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Letters to the editor

Safe and cozy



I recently was given a wonderful gift from several government and local business people in Sequim and Port Angeles.

My house needed weatherization, a new roof and, unexpectedly, a new septic system.

My Social Security didn't cover much of this but through hard work, diligent professionalism and generous hearts, these folks made my house a much safer and cozier home.

Thank you, guys and gals.

Beverly J. Gordon

Sequim



District supports

memorial tree



I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the following individuals who were instrumental in helping with a planting of a tree in memory of a student who passed away in May 2008: Groundskeeper Mr. Tom Stumbaugh, whose diligence to detail and expertise guided in the selection of location and the actual planting; supervisor Mr. John McAndie, who permitted Mr. Stumbaugh to accomplish this task within his normal workday; and Mr. Shawn Langston, principal of Sequim High School, who supported this endeavor.

Even with the looming of the upcoming economic shortfall facing the Sequim School District, the district continues to demonstrate its support in a creative fashion for students, staff and families.

Barbara S. Cooper

Sequim



Get involved



I read with interest Patricia Allen's letter "Attend the Meetings" in the Sequim Gazette, April 15, 2009, issue. Near the end of the letter I finally found a portion of one sentence that I could agree with and encourage Sequim to consider: "Maybe you need to attend council meetings ...."

Well, the "Gang of Four," as Ms. Allen has coined the new majority, is doing her one better.

Over the last year, with the leadership of Councilman Ken Hays, this band of rowdies, working with a citizen planning group and over the concerns of certain continuing members of the council, are putting together a representative citizen participation group to provide ongoing input to our local government process.

This bold step to improve citizen involvement in our local government and provide transparency to council actions will develop a direct linkage between our elected officials and the folks in the neighborhoods.

Don't miss the opportunity to help implement this organization and make your voice, and that of your neighbors, heard and listened to by our elected officials. Attend the information/organization meeting of "Sequim Speaks" April 23, 5:45 p.m. at the Guy Cole Convention Center (at Carrie Blake Park, Blake Avenue) in Sequim. For details, contact Sequim City Hall.

And finally, although little could be accomplished by arguing with Ms. Allen regarding her views, it is worth considering her opening comment: "For many years the citizens of

Sequim did not have to worry about underhanded deals and how the city's funds were spent. Then came the 'Gang of Four'...." I would counsel the writer to draw such a conclusion only after an in-depth review and comparison of then and now based upon the history of Sequim's local governance and management - using the retirement of Jim Bay and the departure of Bill Elliott for dividing then and now. I draw no conclusions for you, but suggest that for you, the reader, it may be worth your time to review our community history and judge for yourself the veracity of Ms. Allen's opening comment.

Del DelaBarre

Sequim



Attend the meetings



Patricia Allen submitted a letter full of inaccuracies and half-truths, which compels a response. In the 18 months since the 2007 election, she gleans a few points designed to show the reform candidates in a bad light while ignoring their many accomplishments. OK, let's go over her points, one by one.

1. The election gave the reform slate a four-three majority. Ms. Allen appears astonished that they selected a new mayor and vice mayor. Why?

2. The resignation request for Larry Freedman was indeed handled badly. Fresh from an overwhelming victory, the mayor responded to the desire of her constituents by making a rookie mistake. Larry has recently resigned as he realized the public perception of his role on the Planning Commission detracted from his affordable housing project.

3. The firing of Bill Elliott by the reform members was hardly a vendetta. They bent over backwards to work with him but could not do so as he remained committed to the pro-developer minority remaining on the city council. (He was expressly hired to promote a rapid growth agenda.) To prevent his firing, the old city council inserted a "poison pill" in his contract providing for a ridiculous 12-month severance package. The former city council is to blame for the large cost of the severance package.

4. It is ridiculous to blame the city council for no growth. The economy and the housing market determine that. The reform slate is determined to shift more of the cost of that growth to the developers and off the backs of the existing residents.

5. Water and sewer rates have indeed gone up. Did you know that until 2007 developers were only required to pay about 20 percent of the true cost of water and sewer hook-ups? The remaining 80 percent comes out of residents' pockets. The reform slate has worked hard to shift charges to where they belong.

6. Ken Hays never requested an investigation. That it was conducted anyway speaks volumes about how seriously integrity in government is regarded by (Police) Chief (Robert) Spinks. (Remember the police surplus property incident?)

7. Ms. Allen really misses the mark re the Keeler property. This bargain to the city was favored by most of the city council, old and new alike.

One thing Ms. Allen is right about is the need for more Sequim residents to attend city council meetings. Most of those attending live outside the city and are promoting their special interest agendas.

Theodore J. Miller,

chairman of Sequim Planning Commission

Sequim



More from Allen

My previous letter outlined the underhanded and overspending done by the "gang of four."

I hope you realize that things are not as cozy in our town as they have been made to appear.

This letter is to ask publicly one very important question to pro-tem Mayor Ken Hays.

How can you sit on the Sequim town council and have a pending lawsuit against the city? Also, how did you get this past City Attorney (Craig) Ritchie?

This is a conflict of interest and shows who you represent, yourself.

I would like a response and think this should call for your resignation.

How much is it going to take before the citizens begin asking their own questions?

Patricia Allen

Sequim



Honor the Raiders



Sequim resident Charles Meacham, 84, served with one of four, first-ever, Special Forces battalions manned by nearly 8,000 Marine Raiders between 1942-1944.

Mr. Meacham (Chuck) and I became acquainted in 2008. Because of my fascination with these highly trained and unique World War II frontline fighting units, I wanted to know more about Chuck and the Raider Foundation he has headed up. Now, I hope to help him to properly memorialize those hero Raiders KIA.

McCrorie Home Furnishings & Design, 124 E. First St., Port Angeles, has graciously set up an account for accepting donations, which are tax deductible, 501(c)(3), with checks payable to the U.S. Raider Foundation. There will be a "thermometer" in McCrorie's window. For more information, which I strongly encourage, the Web site is http://usmarineraiders.org/. You might click on the YouTube box for starters.

The memorial site is at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia. Memorial goals are: 1) Memorial bricks for a walkway naming each of the 889 KIAs. 2) A memorial bronze statue at Quantico. 3) Education fund for Solomon Island native children as a "thank you" for their grandparents' brave support during World War II. 4) Memorial site visitation program for surviving vets.

These amazing Raiders were involved with many World War II campaigns: Bougainville, Emirau, Guam, Midway, Okinawa, the Solomons and Guadalcanal, to mention a few.

The U.S. Marine Raiders started in 1942 and set the

tone for "special forces/operations," the concept still used.

Although any amount donated will be much appreciated, please, if you have questions about "brick prices, the statue, or Solomon Island children, etc.," call Mr. Meacham at 683-3443.

Bill Zynda

Port Angeles

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