Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Oct. 12, 2019, in The Olympian

Stakeholders to BNR: This is no time to rush

A rare and significant moment occurred at the Board of Natural Resources October 1 meeting in Olympia. Stakeholders from across the aisles — lawyers representing timber industry and conservation community—were in vehement agreement: The Board should delay their December 2 vote on a Long-Term Conservation Strategy that will determine how 1.38 million acres of state forestlands are managed over the next 50 years for the beneficiaries of the timber revenue and for the marbled murrelet, an endangered seabird that nest in these forestlands. While the lawyers argued for a delay to resolve perceived procedural violations, there are other reasons to delay this vote.

Since the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service began developing the Long-Term Conservation Strategy in earnest in 2012, the six-member board has turned over completely, with half the members beginning their terms in 2018 or 2019. Without the benefit of several years of DNR presentations on this complex conservation strategy, the board rightly had many excellent questions during yesterday’s 58-slide presentation. No doubt they’ll have many more questions after reading the 428-page Final Environmental Impact Statement on the eight strategy alternatives (released on September 20) and the Biological Opinion (yet to be released).

It seems not only unfair but also unreasonable to expect board members to vote until all their questions have been answered and procedural issues resolved. Board members should not be rushed to vote on December 2. The future of our state forestlands is too important to Washingtonians and wildlife.

Maria Ruth

Olympia

Three Mayors endorse the re-election of Cheryl Selby for Mayor

We three former mayors of Olympia are pleased to support the re-election of Cheryl Selby for Mayor.

Mayor Selby has carried out her duties with intelligence, good humor, energy and grace. She articulately explains City policies and programs to the public and to local, state and federal officials. Recently, her presentation on the City’s programs to assist the homeless at an Association of Washington Cities meeting drew a standing room-only crowd and inquiries on how to replicate Olympia’s methodical approach to this difficult challenge. She is an enthusiastic and visible supporter of a wide range of City and community activities.

Mayor Selby presides over Council meetings fairly and firmly. At a time when the City faces several controversial issues, she encourages an atmosphere where councilmembers can thoroughly discuss those issues and citizens can express diverse opinions. While she tries to assist the Council in arriving at consensus, she has the courage to cast a lone dissenting vote when she disagrees.

We encourage you to join us in helping re-elect Mayor Cheryl Selby.

Holly Gadbaw

Mark Foutch

Doug Mah

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