Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, Nov. 3, 2001

Election

I-747 would erode services

The League of Women Voters of Washington, after careful review of Initiative 747, has concluded that passage would negatively impact essential services locally and statewide.

Limiting property growth to 1 percent per year would erode the ability of police, fire, hospital, emergency medical, library and park districts to provide the current level of services in the future.

The Whidbey Island League of Women Voters believes good government services are vital to a strong democracy.

We strongly recommend a no vote on I-747 on Nov. 6.

Gerry Mathis

Whidbey Island LWV

San de Fuca backs Muzzall

The San de Fuca Firemen’s Association strongly endorses Ron Muzzall for fire commissioner.

Ron Muzzall was a volunteer firefighter in District 2 for many years and quickly moved up to a leadership role as an officer in the department. He was then elected fire commissioner. During his tenure in each of these positions Ron greatly improved the fire department. As taxpayers and firefighters we want the best training and equipment we can afford. This will enable us to provide the best fire and medical service to our community.

Under Ron Muzzall’s leadership we made great strides, moving into the 21st century with newer equipment, training and facilities. Ron was fire commissioner from 1994 to 2000. He took some time off to manage his dairy farm and is now ready to serve his community again as fire commissioner.

Ron has proven himself as a firefighter, fire officer, fire commissioner and businessman in our community. He has the ability to look ahead to the future needs of the fire district and plan to get us there. We need Ron as our next fire commissioner.

Please support your local firefighters on Nov. 6 by voting Ron Muzzall for fire commissioner.

Bill Brooks, president

Oak Harbor

He’s got the background

For the past three years we have worked with Howard Thomas toward the goal of establishing an historical museum for the Seaplane Base and the PBY Catalina for which it was built. Within that time his management skills and service as the public affairs officer for the Navy have proven invaluable. We have found him to be knowledgeable and a tireless worker to achieve that goal. We believe this background will make him an invaluable liaison between the community and the Navy.

Win Stites

Coupeville

Cut taxes for homeowners

Yesterday I mailed our check for property taxes. The amount was over $100 more than taxes we had paid on a home in another state whose value was twice that of our Oak Harbor house! Any doubt how we’ll vote on 747?

I’m tired of politicians balancing the budget on the backs of homeowners. Our home has not increased in value, but, if 747 passes, you can be assured the politicians will attempt to increase the valuation of our house. They’re funny that way.

They like to call home ownership “the American dream.” True, but your house is really never yours, even after you pay off the mortgage. Retirees on a fixed income face ever-increasing property taxes for the rest of their lives. Just try becoming delinquent on your taxes and see how fast your home appears in the tax sale section of the News-Times. You work most of your life to acquire a home, then pay forever to keep it.

Believe me, the same politicians who trot out police and firemen for commercials to defeat 747 will find a more equitable tax method when it passes.

We need to get the tax burden on homeowners reduced, not increased. And then next, a Proposition 13-type initiative to stop tax increases on your property, so long as it’s your primary home.

Richard Caylor

Oak Harbor

Council needs proven leader

I am writing in support of Howard Thomas for Oak Harbor City Council. In these days of budget difficulties, changes in staffing and city services, and holding the line against increased costs, I put my trust in a proven leader with experience.

Howard has served the people of our city for more than 10 years and the people of this country for more than 30 years. As a professional and as a volunteer Howard has stepped into leadership roles that have brought many benefits to the people of Oak Harbor. Some of these include the Senior Center, Partnerships in Education, the County Community Health Advisory Board, the Combined Federal Campaign, and the PBY Memorial Association. The list goes on.

In the past we looked to Howard as spokesman for the Navy base to keep us informed and involved in Navy/Oak Harbor activities whether they be air shows, superfund clean-up, base closure or Desert Storm.

In the time I have known him he has demonstrated to me that he is honest, dedicated, hard working, intelligent and an experienced leader. He will give Oak Harbor his best and I think we will all be the better for it. Join me in electing Howard to the city council on Nov. 6.

Don Froneberger

Oak Harbor

Benefit

Arts Center needs support

Friends and fellow Island County community members, please remember that the arts center is a wonderful vision. It is not a person. It is not someone who you feel may have treated you badly. It is a place to educate and excite people about all kinds of art. The arts center provides art for children during the summer. It is open to providing affordable classes for local community members. It attracts students from all over this country and Canada, who use our accommodations, rent cars, and shop in our stores.

Coupeville Arts Center started as an off-shoot of the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival because we wanted to provide an outlet for the arts all year round. The festival gave the artscenter a start with a $25,000 grant. The arts center has returned that amount to this community, to the Island and even to King County many times over. We here on Whidbey Island have had access to some of the most renowned artists in the world, either through artist’s receptions or through classes.

Please support the arts center in this time of trouble. Come to the auction on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Recreation Hall in Coupeville. If you can donate items for the auction or funds or volunteer time to the arts center, the arts center will continue to enrich your lives.

If you have questions or concerns, please address them to Mayor Nancy Conard who is spear-heading with the management group an effort to save the arts center.

Emily Ramsey

Board Emeritus,

Coupeville Arts Center

Non-Disclosure

Shouldn’t be on the board

Does anyone deserve to serve on the Coupeville School Board if: 1, he makes a constant practice of forgetting his responsibilities; 2, he is too busy to turn in required documents; 3, he blames others for his own blunders?

A candidate, especially for school board, deserves to get dumped before he sets an example for all our kids. Otherwise, I can hear our kids: “I forgot,” “I was too busy to do my homework.”

D. Loomis

Oak Harbor

Business

Coupeville means service

Recent public comments made by Coupeville Town Council candidates have expressed a desire to develop more general retail establishments in town to counter the siren song of retail giant Wal-Mart. These public comments compel me to offer another viewpoint that I base on 12 years of retail business experience in Coupeville.

First and foremost Coupeville is primarily a service center. More than two-thirds of the business community provides services in government, medical, legal, real estate, retirement and various commercial services.

Less than one-third is comprised of retail enterprises, of which most are comprised of specialty retailing. General retail growth in Coupeville is impeded by the proximity of Oak Harbor, inexpensive and reliable pubic transit service, and an insufficient population base to sustain growth. Whereas the specialty retailing segment is generally directed at a consistent visitor traffic generated by the heritage-sensitive environment fostered by the residents of Coupeville.

I believe Wal-Mart is not the economic problem for Coupeville residents, rather a lack of understanding and appreciation of the community’s business base, its business community. Coupeville leaders and prospective leaders need to recognize that Coupeville has developed into a service center and Oak Harbor has become a general commerce center, not by grand design but by the desire of their respective residents.

Coupeville’s present and future leadership needs to make an attempt to understand what economically supports our community and why it has evolved in such a manner so as to adequately address future needs of the community as a whole. Like it or not a business community is a primary pillar of any town, otherwise the town would be just another neighborhood supported by property taxes alone.

Thomas F. Strang

Coupeville

Animals

Appreciate your shelter

Nov. 4 to 10 marks National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, an event sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to recognize and celebrate the lifesaving services by animal shelters such as WAIF.

WAIF serves the Whidbey Island community by helping families find a new animal companion, returning lost pets to their owners, reducing the number of unwanted companion animals through spay/neuter, caring for animals who arrive sick or injured at the shelter, and providing assistance for those in need in the community.

Perhaps most importantly, WAIF is a tangible example of human kindness and compassion toward all living creatures.

Please join the volunteers and staff at WAIF in celebrating this week by visiting the WAIF animal shelter in Coupeville, the Thrift Shop and Cat Adoption Center in Oak Harbor, or the Thrift Shop and Cat Adoption Center in Freeland. Adopt a pet, volunteer, or just stop by to say ‘hi’. We’d love to see you.

Sally Wolff

WAIF Board of Directors

Initiative 747

Will anyone get the message?

I am writing to respond to some of the anti I-747 rhetoric that has been seen on the pages of my beloved Whidbey News-Times. I have noticed that in the flurry of opinions, some folks (and especially our elected officials) have still not heard the message that initiatives I-695, I-722, and I-747 have been trying to send to our elected officials. The message has been to spur them towards making the hard decisions to make a more effective and less costly government.

I think those against Tim Eyman’s initiatives may see those of us who vote in favor of them as wanting to make the government operate without a budget. That is simply not the case. I think the difference between us lies more in our viewpoints concerning the correct size of government. I think most (if not all) of us will agree on the necessity for government to provide police and fire protection, public education, and those things unprofitable for private enterprises to undertake such as sewer, water, parks, etc.. The farther you go beyond those basic priorities, the greater you grow the size and budget of the state and local government and the requirement for taxpayers to fund it.

Increasing the size of government is not conducive to prospering an economy. Efficiency and government are two words that are difficult to place in the same sentence. Shrinking the size of government and diverting money towards investment into free markets, over the long haul will prosper an economy. In fact, the buzzword of the early Clinton administration was “reinventing government,” a term focused on a need to make government more effective and less costly. “Reinventing government” was a good idea, but the rubber fails to meet the road for one simple fact – politicians need to get re-elected.

I question the editor’s comments that I-747 “strikes at the heart of local government” and “People who appreciate self government at its most basic level would be wise to vote against I-747.” The initiative process IS the heart of the local government and IS government at its most basic level. The initiative process, along with the referendum, and recall processes are commonly referred to as “Direct Democracy.” Although we do have a representative government, initiatives allow the people to speak directly and without representation.

I-747 will not undermine our great state. If the initiative passes, we will find that we still have all the public services that our community needs to prosper. My hope is that whether I-747 passes or fails, our elected officials will finally get the message and begin working to “reinvent government.”

Jim Crouch

Oak Harbor

Paranoia

Arab gangs in orange pants?

Personally I think that people are over reacting to seeing people of Middle Eastern descent out in town. So I’m writing this response to the people who feel it is necessary to report seeing a Arab person in town. To all of those who need an answer I’ve got one for you! So here is my letter to you!

What should we do in this day and age with all of these suspicious Arabs? They are all capable of totally destroying our society. One person recently reported two men of Arab descent in suspicious orange pants on Deception Pass Bridge. Another reported that an Arab went into a store and came out with nothing. Could these orange pants be some sort of Middle Eastern gang color? Could they be planning on blowing up the bridge with the stuff they didn’t buy in the store? We need to act fast to prevent this horrible tragedy from ever occurring. The only answer is to arrest anyone who is of Middle Eastern descent in town or on the bridge. If we round them all up like dogs, we can interrogate them. We can ask them why they went into a store and didn’t buy anything or why they wear such suspicious orange pants.

If we get all of them we will surely be safe from the threat of terrorism.

Sean Hogan

Oak Harbor

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