Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 16

Campaign financing needs reform

Matt Batcheldor’s article about the upcoming Olympia City Council primary clearly shows the connection between campaign donors and candidates’ positions.

For example, incumbent Jeff Kingsbury, a proponent of downtown development on the isthmus, has raised over $15,000 with a large portion of it coming from developers. This is only for the primary, not the general election, and is for a position that pays $16,640 a year.

I wish every campaign article would report where the money’s coming from. Maybe then more people would see the connection between campaign donations and the votes our public officials cast once elected. Big money isn’t shy about donating to the candidate of their choice, and I would guess they make a pretty good return on that investment. The rest of us struggle to find (and fund!) candidates who aren’t beholden to special interests.

If only we would pay for the election process outright. Yes, use our tax dollars to pay campaign expenses for candidates who actually do want to represent taxpaying people. And while opponents of public funding say it would be too expensive, I know it would be a bargain in comparison to the system we have now. Even the big donors know, “You get what you pay for.”



Kingsbury has convictions

I’m writing in support of Jeff Kingsbury for the Olympia City Council. Jeff has been one of Olympia’s strongest council members over the last few years. He sticks to his beliefs and doesn’t bend in the wind.

While I don’t always agree with him, I admire him for taking positions and sticking with them. I believe that Jeff has strong underlying values that guide him. It is unfortunate that so many of our elected leaders don’t. It would make for a better world.



County fair was a bargain

The general assumption is that the holiday season is the most expensive time of year. I however, believe that summer can be the most costly for our family. We spend the few months of wonderful warm weather camping, traveling, and enjoying outdoor events. Thankfully one of those outdoor events in our area is very affordable if you plan it right!

The Thurston County Fair is the perfect mid-week summer event for families and if you go on the first day it is nearly FREE! The first day of the fair is dollar day. With a donation to the Thurston County Food Bank the entry fee is only $1! Rides are $1 all day and some food vendors are selling $1 items.

I attended the fair this year with my two children. Total cost was $6! FREE shuttle and parking, $1 entry fee (both kids were free), $2 on rides, and a $3 sno-cone. The animal barns were wonderful, the horse demonstrations captivated the kids, and the rides were fun and appropriate.

Support the fair, your community, and your budget in future summers!



Gates and Rogers deserve support

On receipt, I eagerly opened my voter’s pamphlet and scanned the Olympia City Council candidates statements. Wow, they all sound wonderful, being in favor of good things for my favorite city.

How to choose among them? Then it occurred to me that I was most interested in their views about the “muss-mess” on the isthmus, transparency, and honoring the open meeting law. No help in the voters pamphlets. Fortunately, Karen Rogers, Position 4, and Janine Gates, Position 5, have come to the neighborhood and made their views clear. They both strongly support a different outcome on the isthmus than that favored by the present council. They also both support transparency and openness in the conduct of city business. I am going to vote for both to try to preserve the diverse and dynamic downtown we have!



Veldheer is right council choice

As friends were leaving my house the other night, they pointed to my sign supporting Karen Veldheer for City Council. Here’s why I decided she is my candidate.

I went to two house parties listening to Veldheer respond to questions, as well as stating her positions on city issues. It is true she is focused on the waterfront and making the upcoming comprehensive plan process a citizen-responsive visioning.

But that is near and dear to my heart, too. You see, both of her opponents have extensive planning experience. They see their role as managing a process, not eliciting, listening and using citizen involvement.

This was pointed out to me by Citizens for a Responsive Local Government three months ago, but I’ve now seen it over and over. Whenever she speaks she convinces me more that Olympia has an unresponsive council made up of people who believe it is their position to decide for the city how we should grow. That doesn’t sit well with her.

I trust that if we can get her and Stephen Buxbaum on the council, we will shake it up enough that some real dialogue can occur there.

The present council is more interested in “teamwork” as promulgated by Jeff Kingsbury. That approach doesn’t permit the many expert and visionary people in the community to have much input.

Yes, there are issues beyond land use, but if we get this right, a whole host of other issues may be easier to solve.