Firefighters too involved in race
It looks like a hot race between firefighters and incumbents for the next Lacey City Council seats. My take on it is vote for the incumbents. Sure, they had issues with the city of Lacey. The good news is that they had someone to be accountable to. So, think about it. If we somehow end up with candidates backed by union- organized firefighters on the City Council, they will never have anyone to hold them accountable.
Now, our Mayor Graeme Sackrison has proven that his campaign signs have been pulled by Ron Lawson. It has come to my attention that John Darby has had many of his signs removed also
Conclusion: Vote for the incumbents; Sackrison, Darby and Bergman. Those firefighters who are active in the campaigng are kind, dedicated people who need to be freed up to fight fires. Let’s keep their candidates off our City Council, which indicates a conflict of interest.
KAREN STRAND, Lacey
Outgoing commissioner backs Peeler
For the primary election I had recommended Jeff Davis as my replacement on the Port of Olympia Commission. Now, the longshoremen’s unions up and down the coast obviously intend to buy this seat with extraordinary donations to his campaign. It is not in the best interests of Thurston County citizens and taxpayers to elect a person to the port who is financially beholden to outsiders.
At a recent forum, Davis replied to this issue, “We stick together, we work together, we live and die together.” While laudable, this emotional sentiment is not conducive to objective decision making and governance of the port. The interests of Thurston County citizens and taxpayers must come first over union “brothers and sisters.”
The two other port commissioners already are advocates of the marine cargo terminal. A third, whose primary knowledge and focus is the same, is not needed. The port needs balance and diversity on the commission.
The port has continuing problems and lawsuits with stormwater management. Dave Peeler’s career with the state Department of Ecology can be an asset.
Because of all of the foregoing I now recommend voting for Dave Peeler.
PAUL TELFORD, Port of Olympia commissioner
Kingsbury is too close to the Castle
How disappointed I was to learn that Olympia City Council member Jeff Kingsbury had a fundraiser in the South Capitol Neighborhood at the notorious Castle.
Currently, there is a loophole in our local code that allows people who don’t live here to host up to six receptions each year. The Castle, located adjacent to the Capitol Campus, has received citations for violating the city’s zoning code by surpassing the number of allowed receptions. For the Castle, it is just a cost of doing business.
This is a residential neighborhood. It is zoned for residential use and not for commercial use. As a sitting council member, Kingsbury is well aware of this problem. The neighborhood residents have strongly opposed the use of houses in the neighborhood as reception halls, and we have asked the council to close this loophole. Under Kingsbury’s tenure on the City Council, this request was buried.
The Castle’s owner, lobbyist T.K. Bentler, is a contributor to Kingsbury’s campaign for re-election.
BOB THOMAS, Olympia
Machlis has city’s best interests in mind
Joan Machlis contacted me seeking to discuss issues in my neighborhood. We sat down and had a very productive conversation.
Machlis offered fair, pragmatic and effective solutions.
I was extremely impressed with her commitment to the residential quality of life not only in my neighborhood but in all neighborhoods throughout Olympia.
She has a great understanding of our city from her long history of community service and prior ownership of a small business downtown.
I enjoy working with Joan Machlis because she is direct, honest and always follows through on her commitments. Joan is an excellent council member and a clear choice for Olympia’s future.
GREG KLEIN, Olympia
Valenzuela speaks with candor
Last spring, I had the opportunity to observe Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela in action at a neighborhood meeting regarding a local environmental issue. At that time, she had just been appointed to the commission.
She attended the meeting as just another member of the community. She said nothing until another local official addressed the audience without really answering their questions. At that point, Valenzuela spoke up as a member of the audience, trying to get the other official to answer us while offering new insights on the issue.
Her insights showed that she had listened to us and considered our concerns.
What’s more, she had diligently researched the issues and formulated perspectives and solutions we hadn’t considered.
She conveyed them clearly, candidly and respectfully.
I also thought she was gutsy to take on another official who had a lot of power. Frankly, it was a gust of fresh air that blew my socks off. At that moment I realized that she is the candidate who will best represent the people of Thurston County.
ELYETTE WEINSTEIN, Olympia
Comprehensive plan is a critical document
The next Olympia City Council will determine the city’s future in the updated 2010 Comprehensive Plan. The state requires Olympia to describe its vision and plan for absorbing future anticipated growth.
At its best, the comprehensive plan describes a community vision and strategy for how to maintain quality of life while absorbing growth.
At its worst, the plan is the rationale used to help developers and land speculators realize greater return on their investment.
Unfortunately, the allocation of only $30,000 for the planning process (compare this to $85,000 for a consultant to locate a parking garage or over $400,000 paid for City Hall plans never used) gives the appearance of lack of commitment to a community-driven process and vision and a repeat of the Isthmus rezone debacle.
Votes for Machlis, Kingsbury, and Sermonti are votes for a council that listens primarily to the Olympia Master Builders and developers and supports high-rise condos on the isthmus. For an economically-vibrant and livable city, vote for the candidates committed to a community driven process involving all stakeholders; a process the effectiveness of which has been demonstrated by Portland, Suisun City, and Chattanooga.
Voting for Jeannine Roe, Stephen Buxbaum, Karen Veldheer and Joe Hyer is the first step to a Comprehensive Plan that saves what we love about Olympia and improves the rest.
Anyone can make decisions, but good leaders work willingly with residents and business owners, public and private groups, to describe and achieve common goals.
RACHEL NEWMANN, Olympia
Karen Rogers will make the tough decisions
As retirees, now living in Olympia, my wife and I have tried to learn about the more salient issues in the upcoming election, but so far we haven’t heard much of substance to help distinguish one candidate from another. So when Karen Rogers came doorbelling, we invited her in, and were delighted that she was able to spend some time with us.
She listened to our concerns, answered our questions, and showed a welcome ability to discuss various sides of the issues. We came away impressed that she can and will make tough decisions, and that is the reason we have decided to vote for her.
HENRY GOVERT, Olympia
Hyer pays attention to details
I am voting to retain Joe Hyer for the Olympia City Council because I respect the attention to detail that he devotes to the issues that come before the council. He brings a voice to the City Council for both the business community and the environmentalists, and demonstrates that the interests of these constituencies can be in agreement.
Hyer does his homework and comes prepared to consider multiple sides to the issues at hand. In fact, his gift for listening and really hearing the concerns that are voiced is his greatest strength.
I can’t imagine the Olympia City Council without Joe Hyer as a member, and with the support of this community, we stand to have him here to serve us for years to come. Please vote for Joe Hyer.
ANDY KAPLOWITZ, Olympia
Buxbaum has the right qualities
What qualities should we be looking for when electing our Olympia City Council members? I would suggest the following:
• Someone who listens respectfully to the opinions of Olympia’s citizens.
• Given the need for housing and community projects in the Olympia’s downtown, someone who has real life experience in housing and community development (and the financing of such projects).
• A person who understands that the issues our city faces are complex and require skillful navigation and problem-solving, rather than being opportunities for sound bites.
• A thoughtful doer, not an actor.
• Someone with an ability and willingness to seek a vision that encompasses the whole of the community, rather than just seeing each new issue in isolation.
My vote for City Council will go to Stephen Buxbaum because, in my experience, he possesses these qualities.
JIM KEOGH, Olympia
Placement of campaign signs is telling
There are two kinds of candidates in the Olympia City Council race.
The kind whose signs are firmly and forthrightly planted in your neighbors’ yards, clearly demonstrating real support from real people, and those whose signs are firmly but stealthily planted on every vacant lot and property line, demonstrating a lack of real support from real people and a desire to win and govern even without true popular support.
As you drive around town, take the time to notice which candidates rely on the support of your neighbors and which ones have most of their signs sticking out of the bushes and weeds of roadsides, property lines, and vacant lots.
Consider whether you want to be governed by someone who has gone door-to-door, talked to your neighbors, and won their support, or whether you want to continue to be governed by candidates who think their only obligation to the public is to “listen” to the majority opinion and then do whatever they were going to do anyway.
No more mistakes by the lake. No more council members who do not really listen, and then do the opposite of what the people want.
Make sure your vote counts. Vote early. Buxbaum, Hyer, Rogers and Roe for Olympia City Council.
CHRIS MARQUARDT, Olympia
Sackrison's record of public service speaks volumes
I was astonished when I read the letter by Peggy Scott on Sept. 30. I can’t imagine Scott has ever attended a Lacey City Council meeting, or has met Mayor Graeme Sackrison or ever researched his background and accomplishments, which are readily available at www.sackrison2009. com.
She couldn’t have been talking about Mayor Sackrison or she would have discovered that he moved to Lacey in 1956, graduated from North Thurston High School, earned a degree in economics at Western Washington University and served his country in the United States Air Force for 4 years.
He has been a member of the Lacey City Council or city mayor since 1997 and a member of the City Planning Commission for three years. He worked for the state Employment Security Department for 30 years, serving as a liaison between the department and the state Legislature for many years. Scott should check Senate Resolution 1999-8676, which is a tribute to his many years of service from the Legislature. Mayor Sackrison is available daily and his door is open to everyone at Lacey City Hall.
He was heavily involved in the process of procuring new business growth for the City of Lacey. Statistics show Lacey sales tax growth has risen 164 percent since 1998.
I do not personally know Ron Lawson but, my research shows he has lots of friends and neighbors. However in my opinion — I’m a former Lacey resident — this does not make him qualified for the Lacey City Council.
CAROLE HINER, Shelton
Election offers chance for change
The era of arrogant and unaccountable city government is about to come to an end. Do you feel a sense of relief? Great, but before you get too complacent, don’t forget to vote.
Who among us has never set aside their mail to open at a more convenient time only to come across it buried under subsequent mail, school papers and magazines?
Unlike jury duty, voting is optional but of broader importance to democratic governance. Vote for Karen Veldheer, Stephen Buxbaum, Jeannine Roe and Joe Hyer as soon as you receive your ballot. By doing so, you can feel good about not having to suffer through another four years of developer driven and development funded politicians.
For those of us residing outside the city limits, we can do our part by electing Karen Valenzuela for Thurston County commissioner and Dave Peeler for Port of Olympia commissioner.
Valenzuela and Peeler also are intelligent, compassionate and happy to hear from their constituents so they can truly represent the community of Thurston County and not just those who see government as something to be manipulated for personal gain.
Our neighbors in Lacey and Tumwater can complete a trifecta by electing Andy Ryder, Cynthia Pratt and Ron Lawson to the Lacey City Council and Pete Kmet the mayor of Tumwater.
Please join me in electing these progressive women and men to help restore the quality of life and responsible civic government in our beautiful capital city.
STEVE SEGALL, Olympia
Support referendum to strengthen families
Revisiting the music of Peter, Paul & Mary, on the passing of Mary Travers, one finds the chorus of her duet with Holly Near of Sally Fingerett’s “Home Is Where The Heart Is.” Home is where the heart is No matter how the heart lives Inside your heart where love is That’s where you’ve got to make yourself at home. Through this song we are encouraged to strengthen all Washington families by voting for Referendum 71.
BOB FINDLAY, Olympia
Lake and isthmus are different issues
It appears that some Olympia City Council members, including at least one candidate, are using the lake/estuary issue to deflect attention from their actions on the isthmus rezone. The gist is: “maybe you don’t like how I voted on the isthmus rezone, but I’ll save Capitol Lake for you.”
What’s terribly misleading about this is the extreme difference between these two decisions.
The City Council is empowered to make zoning decisions about the isthmus or any other part of the city. All they have to do is update their EIS and hold a public hearing, then they can vote. This can be done in a few months. This is what they did last year with the isthmus.
The Capitol Lake decision, by contrast, will be made by 151 state officials – 49 senators, 98 representatives, the governor, lieutenant governor, lands commissioner, and secretary of State. In addition, this decision will take years to make and more years to implement.
All the city can do is lobby these state officials. The council will not have a vote.
So let’s not be misled on this. A candidate’s position on Capitol Lake in no way compensates for his or her vote on the isthmus rezone.
BOB JACOBS, Olympia
Rogers listens to the public
I am writing in support of Karen Rogers for Olympia City Council. Karen Rogers listens: I have seen many elected officials come and go in my time here in Olympia, and Rogers is a person who will bring a sound, sharp mind and common sense to the City Council. Her commitment and active involvement in the community is, in part, why I’m supporting her.
I have come to the conclusion that the current City Council has not been listening to what the citizens of Olympia are concerned with, and a fresh look at our city government is in order.
Rogers will not only bring an active ear to the council, she will also be an active member of the council. Her experience and willingness to engage with all the citizens of Olympia will be truly refreshing.
That’s why I’m supporting Karen Rogers for the Olympia City Council.
MICHAEL M. MORAN, Olympia
Valenzuela stands out in county race
The Thurston County Commission race is the single most important election in our community this year.
Even if you live inside a city, the county commissioners represent you.
Their decisions have an impact on our quality of life and the environment as well as our community health.
There are three key reasons that you should be interested in this race and should support Karen Valenzuela.
• Environment: Valenzuela has a long history of support for the environment. She already has taken action to preserve prairie, farmlands, and aquatic resources.
• Land use: Valenzuela was instrumental as a Tumwater City Council member in improving their planning process, and has already taken major steps as a commissioner to improve county land use regulations to help achieve our community vision.
One important change has been to reduce the taxpayer subsidies for development in the unincorporated areas of the county.
• Public health: The county commissioners serve as the Board of Health for the entire county. This is our first line of defense against major health threats. Valenzuela left a career with the state Department of Health when she became commissioner. She knows this stuff.
I’ve known Valenzuela for about 20 years. She has the experience and the commitment to our community that makes a great county commissioner. Please join me in voting for Karen Valenzuela.
KAREN MESSMER, Olympia
Rights of younger, unmarried couples ignored
I have a big problem with the “Everything but Marriage” referendum, and not for the reasons you might think. I have nothing against gay lifestyles (my son is gay and has a wonderful partner). My problem is with the wording. It will allow “domestic partners” all the rights and responsibilities of a married couple. This is great, however, it only considers domestic partners to be openly gay couples or seniors over the age of 62. How about younger, heterosexual couples that are in a domestic partnership and have no intention of getting legally married?
What opportunities are afforded them, legally?
Isn’t this a form of discrimination? That’s the way I see it, and that is why I will vote “No” on this issue.
SUSAN PIRTLE, Olympia
Hyer helps youths experience the outdoors
I have known Joe Hyer for about 10 years. He is a responsible and effective leader who gives me confidence in city government. I find him open to citizen input on issues that concern them. He listens, considers, and works to build consensus between individuals and groups, because he wants Olympia to be a great place to live.
Hyer worked to pass the utility tax that supports the purchase of park land for future development and provides safe places to walk by building sidewalks near schools.
Each year Hyer and his family and staff at The Alpine Experience organize the Youth and Outdoor Life Auction to raise funds that benefit the children and youths served by the Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Thurston County recreation departments (more than $100,000 so far). The project helps keep fees low and aid children who otherwise would be unable to participate in the local park and recreation programs.
Through his work on the Olympia City Council and his other work in the community, Hyer has earned our support in this election.
Please vote for Joe Hyer.
JAMES REDDICK, Olympia
Rogers will provide fresh leadership
I’m writing in support of Karen Rogers for Olympia City Council. I have been impressed with her integrity, her honesty and belief that citizens should be listened to and opinions respected. While she may not be as “gentle” as her opponent, I believe she will be a strong spokesperson for neighborhoods and building our downtown area into a better economic force.
Some have questioned her stance on the isthmus controversy and Capitol Lake. It is my understanding that she only wishes more information on what the community really wants regarding these two issues. This is to be commended: someone who is really willing to listen to all of us and then make decisions, as opposed to those who only hear a few and then stand hard against the majority opinion.
We need fresh, informed, educated leadership on our City Council, and Rogers will bring that to this forum. Please join me in voting for Karen Rogers for City Council.
DONOVAN GRAY, Olympia
Kingsbury can’t save Capitol Lake
After four years on the City Council, suddenly Jeff Kingsbury is interested in saving Capitol Lake. Why is that? It may have something to do with having had a Seattle public relations firm doing “campaign research,” and trying out a number of possible new campaign slogans to see what might work.
Kingsbury’s recent glossy mailer – paid for by large campaign contributions from developers – claims he’s the sole protector of Capitol Lake.
People should know that the decision about what to do about Capitol Lake is up to the governor and state Legislature. Kingsbury has done nothing to protect the area’s beauty but try to put million dollar high-rises in the middle of the Capitol’s view.
Saying, as his campaign ad does, “Jeff Kingsbury will ... stop any attempt to get rid of Capitol Lake,” is a fantasy promise.
What we need, to try to get the state to do what we’d like them to about the lake, is new councilmembers who can work well with our legislators and state government.
We’ve spent two years watching Councilman Kingsbury working hard against the efforts of Senator Fraser, Representative Hunt, and a large majority of the Senate to save the Capitol’s beautiful view. It’s asking a lot to try to get us to believe that he’s the right person to get the Legislature to spend a lot of extra money to save our beautiful view of the lake!
LESTER KRUPP, Olympia
Hyer is only incumbent worth retaining
A prominent local planner said recently, “The isthmus is the defining issue of the decade for Olympia.”
She added, “It’s not just because of the implications for the shape of our city and capitol. It is also because of its implications for local governance – whether the City Council works for all of us or for just a few.”
Five members of the Olympia City Council voted to give to a wealthy developer – and ultimately to 140 condominium owners – the best views in the city. These views had been carefully preserved by zoning – zoning that had been in place for two decades in order to save these views for all of us and for all the people of Washington.
With letters, e-mails, public testimony, phone calls and meetings with council members, 75 percent of Olympia residents pleaded with the council to continue protecting these views.
Many more from outside the city limits tried to have a voice as well.
Only two council members – Hyer and Messmer – voted against this rezone.
They heard us.
The most important single criterion for selecting elected officials is whether they will work for everyone’s good, or just the good of a few.
Only one incumbent candidate – Joe Hyer – deserves to be retained.
BONNIE JACOBS, Olympia
Buxbaum will use public funds wisely
Stephen Buxbaum is an excellent public servant.
Buxbaum and I worked for the same state agency.
Buxbaum was the assistant director of the Housing Division while I was the organization’s chief financial officer. I learned first-hand of his commitment and abilities.
He is extremely competent in financial management. He is creative and works to meet multiple interests and needs with a very limited budget.
Stephen understands budget issues and he can make tough decisions after hearing from and listening to citizens.
Buxbaum is a collaborator. He actively seeks to learn about and understand the needs of various interest groups and he works to achieve consensus.
Buxbaum remains open to alternatives even when the discussion among competing groups becomes heated.
I watched him build an outstanding and successful organization.
He dealt with all issues, including those he inherited from others, and resolved them promptly.
Plus, he installed good business practices to ensure past problems would not recur.
Buxbaum did this while focusing on the cautious use of the taxpayers’ dollars.
Stephen Buxbaum is what Olympia needs. He will support citizens and ensure the public is heard.
DANA BRODERSON MCINTURFF, Olympia
Davis campaign brochure is misleading
Jeff Davis put a phony photograph on the campaign brochure he mailed out to you and published that same photograph on his Web site.
What makes the photo phony is not that Davis wasn’t standing alongside the Gov. Gregoire as she looked up smiling from the bill she was about to sign, but that it’s the wrong bill.
In the text adjacent to the photo, Davis falsely claims much credit for the passage of Senate Bill 5344 that provided for the Neah Bay rescue tug and oil spill response funding.
But the bill being signed in the photo is House Bill 1196 that dealt with changing an administrative provision of longshoreman’s insurance.
The problem for us as voters is not that Davis can’t keep his bills straight but that he misled us, presumably to bolster his environmental persona.
He misused the photo taken four years ago (April 22, 2005) to create the impression that he had been a key player in a bill signed this year (March 24, 2009).
Two years ago (Oct. 4, 2007), the Supreme Court struck down a 1999 law that banned political candidates from intentionally lying about their opponents.
Listening to the arguments from both sides of this 5-4 ruling, we learn the same lesson. The law will allow politicians to lie to us and only we, the people, are the final arbiters of truth — render your decision when you vote on Nov. 3.
WALTER JORGENSEN, Tumwater
Rogers will make sound decisions for city residents
Last summer, Karen Rogers came to my house to campaign for Olympia’s City Council, and I was impressed with her immediately. I had several questions regarding city policies, and she was very attentive to each.
She told me she would get back to me about one particular question.
Realizing how many people she was talking with each day, I honestly thought she would forget about my concern.
To my surprise, I received an email from her that evening with an in-depth answer to my question.
I believe as a City Council member Rogers will listen to the public’s concerns with the same attention she gave to me and utilize common sense, integrity, and courage while making sound decisions for our community.
CARMA JOHNSON, Olympia