Citizen Editorial

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Port Of Shelton - An Economic Engine w/o A Conscience?

Here are some of the generalities provided to the citizens by Port Commissioner, and candidate for reelection, Tom Wallitner, at the July 23 KMAS Candidates' Forum:

  • "... delicate real estate stuff."
  • "...really big deals."
  • "90,000 square feet"
  • "employment potential"

And my favorite, and Tom's too it would seem:

  • "We're all over it."

Granted these are taken out of complete sentences, but the complete sentences amounted to Mr. Wallitner saying he should be re-elected, following his 6-years at the Port, because they are doing some really great stuff now that he cannot talk about.

This is what causes the citizens concern when it comes to the Port of Shelton.

Why are the Port Commissioners engaged in things that they cannot talk about to the citizens of the Port District? 

Where is the transparency?

As an opponent of the Port's plan to bring Duke Energy and a French nuclear company to the Port's property, I am made very nervous by secret negotiations and "delicate real estate stuff." 

The County is busy re-writing the Comp Plan, under the direction of the Economic Development Council and the Chamber of Commerce, and the Port is engaged in "delicate real estate stuff." 

This should alarm our community.  This should make the hair on the back of our neck stand up.

I don't know Sue Patterson, but she is a citizen, not a pilot, and she speaks to bringing transparency to the Port and engaging with the citizens. 

Mr. Wallitner is a very  nice man, but I don't trust a politician who tells me he's got it, he's on top of it, he's, well, "all over it,"  while declining to provide details concerning what exactly it is that he is "all over."

I think a change at the Port of Shelton is in order. 

Vote Sue Patterson.  Let's give the Port of Shelton a conscience!

Katherine A. Price, Shelton, WA
July 24, 2015

Big Shoutout To Hoodsport Fire Department

Dear Editor,

We all know that our volunteer and professional fire women and men contribute so much to their communities.  They give up their personal time to train and to provide emergency services day and night.  When you see them I know they would appreciate your acknowledgment of their service. 

However, I am really writing this letter to thank those that are governing Mason County Fire District # 1.  You never hear much about those that are working behind the scenes.  So I want to tell you that Commissioners Mark Mcdougall, Jim Goodpaster and past Commissioner Pat Hart have done an outstanding job of leading the organization.  Our fire personnel are provided all the tools and training necessary to fulfil their responsibilities. 

It is through their leadership that the department has been so successful and run so well.  As far as I know they have never had a state audit finding.  They stay within their budgets and develop and approve policies to keep our fire personnel safe while meeting state and national requirements.  The big shout out goes to the great job they have done in doing a makeover of the interior and exterior of the fire hall and community center.  The Commissioners did this make over without borrowing money (they saved your hard earned money to get the job done) instead of going into debt. That’s called good governance.  I encourage the community to drive by and take a look on Finch Creek Rd.  I am sure the Commissioners would be glad to give you a look if requested.   Again, thanks.

Jack Janda, Hoodsport, WA

July 22, 2015

City Commissioner Candidates -- Make an Informed Decision!

In the upcoming August 4 Primary, city of Shelton residents have an important decision to make regarding the candidates running for the position of City Commissioner. I recommend you check out two great websites to help you make an informed decision.  These websites allow you to compare the platforms and hear the goals of the 3 candidates running for City Commissioner: www.vote411.org  and www.kmasnewsradio.com/news/voters-guide.

I am supporting Mike Olsen for re-election to the Shelton City Commission and urge you to vote for him in the August 4 primary.  There are 3 main reasons I am supporting Olsen:

1. His experience and knowledge :  Olsen has been serving as a City Commissioner the past 3 ½ years.  During this time he has become knowledgeable in all aspects of this position and recently received a Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities. To earn this distinction, Olsen completed over 30 hours of training credits. The program is designed for elected officials and  provides training in learning to effectively operate within the law, plan for the future, secure and manage funds, and foster community and staff relationships.  In addition, Olsen is the chair of several boards in the city and county; most notably he serves the community as  Chairman of the Mason Transit Authority Board, a position he has held the past two years.

2.  His dedication and commitment :  Olsen has been a resident and builder in Mason County for over 30 years. Prior to being elected to the City Commission he was a volunteer and advocate for city and county historic preservation efforts. Olsen takes his commissioner position very seriously; he studies for and comes well prepared for both city commission meetings and the various boards he serves on in his role as a commissioner. When I have attended city meetings I have been impressed by Olsen’s preparedness, his thoughtful questions and ability to act decisively.  He clearly articulates his concerns and opinions.  Olsen is not afraid to take a stand; he works collaboratively with other elected officials, government employees and various community entities and individuals on viable solutions to our most pressing community concerns and issues.

3. His specific ideas and strategies:  Many candidates tout that they have creative, new ideas and talk in generalities on how to revitalize Shelton. Olsen has specific ideas and strategies for improvement and puts forth initiatives to make these improvements a reality.  As we know, many streets in the city are in desperate need of repair.  Olsen chairs the new transportation benefit district committee, and with Commissioner Moore, spear headed this initiative.  The purpose of the transportation benefit district is to provide an ongoing revenue source for city road repairs. To read more about Olsen’s specific ideas and his platform, please visit his Facebook page:  Mike Olsen for Re-election to the Shelton City Commission.

Citizen Editorial by Gail Straus, Educator & advocate for homeless children & youth, 25 year resident of Shelton, WA

July 20, 2015

Chief Moody Explains Alcohol Impact Area

Recently I brought up the idea of a VOLUNTARY ban on sales of single cans of certain high alcohol content beverages being sold for less than $2 per can in the downtown area. I asked for public feedback and input from citizens and businesses. Here are some basic points of this issue.

What it is- It is simply a voluntary step by merchants in a given area to help alleviate public drunkenness and litter in the area. This step will eliminate the sale of individual cans of “high octane” or high alcohol content, 40oz beer that costs less than $2 per can. It is simply a small piece of a larger issue. (Steel Reserve, 4 Loko, Olde English 800 are some examples) The City of Olympia saw a 20% reduction in litter in the downtown area when they implemented a forced ban, ours is voluntary at this point.

What it is not- It is not a law or a regulation enforced by the city or government entity. It is not a quick fix, or a cure all for a larger societal issue. It is not an elimination of these sales; the alcohol can still be sold by the merchants, just not as a single can.

What else are we doing? We are working in partnership with several other agencies to have a multi-faceted, comprehensive plan to help the individuals that we deal with on a daily basis. These partnerships include Mason County Sheriff, Mason General Hospital, local mental health services, Municipal and Superior courts, Drug court, Veterans court. The voluntary alcohol ban is only one piece of a larger puzzle.

Why only in the downtown area? There is a larger concentration of liquor sales in the downtown area, than there is in other areas of the city. We continually see the downtown streets littered with empty 40 oz. high alcohol content beer cans. We also see intoxicated people carrying these cans and stepping into traffic, in the congested downtown area.

Chief Moody, Police Chief, Shelton, WA

July 13, 2015

Citizen Editorial - What is Wrong With Rural?

Lynn Longan, Executive Director of the Economic Development Council of Mason County, on July 2, 2015, published a "Guest Column" in the Mason County Journal titled:  Promoting growth, development in Mason County

Made curious by the title I read the Guest Column.

I then re-read it, and then I read it again...  I do not exaggerate; I have read it several times.  

I tried to figure out what Ms. Longan was talking about, what actual information was being imparted; but no matter how many times I read it, I only felt more puzzled and less informed.

Two items which I did take away, and which I think matter more than the fact that the writing is disjointed and provides little actual information, follow:

"How do we change the landscape of a rural community?" and

"...our Sparking Solutions Strategic Planning Process, and have identified seven industries that community members would like to see grown or strengthened."

Taking the first quote:  "How do we change the landscape of a rural community?" I would suggest that we in this rural community are not looking to change the landscape, unless it is to reduce the number of polluting industries and to increase employment and recreational opportunities, without having to sacrifice our air and water.  The peoples' commons.  Those two things we ALL need to live.  I would like Ms. Longan to explain exactly what is wrong with our "landscape" that it needs to be changed.

Next, what are these "...seven industries that community members would like to see grown or strengthened."

Ms. Longan is the head of our local Economic Development Council, a taxpayer funded organization that works with the Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Shelton to solicit heavy polluting industry to our community because Mason County has always been a convenient dumping ground for polluters.  It has been so for many decades. 

To quote a particular portion of Ms. Longan's writing:

"How do we change the landscape of a rural community?"  The Economic Development Council of Mason County is looking to really explore this question and investigate innovative ways to utilize this time of transition by taking the ideas of co-working spaces and business incubators and putting a rural twist on them.

 

Excuse me? 

I have had the pleasure of working with lawyers for 40 years and one thing I have learned is to read and to write.  Particularly to write to inform. 

Ms Longan's writing leaves me with a great many questions.  It does not inform but rather appears to simply be a self-serving piece of EDC propaganda.  Frankly, I am surprised that the Journal ran it...

I leave you with this deep thought from Ms. Longan:

"... we need to make sure that our community members understand the important role they play in helping to grow the region's innovation ecosystem."

 

Ms. Longan, you need to know that the community members understand the important role they play in being watch-dogs of the EDC, the Chamber, the City and the Port. 

We are watching, investigating, researching, and some of our members are scary-smart!

Inquiring minds would like to know: 

Why do we need to change the rural landscape of our community? 

 When it has been changed to satisfy the EDC and friends, will we still be rural, or can the English language be further twisted to change even the definition of rural?

Katherine Price, Shelton, WA

July 9, 2015