Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 29

Machlis has the right stuff for Olympia

Joan Machlis’ candidacy embodies my hope for a better Olympia.

We are making progress toward our full potential as a capital city guided by her competent leadership.

To counter a weak economy, Machlis advocates planning, investment and sustainable growth. Now is the time to increase efficiency and rejuvenate infrastructure, to prepare the foundation for better days ahead. Work is under way on West Bay Park, a new city hall, better roads and sidewalks, and finally, a comprehensive plan to address downtown’s parking ills. I look forward to reinvigorating our core asset, the water. Machlis’ ambitions are a new Percival Landing, improved artesian water access, and maintaining the reflecting pool that is Capitol Lake.

Machlis does her homework and is fluent in the issues that challenge this city. By including community groups, business, individual citizenry and government in the conversation she has assembled a diverse base that can complete envisioned goals. Machlis has managed our finances responsibly by matching cost with savings and increased revenue. Endorsed by the firefighters, police and Realtors, Machlis also has inspired a new group of proactive citizens looking to participate in building the road ahead.

In 14 years of growing Wind Up Here, downtown’s toy store, she came to know Olympians, and what is good for Olympia. Machlis’ vision and record is a more environmentally friendly capital with increased downtown density, a focus on alternative transportation, and targeting toxic soil and dilapidated spaces for cleanup.


Retain Joan Machlis

Keep campaign signs off public property

A few political candidates have littered the landscape with their yard signs, cluttering the public right of way.

The worst offenders are Joan Machlis and Tony Sermonti, candidates for Olympia City Council, plus Jefferson Davis, candidate for Port of Olympia.

Maybe these candidates cannot get real people to agree to put their signs in their yards. Or maybe they think the public roadways are really their own private property.

I think that littering should be a crime, and that political signs should only be allowed on private property with the permission of the resident of the property.

One way to express displeasure with littering is to vote for candidates who actually talk with people and get permission to put signs in their yards. The opponents of these three – Jeannine Roe, Joe Hyer, and Dave Peeler – seem to do that, and keep their signs out of the road right of way.

They are all good candidates, in addition to being respectful of public roadways.

JIM LAZAR, Olympia

Pratt would offer new perspective in Lacey

As a Lacey resident, I was interested to hear what Lacey City Council candidates had to say at the recent political forum hosted by The Olympian and the League of Women Voters. I was struck by Cynthia Pratt’s responses. Instead of platitudes, she offered substance and a compelling vision for controlling the sprawl that undermines Lacey’s sense of community and contributes to traffic problems.

Incumbent council member Ann Burgman is to be commended for her years of service, but it is time for a change. Pratt will bring intelligence, insight, enthusiasm for the community, and an instinct for involving the public in major decisions. Her experience as an environmental planner will enable her to judge whether proposed new developments would be an asset or a detriment to the community.

This is a critical time for Lacey. Growth pressures are threatening our resources and quality of life.

Pratt gets that, and I believe she will work in our best interests. I know who I’m voting for in the Council Position 4 race. I hope you’ll join me in supporting Cynthia Pratt.


Yes on Referendum 71 is a vote for equality

Our state Legislature enacted new rights to a group who hadn’t had those rights before. However, a referendum was sought by those who thought the legislature was not upholding the current social mores. The year was 1889. The Legislature granted women the right to vote. Sadly, this right wasn’t upheld in a voter’s referendum.

Women activists eventually gained the vote - twenty years later.

We now take that right for granted. It would seem silly and unfair to most of us now to exclude women solely based on their gender. Women participate in the creation of law and their lives are affected and protected by the law just as anyone else’s.

Our Legislature recently enacted some new rights to one particular group. However, a referendum is being sought by those who think the Legislature is not upholding the current social mores.

There will come a time when it will seem silly and unfair to exclude tax-paying citizens from the same rights under family law, solely based on the gender of the people in their family.

Gay and lesbian families participate in the creation of law, and their lives should be guided and protected by the law just as anyone else’s.

The voters have an opportunity, this time, to uphold what the Legislature has done.

Washingtonians can decide to further the cause for equality this time, instead of holding it back.

Please vote yes on Referendum 71.


Online Exclusive

Olympia needs a good listener

As a member of the Olympia City Council, Jeannine Roe will listen to you!

Finding out what the residents of Olympia have to say has become Roe’s foremost issue. The current council’s vote on the isthmus rezone is what brought Roe to the race as she realized that the council had ignored what most of the people were telling them. Roe has spent this campaign listening and talking to citizens all over the community, meeting many residents at their doors.

When elected, her votes will be the result of studying the issues and listening to the entire community.

Roe’s willingness to listen to all sides of an issue will be most important during the upcoming comprehensive plan review that begins in January. This review’s success will depend on all of Olympia being able to express their desires and dreams for our future.

Roe will work to insure that everyone in the community is involved in this process.

Olympia needs a listener. They need Jeannine Roe.


Veldheer has union support

I write to recommend Karen Veldheer for Olympia City Council, Pos. 4.

Veldheer is a bright, hard-working candidate who has taken the time to research and understand the current issues facing the city of Olympia. She has good organizational and communication skills and has demonstrated these skills through her work on issues in her own neighborhood and her work on home warranty legislation.

Veldheer has local citizen support. All of her campaign contributions have come from individuals within the community, and she has been endorsed by Local 443 of the Washington Federation of State Employees.

Veldheer will encourage citizen involvement and careful oversight of city operations. She is committed to our community and to maintaining our quality of life.


Concerned about Ryder's candidacy

I have serious questions about Lacey City Council candidate Andrew Ryder. He is portrayed as an environmentally friendly businessman prodigy. But what does he really support? He hasn’t exactly truthfully represented his views. By just scratching the surface I see some troubling issues. On one Web page, he writes, “I bought my first full service car wash — when I was 23 — I basically had zero credit and not a dime to my name.” His campaign Web site says, ”Andy is a successful business owner who purchased his first business at the age of 24.” However, his own business Web site says, ”Family owned since 1985!” It also says that his parents owned three of his businesses before he purchased his own. Not a dime to his name, huh?

Ryder’s exploitation of the “green” hype is also insulting.

He stamped a logo on his business only to attract a certain group of green-friendly customers. I believe his efforts are a little less than genuine. It takes a little more than a logo or the word on a Web site to make someone “green.” Ryder owns several large businesses whose sole purpose is to waste clean water by washing off oil-leaking, gas-guzzling vehicles.

Speaking of gas guzzling vehicles, on his Web site, he is photographed in front of his large SUV. That doesn’t sound very environmentally friendly to me.

I suggest he change his business name to Greenwash. I hope the citizens of Lacey don’t actually buy into this manipulation.


Barner backs Davis for port commission

This year we have a crucial decision regarding the direction of the operation of our publicly owned port. I campaigned for the office of Port of Olympia commissioner on the premise that the marine terminal should generate revenues beyond its operating cost. Since then, there has been an increase in commerce and cargo that has provided additional revenue.

Taxpayer financed bonds have been used for infrastructure improvements and environmental clean-up of port property. Many citizens have complained over time of the need for clarity in oversight of the management of port finances, including the disclosure of depreciation costs of the four areas of port operations; the airport, marine terminal, Swantown Marina and real estate holdings and transactions.

The Port Commission needs to continue the commitment to refining the accounting in budget development to illustrate true costs.The goal is to promote additional port business revenues and expand our commerce to provide sufficient excess capital to allow for a reduction of the citizen’s tax rate, which at present is 15 cents per thousand dollars of property valuation.

One candidate understand the need for such a business model and is committed to that management approach, and that is Jeff Davis.

He brings hands-on experience that has gotten him the unanimous endorsement of our present Port Commission. I wholeheartedly urge you to mark your ballot for Jeff Davis for Port of Olympia Commissioner.

GEORGE L. BARNER, JR., Port of Olympia commissioner

Valenzuela focuses on quality of life

The Olympian got it exactly right on the county commissioner race with its endorsement of Karen Valenzuela, and for the right reasons.

The present commissioners are working together extremely well, which is very important in these difficult times. Valenzuela has the support and endorsement of both of her fellow commissioners.

During her short tenure as a commissioner the commission has:

Updated stormwater drainage standards.

Designated 800 acres of new long-term agricultural land.

Begun a new prairie protection ordinance

Moved toward the long-overdue adoption of impact fees.

And balanced a budget in a severe recession.

The long-overdue update of its critical areas ordinance is moving towards adoption, after years of languishing. This is an impressive set of accomplishments in a budget-constrained year.

Valenzuela listens to her constituents and has a solid record of working for responsible land use decisions and policies. Her goals mirror the voice of the county electorate, who overwhelmingly rejected Initiative 933 and candidates who would dismantle environmental protections and promote sprawl.

She supports the state Growth Management Act, which mandates directing most population growth to the cites where it belongs, and preserving rural, farm and forest lands in the county. Her agenda places Puget Sound recovery and a sustainable green local economy with local farming and food production as a top priority. She has the experience and the initiative to make it happen.

Quite simply, a vote for Karen Valenzuela is a vote for Thurston County’s quality of life.


Roe well suited for city council position

It has been my pleasure to work in association with Jeannine Roe for many years, in my role as a member of the state Senate. During this time, she has always worked for top Senate leadership, as she does now.

These exceptionally demanding positions are filled only with highly professional people, who are intelligent, knowledgeable, highly organized, hard working, reliable, careful and ethical. They must work well with others and maintain their professionalism in spite of great pressures and long hours.

Jeannine Roe consistently demonstrates these professional qualities, always with a pleasant style.

She was born and raised in Olympia, knows the city well and cares deeply about the people and the area.If I lived in Olympia, I would vote for Jeannine Roe for City Council.

SEN. KAREN FRASER, D, 22nd Legislative District

For sake of equality, support Ref. 71

I was pleased to see The Olympian’s editorial supporting Referendum 71.

Ref. 71 is described by opponents as a step toward legalizing gay marriage. That’s laughable. The real issue is whether each of us deserves equal protection under the law.

Would you deny someone the right to use their sick leave to care for a terminal loved one because he or she is gay? If a firefighter were killed, perhaps while battling a fire in your neighborhood, would you deny his or her same-sex partner the right to collect death benefits needed for funeral and other expenses?

Growing up, I attended church every week. Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention to the right parts, but somehow I learned about loving one another, being kind and generous even to my enemies, refusing to judge others and helping my neighbors. These values don’t allow me to believe that an acceptable sexual orientation somehow entitles me to special rights.

Approving Ref. 71 will affirm that everyone deserves equal protection under the law. I cannot live happily among my gay and lesbian friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers, while I have rights that they do not. For all of these reasons, I will vote YES on R-71, and I encourage you to do the same.

AMY RAY, Olympia

Elect Tony Sermonti to Olympia council

We are going to decide something critical to all of us who call Olympia home. We are going to decide whether are city, and especially our downtown, will be a welcoming, vibrant place to live and visit — or continue on its current path of economic and cultural stagnation.

I want an Olympia that welcomes residents, visitors and customers of all types and creates jobs and revenues for essential services.

We won’t get this without new leadership that has experience to go with it. That is why I’m going to vote for Tony Sermonti for Olympia City Council. He has a solid, common-sense grasp of the issues from his work in community efforts, including being a member of the Olympia Parks Commission, the Evergreen board of trustees and as president of a non-profit group in our downtown. He also knows what it takes to successfully work with elected officials and how to get things done.

I have seen this in working alongside Sermonti and it is essential to creating a strong, results-oriented City Council, which we need now as never before.

What kind of Olympia do we want? A city with fewer opportunities for housing that most of us can afford? A city with a decreasing tax base that jeopardizes basic services such as police and fire? We can, and must, do better. We need council members who respect the need to keep our infrastructure sound, our neighborhoods healthy and families anxious to live, shop and play here. Elect Tony Sermonti.


Government has only itself to blame

After reading everything I can get my hands on I agree that Initiative 1033 is an initiative that should not go forward because it would cripple the government. However, since the government has turned a deaf ear to the low income and senior citizens on property tax protection they deserve what that get.

We are on a fixed income. Social Security will receive no increase this year and as I understand we may not get one in the next three years. Yet, in the past 11 years since my retirement our property tax has increased over 300 percent. When the governor speaks of the 1 percent cap it sounds as if this is not possible. Yet the tax assessor has the authority to reasses your property and raise your taxes each and every year. Each year we go to the Assessors Office and ask why the increase and they show us how we were matched with some other property in the county.

Problem is it is always different properties all over the county. They try to reassure us, your property is worth so much more when you sell it. We could not afford to sell and move. This has been our home for 35 years and part of the property her parents moved to almost 80 years ago. Since the government does not care for us, we must do what we can to take care of ourselves. We will vote in favor of the Initiative 1033.


Pastors seemed quick to judge

Being new to the area, I am enjoying having a paper delivered to my door every morning. Recently I saw the article on Referendum 71, which I must say did not change my vote but it did tell me that I will not wish to look at the Rivers of Glory Church while looking for my new church home. The pastors, Valerie and Roy Hartwell. mean well, I am sure. They have, however, jumped to an unwarranted assumption with their anti- Ref. 71 stand. Christ is not quoted anywhere speaking out on homosexual behavior, but speaking of heterosexual behavior he did say, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

He is also quoted as saying, “Judge not, least ye also be judged” and “In that you have done this unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

Telling someone that you have called a sinner that you love them, generally without treating them with love, is hypocritical.

In short, I will avoid the Hartwells while looking for a church home. I hope to find somewhere filled with God’s love and joy and lacking judgmental pronouncements on others. I think it is quite wrong to keep our brothers and sisters in Christ from living the best life that they can, so I will vote for their full rights any time I can.


McClanahan is best for Tumwater

Citizens of Tumwater must elect Neil McClanahan for their next mayor.

I thought of supporting Pete Kmet, but when you consider the past performance of the two candidates, the choice is clear. With his years on the council and as mayor pro-tem, Kmet has a history of failures and bad decisions. From road projects, retail revenue and the brewery, Kmet has chosen a path that follows Mayor Ralph Osgood.

We citizens are not better for this.

Kmet and Osgood live on the hill overlooking the brewery, making decisions that impact us based upon their perceptions of what would affect their property values. Too bad this interest did not extend to the homeowners affected by our airport or traffic.McClanahan gets it: business, budget, brewery, public safety — all with a promise to always be available to listen to the citizens.

McClanahan has served the public and knows how to proceed with Tumwater’s future. He has worked to attract business to Tumwater and knows the impact of our current boarded up businesses and empty strip malls. These are a product of the Osgood/Kmet regime.

During the primary, I met with many citizens and business owners. In my defeat, I can tell you that Neil McClanahan can carry forward with our issues.

Kmet will smile and listen to you. That’s about all he has for the citizens. Then he’ll vote to give himself a pay raise. Tumwater’s future lies with Neil McClanahan.

DAVE RAATZ, Tumwater