”

I do not know who is responsible for setting up the bus routes, but clearly this person is more concerned with their timetables than with the lives of our children.  My requests for change have been refused out of hand.  To my knowledge, no one from the transportation department has even bothered to come and observe the danger of this situation firsthand, but instead they choose to stand behind what appears to be an arbitrary route change.

We should not be putting our children in danger like this every morning.  What I’m hearing from the transportation department is that our children’s lives are not worth 10 minutes.  This is not a risk we should be taking when there is an alternate solution.

Tammy Malloy, Woodinville

In a later letter: My daughter told me last night that their bus driver advised them that the bus route would be changing.I’d like to say thank you to anyone who may have helped facilitate this change.  I am very appreciative.

Tammy Malloy

Letters to the Editor - Oct. 24, 2011

  • Written by Readers

INITIATIVE 1183

Isn’t it a coincidence now that 1183 is on the ballot that every state liquor store is displaying over-sized posters touting all the money the liquor system “returns” to local communities? What those posters don’t tell you is how much money our state currently wastes every year operating those liquor stores. It takes almost $100 million a year to run the antiquated and unnecessary government liquor store system in Washington. The state charges huge markups on liquor to pay for that system and returns only the “leftovers” to local communities.

Initiative 1183 gets rid of the state liquor store system and the state markups on liquor that pay for it.  Instead, 1183 requires private distributors and retailers that get licenses to sell liquor to pay a percentage of their sales as license fees.

1183 returns all of those fees from liquor sales back to state and local governments to be used for public services. 1183 keeps liquor taxes the same, and 100 percent of those taxes will be returned to the state as well.

The State Office of Financial Management estimates that 1183 will provide over $400 million more than the current system over the next six years.  And more than $200 million of that will be returned to local governments.

That means $566,000 for Woodinville.

Now that makes sense.  Check the facts – and Vote YES on 1183.

Jennifer Burke, Woodinville

WRITE-IN CANDIDATE

It is imperative that Woodinville has candidates who represent all the citizens’ views in a fair and balanced manner.  I would do this.  I am constructive in my approach to finding the solutions to problems.

I promise if elected, the citizens will never have to worry about my using the council position for personal gain.

Giving the voters a choice for position 6 is now a reality.   Write in Nancy Montgonery

Nancy Montgomery, Woodinville

WOODINVILLE WATER DISTRICT

Why all the heat and light in the letters to the editor last week?

The WWD challengers are accusing the incumbents of playing politics but it was the challengers who first raised the issue and used it to play politics on the incumbents. If it truly is an issue, and such an important one to boot, why didn’t the challengers raise the issue before they became challengers?

If it truly is an important issue, it was the right thing to do for the incumbents to get a definitive answer to the question and let the water district customers know.

Lets face it, it’s just politics as usual, which is to say the challengers seem to be having more fun trying to trash the reputations of the incumbents than truly getting the job of commissioner. Which raises a question, do the challengers really want to get on the water district commission to serve the people or to bring sewers to the White Stallion shopping center?

Don Brocha, Woodinville

On September 28, via a public records request to King County, I found out that my opponent wrote King County’s Christie True a letter implying that my website information was not factual.

That is how my opponent’s letter became public knowledge, not via any voluntary admission.

That original letter was sent from my opponent’s personal email address, yet the reply was addressed to Ken Howe at the WWD email address. Is it normal practice to reply to a different person at a different email address from the one that wrote you?

Why was it not addressed to my opponent to her personal email account? Just a simple question, folks.

Of course we know why that was done. As Ms.True said in her correspondence with KC staff: “I am thinking it is a letter from me to the Woodinville district manager with ccs to the commissioners.”

I am compelled to contest their misleading assertions since everything on my website is documented.  Since I never mention King County on my website, how could I be making misleading claims about King County WTD? It does not take a course in logic to answer this. It is simply not possible.

These are the facts:

• The Woodinville Water District can force you to hook-up to sewer. This is written in WWD code 4.48.020 and initially Resolution 3725.

• The county’s second letter only reinforces my direct challenge to Ms. True and my opponent. Quote any part of my website that is not factual.

Reciting that WWD is the regulating authority is exactly what I state. WWD is the authority that can force hook-up to sewers.

Thank you for agreeing with me.

• My opponent uses a district meeting to read a misleading political letter deliberately sent to Ken Howe. Why?

Please read RCW 42.17.130 forbidding use of public facilities for political activities.

My opponent is working very hard to gain traction refuting what is indisputable evidence of everything listed on my website and avoiding the real issues.

Bottom line is the Woodinville Water District is spending your money on extravagant $8,500 retreats and at the same time saying rates have to go up because of reduced water consumption; argue that the very laws they pass for forcing sewer connections are not true; have no written WWD accounting standards for commissioners to follow; and are suppressing public comments via the new two-minute rule.

Transparent? No.

How can anyone call that professional conduct in a $31+ million dollar district?

Jack Vermeulen , candidate for Woodinville Water Commissioner

During this campaign I have chosen not to respond to the numerous and frequent false statements and half truths made by my opponent, however, they have become so outrageous I am compelled to set the record straight.

1.  Sewers are being built from the city limits to Avondale and septic system customers will be forced to hook up.

False, it is illegal to build sewers in the rural area and no plans exist to do so.  It is fear mongering telling people that they will be forced to hook up to sewers, costing them thousands of dollars.  No customer has ever been forced to hookup to our sewer system, it is completely voluntary.

2.  Eighty-five percent of the district is not represented by the board.

False, we represent 100 percent of our ratepayers.  It makes no difference to us if you own a home, rent a home, live in an apartment or a trailer. If you are legally connected to our system you are represented and receive first class customer service.

3. Ken Goodwin charges the district $625 per hour, spending only 12 hours a year on meetings, and traveling to Florida, San Diego, Toronto, Chicago and D.C. and charging the district over $10,000 in travel expenses in 2010.

False,  the state Legislature sets commissioner meeting compensation at $104 per day with a maximum of $9,270 per year, I commit over 300 hours a year attending District board meetings and committee assignments. My opponent was salaried at $7,200 per year as a city councilman for meeting compensation.  Meeting compensation for commissioners is required by the state auditor to be reported on expense reports.  My out-of-pocket-expense reimbursements were less than $500 in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 I attended a national training conference in Washington, D.C. The cities mentioned by my opponent were for training conferences attended over a 15-year-period. It was at a prior national training conference that I learned of an alternate method of selling bonds.

We now save hundreds of thousands of dollars each time we sell bonds, a substantial return on investment for attending a training conference.

4. District retreats are expensive vacations for commissioners and staff.

False, while these two day retreats have been valuable for planning and establishing  communication and trust between commissioners and staff, they were eliminated in the 2012 budget, which was adopted last fall.

Because of the extraordinary financial challenges we are all struggling with, all of the District’s programs are being evaluated, from those that are mission critical to nice to have, and everything in between.

5.Commissioner Goodwin is not a resident of Woodinville.

False, I have been a continuous resident of Woodinville for 19 years. I owned a home on Hollywood Hill for 15 years and have rented for the past several years. He states I have homes in Seattle and Decatur Island. The Seattle condo was purchased as a rental income  property 20 years ago and my Decatur Island property is a vacation cabin.  When did property ownership become a requirement of residency?

Providing you and your family safe water and a dependable sewer system is serious business. Clean water and a sanitary sewer system are basic necessities of life and health.

For the past 15 years you have entrusted me with that responsibly, open and honest communications is vital to that trust.

If my opponent is willing to make false statements, mislead and twist facts to win an election, can he be trusted to manage the district in your best interests?

Woodinville Water District Commissioner Ken Goodwin

Ed. Note: Because Commissioner Ken Goodwin’s letter was posted on the Patch last week, Hank Stecker, candidate for water commissioner, wrote a response at that time. His letter follows:

I always find it interesting when a person calls someone out as you have. Most of the times it is because they themselves are the parties of concern.

Is it a half-truth for my opponent to say that no one has ever been forced to hook up to sewer in Woodinville but it is already happening to families in adjoining jurisdictions and not voluntarily. What do my opponent’s comments about past hookups mean to us now that Brightwater is online?

Is it a half-truth for my opponent to pass a resolution like 3725, with no legal obligation to do so and without prior notice to the community that  WWD can hook us up to sewer for any matter of public interest? But then my opponent says he won’t force hookups. Why did you pass this unnecessary resolution?

My website is very clear that there are efforts to extend sewer into the unincorporated area and yes that is true. If it was illegal would the thousands of high density homes in Redmond Ridge be illegal because they are in unincorporated King County?

I  never accused my opponent of not being a resident. But it is very disconcerting that 85 percent of the district is on septic and we have three renters and two property owners on sewer watching out for us. If property owners on septic were on the board my opponent never would have snuck through resolution 3725!

As far as my opponent’s expenses and travel are concerned all the facts on my website are accurate and drawn from his expense reports.

If my opponent wants to justify two hours of meetings a month at the district as a rational reason to expense over 270 hours of meetings a year away from the district you go right ahead. The voters will have to make the decision of my opponent’s stay at the Grand Hyatt in D.C. for seven days is how they want their money spent.

If last fall my opponent cancelled all future commission retreats, then why did all the commissioners approve expenditures of over $8,000 of tax payer monies for (a trip) to the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls in February 2011?

We have the expenses and receipts for anyone who wants to review this.

When I was in office at the City Council, we were spending 20 hours a month in meetings at City Hall not the two hours a month you contribute. Not only is this an outrageous comparison but how can my opponent run a district in two hours?

My opponent has been in office for 16 years and still no one knows what goes on at the Water District. There are no audiotapes or videotapes of your meetings or discussions to review. Is this the open government you profess we should all trust and be comfortable with?

Hank Stecker, candidate for Woodinville Water  District commissioner

The most disheartening thing about the Stecker and Vermeulen campaigns for water district commissioner positions is that their alarmist and largely inaccurate accounting of what is going on in our community policymaking could easily distract well intentioned citizens away from focusing on the actual threats to the “country living” lifestyle that we have been cultivating around Woodinville.

If they want to expose a real boogeyman, in terms of keeping sewers out of our rural areas and keeping those rural areas “rural.” they need to look no farther than the current efforts to move the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) at the south end of Woodinville in the Sammamish Valley.  Yet Stecker and Vermuelen are curiously mum on this unfolding issue.

On May 10, 2011, our own County Councilmember Kathy Lambert pushed through Motion 13475, which directs the County administration to study the feasibility of moving the UGB to put several properties in rural unincorporated King County onto the urban side of the line. The ultimate intent is for these rural properties to be incorporated into the City of Woodinville.

Some might wonder what harm there could be in rezoning a few properties at the edge of town. The effect of allowing such piecemeal movement of the UGB and the associated rezoning would be to set a precedent for this to continue to occur across King County, opening the door for just the kind of strip mall sprawl that we have been working to avoid.

For those of us concerned about sewers being extended into our rural unincorporated neighborhoods, the best way for us to find ourselves “forced” to hook up would be for the UGB to be moved to put our properties on urban side of the line. And there are plenty of people and interests who would be happy to do just that. An example of this is embodied Lambert’s Motion 13475, above.

Fortunately, the county administration has come out with a “do not support” ruling on Lambert’s motion. This is not the first time that moving the UGB around these properties has been proposed. The county administration has been consistent in upholding the protections for our agricultural and rural areas in this case, but its recommendation must still go before the county council and it is possible that the council may vote to pursue this inadvisable change to our UGB.

Threats are nothing new to our largely successful local efforts to guide our community in positive ways and to avoid the observable mistakes in growth patterns others have made. Over the years, there have been all sorts of assaults on our well intentioned, if imperfect, growth management policies. And there will continue to be others. That is why it is imperative for us, as a community, to keep focused on the real issues and not be distracted by false alarms such as those put forth by the Stecker and Vermeulen campaigns.

MichaelTanksley, Hollywood Hill

The Northshore Youth Soccer Association has noted that in his recent profile, Candidate Hank Stecker lists his community involvement as “assistant coach for my son’s ... and NYSA soccer teams,”  While we appreciate all parents who support the opportunities soccer provides for our young people, and our coaches certainly appreciate parental help from time to time (most of our teams are volunteer based), we do have certain procedures we operate within to assure the best possible soccer education and safety for our players.  We require coaches to be registered, licensed, and risk management cleared.  We require  assistant coaches be registered, risk management cleared and suggest they be licensed as well.  We require all parents who actively engage with the players to be risk management cleared.  According to our records, Mr. Stecker is not currently licensed, registered or cleared for risk by the Washington Youth Soccer Association.

As a reminder to all our dedicated parent volunteers for our 5,000 members, it takes only moments of your time to log on to our website www.northshoresoccer.org and click the link for the risk management application, which is free of charge.

The purpose of NYSA is: To provide the infrastructure and programs supporting player development and competitive opportunities,  To teach good sportsmanship. To promote physical health. To develop, govern and promote the game of soccer.  The principles governing competition among our teams includes development of physical fitness, mental alertness, leadership and good sportsmanship; recognition that the manner of play outweighs a victory, and encouragement of courtesy, gentlemanly conduct, and respect for authority by players, officials and spectators.

Thank you to all who have supported our association mission, players, and scholarships. With your support, particularly through scholarship opportunities, we continue to welcome all players and strive to give them the best possible soccer (and life) experience.

Jim Bates, president, Northshore Youth Soccer

FIRE COMMISSIONERS

Clint Olson has served with integrity, always putting the public first. The public has been well represented against “special interest groups and those with something to gain” at the cost of the public.  Clint has used his integrity to represent the public, not using unfair labor practices or position for his personal gain. Clint’s deeds precede his service progressing from a protector of the public in “laws and actions” to a protector of the vulnerable in “fire and life safety” issues.

Clint’s judgment to protect and serve all parties, public and fire professionals alike, has been impeccable. Clint has been fair and honest to all concerned and is definitely worthy of re-election to the board of fire commissioners. Clint can withstand the implied pressure by those with an “ax to grind” and will represent all of us as a fire service leader and team player. Clint is an honoree by his peers, acknowledging his leadership and service to the fire community. Clint has “walked the walk” and can “talk the talk” with respect and dignity for all. Please re-elect Clint Olson.

Mark Freitas, Woodinville

The leadership of Local 2950, Woodinville Firefighters, has never suggested that the Woodinville Fire District ever had the authority to stop the Kirkland annexation after it was approved by the Kirkland City Council. As far as I can tell, this is the “lie” that Fire Commissioner Miller has alleged (“WF&R Commissioner Sounds Off,” Oct. 10, 2011). We have, however, suggested that the Woodinville Board of Fire Commissioners has failed to fulfill its obligation to provide adequate fire and emergency medical services to parts of the fire district that remain within Woodinville’s jurisdiction, such as Hollywood Hill. If Commissioner Miller doesn’t understand the difference, that is unfortunate.

During negotiations in the latter part of 2010, the firefighter’s local was in favor of staffing an aid car to at least provide emergency medical services to the areas impacted by the Kirkland annexation. And yes, if necessary, locate this aid car temporarily at Station 34 until a more favorable location was provided. Unfortunately, this model was not agreeable to the representatives of the fire district. Instead of keeping “boots on the street,” the fire district began building an administrative empire that included five brand new executive staff positions. This is when the firefighters’ local cried “foul.”

It is disappointing to see Mr. Miller grousing about events that occurred almost six months ago when he should be spending his time and energy tending to the very real challenges facing the fire district today.

Alternatively, Commissioners Osgood, Coughlin and Vucci have chosen to move on from the acrimony of the past and have confronted the current issues with a much greater degree of openness and collaboration. These efforts are starting to bring about positive results.

Mr. Miller has unfortunately maintained a policy of zero direct communication with the firefighters’ leadership as the district has been wrestling with the controversies over the last couple of years. This is not helpful and his comments reflect the fact that he has only been interested in hearing one side of the debate. As always, we are willing to meet with Mr. Miller any time.

These allegations by Mr. Miller are not only untimely, they are frankly without merit and they have been levied without any references or supporting documentation. Where the leadership of this Local has made factual statements, we stand behind them. Where we have speculated and/or shared our opinions, we have noted these and have made the appropriate distinctions.

Incidentally, Fire Commissioner Clint Olson has taken a similar approach as Mr. Miller when confronting the complex problems that face the fire district; he is not speaking openly with the firefighters’ leadership and he has failed to move on from the ill-advised policies of the former fire chief and the acrimony of the past. It is imperative that he is not re-elected as he attempts to secure another six-year term. Please support and vote for Mark Emery in the upcoming election.

Greg Ahearn, president, Local 2950 Woodinville Firefighters

I’ve been listening closely to the firefighters and the board of commissioners issues this year, and I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to vote in new leadership. I am genuinely impressed by Mark Emery. I think there are two problems with a lot of people who want to get elected to any office. One is the lack of a genuine understanding of how things work on the ground; and the other is no practical experience on how things work at the top—no idea how to work with a budget, or be an administrator. These really are two different things, and usually you get one type or the other, and the imbalance shows in their decision making and the impact shows in the people they fail to serve.What I really like about Mark Emery is he has the necessary experience in both sides of the spectrum. He was a firefighter for nearly 30 years, so this guy GETS how things work on the front lines — what equipment is needed, how the team works; and how families are affected by injuries and loss, how people are affected by response times, and homes are affected by fire. But he’s also spent years in the administrative side of things as a battalion chief, and has extensive education on how to run a fire department and frankly, seems to have inadvertently trained for years for just this job — to be a fire commissioner.

I don’t think we could ask for a more qualified, well-rounded person for this position than Mark Emery. I look forward to seeing the change he’ll bring to Woodinville Fire and Rescue.

Tony Montecalvo, Woodinville

WOODINVILLE FARMERS MARKET

The Woodinville Farmers Market has just concluded its 18th season. Our mission for all these years has been to be a resource for fresh local produce, flowers and crafts supporting both our community and our vendors. For those of you who visited, we thank you for helping us meet our goal. A special thanks must be extended to some local businesses and organizations who have quietly supported us making this a true community effort.  First is the Northshore YMCA who has allowed us access to the Carol Edwards Center keeping us in compliance with local health code requirements and for providing space for us to store some of our equipment.  Next is the Woodinville Weekly staff who have provided the creativity behind our ads and some well written articles about the market. Also thanks go to Woodinville Patch editor, Annie Archer, who has consistently published information each week on what’s fresh at the market.  Finally, John Shephard who operates Woodinville Counseling has set up and played some nice tunes on his guitar around lunchtime each week and certainly added to the ambiance of the market.

It has been a pleasure working with all of you.

Michael Charlton, WFM Board President

Letters to the Editor - Oct. 17, 2011

  • Written by Readers

Ed. Note: In an effort to shed some light on the possibility of required sewer connections by the Woodinville Water District, below are two letters from Christie True, director, Department of Natural Resources and Parks. On the lower part of the page are letters from candidates and WWD customers.

Dear Ken Howe (general manager of the Woodinville Water District with copies sent to commissioners Karen Steeb, Tim Matson, Sandra L. Smith, Ed Cebron and Ken Goodwin)

The beginning of operation at the Brightwater Treatment Plant presents an excellent opportunity to correct misinformation currently circulating in the Woodinville community about requirements to connect to the sanitary sewer system, as well as how Brightwater’s cost will be covered by current and future ratepayers.

Of particular concern are the inaccurate assertions being made about King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) by two candidates campaigning for commissioner positions at the Woodinville Water District, Jack Vermeulen and Hank Stecker. While it is not WTD’s policy to become involved in the elections of our customer agencies or to make candidate endorsements, we believe we have a responsibility to correct the misinformation about our utility that is currently being directed to voters. As a wholesale provider of regional wastewater services, WTD will not, and in fact by law cannot, require Woodinville Water District customers to connect to the sanitary sewer system. Decisions about extending or expanding sewer service are made by local utilities and jurisdictions. WTD also does not direct local agencies to connect new sewer customers, as local sewer utilities have their own rules on connection requirements.

Secondly, wastewater treatment service is provided only within designated urban growth areas, with very few exceptions.

The laws currently in place related to sewer connection requirements and service extensions have been in existence many years before Brightwater was even sited. Brightwater does not change any King County or local agency requirement for connection in case of septic failures or public health concerns.

To provide background, Brightwater was built to serve planned population growth within the urban growth area as defined by the state’s Growth Management Act and local comprehensive plans, which are developed using population forecasts by the Puget Sound Regional Council.

New capacity built as part of the 1999 Regional Wastewater Services Plan, which includes Brightwater and dozens of other projects, will be funded largely by a capacity charge and monthly sewer rates from new connections to the system throughout King County’s entire 420-square- mile service area, which stretches from north Pierce County to Mill Creek in south Snohomish County. Most of these connections will occur as a result of new development as opposed to septic to sewer connections.

In planning for new capacity, King County projects that most homes and businesses within the urban growth boundary will have sewer service within the next two decades. However, the exact timing is up to local jurisdictions and sewer agencies. Under state and local laws, all development within the urban growth area is to eventually be served by public sewer service, although onsite sewage treatment systems may be allowed temporarily in some parts of the urban growth area.

New developments built within the urban growth area, or existing developments that undergo significant expansion and improvement, are likely to be required to connect to the sanitary sewer system if the development is located within a specified proximity to a public sewer as described under King County Code 13.24.136, or under the requirements of local sewer utilities or comprehensive plans.There is no truth to the assertion that everyone within 300 feet of a sanitary sewer system will automatically be required to connect to it.

King County code is quite clear that sewer service is limited to serving areas within an urban growth area, or a rural city or a rural town approved for public sewer service. Under KCC 13.24.134, sewer service can only be expanded to rural and natural resource areas only if it’s needed to address specific health and safety problems threatening the existing uses of structures.

The Growth Management Act makes special exceptions for public school systems with design daily average flows of more than 3,500 gallons per day that can be connected by a dedicated line, or “tightlined,” to an existing sewer system. Public schools in rural areas may also be required to connect if it’s determined that no cost-effective alternative technologies are feasible and that an onsite sewage disposal system would be inadequate to protect basic public health, safety and the environment during the use of a site for a school or school facility.

Hopefully, this information will provide helpful information to respond to your customers’ and community members’ concerns about the sewer service area and system hookup requirements. . .

Christine True, director, Department of Natural Resources and Parks

Dear Mr. Stecker:

I am writing to follow up on my later dated September 13, 2011, to Mr. Ken Howe, general manager of the Woodinville Water District, regarding sewer connections and the Brightwater Treatment Plant. The factual information in the letter is correct. However, the letter itself appears to have become a campaign issue, which I regret.

I therefore wish to retract the letter and reiterate that the sole purpose of the letter was to correct what I believed to be inaccurate factual information regarding the King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) and the Brightwater Treatment Plant. To the extent that my naming particular candidates in the letter contributed to any confusion regarding the purpose of the letter, I apologize for including those references.

As my letter indicated, it is not the WTD’s policy to become involved in elections or to endorse any candidates. I am committed to ensuring that the Department of Natural Resources and Parks has a positive and productive relationship with the Board of Commissioners of the Woodinville Water District.

Christine True, director

__________________________________________________________________

WOODINVILLE WATER DISTRICT
Pertaining to the ongoing election for Woodinville Water Commission, I received a letter from Christie True, King County director and former project manager for Brightwater apologizing for getting involved in the water district election and involving Jack Vermeulen and myself in her comments. She writes “I therefore wish to retract the letter” to the Woodinville Water District and states “the purpose of the letter was to correct what I believed to be inaccurate factual information.”
The letter’s history is interesting. On Sept. 6, Karen Steeb the chair of our water district, emailed Christie True at King County: “I am running for re-election to the Woodinville Water District Board of Directors.  My opponent and another opponent have made some very interesting predictions about future actions of King County Waste Management and Brightwater that will be forced upon the Woodinville Water District ratepayers ... I would appreciate your comments on their claims.”
Karen Steeb’s request is clearly campaign-related. While Christie True stated she didn’t “want to intervene in elections,” she did just that directing county staffers to compose a letter (on county time) that she knows will be used for campaign purposes.

Ms. Steeb and Mr. Goodwin then used a public water district meeting, with invited press in attendance, to read this letter into the record for the purpose of promoting their election. It would appear that both of these issues violate State Code RCW 42.17.130: “No elective official nor any employee of his [or her] … agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office ….”

Why is the former project manager for Brightwater being asked to and then getting involved in the election for Woodinville Water Commissioners? These same commissioners that have the authority to compel their users to hook up to Brightwater and who just unanimously (with no legal obligation) passed resolution 3725 on July 5 which states: The District (has) statutory authority to compel property owners to connect to the District’s sewer system...when... there is an issue of public interest. Why is the county also working to extend sewer into the unincorporated areas of our district?

Folks, properties built on large lots and on septic comprise 85 percent of the Woodinville Water District. Who is planning our future for sewer and water and why these resolutions? It may help to know that not one water commissioner owns property on a large lot with septic. Of the five commissioners, three are renters and two have homes on sewer in downtown Woodinville. They have nothing at stake.

My family has owned our Woodinville home on large lot/septic (which works just fine) for 22 years. I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for our neighborhoods.We have some serious issues to address that will impact the future of our community over the next several decades. It’s time these issues get addressed in an open forum so the voice of our community can be heard and we can shape our future together.

Hank Stecker, candidate for Woodinville Water commissioner


In early September I asked King County a simple question seeking information that pertains to the Woodinville Water District and its ratepayers.

I corresponded one time with the county via email on September 6, 2011.  The water district commissioner opponents made claims on their websites that involved sewers and King County. Therefore I was compelled to ask the county for clarifications about the opponents’ statements. I acknowledged I was running for reelection.

It was a surprise when the county’s answer was sent directly to the water district. Two letters have been generated by the county.

• The county’s first letter of September 13, 2011, sent directly to the water district, names (the opponents) and states that they were spreading misinformation.

• Their second letter of September 30, 2011, sent to Mr. Stecker, was forwarded to the general manager of the water district. The county’s letter regrets the use of the opponents’ names.

• The county’s second letter also reinforced that all their previous comments in the first letter were factual and remain true.

There seems to be lots of correspondence between Mr. Stecker and the county that I and the public have not seen.  My and Mr. Goodwin’s opponents are working very hard to gain traction on their non-issues with the water district during this campaign.

Bottom line - the Woodinville Water District is a professionally, competently and   transparently operated $31+ million special-purpose district run by highly qualified staff and commissioners.

Karen Steeb, candidate for Woodinville Water District commissioner


Because of yet another bitter election I feel compelled to write this letter. The last city council election was contentious, and this year’s water district commissioners election looks to be headed in the same direction.

The misinformation about required sewer connections has been corrected in a letter from Christie True, director of King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (See above) and printed in the Woodinville Weekly (September 26 edition). I’m hoping we can all agree now that this is a non-issue and move on to a more factual and civil debate.

All of this manufactured strife has been at the water district’s and commissiones’ expense. Speaking for myself I’ve only ever had  positive interactions with the water district, whether it’s help in finding a broken water line or a question about a bill. The response from the water district has always been prompt, friendly and efficient.

After attending a water district commissioners’ meeting last week, it was obvious to me that the current commissioners know their job and do it well and that they are dedicated to serving the entire water district and not just a neighborhood. So the question I have is, why change a good thing?

Karen Walsh, Woodinville


I was surprised to see the letter written, on official King County stationery, to the Woodinville Water general manager by prior Brightwater project manager, now director of natural resources and parks — Christie True.

 

So, why was I surprised?

First, Ms. True with this letter has inserted herself into the local water district election: a possible violation of WA RCW 42.17.130. “No elective official nor any employee of his [or her] office nor any person appointed to or employed by any public office or agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition. Facilities of a public office or agency include, but are not limited to, use of stationery, postage, machines and equipment, use of employees of the office or agency during working hours, vehicles, office space, publications of the office or agency and clientele lists of persons served by the office or agency.”

Second, in her letter, she accuses two non-incumbent candidates of making “inaccurate assertions about King County’s Water Treatment Division with respect to hookups being mandatory.” Yet if one reads the Woodinville Water District’s own Resolution 3725, passed on July 5, 2011, it states,  “Section 2 - Connection with Public Sewers Required Consistent with RCW 57.08.005(9) which provides the district with statutory authority to compel property owners to connect to the district’s sewer system, a property owner may be required to connect the owner’s premises to the district sewer system when a public health authority or land use authority with jurisdiction requires the connection of a property owner’s premises to the district’s sewer system or there is an overriding issue of public interest.”

So my questions to Ms. True are: 1) why are you,  a King County official, involved with a local election and, 2) why are you apparently supporting the incumbent candidates?

I’m no lawyer, but this doesn’t smell right to me.  I think it’s time for fresh blood on the water commission

Steve Yabroff, Woodinville


As one of the supposedly “unrepresented 85 percent who lives in unincorporated Woodinville and has very recently been through the building permit process, as well as the water main replacement in my neighborhood, I believe I can say with some certainty that any change to current policy regarding sewer hookups would be slow in coming, if indeed it ever did, given the rate of speed with which our permit made it through the system (the term “glacial” springs to mind) and how long the water main took to replace. Neither of these were large and complicated projects, unlike the enormous yet merely theoretical undertaking of bringing sewers to unincorporated Woodinville, yet each still took a very long time.

Mr. Stecker’s claim that I am “unrepresented” is patently false given that Washington state law (RCW 57.12.030) has no residency requirements for water district commissioners.  His residency in unincorporated King County will not result in my having better representation merely on that basis.

Mr. Vermuelen characterizes the district’s support of the repeal of RCW 35.13A as the City of Woodinville “no longer being able to manage its own water resource,” when in fact the city does not now manage the resource and would be seizing control of it. As the law now stands this would happen without a vote of the people affected, clearly an undemocratic use of power by the city.  Repealing this statute benefits the residents of the City of Woodinville as well as those in unincorporated King County by ensuring we will have a say in the matter.

Nothing that has been claimed as the “facts” with regard to the Woodinville Water District is borne out by my reading of the water district association’s legislative agenda or Washington state law or recent experience with local government via the building permit process.  I believe instead that the truth is being obfuscated and I would hope that each voter will research these issues. It took me only a few minutes on each one to see the facts and decide for myself on the basis of fact and not hyperbole and distortion.

Karen Isaacson, Woodinville


I attended the regular scheduled Woodinville Water District meeting on October 4, 2011, at 6 p.m. I have been attending WWD meetings off and on for the past year, primarily because of discovering the authority the WWD has to force mandatory residential hook ups. I have made several presentations at the podium during the public comment period. Being involved from 2005 with the Wood Trails high density residential development, it became clear over the years that Woodinville’s very own sewage dump was shaping up to have more of a negative impact on the residential neighborhoods than originally thought and the WWD was a major player. My earlier public comments were that of inquiries rather than opinions. The WWD was extremely generous in allowing public comment time and always thanked me and others for attending. As time went on and the completion of the sewage dump was near, more negative information began to surface, now more questions, more folks now interested in the WWD and their role with the sewage dump, the once warm fuzzy, very accommodating atmosphere was disappearing fast. Fast forward to October 4 after missing meetings for a month or so, it was announced at the beginning of the WWD meeting that public comment was limited to 2 minutes. That’s it and as I did try to squeeze in a bit more time, I was abruptly stopped. Since I have a master egree in government speak translation and small government decoding, I quickly translated what 2 minutes of public comment time really means. We, the WWD, have absolutely no further interest in the public’s opinion. We, the WWD, have a sweet-heart deal going on here, and we no longer want the general public to not only give up on public comment, but we would prefer that the general public didn’t even show up at our meetings. Additional translation means, we the WWD now have no video or audio of our meetings, but now we want no citizen to attend and our new 2 minute rule should do the trick for us. A Woodinville citizen could now assume the WWD has contempt for the rate payers.

Dave Henry, Woodinville


In response to criticisms of the water district, the current board of commissioners has not only not added video for the benefit of the public they have decided to reduce public comment time to just 2 minutes. Is total word count allowed next?

So, how about that fire district? What can you say? Wrongful termination lawsuits, still no video, 5 p.m. meetings (mostly to facilitate executive sessions) and now — Yep, you guessed it: charges of race discrimination lodged by former Chief Daniels. I guess he didn’t like the generous severance offer from the district. I was told by one commissioner that Daniels had countered the severance offer. Bringing in the EEOC, a federal agency, to investigate the district is a nice touch if you want to call that his counter-offer.

I really feel for the firefighters, para meds and EMTs, many whom I’ve met over the last 28 years. The professional demeanor they exhibit day in and day out is to be admired. I only wish the commissioners had their backs. Not once have I seen or heard anything that would goad anyone to use the race card. Really embarrassing!

Steve Maloney, Woodinville


BUSINESS MATTERS

With the general election just weeks away, it’s timely to remember that local businesses are important to our quality of life in Woodinville and that we need city officials who support our local business community.

Local businesses are valuable to area residents because they:

• Generate revenue from sales taxes, property taxes and fees the city needs to provide services and build infrastructure.

• Provide jobs so our residents can work where they live.

• Enable you to avoid burning up gas and wasting your valuable time driving to another city to get what you need.

• So if you are fortunate to live in Woodinville and have the right to vote, please exercise that right and cast your vote. Only 3,463 Woodinville residents voted in the general election in 2009, so your vote will count!

But before you drop your vote into the ballot box, get informed about the candidates’ positions and plans to support local business. Ask them what they’ll do, if elected, to generate economic development in our city and to change Woodinville’s reputation of being a tough city in which to do business. Ask them to share their vision of our future downtown and what their plans are to make that vision a reality.

And please consider that most business owners in Woodinville live elsewhere and don’t have a vote. They have a significant investment in our city and in many cases their life savings – yet they have no say in the decisions made at city hall that affect their ability to operate their businesses successfully. These non-resident business owners rely on you to keep their needs in mind when you cast your vote.

The future of Woodinville is bright and a thriving business community is an integral part of it. Please help elect a city council that demonstrates that business matters in Woodinville!

Dave Witt, executive director, Greater Woodinville Chamber of Commerce


NSD SCHOOL BOARD DIRECTORS

In school our children face peer pressure, bullying and harassment. Teachers and principals work to improve school climate in order to reduce or eliminate the environment in which these negative behaviors thrive.

But what about when the peer pressure, bullying and harassment is being aimed at school staff members by other members of the staff?

This year a hostile environment has been created in some of schools in the Northshore School District  over the school board elections.  Northshore School Board Director Districts 2 and 3 are both on the ballot.  The teachers’ union has endorsed and financed the campaigns of two candidates, B-Z Davis and Janet Quinn.

Some school employees who have chosen to support Davis and Quinn’s opponents (Dawn McCravey and Joe Marshall, respectively) have been harassed and intimidated by some of their colleagues. Fear of retaliation is keeping these individuals from reporting the harassment through the appropriate channels. They fear the union leadership as well as school administrators ,

Such a hostile work environment for our school employees can have a negative impact on our students. What happens in the staff lunchroom can affect the classroom.

The practice of teachers’ unions paying for a school board candidate’s campaign carries with it negative implications ... School board members vote on district budgets and employee contracts. It is a conflict of interest for any candidate for school board to accept the endorsement of, and sizable donations from, any employee group, such as the teachers’ union or its president.

John Mitchell, Bothell


Every two years, our community takes part in one of the most important local elections on the ballots – the decision of who to elect as our school board directors.Therefore, it’s well worth our time to consider the candidates we will be electing to our school boards.

We need to ask the questions of what has our school board achieved, and what do we want it to achieve in the near and distant future.  It’s not news that the NSD has worked on trimming its budget for the past decade.  Yet, in spite of this daunting challenge in the past two years, our school board has managed to restore some of its cut programs (e.g., music and the 5th grade overnight environmental program), invest in updating its math and literacy programs (as well as working toward science and other subjects) and resisted the practice of releasing staff during economic downturns. The board has also been responsive to the community’s requests for more rigorous middle school programs. As a result of the collaboration between administrators, the board and the community the NSD is now implementing the first phase of a middle school “Challenge” program.

For the future, there’s ongoing discussion about expanding the nationally recognized International Baccalaureate program and providing more advanced placement opportunities for students. The board has also endorsed district support for preserving the largest forested area in Bothell which feeds directly into the wetlands that are being restored by a group from the University of Washington, Bothell. And, for the first time, the board is tying achieving district goals with senior administrative performance evaluations.

By most accounts, the district under this current board has made significant strides to maintaining and advancing our children’s educations. However, the projections for a prolonged economic downturn will continue to be a challenge. This is, without a doubt, a critical piece in determining the future plans for the district. How will the next school board respond to this hurdle, whether it includes a mix of new directors or keeps the current board intact?  Will these board directors continue to engage the community and collaborate to find innovative solutions?  Will they continue to prioritize and protect student programs?  Will those elected continue to assure oversight of fiscal responsibility and transparency?

Whatever our concerns and criteria are for good school district governance, we need to take the time to consider and elect the most qualified individuals on to the school board. At stake is the quality of our communities as well as our children’s futures.

Tolli Lowell-Forker, via email


I enthusiastically support B-Z Davis as a candidate for the Northshore School Board. Having served with B-Z for years, I can attest to the passion, energy, enthusiasm, caring, commitment, courage, ethical standards, depth of knowledge, thoughtful consideration and respect for others B-Z always brought to the board. She is absolutely the right person for the job.

Rich Baldwin, former director, Northshore School District


During these challenging economic times, I am delighted to know that solid, experienced, policy minded citizens like B-Z Davis are running for a school board position. I know that after previously serving 16 years on the Northshore School Board, she is going into this challenge with her eyes wide open.

For the year that I served as the Northshore School District interim superintendent, I recognized the natural and earned leadership skills that B-Z possesses. Public education is still the foundation of our great country and the intricate balance needed to hold high standards, manage declining resources and do the best for every student, staff and citizen is increasingly difficult. I have witnessed B-Z navigate similar challenges with great finesse and political savvy every day. B-Z has my unwavering support to rejoin the Northshore School District Board. It is a time for steady leadership driven by a solid personal moral compass. B-Z has what it takes; please return her to the school board.

Dolores Gibbons, via email


As Dawn McCravey’s neighbor I’ve observed Dawn over the years make hard decisions when cut-backs were necessary and yet she still kept her eye on the prize (better education). I know that the changes made by the school board with Dawn’s experienced direction and guidance these last few years has given me the confidence to enroll my children in our local public school. The teachers I know of are employed with student/teacher ratios that are still amazingly low in the elementary years. We have friends in other districts that are not faring as well (30+kids/classroom). The past two years the teachers have said to me that they are truly excited by the quality of the new curriculum that they are using to work with our children.  I am truly grateful for Dawn McCravey’s continuing dedication to all our children and teachers.

I trust that Dawn McCravey’s continued presence on the board will bring about the best possible outcome for our district.

Briana Metting, Bothell


Northshore’s paraeducators, nurses, school assistants, and other educators, all of whom are part of the Northshore Educational Support Professionals Association, also support BZ Davis. The school secretaries and office professionals, all who belong to the Northshore Educational Office Professional Association, also support BZ Davis. All of the professional organizations of Northshore educators support BZ Davis.  Here’s why: BZ Davis was on the school board for 16 years. Her record is clear; she is one of the people responsible for making Northshore a great school district.

She is thoughtful and is as committed to our community’s students as we are. She respects the perspective of the teachers and assistants who work in the classroom with our students.  She values our knowledge, experience, and success with our community’s students.

There are major differences between the candidates.  Her opponent, Dawn McCravey, would not meet with our association nor answer any written questions to disclose her views on education in Northshore. Her claim that she collaborates with teachers is clearly untrue.

Signed by 48 Northshore teachers who are the elected building representatives of each school in the district.