Cit Ed Archives - 2012

Swearing-In Ceremony For New County Commissioner Randy Neatherlin

Mason County Commissioner Elect, Randy Neatherlin (District 1) will take his official oath of office in Belfair on December 27th, 2012 at 6pm.
Since Mr. Neatherlin is the first Commissioner elected from Belfair in over 30 years, he felt it was important to take his oath in the district he will so proudly represent. After verifying that he can be sworn into office outside of the county seat, Mr. Neatherlin decided to have his swearing in ceremony at the Theler Community Center in Belfair instead of the County Commissioners chambers in Shelton.
We are planning a very simple ceremony with the Honorable, Judge Victoria Meadows imparting the official oath of office.
We would like to share this moment with anyone who wishes to attend. Please come as you are and share in this joyful event.
 
Jennifer Hines, Belfair, WA

posted Dec.19, 2012

 

 

 

 

December 12, 2012 Legislative Update

Dear Neighbor,
 
This is the last e-newsletter you will receive from me as your state representative. After two terms I decided not to run for reelection to the state legislature, and my term expires in just a few short weeks.  My decision was a tough one but made because of family, health and financial reasons.   
 
Our state has a part-time, citizen legislature.  This means a former school board member and small business owner like myself can become a legislator.  In fact, every year farmers, teachers, first responders, business owners, nurses, military members, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas from all across the state arrive in Olympia to conduct the people’s business.  Some of them are retired from their professions, but many others must take a leave of absence or juggle their outside responsibilities with their legislative duties.  After serving in the state House for four years,  I leave my position very hopeful about our state’s future, because I have learned there are many smart, dedicated people of both political parties committed to solving the tough issues we face. Earlier in my life I testified before committees of the House and Senate of the U.S. Congress. I am proud to say the professional staff of the Washington State Legislature is every bit as smart, and often smarter, than their federal counterpoints, with a far better attitude and desire to get the job done. 
 
Looking ahead:  Education
 
When the legislative session begins on January 14, one of the issues that will be at the forefront is how the state will fulfill its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education.  Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state wasn’t adequately funding our schools (the McCleary decision). 
 
The big question is how the state will meet this obligation.  There are differences of opinion about the right path forward.  Some believe we can redirect existing state revenues toward education. I agree this must be done first but realistically I do not think it will be enough to fill the gap.  Meeting our constitutional duty may require new revenue. 
 
My interest in running for state representative came out of my involvement with my local school board, and a desire to improve our schools so that our students receive an education that prepares them for an ever-changing world.  While there is still much to be done, I’m proud of the following recent accomplishments we’ve made to help students better succeed:
 
·         A new teacher/principal evaluation program based on a professional growth program that builds on the strengths of our educators
·         Accelerated phase-in of a program that helps children transition successfully from preschool to Kindergarten, and helps teachers better prepare for the particular strengths and weaknesses of each student in their class
·         Creation of competitive grant programs for schools that will promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses
 
I’m also very pleased that the legislation around these accomplishments was supported on a strongly bipartisan basis in both the House and Senate. 
 
Looking ahead:  Transportation
 
It has been a great honor to serve on the House Transportation Committee, helping to shape transportation policy for today and the future. I think this is one of the best run committees in the legislature, usually passing its budget by support from both parties.  My main focus on this committee was to keep the projects in our district moving forward, even in the midst of tight budget times.
 
Like many of you, I’ve been frustrated that after several decades the long-awaited Belfair Bypass project is still not completed.  However, for as long as I was on the Transportation Committee, I successfully pushed to ensure that enough funding was allocated for it each year, so that progress was made. I wish it were more. It is extremely important that this project not stall.
 
With ferry service being important to our district, I also supported the funding of a new 144-car ferry, which made it to the final Transportation budget and will be built soon.
 
Finally, I’m pleased that ground will be breaking next fall for the planned widening and safety improvements of State Route 3 through Belfair.  This project will create new left turn lanes, wider shoulders and sidewalks that will both reduce congestion and improve safety through this important Mason County corridor.
 
 
Looking ahead:  State budget
 
The days of shortfalls in the state budget are not quite behind us.  While our economy is definitely improving, the state is still not taking in the amount of money it needs to meet all of its coming obligations – particularly when increased education funding is taken into account.
 
At the moment, it appears legislators will be working to close a projected $900 million shortfall in the state budget when they convene next month.  While this amount may seem like a lot of money, it is far less than the nearly $5 billion shortfall we faced in the recent past.
 
That’s not to say it isn’t a concern.  There will be much debate about how to balance the budget, and many of the same challenges that existed in past sessions are still a factor.  In addition, as mentioned above legislators will be looking for an extra $1 billion in education funding to meet our constitutional obligations.
 
Last month, voters approved an initiative requiring a two-thirds majority vote in the legislature to raise taxes, close tax loopholes, or end tax preferences.  This two-thirds requirement is a high hurdle to achieve; during my time in the House it was only met once, when a tax preference that only favored large, out-of-state banks finally ended.   However, even this did not pass the first year it came up for a vote.
 
My constituents have sometimes asked me why it only takes a simple majority to create a tax preference, but a super majority to end that same preference. Good question! We have tax preferences in place that have long outlived their usefulness yet continue into perpetuity. That is why I supported legislation this year to periodically review tax preferences to see if they are needed, working, and don't raise unintended consequences. Unfortunately the bill did not pass. This issue will come up again. 
 
There is currently a case before the state Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the two-thirds requirement.  It is unknown when the court will issue a ruling, and legislators must forge ahead this January without taking the pending case into consideration.  I appreciate opinions of all sides of this issue, because I understand the taxpayers’ demand for fiscal prudence and accountability. As a private business owner for over twenty years I face the same issue every day. And as a legislator I have struggled with the constraints of not being able to close tax loopholes that are not benefiting the people of our state.
 
Thank you
 
This e-newsletter was perhaps a little long, but it’s my last opportunity to connect directly with all the people who signed up to receive emails from me.  It has been an enormous honor to represent you, to read, and respond to, your letters and emails, to meet you in the grocery store or at local eateries.  I know I didn’t make all of you happy all of the time, but that’s one of the best parts about our democracy – the freedom to disagree.  One thing I am pleased about is that our state has not experienced the rancor or paralyzing gridlock that sometimes exists in the other Washington.  Here, we really do a pretty good job of working across the aisle. I have spoken to my successor, Drew MacEwen, and will be sharing my files with him so that he may hit the ground running in representing you.  However, be assured that I am not passing along your email address.
 
Since my last e-newsletter to you, our district’s boundaries have changed through redistricting, a process that occurs every ten years.  It’s possible you may not even be in the 35th District any longer.  If you are unsure, this map may be helpful.
 
Again, thank you for your four years of trust in me.  I am looking forward to once again being an active constituent.

 

 

 

 

New Garbage rates

I  got  the  new  proposed  garbage  rates  in  the  mail  today  in  my  bill.
Which  I'm  sure  the  WUTC  will rubber  stamp  with  no oversight   at  all.
 
My  basic  bill  will  go  up  over  $10  from  $43  to  $53
 
This  is  OUTRAGEOUS!! 
It was  bad  enough  when  we  were  forced  to  pay  for  recycling.
Why  can't  the  do  nothing  paper  pushers   and  bloated  suits   take  a  cut  in  pay.
Cut  out  some  of  that  useless  middle management.
  I    am  sure    not  getting  a  20%  raise  in  my  retirement  pay.
 
Don  Tidd, SHELTON,WA

posted Dec. 9, 2012

 

 

 

 

Dog  dumped  on  Lynch  road

To  the  sick  ,uncaring,  subhuman  who  dumped  his  old  and  seems  to  be  blind  dog  on  Lynch  Road
you  did  not do   a  kind  thing  dumping  your  dog  out  here.  The  dog  has  been  raiding  garbage  cans,  and  though  I  understand  it  may  be  starving, 
no one  has  been  able  to  catch  it,  so  far.  What  will  happen  is  someone  will  shoot  the  animal  and  I  hope  your  happy,  you  uncaring  slug.
STOP  dumping  your  unwanted  animals,  (dogs,cats)  out  here,  we  do  not  want  them  and  will  not  care for  them.  Take  them  to  the  shelter.
Better  yet,  don't  get  another  pet  EVER.
 
 
Don  Tidd, Shelton, WA

posted Nov. 25, 2012

 

 

 

Randy Neatherlin

Dear KMAS Editor:
The voters of Mason County should be proud that they have chosen Randy Neatherlin as County Commissioner.  Randy is a remarkable man who will admirably serve his constituents in Mason County with his utmost devotion.  Public servants such as Randy are a rarity these days. 
It is also refreshing to see that the voters ignored the muck slung by Linda Thomson and her ilk.
Sincerely,
 
Alan Martin, Olympia, WA

posted Nov. 7, 2012

 

 

 

 

Response to Gordon Adams Information

Dear Mr. Stacy, 
Thank you for the information about Gordon Adams.  I apologize if I offended you.  It was not intentional.  I really appreciate the information you gave in regard to Mr. Adams credentials.  You are correct the County either has not kept any information   about him or does not want to make it available to the public.  It is a mystery how the City of Shelton and the County could take the same information and come  up with two entirely different  interpertations, but they have.  In fact in 2010 The Port of Shelton changed their Comprehensive Plan on the classification of the CARAs on Johns Prairie  and Sanderson Field from a Class I to a Class II, by switching the City of Shelton’s map to the County one. 
Thank You Again.
Sincerely
Patricia Vandehey, Shelton, WA


Posted Nov. 7, 2012

 

 

 

How Things Work  In Mason County As Seen By A Resident

If you are the average resident of Mason County, and you want to build something or use some land you own for a project that it is not zoned for,  you check with the building and permitting department to find out if you can get a variance. You most likely will not get it if it is too far off the rules and regulations.  But if your name is Green Diamond you take a different route.  You decide what you want to change, such as swapping two pieces of property, one from Commercial Timberland to RR5 (Rural Residential 5) and vice versa. Then you write a letter to Mason County Planning Department and ask for a Comprehensive Plan change using specific language.  The letter then goes to the Commissioners who readily agree to change the Plan.  Little or no information is given to the public particularly the people living in the adjacent area.  They don’t find out until the  change has been done and is now allowed. So now the first and most important hurdle has been taken care of and you proceed to go through the SEPA checklist, (State Environment Policy Act).  You have already notified the County that you want this swap done without a specific project in mind for the newly zoned RR5.   This makes answering the questions so much easier because anything you do not want to answer or give an answer that  might have an environmental  challenge, you answer as NA.   This is like putting the cart before the horse, but hey you have already changed the plan so anything goes.  The reports that were given when the initial change was proposed are full of  environmental issues that makes turning the area into a residential community very questionable.  Shortly after you submit the SEPA information, the County Planning Department issues a DNS (Document of Non Significance) which states, “The lead agency for this proposal has determined that it does not have a probable significant  adverse impact on the environment.”   The DNS is something that seems to be given out automatically whatever the project is.  Done and over with until the pesky people living near the non project are fully aware of this “sub rosa” process and file an appeal.  So both sides bring their lawyers, Green Diamond  has several “suits” and advisors to assist.  Both sides produce experts to testify and then the general public has a chance to speak and after two days it goes into the hands of the Mason County Hearing Examiner. On Oct. 11, 2012 , the Mason County Hearing Examiner gave his decision. “There is no probable significant environmental impacts associated with a proposed non project review, taking into consideration that some environmental review is properly deferred through phased review.  The threshold determination of the SEPA responsible official subject to the above-captioned appeal is sustained to  the following modifications:

The DNS shall specify that phased review is contemplated as required by  WAC 197-11-060(5)(e).  Which basically says There must be an environmental review of the SEPA information if and when there is a project.  I would be very surprised if or when this happens that Green Diamond will have a problem with what they might want to do.

This is  then moved to the Planning Advisory Committee who are to discuss if it should be allowed and make a recommendation to the county Commissioners.  They are told they may  only consider the land swap aspect according to the Comprehensive Plan and nothing else.  No mitigating information.  So of course it is approved.   Surprise, surprise.   It seems to be a set up with predictable results when viewed as resident who has no influence with any of our local governing body.

How can a land swap be given for an area when there is no project given with little information?

Can the DNS be used later to stop any environmental issues that could arise if a non suitable project is proposed in the future?

The GMA (Growth Management Act) does not even seem to be considered.  They frown on urban sprawl. The GMA wants  small developments in areas that already have all the infrastructure, and utilities in place.  
When the original request was made several reports were also submitted.  In reading the SEPA and these reports, I found numerous things that look like huge impediments to a housing development such as; 13 acres of wetlands, 4 are class I, 1 is Class II, and 3 are Class III. The total aces of the area is 247 acres making up to 49  parcels at 5 acres each. The wetlands and their buffers come to 53.7 acres. Are they considered buildable?  There are 4 streams, 1 creek and Lake Nahwatzel  Shoreline , and part of the area is on a 100 year floodplain..  These acres and buffers were not given. Then there was the soil report that said. “The soil designated as SF is gravelly, sandy loam, and has a 4-15% slope. It has 215.3 acres.  Although home sites will likely      not be developed in this area, ……’

I feel the public was given a “snow job”. Is the  whole process technically legal? Probably.  Is it ethical? I don’t feel it is.

Where is ecology’s  input?  Why can a local decision modify a SEPA report?  Why can a private entity tell the County it wants a Comprehensive Plan section changed and state the exact wording  it wants used?      

This is very much like the awful time we went through when the ADAGE Plant was being foisted on us.  No advance information made available to the public. We only heard about it after much preparation, and agreements  had been made. Both the County and the Port pushed and pushed to make this happen.  Our request to have a public voter was dismissed along with all the signatures we had collected.

I followed this process from start to finish. I attended the  two day hearing and spoke as a member of the public.  I do not live anywhere near Lake Nahwatzal, but I feel as a member of the community it was necessary to be aware of how things work in Mason County and these are my observations.  Others may see it differently but that is why we have freedom of speech.

The time has come, in fact it is past due, to change the way things are done in Mason County. We need to elect Commissioners that work for the public health and welfare and not for special interests.  Tim Sheldon needs to leave. With Erickson and Bloomfield out we have the best opportunity to start fresh.  If we elect Denny Hamilton, Roslyn Reed and Ross Gallagher we have the opportunity to revitalize and help our community .

Patricia Vandehey,Shelton, WA

Posted Nov. 5, 2012

 

 

 

The Scent Of A Bully 

It stinks that Denny Hamilton's seasoned campaign adviser, Linda Thompson, routinely accuses others of bullying when in fact she smells like a bully to me.
     The smeller is often the feller. A feller emanating the foul scent of a bully is easy to spot in any crowd. Simply listen to whoever is toting their horn and pointing their fingers at you. That's the stinker!
     Let it rip Linda. You may be smelling up Hamilton campaign central with the stench of a very negative campaign of fear.
     We taught our children that “you're no better than the people you hang with and to choose your friends wisely.”
      Similarly, government is no better than the people you elect and you should  choose your elected officials wisely.
      Birds of a feather do flock together. The last thing we need in Mason County government are politicians tainted by the scent of a bully and swayed by a inner circle of bad advise.
      It really stinks that the Public Disclosure Commission isn't regulating how the Hamiltons pay themselves with campaign donations to attend campaign rallys and to door bell for your vote. Denny Hamilton pays his wife to manage their campaign funds the very same way Lynda Ring Erickson pays her husband to go pound yard signs.  
      Don't be bullied into electing someone who might manage your tax dollars like they spend your campaign dollars. Elect candidates with no strings attached and with no strings to pull.
      Choose candidates who won't smell up county and state government with questionable spending and expensive lawsuits.
     Elect Randy Neatherlin to the Mason County Commission.
     Elect Drew MacEwen to the State Legislature.
     They both smell good to me.

Bob Harris, Belfair, Washington

posted Nov, 2, 2012

 

 

 

Gordon Adams

I enjoy reading your on line news, and do so daily.  Patricia Vandehey has been looking for information about where the dump site will be for the materials dredged up from Shelton creek.  In the process she was provided information that was prepared by Gordon Adams.  She had no idea as to his qualifications, and possible the county/city didn't either.  I can tell you that Gordon was my brother in law for over 50 years, and had a masters in Geology from the University of Texas.  He spent a long career with Mobil Oil looking for oil all over the world, to include a 8 year stretch where he supervised the production on a tower in the North sea, while living in London. 
 
He was a Shelton boy, and when he and his wife retired to Mason county, he volunteered his expertise as a geology consultant, free gratis for Mason county and Shelton.  He made himself available for any project that required a geologists opinion.  This resulted in his being named the "Citizen of the year" for Mason County.  He passed away sometime back, and is greatly missed.
 
Don Stacy, Allyn, WA

posted Nov. 1, 2012

 

 

 

Special Interests Come to the Rescue for 35th Democrats

For those of you receiving last minute negative advertisements from the Democrats running in the 35th district or their surrogates, please do some research on who is attempting to come to the rescue of their candidates.  You have to do a little digging on the Washington Public Disclosure Commission web site (http://www.pdc.wa.gov) since funds, are nested in funds, to avoid having to disclose the actual money sources on the mailing.
 
Tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars are coming from public employee unions, the tribes, and other special interests into these funds, which in turn flow to other funds which eventually are used against local candidates.  This money is being used to twist and completely fabricate the positions of the two outstanding candidates in the 35th District, Dan Griffey and Drew MacEwen.
 
If you want representation beholden to public unions, the tribes, and other special interests, then your choice is clear.  If you want independent representatives, who will be willing to represent ALL people of the district and work to improve the conditions of ALL people of the State, then your choice is also clear - Dan and Drew for the 35th.
 
Bob Rogers, Shelton, WA

posted Oct. 30, 2012

 

 

 

How Things Are Done In Mason County

ROUND ONE:
In an August issue of the Mason County Journal’s PUBLIC NOTICE section, I saw the announcement that the City of Shelton was planning to dredge the Shelton Creek. Because of the build of sediment, there was a distinct possibility  offlooding in some neighborhoods.  It spiked my curiosity, so I looked up the SEPA report.  There already had been a DNS issued. Determination of Non Significance  notices seem to be given out like Halloween Candy in the county and city.  One thing I noticed when reading the SEPA, was item #12, This stated that the sediment would be dredged and hauled off to an upland site so as not to enter State Waters.  No information as to where this “upland site” is located. So being a ‘nosy nelly’, I requested information from the Public Works  Department, including what testing of the sediment would be as it was stated that this should not enter State waters.  Approximately 700 to 900 cubic yards of sediment were to be removed.  One of the reasons I was concerned about sediment, was the fact that some of the water coming down to Shelton Creek is from Goose Lake a very highly contaminated body of water.  This was the responsive I received form  Jerry  Haut,  Project Manager.  “For this project it will be the contractor’s responsibility to properly  dispose  of any dredging materials.  There  are a number of local sites that have been permitted to accept contaminated materials and our  contractor will be responsible to select who they want to team with for this project.  There is no testing proposed if the material is contaminated and it is subsequently disposed of at an approved disposal site, we will ultimately have less contaminated material in the stream and bay.”  This response completely baffled me.  No information where these sites are located, contractors are responsible for picking the correct place to put them and no testing is done and if sediment is contaminated it will be put in an OK place.  A meeting was set up with Steve Goins. Terri Thompson, Doug  Sayan and myself attended. We had no additional information after the meeting that we didn’t have before it. It was basickly the same thing I was told before.
 
ROUND II: FOIA Requst July 26, 2012
I then sent a FOIA to Mason County Health Department requesting all information about hazardous and non-hazardous dumping sites and whether any were over critical areas such as wetlands CARAs (Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas) or near bodies of water, etc.
August 6, 2012;  I received a letter not signed from Mason County Public Health telling me, “Mason County does not currently have a landfill that disposes of hazardous or non hazardous material. There are several intermediate solid waste collection sites that collect solid waste for transfer to other locations for final disposal.”  No information about where these “other sites are located.” Two places were given, Belfair Drop Box and  Transfer Station. There are 14 recycling   operations and 2 composting facilities.  I received the permits for the solid wastes and compost sites but only 2 recycling operations.  The ones I received  were not completely filled out or the  information given  seemed questionable. No information about critical areas.  I wrote a letter on Aug. 14, 2012 again asking for that information. I also requested information if there are any sites other than Webb Hill that accepts sludge as a land application.
August 14. 2012;  I received  a response, again not signed,  stating, “ You requested information that is not maintained in this office.  I will attempt to direct you to the best location to secure your requested information.  The City of Shelton and the Mason County Planning Department both have a rosters of Critical Aquifer recharge Areas. These  two rosters are different. You can determine  the proximity of the business to the recharge areas in question using the address provided   I was  also referred me to DNR and DOE about land application.  Back to square 1.
 August 17, 2012.  I sent another letter , To Whom it may Concern at MCHD.  I told them I do not work for the County or the Health Department.  There are no ‘rosters or lists’. There are two maps, the city’s and the other the county’s , both have the same information source  Gordon Adams, who  did the originals for free.  It is not exactly clear about his qualifications. Anyhow, the maps are completely different.  Where the City of Shelton shows as Class I area the County shows Class II, and vice versa.  There has never been study done to correct differences.
August 30, 2012: My final correspondence from MCHD signed by Debbie Riley.
The comment states; “The purpose of a records request is to make existing records available to the requestor, not to research or analyze data.  Your questions go far beyond providing existing records and I will address them to the best of my ability.” CARA” is not an acronym Public Health uses.  Cannot tell where or if any of listed facilities listed are over or near critical areas. The Mason County Public Health does not issue permits to exempt facilities. Note; The copies of many of the listed facilities have a heading  of “Mason County Public Health Permit.” I stand corrected in thinking that Mason County Public Health would have Public Health related information.  The only information I have heard given at commissioner’s Meetings by Vicky Kirkpatrick are earth shattering statements such as; “Get a flu shot.  Smoking,  drinking alcohol , and not exercising are bad for your health,” and a report by JOHNSON AND JOHNSON  saying the same things. Bye the bye, one of our illustrious Commissioners received a nice campaign donation from this company, and Kirkpatrick received  a salary increase due to her good friend  Erickson.  Well still no information.  So on to……
ROUND 3. On Sept 4, 2012 at the open comment period of the Commissioners Meeting I tried to  find out again for umpteenth time where are the CARAs.  I explained all the above and then read the RCW used by the Growth Management Act requiring  the County to keep accurate information regarding location of the CARAs.  This was totally ignored except about the dredging.  Commissioner Shelton did not like the work “dredging” and thought “excavating” was a better word.  Commissioner Erickson did not have a clue what I was saying, and Commissioner Bloomfield started yelling at me that I was trying to shut down the project and would be responsible for the flooding of the residential areas.  When I tried to explain my question, Erickson started gaveling and telling me I was out of order and to sit down, while Bloomfield  continued shouting. Erickson almost broke the gavel.
So ended my adventure  with  the City of Shelton, Mason County Health Department and the County Commissioners. I never found out any of the information I requested and was  knocked out in all three rounds.                       

And that is how things are done in Mason County

Patricia Vandehey, Shelton

posted Oct. 29, 2012

 

 

 

Woman’s Perspective

As I drove by a political rally this evening, I saw signs touting the essentials of women's rights and necessities. As a woman, I am concerned at the liberal voice asserting what they believe to be "my rights". I want to be a woman who is accountable for her actions, and accepts the responsibility for those actions.  
Therefore, I do not think it is correct or just to continue to live beyond our means and pass that debt on to another generation.  I would not do that to my children, and I will not support a government that does that to all our children. I am responsible for my actions to others, and this woman takes that seriously, and I will hold myself and my government accountable.
This woman does not believe it is my right to force medical professionals, or anyone really, to go against their faith for the sake of my life choices.  I do think it is the choice of consenting adult to have sexual relations, and it is their responsibility to accept the results of that choice. They should be responsible for birth control for that choice, and not ask others to support their decision.  Taking the life of another to avoid accepting that responsibility is not legitimate, and I should never be forced to support it.
If we desire the next generation to be accountable and responsible citizens, we need to show them what that looks like. I hope all women desire to be responsible and let their votes show that conviction.

Lorilyn Rogers, Shelton

April Pooler, Shelton

Oct. 29, 2012

 

 

 

Letter To Editor

What happened last week at the Board of Mason County Commissioners meeting was a rude reminder that commissioners are deliberately misleading the public. Over the past four years there have been many examples of callousness toward citizen concerns, but pretending to consider lowering commissioner pay and then, in an eleventh hour move, voting to keep it at the current exorbitant level, including automatic pay increases, was unforgivable. 
In no other position is a public employee permitted to engage in an unlimited number of off-job activities and still claim full compensation. When challenged, commissioners claim they are required to attend only one board meeting a month, and then rattle off a list of activities in which they are engaged.  But what they fail to mention is that few of those activities are part of their job.    
Such slippery ethics are unworthy of a public servant, as is feathering your own nest, currying favor with special interests and paving the way for higher political office, all on the public’s dime. Commissioner Sheldon says that we need to pay commissioners a “good” salary or we won’t attract talented people. But that’s just a ruse to keep his own salary and retirement benefits artificially high.
The question we should be asking ourselves is do we really want an elected official who seeks public office because it pays well? I don’t think so. We need people who come to serve, not be served. Sure, they should make a livable wage, but this is the public sector, where service and sacrifice are the proper measure of good governance, not high salaries.
Is $96,655 in salary and benefits too high compensation for a Mason County Commissioner? The answer is yes and no. No, if there is only one commissioner, but yes if you have three people doing the same job, as is the case here. Based on duty mandates and local conditions, salary plus benefits of a Mason County Commissioner should not exceed $68,000 per year.    
If an elected official moves away from the noble premise of service over salary, then we should move away from them.

Tom Davis, Shelton

posted Oct. 29, 2012

 

 

 

Letter To Editor

 I have known Terri since 1999 when she was the Sales Manager at Alderbrook Resort and Spa. Terri was a member of the key management team and a department head.  Terri’s decision making skills were heavily relied upon by the General Manager and she was directly responsible for the success at Alderbrook.
 
She is an effective legislator and a clear thinker. Terri’s work with the Washington Association of Realtors in legislative policy development led her to speak in the legislature and as an advocate for land use policies that develop growth and benefit homeowners.  Terri is compassionate and not afraid to address difficult issues.
 
As a business owner of a water management utility, Terri understands the direct impact of legislative decisions on our environment and infrastructure.
 
You would be well served to vote for Terri.  I know her personally and professionally as an incisive decision maker and a woman of integrity.
I endorse Terri Jeffreys as a candidate for Mason County Commissioner.

 
Ben Bruner, Alderbrook

posted, Oct. 29, 2012

 

 

 

The Best Man

      Supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike, Randy Neatherlin is a calm and logical problem solver with years of community service. He treats everyone with respect and respects everyone's opinion. He will bring a long overdue breath of fresh air to the Mason County Commission.
      Indorsed by the Mason County Deputy Sheriffs Guild, Randy is a family man who understands the need for more Sheriff deputies to protect our homes, our families and our businesses.
      Indorsed by the Kitsap Business Journal, the Olympic Master Builders and the Washington Association of Builders, Randy's a good listener and will work to encourage more jobs.
     Indorsed by the Mason Kitsap Farm Bureau and the Affordable Housing Council, Randy is a calm, logical and patient man deeply concerned about our fair grounds.
     Indorsed by the Mason County Republican Party, Randy will work across the isle to represent everyone.
      Randy was the 2011 North Mason Chamber “Man of the Year”. He's currently a Port Commissioner for the Port of Allyn. For more than 20 years Randy has served you and the community on numerous Boards, Commissions and committees. Currently the Chairman of the Mason County Planning Commission, he's been chairman of the Theler Community Board, North Mason Community Voice (founding member and Chair), Habitat for Humanity (Vice Chair), Mason County Economic Development Council (BOD), WPPA Legislative Committee, North Mason Chamber of Commerce (government affairs committee), Mason County TIP-Cap Committee, Pacific Northwest Salmon Center (BOD), Cancer Crusaders (founding member & Vice Chair), North Mason Kiwanis Vice President, North Mason Pee Wee”s Vice Chair, ACA Business committee, North Mason School District Advisory Committees (including Budget, Curriculum, Facilities, Bond} and Levy, Athletics and Council of Key Communicators.
     Vote Randy Neatherlin for County Commissioner position 1. He's obviously the most qualified and experienced man for the job.
    
Bob Harris, Belfair, Washington

posted Oct. 26, 2012

 

 

 

Dan Griffey and Drew MacEwen for the 35th

If you have been watching TV or reading your mail lately, you must be confused about all the "small government " Democrats campaigning in our state, especially in the 35th District.  These can't be the same people who have been in the legislature during the past 14 years.  Oh wait - they are!
Rep. Haigh's TV ad touts her small government and lower tax stands.  Is this the same person that was fifth highest in sponsoring or co-sponsoring proposed tax or fee increases in 2012 in the House? (The Freedom Foundation Voter Guide)  Is this the same person, and party, that refused to work on and address the budgetary needs of the state this year until forced to in a second special session?  Is this the same representative that votes against the 35th and continually supports overriding the people's will to make tax increases difficult and not the very first option?
It is the same person, and it is time for a change to a representative who actually is for smaller government, prioritized spending, and truly represents the people of the 35th District.  Dan Griffey will actually bring these issues to Olympia and work to implement them, not just give them lip service for a week in the fall, every two years.  Let's get a representative who votes the same way they advertise and who represents this district, not the party caucus.
I join with the Kitsap Sun in supporting Dan Griffey and Drew MacEwen for new leadership in the 35th, http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/oct/16/our-view-newcomers-griffey-macewan-in-35th/

Bob Rogers, Shelton, WA

posted Oct. 26, 2012

 

 

Do Not Transplant the tumor

            We in Mason County find ourselves in a WIN-WIN situation in this year’s election! First of all the good news is that we (Mason County) are losing Lynda Ring-Erickson as our County Commissioner and all the lawsuits that come with her in one way or another. Hopefully we will be able to move forward and finally bring in some new jobs to Mason County.
            It almost seems like the word Jobs to Lynda Ring-Erickson is nothing more then a 4 letter word. For example, back in 2007 I went to a public forum in Allyn at a local bar and grill on the waterfront to support someone that I knew that was running for office and Lynda Ring-Erickson was also there giving a campaign speech of how great she was going to be for our County. At this public forum I personally directed a question to her asking “what are you doing to bring jobs to Mason County”? Lynda Ring-Erickson’s answer was delivered in about a 15 min speech that covered a lot of things; however bringing jobs to Mason County was not one of them. In fact the speech left me thinking that she belonged to several sororities and that she held office in some of them. The next time I asked Lynda Ring-Erickson about bringing jobs to Mason County was on her Facebook page. She said she wanted to have constructive conversation about Mason County so I asked, what is being done to bring jobs to Mason County. My question was deleted so I reposted the question and was un-friended and blocked from her Facebook page.
            Other issues that would make a person wonder about Lynda Ring-Erickson are how she treats the existing businesses in Mason County. For example, Lynda Ring-Erickson chaired a committee for the Mason County Transit Building. They received proposals on this project, one of which was from a local firm who did a lot of work on this project. The committee that Lynda Ring-Erickson chaired farmed out the work to firm from Tacoma and hung the local business from Mason County out to dry.
            Doesn't anyone remember a few years ago when Linda Ring-Erickson got caught red-handed lying about Tim Sheldon?  She accused him of calling her on his cell phone and saying he wanted to fire a county employee for being too old.  Tim Sheldon denied it.  Then he made a public records request under state law to get her cell phone records. (Because she was using her cell phone for county business, those parts of her cell phone bills were a public record.)
Guess what?  She was lying.  The phone records proved he didn't make the call.
How can we promote her to the Legislature?  We need less lying from legislators, not more.
            You should also read what Lynda Ring-Erickson’s neighbor Diane Harmon says about her, in Diane’s letter to the editor in the Mason County Journal October 18, 2012 edition.
            Yes We in Mason County find ourselves in a WIN-WIN situation this election. First of all, we will not have Lynda Ring Erickson as a County Commission anymore, and if Lynda Ring-Erickson gets elected to the 35th District, we will have the rest of you voters to help pay for the lawsuits that will most likely follow with her decisions and judgment.
            Let’s not transplant the tumor!
 
Mark Carlson, Shelton, WA

Posted Oct. 22, 2012

 

 

 

Dear Mason County Voters;

I seldom write letters of endorsement but I feel I have to share my perspective on one of the candidates. Characterizing Randy Neatherlin as a bully is just not an accurate statement.  As Executive Director of the Port of Allyn I’ve worked closely with Randy for over four years and during that time he has consistently treated me with respect and been an excellent supervisor.  I had occasion recently to watch him in a pretty tough negotiating session with a state agency and I could not have been more impressed with his ability to communicate the Port’s position and achieve concessions that I don’t believe I could have. He was respectful but strong and the meeting ended on friendly terms. That is the mark of a leader in my book.
 
Three years ago I might not have supported him for county commissioner but he has worked harder than any commissioner I have had to learn the job, the responsibilities of the Port District, and his role as a commissioner in accomplishing Port goals.
 
Over the past year Randy has gone through a life threatening battle with cancer and not once did I hear him complain about the challenges he had been given nor see him rest in his work to represent the Port. It was truly amazing to see someone carry that kind of burden and yet give his all in serving the public.
I will be voting for Randy and I hope you will too.
 
Respectfully,
 
Bonnie Knight, Allyn WA

Posted Oct. 22, 2012

 

 

 

Tom Bjorgen for Court Of Appeals

 

Tom Bjorgen believes, "All deserve justice, no matter who they are,
whom they know, or how much money they have."

 

Voters in Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason and
Thurston Counties choose the next Judge for Appellate Court, Division
2.  Unlike the State Supreme Court that can picks its cases, the
Appellate Court hears all cases appealed to them.  It is vital to
have a Judge with broad civil expertise, which is why retiring Judge
David Armstrong has endorsed Bjorgen as the most qualified candidate
for the position.

 

Bjorgen has practiced law for over 30 years in WA State as an
Assistant Attorney General, a Thurston County Senior Deputy
Prosecutor, a partner in the Olympia law firm Bjorgen Bauer Pitman
Bauer representing individuals, nonprofits, businesses and
municipalities, as Hearing Examiner for Olympia, DuPont and Thurston
County, and as a mediator helping people resolve disputes outside of
court.

 

Bjorgen was awarded several of the highest attorney ratings by legal
organizations.  Martindale Hubbell, the leading national attorney
rating service, awarded him its highest rating, AV Preeminent.  The
Washington Women Lawyers rated him Exceptionally Well Qualified for
this position, its top rating. He also won the Kitsap Bar Association
preference poll for this race.

 

He has been endorsed by many judges and public officials from both
political parties, including former Chief Justices of the state
Supreme Court.  Join me in supporting Tom Bjorgen.

 

Visit his web site:  http://www.BjorgenforJudge.com

 

Darlene Schanfald, Sequim WA

Posted Oct. 22, 2012

 

 

 

Tricks of The Trade

 

      Someone taught new comer Mason County Commissioner candidate Denny Hamilton the tricks of the trade. Denny pays his wife Marsha for “financial management” the very same way Lynda Ring Erickson pays her husband to go pound signs. The Hamiltons and the Ericksons both pay themselves for campaign expenses from campaign donations intrusted to them by the unknowing public.
     Marsha pays Denny or maybe Marsha pays Marsha for campaign gas and campaign mileage (wear and tear) on their campaign vehicles.
     The Hamilton's cash cow coaches are rolling around Mason County paying them a dividend for every campaign mile driven.
     It certainly looks like Marsha is paying Denny to attend candidate forums and to door bell for votes.
     According to the Public Disclosure Commission the Hamiltons have managed to pay themselves nearly $4200 as of August this year. Go to PDC.COM and see how many more donated campaign dollars they'll accumulate by November to spend on themselves.
     Denny's campaign manager Linda Thompson may have advised Marsha to charge Denny an hourly wage and not a salary. Maybe Marsha punches a time card and there's a record of how many hours she actually works. Hopefully Marsha isn't paying herself a ridiculously high wage. Or is she?
     Marsha Hamilton says accusations of “salary and gas reimbursements are completely inaccurate.”  Does she mean they're keeping more campaign money than they're actually reporting to the Public Disclosure Commission?
      After the election they may keep spending left over donations on themselves. Hopefully Linda Thompson won't bully the Hamiltons into a healthy after campaign tip.
     I believe applying for a County Commissioner job or a State Legislator position means investing some of yourself in the campaign. It just doesn't look good if candidates, family members or campaign managers spend campaign donations on management fees, vehicle mileage and labor to pound signs.
     If elected Denny Hamilton and Linda Ring Erickson might manage your tax dollars like they manage your campaign dollars. Linda Thompson might even be rewarded with a cushy government job.
     The PDC might change campaign spending laws eliminating the tricks of the trade.
     But the Health Department should definitely force the Ericksons to stop dumping cat liter over the neighbors fence, to garbage their old political signs and to clean up their rat infested property.
     Can you afford Linda Ring Erickson and Denny Hamilton?
     Elect Randy Neitherlin to the County Commission and RESTORE THE TRUST in county  government.
     Elect Drew MacEwen to the State Legislature and KEEP THE TRUST in state government.

 

 Bob Harris, Belfair, Washington

Posted Oct. 18, 2012

 

 

 

Belfair Bypass

 

After reading the "supremely qualified" support letter of Denny Hamilton and the writer's characterization of Randy Neatherlin as a "bully" and suggesting that he would "govern by fear" I felt I should reply but didn't.  I  then watched the debate hosted by the Shelton Chamber and League last evening and considered the answers provided by both candidates to the question regarding the Belfair bypass.  I am compelled to set the record straight. 
 
 Back in 2006 the North Mason school board adopted a resolution, with a position statement on the bypass advocating building the bypass before any corridor improvements. Former superintendent Kelly and myself as a school board member carried the resolution to all our state legislators. At the same time I asked several community organizations to support the resolution by passing one of their own. I approached the Theler board of directors,  of which Mr. Neatherlin was chairman and they adopted a similar unanimous resolution. I similarly approached the Fire District #2 Commission, of which Mr. Hamilton is a member, and asked for their support. They did not want to get involved.
 
Regarding the "discord" in the community that Mr. Hamilton referred to during the debate.  In a public records request I obtained letters written shortly after the resolution was adopted. The letters were from a few Belfair business owners,( to include NM chamber president, Mike Boyle, Pacific NW Salmon Center representatives and Brian Peterson). The letters were sent  to Dan O'Neal of the State's Transportation Commission and several of our elected representatives. These few folks advocated for the  SR-3 widening and placement of stormwater ponds on Johnson farm before construction of the bypass.
 Neatherlin or Hamilton?
 
The choice is pretty clear, a vote for Neatherlin is an informed vote for the bypass.
 
Ken VanBuskirk, Belfair, Wa

Posted Oct. 17, 2012

 

 

 

 

Denny Hamilton for Commissioner

 

I have known Denny Hamilton as neighbor and friend  for almost 15 years, and more recently as my fire commissioner. He is supremely qualified for County Commissioner and will bring a breath of fresh air to Mason County government.
We have had enough of governing  by fear. We don’t need another bully coming into office, as his opponent is. That opponent has bragged for years that he is a “bully to the bullies.” But that behavior and communication style is not easily turned off. Once someone hears it, they do not judge who is the intended recipient, but may be intimidated to speak their concerns, shutting off communication.
Denny is calm, logical and patient in his communication and leadership style. He is intelligent, well educated, a good listener, learner and a successful instructor. He has the experience that goes far beyond how we do things in Mason County to how things are done successfully (and otherwise) in a multitude of places he has traveled and worked. For those 15 years I’ve known him, this has always been his chosen home and he has had the ability to compare what he’s experienced in other places around the world with what could be done better here.
Denny Hamilton is the best choice for County Commissioner.
 
Linda Thomson, Belfair WA

Posted Oct. 15, 2012

 

 

 

Editorial Opinion...

 

Dear Editor:
 
Mason County is sinking like the Titanic with Commissioner Lynda Ring Erickson at the helm . Lawsuits and judgements totalling over half a million dollars have put our County deep in debt with more rulings pending.
 
For eight years the citizens of Mason County have voted Lynda Ring Erickson into office based on name recognition, association, misinformation or just plain lack of interest in researching the candidates. Many brave citizens have reported known facts that have exposed a less than stellar Commissioner. Lawsuits and judgements, wrongful terminations, contract awards to special interests, overbuilt projects costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands, are just a few common themes reported. Seeing the whole picture is like collecting every small tile and piecing together a mosaic picture of a women, who has poorly represented the citizens who voted her into office.
 
Politics plays a very small role in the average person's life until it's time to vote. If you have not attended commission meetings, followed local news stories or got to personally know the candidates, you may rely on whatever information (or misinformation) is readily available: mailers promising the most popular "theme of the day," a barrage of campaign signs, gut feelings and yes, even who takes the best picture.
 
In the hectic world we live in, it is difficult to take the time to really look into the background of the candidates running for office. Most people do the best they can with the time and information available. Then we hope to God that the horror stories we hear about every level of politics are exaggerated. If we don't take the time to really know who we are putting into office, then who do we blame?
 
Lynda Ring Erickson is depending on your vote to win the 35th District. This time let's all step back and review her past eight years in office. We, as human beings, make honest mistakes, it's when we refuse to correct our mistakes or ask the hard questions, that we fail as a country. Mason County is small in population but gigantic in spirit. Right now we have the opportunity to take Lynda Ring Erickson out of the race for State Legislature and send a message that her kind of politics is not welcome at the County or State level.
 
Nancy Knox,  Shelton, WA

Posted Oct. 15, 2012

 

 

 

 

Letter to Editor

 

Dear Editor:
 
If you really want to know a candidate running for office ask someone who lives in their neighborhood. Or better still, live next to them for 2 1/2 years as we have Lynda Ring Erickson, candidate for 35th District Representative.
 
What can you learn about a person by living next to them? 
 You can discern whether or not they possess integrity, honesty, and are of good character by the way they interact with others,
 
How do they treat neighbors? Do they disregard property lines and building codes or knowingly divert water onto a neighbor's property?
Do they follow the County codes or are their fence and other structures out of compliance with County rules?
Do they follow the same laws we must abide by or presume upon their position to work around the law?
Do they take pride in their property or allow it to become overgrown and a breeding ground for rats, mice and other rodents?
Do they respect or disrespect the rights of others by their actions? If they own dogs, do they allow them to bark incessantly?
Do they show their disregard for neighbors by dumping cat litter and old political signs on a neighboring property?
 
We have lived next door to Lynda Ring Erickson for over 2 years and it is enough to say, we will be voting for Drew MacEwen, for State Representative, 35th District.
 
--
Diana Harmon, Shelton, WA

Posted Oct. 15, 2012

 

 

 

Managing Lynda Ring Erickson

 

      It was disheartening to learn Mason County Commissioner Linda Ring Erickson and candidate for the Washington State Legislature 35th district is still spending campaign money from her campaign treasure chest on her husband. She's paying him an wage to manage nearly $110,000 dollars in cash contributions donated by the unknowing public this year. She has been doing so for many years in other political campaigns. How much money has she raised over the years and then spent on her husband?
     Hopefully the Ericksons aren't also paying themselves for their campaign gas and campaign auto depreciation, for their campaign meals, for their campaign beverages and for new campaign clothes.
     It's all about trust. But it's difficult to trust a Mason County Commissioner who spends our precious Mason County tax dollars to settle expensive lawsuits with the very citizens she represents.
     I trust the Ericksons will report all their campaign wages as income to the IRS on their 2012 Income Tax. Hopefully employer Lynda withheld any required state and federal employee withholding from her employee husband's pay checks. Then again if her husband writes his own paycheck he may have withheld any required deductions on his own.
     I trust Lynda could reduce some of her husband's management wages simply by writing all the checks herself. Hopefully she won't charge herself a wage to do so.
     I trust Lynda pays her husband a reasonable wage and didn't just pick a number out of the air.
     I trust her husband gets vacation days, sick leave, health insurance and a lucrative retirement package for his many years of dedicated service.
     I trust Lynda will refund the nearly $70,000 dollars of surplus donations currently in their campaign account. Maybe donate some of this cash to the $24,600,000 million dollar Belfair Sewer Project to help compensate for it's  $28,852,256 million dollar cost over run she managed as a County Commissioner. Donate the rest of it to help pay for an estimated $3,000,000 million dollars in damages from lawsuits she was a party to as our County Commissioner.
       I trust there would be far fewer questions being asked here today if Lynda had simply hired someone other than her husband but certainly not her close friend Emmett Dobey to manage their campaign money. Emmett managed the Belfair Sewer Project until suddenly leaving town last December unable to answer a number of questions about ballooning sewer project costs.
     The Public Disclosure Commission clearly warns candidates not to spend donated campaign money on family members. Maybe it's time the PDC outlawed this very questionable and perhaps unethical practice altogether.
      Past behavior is a strong indicator of future behavior. Trusting Linda Ring Erickson to unquestionably manage her own campaign money is a big disappointment for me.
     I won't trust her to manage my tax dollars in Olympia if I can't trust her to manage her campaign dollars in Shelton.
     This message was not approved by Lynda Ring Erickson.  
                                                              
Bob Harris,
Belfair                                 
Posted Oct. 12, 2012

                                                   
                                                     

 

 

Vote Rob McKenna for Governor

 

Rob McKenna should be the next governor of the state of Washington. His past experience and his future plans for the state will enable us to find solutions to the many pressing challenges our state faces—a struggling housing market and economy, another huge state budget deficit, the 7th highest jobless rate in the country and a failing education system. His track record shows his ability to streamline government, balance budgets, address consumer protections, guard and protect small businesses and home owners and lead with integrity.  Mr. McKenna’s plans for our future, a  New Direction for Washington, will effectively reform our education system with ample funding and innovation, help government live within its means with no tax increases and will foster a better climate for the small businesses that create so many jobs.
 
As a small business owner and a Realtor, I have been witness to one of the worst housing downturns we have ever experienced. It threatened the very dream of homeownership. Rob McKenna sought for real solutions to protect homeowners and correct the problems. After speaking with him, I trust that Mr. McKenna is the best man for the job as Governor of our state.
 
Rob McKenna finds solutions and gets it done. Please join me in voting for Rob McKenna for Governor on Nov. 6.
 
Kristy Buck, Shelton

Posted Oct. 9, 2012

 

 

 

Mason County- Running Around In Political Circles

 

The Board of County Commissioners is comprised of a three member panel with authority to make policies tailored to fit community needs. This is very different from the State Senate, where 49 lawmakers must compromise the heart out of proposed legislation to achieve one-size-fits-all. This is why policy enacted at the State level may be inadequate to address, or may even aggravate local conditions. It follows, therefore, that the positions of a State Senator and that of a County Commissioner are incompatible when held by a single elected official, as is currently the case with Tim Sheldon. At the end of the day, such an arrangement cannot help but thwart representation of an exclusively local nature.  
What needs to be said is that a politician who seeks multiple legislative positions does so to limit differing viewpoints from entering into local policy decisions. This fact has been made evident through the recent candidate forums for County Commissioner, in which incumbent Sheldon is quick to bring attention to his ‘other job’ as a State Senator, meant only to diminish his opponent’s views.       
It has been argued that serving in two key political positions is beneficial because it gives the officeholder’s home county an economic and political advantage. But if that is true, then why, after 8 years under such an arrangement is Mason County swimming in lawsuits? Why is our unemployment rate higher than 34 other counties? Why is our crime rate per capita the highest in the state? And why are so many of our small businesses failing? The fact is, conditions in Mason County are no better than in other counties, and in some cases they’re worse. Additionally, according to incumbent Sheldon, things are not going to get better anytime soon. 
For these reasons, voters may want to think twice before allowing one elected official to serve in two legislative capacities, again. Otherwise, Senator/Commissioner Sheldon will have us all trotting around the same old track for another four years.     

 

Tom Davis, Shelton

Posted Oct. 7, 2012

 

 

 

 

Response From  Linda Ring-Erickson

 

posted Oct. 5, 2012

 

 

 

In response to Renee Hicks (Belfair) letter to the editor:

 

As the Campaign Manager for the Committee to Elect Denny Hamilton, I can assure you that the accusations in Renee Hicks’ letter regarding salary and gas reimbursements are completely inaccurate.  I have been paid one (1) time over the last 11 months for more than a full-time job.  In addition, gas reimbursements are less than 50% of total campaign gas usage.  All expenditures are according to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) guidelines, which anyone can access through pdc.wa.gov.
Sincerely,
Marcia Hamilton,  Belfair

Posted Oct. 3, 2012

 

 

 

Letter to Editor

 

What ever happened to investigative journalism? Are the newspapers lazy or politically biased?
Denny Hamilton and Linda Ring Erickson are two candidates that should be held accountable and put before the public for their personal misuse of campaign funds.
Since Mason county didn't send out voter pamphlets I found the PDC (Public Disclosure Commission). Candidates post their contributions and expenditures here. I found nepotism, payments to themselves and shady contributions, none of it reported in the paper. Because they’re democrats? I sure hope not.
Linda Ring Erickson (D) is running for legislator. She pays her own husband campaign funds for Financial Management. She took a big contribution from a company she gave a $15 million dollar contract to. The same contract a judge just voided for failure to open it for public bid. How could this go un reported?
The worst offender is Denny Hamilton (D) running for Mason County Commissioner. A full 1/4th of his cash contributions went right back into Denny or his wife's pocket. He is writing checks like $1,000 to his wife for campaign management and paying his wife and himself $1,750 for mileage (yes, mileage). Don't confuse this with gas reimbursement. Denny pays himself that too. How can they get away with that? Will he try to hire his wife as the new county executive director? After finding the PDC info, It wouldn't surprise me!
If the newspapers did their job, these two would never have made it through the primary. Thanks a lot!

Renee Hicks (Belfair)

Posted Oct. 2, 2012

 

 

 

35th District Democrats deserve blame for fiscal irresponsibility

Fiscal irresponsibility has brought us shortfall after shortfall, special session after special session.  The two State Representatives from the 35th District Rep. Kathy Haigh and retiring Rep. Fred Finn are Washington States top spenders.  The Freedom Foundation has compiled all tax and fee increases by bill sponsor in WA ST. Legislature and Senate. Finn rates #1 and Haigh rates #5. We spend a good portion of the year paying uncle sam and a lot of the time this money is spent on things that are not important to all of us, meanwhile things that are important like education are underfunded which is against the State Constitution, and was ruled to be underfunded by the supreme court. It’s not about Democrat vs. Republican anymore, we need to get our fiscal house in order before we can worry about a lot of the other issues. Too many taxes and fees hurt the tax base and stifle growth in the economy. Stifled growth hurts small businesses which in turn creates higher unemployment. You can’t fix high spending with more taxes all the time, at some point we have to quite the spending or find equal cuts to spending proposals. Re-electing Haigh or Finn’s heir apparent Lynda Ring-Erickson (D) could mean two more years of high spending and taxation that none of us can afford. Electing Dan Griffey and Drew MacEwan is the 35th Districts only path to economic prosperity.
See the list here: http://www.myfreedomfoundation.com/index.php/site/view/hey_big_spender_2012
co written by:
Travis Couture - Belfair
Josiah Rowell- Union

Posted Oct. 1, 2012

 

 

 

Citizen Letter

 

Campaign contributions are not the only thing to review when considering a candidate, but they do provide hard data which may reinforce voter concerns.  In the 35th legislative district, such is the case as contributions parallel the voting record of the incumbent.
 
The two Republican candidates for positions in the 35th have over half of their contributions from within the district, Drew MacEwen (53%) and Dan Griffey (50%).  One  Democratic candidate is at 37%, Ring-Erickson, and the other, incumbent Rep. Haigh, is at only 16%.  In addition to this fact, the House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC) has provided more than $30,000 to each of the democratic candidates.  And where did the HDCC money come from?  By far the biggest source is surplus funds from Speaker Chopp and his district mate, both of Seattle.  This fact reinforces the idea that our incumbent does not really represent her district, but votes almost exclusively with her Seattle-led caucus; whether it is the income tax, citizen's ability to petition their government through the referendum/initiative process, or private property issues.  One issue she continues to voice as a tough fight for her district is levy equalization for local schools.  The problem is, she was fighting primarily with her own party on this issue!
 
The 35th district needs fresh representation, not a compromised incumbent or a flawed county commissioner.  Dan Griffey, a firefighter, and Drew MacEwen, a local business owner, understand the district and will work for the people they serve.
 
(all contribution data from Washington Public Disclosure Commission, as of 9/18)
 
Robert Rogers,
Shelton

Posted Sep. 28, 2012

 

 

 

The Dan Griffey I know

I first met my Husband in 1991. It was a blind date and we really hit it off. We talked until about 6am, when he had to head out to work and we haven’t been apart since.
At the time, I was stuck in a very abusive situation and Dan stepped in and not only stood up for me but he stood by me. He is one of the few people I have ever really been able to open up to about it. I had a lot of ups and downs and I will admit that during our first few years together, I was a handful but he never gave up on me. Not many would have done the same.
Since Dan started running for State Rep, I began getting calls from supporters who knew him from school or work. They all reiterated what I knew, that what Dan did for me was not unique, he looks out for everybody.

Not only has he always been there for me but he has been supportive of me and my dreams where ever they took me. I can’t imagine a better representative for us than someone who is willing to stand up to abusers and bullies whoever they are and not back down.
I know Dan Griffey, I know he will represent us with integrity and honor and fight for a bright future for each one of us. It is who he is and who we need.
 
Dinah Griffey,
Allyn

Posted Sep. 28, 2012

 

 

 

Letter To The Editor

I am endorsing Denny Hamilton for the position of Mason County Commissioner, District # 1.
 
I have known Denny for 30 years and believe his knowledge and work experience will serve him well in this position. Having myself worked in Mason County government for 18 years in various management roles, I believe I have a good understanding of the job skills required to be a successful Mason County Commissioner. Denny has worked for many international organizations in strategic planning, emergency management, and as a trainer and facilitator of learning. Denny’s extensive experience in communications would tremendously benefit Mason County and encourage open dialogue between business, community organizations, and government agencies. Having facilitated hundreds of community meetings, and his ability to both listen and be available to his constituents, is something that I believe has been missing from the current commission.
 
Denny is currently in his 6th year serving as an elected Commissioner for Mason County Fire District 2, and has volunteered countless hours to Faith in Action and other community organizations. Denny is also actively engaged in training life skills and personal planning for Military Veterans and is member of the planning team for the Washington State Department of Emergency Management.
 
I am very confident that Denny Hamilton will be a great Mason County Commissioner and I encourage you to support him and vote for him in the upcoming election on November 6.
 
Betty J. Wing,
Belfair

Posted Sep. 27

 

 

 

2012 Election

 

 

The following quote is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson:  "A government big enough to give you everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything you have...." - regardless of who uttered these words, they paint a perfect picture of what ails our country today.  Instead of true representative government, we have an entity that feeds on each and every one of us.  That offers little and takes much.  That dictates what we can and cannot do/say/own.  This is not what the founders envisioned for our country.  It's easy to play the blame game, politicians do it all the time - but we have only ourselves to blame.  So what is the answer?  We must start voting for true limited government advocates.  They are a rare breed but I did find a few this election cycle.  One of them is Allyn Firefighter, Daniel Griffey.  Dan is running for State Representative (Pos 1) for the 35th Legislative District.  I read his website summary on the issues.  I liked what he had to say, but what I liked best was his constant reiteration on the need to return to limited government.  I had the honor to meet Dan recently, and found that he was genuinely concerned with the direction in which our nation is headed.  I made my decision then and there to support him.  I hope you will consider doing the same. 
 
Dawn Peet
Shelton

Posted Sep. 26

 

 

 

The Fairgrounds Relocation Question

For those who may be interested, an expansion and update of THE FAIRGROUNDS RELOCATION QUESTION is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/106741690
Jay Hupp,
Shelton

Posted Sep. 24, 2012

 

 

 

To The Editor

As Mason County voters shake their heads at the plethora of lawsuits the Commissioners have faced, it is important to remind voters candidate Ross Gallagher was involved in many of them.  Many people are quick to place blame on the other two Commissioners but please don’t forget, there were three votes to reject the 5 union contracts that are the center of the charge of unfair labor practice and one of them was cast by Ross Gallagher.
In addition to this major blunder, Mr. Gallagher, as Board of Commissioners’ representative, failed to keep the County Commission apprised of the Mason County Emergency Communications financial status in 2010 when the organization was spending $238,000 more than they had in revenues, resulting in a finding by the State Auditor.  According to the State Auditor “the Board of Directors failed to allocate costs in compliance with its inter-local agreements”. 
As if we need another reminder, Mr. Gallagher was one of the Commissioners that chose to condemn property for a Belfair sewer pump station rather than negotiate a land purchase price with Clifton Heights Properties, LLC.  The difference between the County’s offer and the property owner’s offer was $12,340.  Instead of continuing to negotiate in good faith, this land purchase ended up costing the County $575,000 after losing a lawsuit.   
Mason County cannot afford to put Mr. Gallagher back in office.  Please vote for Terri Jeffreys and bring smart leadership – and some sanity back into County government.

Sincerely, 
Caitlin Kincaid, Shelton

Posted Sep. 21, 2012

 

 

 

Citizen Editorial

I read John Gunter’s letter to the editor in last week’s Journal (8/30) and feel perplexed by it.
 
I was the one who pointed out that one of the members of the recently established Belfair Advisory Committee, BAC, didn’t live in the Urban Growth Area, not Randy. Per the County Commissioners resolution the minimum number of the BAC members is seven and all members must reside within the UGA. I wonder if the BAC is a legal group and can they meet as a committee with only 4 members?
 
I want the BAC to succeed. Barbara Adkins (Community Development Director) is paid to attend the meetings. I'm not nor are any of the committee members but I am committed to attend these meetings because I feel I can offer much needed background.  I care about the community I live in even though I'm not a resident of the UGA.I can assure you that Randy Neatherlin has been attending the meetings, for the same reasons!
 
Randy, and I have been asking the Mason County Commissioners to create a BAC for quite some time, but we wanted one made up of all "stakeholders,” not just residents. When I was rejected from serving on the committee because I was not a “resident”, the commissioners assured me that any actions from the BAC would come before the Planning Advisory Commission of which I was a member.
 
Randy Neatherlin and I, while serving on the Planning Advisory Commission, stood up to former director Dobey and stopped a planned $15,000 to $30,000 per parcel assessment that was scheduled to begin this year!  This was before anyone was focusing on any of these issues. We advocated that the affected citizens be informed of this huge assessment and told that the sewer was about to be forced onto them before most people even knew they lived in the UGA. If we hadn't spoken up, the sewer would already be headed into phase 2 and the residents would already be paying $15K to $30K per parcel as was scheduled to be imposed this year.
 
I feel Mr. Gunter has misinterpreted Randy Neatherlin’s comments, which he garnered from the Port of Allyn article published in the Belfair Herald on August 9. Name-calling does no one any good. I hope we will all try to seek common ground because if we don’t work together, we will end up with the ill planned, over built and financially devastating sewer in our backyards and quite possibly never see a Belfair Bypass in our lifetimes.
 
Ken VanBuskirk
Belfair

Posted Sep. 21, 2012

 

 

 

Stop The Lawsuits

      Mason County is losing lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit. The costs are staggering. Yet County Commissioner Linda Ring Erickson believes they are “part of doing business and most of them are frivolous.” In reality, there's nothing frivolous about expensive lawsuits draining our county treasury of nearly $3,000,000 dollars and a county commissioner so arrogant she won't admit at least some responsibility. 
     Dr. Phil says past behavior is a strong indicator of future behavior. Linda Ring Erickson has reigned as your county commissioner for the last 8 years and now she wants a new job as a state legislator. It's no surprise her own political party refused to endorse her for the primary election. Can you afford even 4 more years of her highly questionable and obviously costly behavior?
     The age discrimination lawsuit cost you and me $114,000 dollars plus legal fees of about $25,000. We paid nearly $500,000 to settle the Belfair Sewer land condemnation lawsuit. The labor settlement lawsuit could cost us about $2,000,000 dollars. Legal fees from the garbage hauling lawsuit may cost all of us about $50,000 dollars.
     That's nearly $3,000,000 dollars that would have been better spent on more Mason County deputies to protect our families and our businesses. We definitely can't afford  to lose another expensive lawsuit.  Stop bleeding tax dollars with new Commissioners who'll restore the trust in government.
      Randy Netherlin has the proven leadership, experience and knowledge to turn county government around. He has wide spread support from Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike. He was the 2011 North Mason Chamber's man of the year and currently a Port of Allyn Commissioner. He's chairman of  the Mason County Planning Commission and previously served as chairman of the Theler Community Center. Other public service includes founding member and chair of the North Mason Voice,  vice chair for Habitat For Humanity, Mason County Economic Council, WPPA Legislative Committee, North Mason Chamber of Commerce, Mason County TIP-CAP Committee,  PNW Salmon Center Board, Cancer Crusaders, North Mason Kiwanis, NM Pee Wee”s, ACA Business Committee, North Mason School District Committee's including Budget, Curriculum, Facilities, Bond & Levy, Athletics and Council of Key Communicators.
     Randy Netherlin is a family man, a business man and a life long resident with a plan for the future. He'll restore  trust with open and transparent government. He'll work to grow our local economy with more jobs thus eliminating the need for new taxes. He wants to open up the Shelton and the Belfair UGAs fueling that development with a better educated work force using educational resources now in place. Encourage more on the job training and where ever possible partner with the private sector to encourage more family wage jobs.
     Randy Netherlin's proven leadership will make a difference . He listens and responds to public concerns. He believes we desperately need more Mason County deputies and will work with the Sheriff  to better protect our families and our businesses.
     Don't be fooled by the other candidate who's spent most of his life abroad and is a Denny come lately to our community. Randy Netherlin is the local problem solver with the experience to RESTORE THE TRUST in Mason County government.
Bob Harris
Belfair, Washington

Posted Sep. 17, 2012

 

 

 

Rep. Kathy Haigh caught in a Lie on tape

On Kitsap Sun’s Editorial Review video of the candidates, Rep. Kathy Haigh of the 35th LD (Mason, Kitsap, Thurston) lied on camera about the Fund Education First Bill which was brought to her committee where it never saw the light of day again, she claimed it wasn’t brought to her committee and that if it was she would have voted for it. A little fact checking proves that it was killed in her committee, she lied to the people.
Education cost more and more every year with less and less results to show for it. During Haigh’s time as a Chair and member of Education and Education Appropriation & Oversight, Education has suffered through unfunded mandates, lack of funding, and lack of success.
 Dan Griffey fully supported ending unfunded mandates that hurt our schools. Dan supported Fund Education First stating that it’s the legislature’s job to fully fund education and that education gets the first dollar, not the last dollar. Dan says that funding education first and adequately is the constitutional role of Washington State government. Haigh said she wouldn’t cut from education, and then did exactly that.
Dan Griffey often quotes Henry Ford, “Don’t find a fault, find a remedy.” It’s not about Republican vs. Democrat with Dan. It’s about solutions. It’s time we fund education first! It’s time to put schools before party interest. It’s time to elect honest people.  It's time to elect Dan Griffey and Restore Washington Now!    

Travis Couture
Belfair, WA

Posted Sep. 10, 2012

 

 

 

What Do You Want For Mason County?

Mason County has reached a level of such  poor leadership, that it cannot be denied that a radical change is needed.  There have been and still are so many law-suits against the County and we the citizens pay for them.  Why are so many people and entities suing us?  Here are a few that are documented; the age discrimination suit which cost us $114,000.00. The land condemnation  for the Belfair Sewer Project.  The Commissioners refused to negotiate with the owner and he sued.  We lost a  total of nearly   $500,000.00 . Another one in progress by Mark Core for unfair firing from a job at Community Development. Another is possible with 5 union members  unless there are negotiations.  The solid  waste  long hauling no bid contract that was taken to Court in Grays Harbor.   The judge has ruled that there has to be an open bidding process.  Awaiting  the results on that one.  These are the known ones so far, there may be more.
When I brought this up at a Commissioners’ Meeting,  I was told by Commissioner Linda Ring Erickson that “Law- suits go with running the government.  All the agencies have suits brought against them.  It is part of doing business and most of them are frivolous.” But, apparently the courts have not considered them all frivolous   
Sheldon wears so many different hats that it is a wonder he even makes it to County Meetings.  When he is attending, he appears bored and indifferent to the people speaking in the Open Forum time.  He is a part time commissioner, part time senator, on the board of ORCCA, NW Energy, an environmental committee etc. He has interests in timber, his own business and how many other pivotal companies we don’t know.  Most  of his campaign contributions come from industry and special interests: timber, transportation, medical insurance, construction, hotels, car insurance, waste operations, guns, phones, cigarettes, cars, property insurance, car racing, pharmaceutical companies just to name some. Whose interest do you think is given his first consideration, the citizens or special interests?
We need to get rid of the “good ol’boy” mentality of doing business.  We need open and transparent government. No more backroom deals, the wink, nod, clap on the back or a handshake, that leaves the public in the dark.  The public has the right to consider proposals and give comments on  proposals that have such an effect on the lives, health, and welfare of the community.
We all know about the ADAGE Incinerator horror.  The public knew nothing about this scheme before most of the agreements and deals had been put in  place.  Something like this being set up without our knowledge was very, very wrong.  There should have been an open, explanatory announcement followed by  open public hearings before any action was taken.  There was none.  The public only heard about it by word of mouth. We don’t want commissioner’s that  support and  participate in this kind of policy.
Sheldon’s opponent is Roslynne Reed.  She is extremely competent , dedicated to the community and knowageable about the many problems. We have It her own words: “I believe in open government and will avoid litigation and other unnecessary costs suffered by county taxpayers due to current mismanagement  practices.  Actions by the Commission are hurting our local economy and reputation.  I intend to work toward restoring responsible government and taking actions that encourage environmentally friendly growth in our county.  I understand the importance of health for our citizens and our environment. I have been endorsed by the Mason County Democrats and recently by our retiring congressman Norm Dicks.  I have been supported by others who are not Democrats, which is great.  People understand that politics should not really be a factor at the local level.”
Another candidate that will work for the benefit of the citizens, is Denny Hamilton. He has a plan for the future.  Three major components of his plan are
1.     “Most important is partnership for progress. It starts with County agencies working more closely together instead of competition with each other.
2.      Working with civic and social organizations that are already doing a great deal of work individually.
3.     The third part of these  partnerships is the private sector. The  absolute necessity of open a government is essential to bring the public  into decision  making. “
4.     Denny has a long history of evaluating a problem, create a plan to deal with it and implementing the plan step by step. He had an international career working in more than 80 countries for a variety of international organizations including the World Bank, Peace Corps., CARE, and the United Nations.   Locally the list goes on. BA from Central Washington University, MS in counseling Psychology, Member, County Medical Reserve Corps Member, Department of Emergency Management Planning Team, and more.
5.     One of things I think that stand out about Denny is that he really listens when you  talk to him and responds to public concerns. He  is a person who actually does what he says he will do.  No grandstanding.   He is the kind of Commissioner we need to help the County back on track and take care of the residents
 We cannot be stuck in the past and rely on what has driven the local economy in the past.  We need new advanced businesses. We need to revitalize our efforts to attract technological companies and small businesses.  That is our  future   prosperity and jobs.  We also need to protect and cleanup the environment for both our health and wellbeing. We want  to make Mason County  an attractive place to live. We need to become the “Model County” of the State known for our concern and care of our air, water, and soil.  How wonderful it would be   counties and cities from all over the country coming to us for advice about healing our wounded environment and placing the health and welfare of its citizen above that of special interests.  Why do we tolerate the term MCL,   Maximum Contamination Levels?  This concept is sanctioned by Department of Ecology and the EPA. There should be NO COMTAMINATION  ALLOWED.
WE THE PEOPLE are the true governing power in this country, not the county Commissioners, the State or even the Federal Government. All governing bodies get their power from us.  WE DONOT RENOUNCE THAT POWER. No matter what the Supreme Court says, a company is not an individual. Let us take our rights back and elect Roslynne Reed and Denny Hamilton for County Commissioners. 

Patricia Vandehey
Shelton

Posted Sep. 6, 2012

 

 

 

Mason Co. Commissioners Talking Points

 “My comments today highlight an old recurring issue with water quality and county oversight.  Much of what I’m about to say reflect the thoughts of Bill Allen, citizen and community activist, who was unable to be here this morning”.
 
Mr. Allen and I were partly responsible for calling attention to the impact of the sport fishery and the out of compliance use of the Hunter farm property in the Skokomish River back in 2009.  We are repeating the same cycle where improper enforcement and oversight WILL AND IS RIGHT NOW resulting in fecal contamination and pollution in the river.
 
We ask the commissioners, particularly Mr. Sheldon, how many years have they been allowed to operate the illegal fishing camp?  How many more times will businesses like mine suffer losses due to closures because the county has not been proactive.  How many more people like Bill Allen will suffer life debilitating infections because the county can’t, for whatever reason, get on top of a predictable cycle, and control it?
 
The fact is the county does not follow through on its own guidelines.  Instead it takes a complaint with the Department of Ecology and the state Department of Health to effect timely action.  Why must they do the county’s work for them?
 
We have a similar example concerning the sensitive area around the Robin Hood Village.  The commissioners, again in 2009, passed a resolution prohibiting new “park model trailers” to be placed on the waterfront.  The owner ignored the mandate, allowed legal confusion to compromise effective action, and the result was the Department of Ecology again had to intervene.  The county was ineffective in its ability to either solve this problem or develop an effective land use policy.
 
Here again, the state has to do the work the county should be doing!
 
The key here is strategic LEADERSHIP.  Mr. Sheldon, these events are on your watch, in YOUR district!  Any management guideline would empower your agency staff to do what it takes to provide consistent, impartial, and fair follow through.  It simply is not happening and has not been, and we’re NOT exaggerating here!
 
Folks, we are well in the 21st century and we need to behave like it.  There will be more people and environmental impact as we move forward.  Let’s end the “us and them” mentality that pervades Mason County operations.   Let’s end the nepotism. Turn fear into forward movement!  Partner and promote solutions!  Love this beautiful county before we lose it!  Be leaders and not laggards.
 
Scott Grout,
Shelton

Posted Aug. 14, 2012

 

 

 

Mason County Site Acquisition Process

I retired from the Federal government (General Services Administration, Federal Aviation Administration and US Marine Corps).  After military service and a tour at Boeing, I worked in real estate acquisition and management in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Washington, DC.  In DC, I received special training to prepare acquisition documents and testify in Federal court acquisition cases (condemnation, when necessary).  At one point I prepared documentation for a $5M (Fiscal Year 1991) site acquisition program, for which I received a national award.
 
During most of my GSA and FAA employment, I managed all phases of acquisition, capitalization, and operation of Federal buildings and facilities.
 
I find the county situation normal when people with limited competence attempt such activities without professional help.  However, I also find it to be a gross waste of public funds (or perhaps worse) when obviously unqualified public employees and management step outside their area of competence.
 
David H. Reed
South Potlatch, WA

Posted Aug. 1, 2012

 

 

 

Belfair Sewer Settlement

Dear Editor,
BELFAIR SEWER SETTLEMENT
CONDEMNATION, THE TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC:
 Belfair is a small community so when we were approached by Mason County in 2008 to provide property for the Belfair Sewer pump station # 3 including the conveyance system we cooperated. It was explained that Mason County needed to add a pump station mid elevation to convey all phase 1 sewer to the new plant. During this process Mason County appraised our property and on October 5th, 2009 offered us $26,300. As the property owner we felt this offer was low and hired an appraiser to review their offer and countered at $38,640.  Mason County refused to negotiate with us. At the Mason County Board of Commissioners meeting January 5th, 2010, Board of Commissioners signed the order of condemnation beginning a lawsuit against its own citizens and taxpayers. At that commissioners meeting we pleaded with the commissioners for settlement to try to avoid litigation. The order was signed and on January 13th, 2010 a lawsuit was filed in Mason County Superior Court, Mason County vs. Clifton Heights, LLC & et. all. On March 10th, 2010 we requested a meeting with Mason County in an attempt to work out the issues and avoid litigation. Mason County refused to meet with us and sent a letter from their attorney Dan Lossing saying “Your email also conveyed your clients’ request for a meeting with the County to review the items in the report. Because we see do not see the need or benefit for such a meeting, we respectfully decline the invitation.” Direct Quote. February 2012 the case went through a 5 day jury trial in Mason County Superior Court. In that trial Mason County’s appraisal exceeded our original offer of $38,640. The Jury awarded Clifton Heights LLC roughly $145,000 plus interest of around $25,000. Last week Mason County Superior Court awarded Clifton Heights LLC roughly $210,000 in attorney fees. It is understood that Mason County paid their attorney’s Insley Best from Bellevue around $200,000for their involvement in this case. Rough totals of this lawsuit cost Mason County around $575,000 not to mention all the time and expenses in a lawsuit that does not get compensated for. All for only a $12,340 difference in January 2010, that Mason County could of settled but forced litigation. Elections are coming up so please keep in mind that ‘decision’ and ‘buck’ stops at the top! In Mason County it is the County Commissioners. If you are thinking of voting for Tim Sheldon or Lynda Ring-Erickson, please think again.
Clifton Heights LLC
Steve and Lenny Johnson
Jack and Kathy Johnson
Les and Betty Krueger

Posted Aug 8, 2012

 

Sheldon Responds To The Clifton Heights Allegations

Commissioners Tim Sheldon and Lynda Ring Erickson are taking some election eve heat over the handling of a Belfair Sewer project land deal. Some Belfair business people - the Krueger and Johnson families sent a letter to area media outlets alledging that the County spent more than a half million dollars, which included a jury verdict and legal fees, to obtain a piece of property needed for a pump station on the new sewer system - land that could have been purchased for less than $50,000. Lynda Ring Erickson chose not to respond to requests for comment. Commissioner Sheldon, however, told us that the letter and the allegations are surfacing because he won’t “play ball” with the Krueger and Johnson families.

Posted Aug. 6, 2012

 

 

REACTION - “Rolemodels?”

A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday, while visiting his hometown of Oakland California, Seahawk Running Back, Marshawn Lynch was stopped in traffic by California Highway Patrol and subsequently taken to the Santa Rita Jail to be cited for an alleged Driving Under the Influence infraction.  This sort of thing happens every day in every city in America.  So, how come when a guy who makes 32 million to play football for four years is the suspect, it becomes front page news? 
The term “role model” is thrown about quite a lot with regard to professional athletes.  I can remember as a young man hearing the Chicago Bulls’ Charles Barkley adamantly reject the appellation completely.  While other athletes, such as today’s NFL sensation Tim Tebo, seem to embrace it. So, is it fair to hold professional athletes accountable for the kind of role model they are?
Last week I had the opportunity to ask some members of the Seattle Mariner ball club that very question.  Mariner manager, Eric Wedge, said, “Baseball is what you do; it’s not who you are, and whatever code you live your life by and how you take care of your family and how you treat people, that’s who you are.  When you talk about being in the spotlight, and being a professional athlete, I think there is more responsibility that goes along with that just because of our young people.  We don’t expect anybody to be choirboys but I think there is a responsibility in regards to how you’re looked upon by young people.  But, having said that, you know, we’ve got a lot of young people here themselves in uniform, so, there gonna stub their toe and make mistakes from time to time.  I’ve said all along as long as you are accountable for what you do and how you conduct yourself, that’s the most important thing.”
New York Yankee, Ichiro Suzuki, (the day after he played his last game as a Seattle Mariner) had this to say, “You know, I don’t know if I feel like a role model, you know, if people look at what I do and they think that I’m their role model, then that’s great. And obviously, I’m gonna continue to do the things that I do, if people see that and feel that way then obviously I’m very happy with that.”  While Brendan Ryan’s response to the same question was “that goes with your role as being professional athletes and as a child I looked up to professional athletes.”
Perhaps the answer to the question, “should an athlete be a role model” is ultimately decided by every fan, young or old.  Who a person looks up to, and why, is a big part of deciding who each of us wants to be in our lives.  Being in Media, I have been able to meet a lot of athletes, politicians, musicians, and other newsmakers.  Most of them are the kind of people I’d be thrilled to have my own children look up to.  Wedge, Ryan, and almost everyone at the Mariner organization are stand up guys who work hard every day.  For some reason, it’s more often the misstep that is going to get the headline.  While the thousands of hours professional athletes spent last year making wishes come true for terminally ill kids through the “Make a Wish” Foundation, are often overlooked.  Most people see an Athlete when he scores the winning touchdown, or catches that fly ball six inches over the wall and when he gets arrested or gets divorced.  Most people don’t see these Baseball players at batting practice before almost every game 165 games a year.  The work ethic and dedication that most athletes demonstrate to honing their craft and being the best they can be is an ensample that all of us would do well to emulate. 

G.E. Cummings,

Posted Aug. 1, 2012