The article “Methow Valley women mobilizing for march in Washington, D.C.” (Jan. 11) and these women are an extraordinary example of why America has been the world’s foremost major power for the past century. America has a complicated history of protesting — it appears that we love it when it confers with our own ideology, but hate it when it goes against it. These women are patriots and need to know that they can change our community, state and country for the better.
These demonstrations are important, but what is more important is strategically organizing in such a way to promote change. Mother’s Against Drunk Driving was started around a kitchen table in California and managed large legislative changes in two years. If a small group of people who care about a specific issue get together, we can institute real change.
If our state representatives and senators are upholding our rights and working against hate and discrimination, let them know what a great job they are doing. Now, if these folks are working to limit our speech, or causing divisive hate with laws that support discrimination, then we must organize around all our kitchen tables and lobby together; contact our local, state and federal elected officials with letters, phone calls, and by appearing in large groups at their local offices. The gathering of groups at elected officials office is the most efficient way to persuade. Women are 50 percent of this country — we can divert this path of hate, if we put our heads together.
Shannon O’Connell, Mazama
Challenging the vacations
To the Editor:
Here we go again. The county is in the business of giving away public right-of-way to the Gebbers/Gamble corporations. This time, they don’t even have to petition for it.
Under the guise of reconciling the 1955 road list, 7.44 miles of Texas Creek/French Creek Road will be vacated, along with 10 other apparently “insignificant roads.”
The engineer’s report by Josh Thomson states, “this portion of the road is useless as part of the county road system. The private owners needing access from this road have indicated they support this road vacation,” Imagine that!
Yet, if I want to get some information to the commissioners (who will be making this decision), it is suddenly a “quasi-judicial” process and they can’t talk to me except at the hearing. Remember, no one has petitioned for this road vacation. They are just “cleaning up” the road list for accuracy.
A previous county engineer that worked with the 1955 road list states, “I would argue that very few are insignificant. Certainly not to those who use them.”
The county was hoping to get this done with the previous commissioners, but did not file the legal notice in their paper of record. Therefore, the hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 23 at 9 a.m.
If you are as tired of our government giving away our (the public’s) right-of-way as I am, please come to the hearing and make your opinion known.
This is not a clean-up of the road list only, it is another giveaway to a corporate landowner with approximately less than 2 miles of road access, while the DNR land is over 5 miles. This takes away access to thousands of acres of public lands that only a private landowner has the use of.
I would think the people who stood up for not vacating French Creek Road back in 2009 have a big stake in this. The commissioners at that time voted not to vacate, but were threatened with a lawsuit by the large corporation and, backed down in spite of the public opposition.
The Gebbers/Gamble corporations should not paralyze our county government!
Ruth Hall, Malott
Celebrating our values
As organizers of the Women’s March in Twisp on Saturday (Jan. 21), we have to disagree with the first sentence of the article covering the marches in last week’s Methow Valley News. Actually, it is the first five words that are in our view incorrect: “Motivated by fear and anger … .” Our march and rally are explicitly to celebrate and support our highest values.
We firmly believe that the tenor of national politics has been dominated by extreme voices outshouting moderate viewpoints. There are many reasons for this, among them that it is so much fun to be outrageous, to violate — at no personal cost — the norms of respectful communication and, for far too many of us, to be willing consumers of the outrageous. So much more fun and entertaining than the thoughtful exchange of ideas. But it is also threatening our society and nation.
There is reason to be optimistic. In this valley we have a wide array of viewpoints and political alignments — but for the most part we generally like and respect each other. We get along; we treat each other as individuals, and do not take disagreements as equating to enmity; we help our neighbors regardless of their politics. We just had a local election that was positive, respectful and based on ideas for the right way forward in Okanogan County. Many communities across the country similarly share the values of decency and respect towards their neighbors.
Our march is a first step in bringing people together to work on extending that decency to national issues. It is based on the idea that the majority of Americans share values that we can — and will — come together to uphold. The rally will include compiling ideas on positive actions we can take to do our part to achieve a “more perfect union.” Every generation before us has faced this challenge; many of us believe that it is now our turn.
Finally, we want to emphasize that everyone is welcome to join our celebration of the ideals that make our country great. Hope to see you out there.
Lois Caswell, Linda Du Lac, Jane Hill, Gina McCoy, Pat Leigh, Monica Pettelle, Antonia Van Bueren
I just want to say a huge “thank you” to Kirsten Ostlie at the Methow Valley Community Center for hosting a great New Year’s Eve party. Kirsten did a huge part of the planning, decorating and production of the party. I also want to thank the Rocket Band that donated their time to entertain us with dance music; John Doran for a great job of bartending; and T.R. Stewart for being the “helper” person.
Betty Wagoner, Twisp