The time is growing near for Okanogan County residents to choose their next sheriff. I want to take a moment to explain why I support Tony Hawley for sheriff.
Many residents of the county know me and understand what my opinions are based on when it comes to this matter. For those who don’t know me, I am fifth-generation, born and raised in the county. I recently moved away, leaving behind hundreds of friends and family. The safety of these people is important to me. I spent 24 years in public service in the county, first in fire, then in law enforcement as an Okanogan County deputy sheriff. These experiences gave me insight into the needs of Okanogan County residents and the issues faced by its leaders. A lot of good things have been said of Tony in the past weeks and months. If you are getting the idea he is the best candidate, you are right.
If you have not had the chance to meet him yet, you should know Tony is the candidate who spent his law enforcement career working patrol for the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office. A patrol deputy, especially in a diverse county like yours, gets in touch with the people on a level that cannot be reached by other positions in public service. The patrol deputy interacts with folks from all walks of life under countless different conditions and circumstances. All of this interaction teaches the deputy to build relationships and partnerships through cooperation and understanding. Tony brought what he learned in patrol to the next level when he became a sergeant with the Sheriff’s Office. Most who know him would agree with me when I say he is the most capable leader I have worked for. With Tony as your sheriff, you will get the benefit of proven success in leadership plus his experience on patrol. You will have a capable, approachable sheriff who understands the issues you face as residents because he has already been out there protecting Okanogan County for many years.
Ottis Buzzard, Alaska
I-1631’s local impacts
This November, Washington state residents will be voting on Initiative 1631 which, if passed, will create a new “pollution fee” on most fossil fuels emissions. It is estimated the fee will add 14 cents per gallon to the price of gasoline. It will also increase the price of electricity and propane supplied by Okanogan County Electric Cooperative Inc (OCEC) and its subsidiary, Okanogan County Energy Inc.
OCEC buys almost all of its electricity from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), most of which comes from carbon-free hydroelectric with a smaller amount of carbon-free nuclear generation. BPA does get about 3.4 percent of the power it sells from natural gas or coal-fired power plants which would be subject to the new carbon fee. We estimate that will add $15,000 to our cost of power in 2020, when the fee begins, increasing $2,000 a year after that. That translates to a 21-cent increase in a $100 monthly electric bill, rising another 3 cents a month each year after.
The estimated fee on propane is 8.5 cents per gallon starting in 2020, increasing 1.1 cent per gallon each year after. That means a typical 250- gallon propane delivery would cost an additional $21.50 in 2020 and an additional $48.75 by 2030. This added cost would be passed on to our propane customers as part of the taxes on the bills.
According to the initiative the expected $1 billion a year raised by the new carbon fee would be spent mostly on projects and programs that could reduce carbon emissions and promote clean energy.
While OCEC is not taking a position on the initiative, the Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association that we are a member of is opposing it, arguing that it is unfair, contains too many exemptions and doesn’t create enough accountability for how the money will be spent.
We encourage all OCEC members to take time to learn more about the initiative and to vote this November.
Curtis Edwards, OCEC Board President
David Gottula, OCEC General Manager
Bull for commissioner
Salley Bull has the qualifications and skills to be a good county commissioner for District 3. Her family has lived in the county for six generations and she understands what the county needs. In the general election, everyone in the county will be voting for this commissioner. I urge you to vote for her.
Salley Bull has served a member of the Okanogan County Planning Commission, a member of the Okanogan County Board of Equalization, president of the Oroville Library and Community Board, publicity manager for Oroville Scholarship Foundation, and a member of Friends of the Oroville Library.
Her platform unites all the people in the county to work toward our best interests together.
Surely, this is what we all need.
Aileen Jeffries, Winthrop
Vote for change
Has everyone had enough of partisan politics? Of shaming, and name calling, of representatives voting party line instead of for their constituents?
This election, you have a chance to effect change by electing change in your own backyard.
We have two qualified, independent candidates running for office here in eastern Washington. Salley Bull (vote4sal.com) is running for Okanogan County Commissioner. Her platform focuses on four key issues — improving the employment picture, careful planning for our water resources, supporting our full time residents, and improving our relations with our neighbors in Canada. Running against Salley Bull is Jim Detro. His website (jimdetro.com) states it’s time to stop “robbing from Peter to pay Paul to balance budgets.” But he had no qualms about spending $3,000 of your tax dollars with his fellow commissioners at the time, for membership in the American Lands Council, which promotes transfers of federal lands to state and county ownership.
Ann Diamond (diamond4house.com) is running for State House representative in the 12th district, position 1. Key points from Diamond’s platform are access to affordable health care, local jobs for local people, and responsible use of your money. Keith Goehner (keithgoehner.com) is running against Ann Diamond. His website doesn’t even mention affordable health care, a basic need for us all, and while it states lofty goals, it is short on substance.
Bull and Diamond are campaigning tirelessly because they believe it is time for change in our politics — that it is time to start listening to constituents, and follow their lead, not a party platform. As responsible voters, we need to look at all the candidates and decide for ourselves who will best represent our needs. I encourage you to visit vote4sal.com and diamond4house.com and read their full platforms.
Above all, please don’t be one of the 100 million citizens who don’t vote! Your vote matters!
Karen Mulcahy, Winthrop
Follies were fabulous
The Methow Valley Community Center wants to thank the performers, kitchen crew, bartenders, volunteers and you for attending the biannual Fabulous Fall Follies. We had a great time enjoying the amazing talent we have in the community — we ate, laughed and caught up with friends and neighbors. A special thank you to Kelly Donoghue for emceeing this event; he has a wonderful sense of humor, and engaged us all in celebrating our fine community and community center. We wish to thank the generous people who created a matching grant for the new parking lot, and all of you who donated. Community events like the fall follies make me glad I live here.
Kirsten Ostlie, Methow Valley Community Center board
Commission needs Bull
Voters, please speak to your neighbors, friends and family about the upcoming election. After making hundreds of calls on behalf of candidates, I have found that there are many voters who do not subscribe to a newspaper and do not have Internet access. They know nothing about who is up for election except from billboards on our roadsides as one voter told me. So you see, that leaves only us to discuss candidates with such voters.
Who will I vote for? We have to bring on Salley Bull for Okanogan County commissioner with deep roots (six generations) and wide experience in our county plus an open mind to bring all sides together. She’s done so in her town of Oroville. Now let her dig in with Chris Branch and Andy Hover to get work done for all of us.
With Salley Bull as District 3 commissioner we can continue to have the well-run county government we elected in 2016 that protects access to our public lands and county roads. She’ll be proactive with local business in promoting products and services, inexpensive power rates, recreational activities and the benefits of living in small, rural communities. Salley says, “We need more than minimum wage or seasonal jobs for our county and its families to flourish.” Salley is willing to work outside the box to accomplish these goals.
And while you’re at it, vote for Ann Diamond for State House in Olympia and Christine Brown for the House in D.C.!
Gay Northrup, Winthrop
Brown for Congress
Are you a union member? Read the signs. I have been stopping for a closer look at the campaign signs posted in my area. Only one candidate in the 4th Congressional district — Christine Brown — has signs bearing the Union Label, indicating that they were printed in a union shop. For Christine Brown, supporting labor isn’t just a campaign promise, it’s a campaign action. Remember this as you go to the polls. If you want actual concrete action supporting labor and not just empty promises, vote for Christine Brown. She’s already got your back.
Wages have stagnated over recent decades as corporate profits have skyrocketed. Income inequality is accelerating. Why? Because unions have been systematically and intentionally weakened by large corporate interests. Without bargaining power, labor is helpless in securing fair living wages. Abuse rises, and working conditions deteriorate.
One candidate in our Congressional district supports labor not just with words, but with actual campaign dollars, and that candidate is Christine Brown. Please join me in supporting Christine Brown for Congress in Washington’s 4th district. She is your advocate.
Ed Smith, Richland
I was recently at the gate that closes my only access out in case I have to evacuate due to fire. Not only that, but it’s hunting season and it’s a place I have hunted for over 25 years. The reason that was a road was because it was used by hundreds of people all year long, despite claims it was never used. Soon there really will be no road because of grow-over. Explain why our elected county commissioners that have promised to take care of the tax-paying residents, after thousands of signatures to keep roads open, have played the three-monkey card? I have no faith in them or the Methow Valley News because you are one-sided. It is election season!
Curtis Urban, Texas Creek
No on I-1639
If you are a Washington state resident, your Second Amendment rights are in immediate danger. Ballot Initiative I-1639, if passed, would cause owners of any type of semi-automatic rifle or handgun to be subjected to onerous new restrictions and taxes, with the intent to discourage their possession and use while doing little to nothing to fight crime.
Some of these new restrictions would be:
• A requirement that gun owners lock up their guns to newly imposed standards or face criminal charges. This would surely result in police knocking on doors to come into your home to see if your guns are legally stored. And woe to those who fail.
• A requirement that individuals applying to acquire a semi-automatic rifle waive the confidentiality of their medical records. The act of applying to purchase “shall constitute a waiver of confidentiality.”
• Required statewide registration for every law-abiding citizen owning a handgun or semi-automatic rifle, necessitating a massive state-level bureaucracy to monitor.
I-1639 would turn you into a felon if a criminal steals your gun and uses it to commit a crime. It robs adults aged 18 to 20 of their constitutional right to self defense and the use of most hunting rifles (which are semi-automatics) for sports or other purposes. It forbids law-abiding young adults to purchase or receive such a rifle as a gift. Yet these young people can be sent to war.
These are just a few of the oppressive infringements on the rights of Washington residents that would become a sad reality with the passage of I-1639. Please consider carefully before you participate in voting away any part of our constitutional freedoms. There are practical and meaningful answers to protecting our children and schools; I-1639 isn’t one of them. Our constitutional heritage is not the enemy; neither are law-abiding gun owners. Let’s work on real, effective answers together, not pass legislation that mocks the freedoms so many died to protect. We all deserve better than I-1639. Please join me in defeating this faulty and dangerous initiative.
Richard Tingelstad, Twisp
Bull ‘yes,’ DeTro ‘no’
I will not vote for Jim DeTro because he does not respect the laws of the land. When Jim rode his ATV into Winthrop, he openly and belligerently defied Winthrop’s local law that restricts ATVs within town limits.
Jim does not govern with an open, intelligent mind. Jim disrespected voters who voted in favor of public transit (TranGO) by stating that the voters didn’t know what they were voting for. Jim relies on inflammatory language to intimidate, and name-calling to belittle folks whose viewpoints differ from his own. On Jim’s Facebook page, he advocated for spaying and neutering all “environmental extremists.” Jim referred to the legal, court-ordered restoration of the Buckhorn mine as a “travesty”… enabled by “the green slime.”
On Sept. 14, representatives from Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties met to discuss common issues. Regarding the issue of wolves and “wolf huggers,” Jim mentioned that if something isn’t done, we will be finding “people hanging from trees.” Is he suggesting that violence is the way to solve problems? Jim’s actions and words demonstrate that he is not fit for office.
I will vote for Salley Bull because she will join Commissioners Branch and Hover who behave respectfully, listen to the voters, and use critical thinking and investigative research to make wise decisions to ethically govern Okanogan County.
Kathleen Ann Hirschstein, Carlton
Walk away from Enloe project
I attended the recent ratepayer “listening session” in Brewster hosted by the three Okanogan County PUD (OPUD) commissioners. The only issue raised was re-development of the Enloe Hydroelectric Project. Despite hearing a wall of opposition at this meeting and the previous session held in Tonasket last spring, the commissioners appeared steadfast in their determination to continue spending ratepayer money on a project that defies economic logic. The need to pursue this expensive power is hard to understand when the PUD has recently signed a power purchase agreement with Douglas County PUD for power from Wells Dam that will provide up to 134 MW of power into the OPUD. This is nearly twice what the OPUD currently supplies to its nearly 20,500 customers at peak demand.
Why do the commissioners cling to this dream of re-development of Enloe Dam when so many other cost-effective and sustainable alternatives exist? Is it that they can’t admit that the $16 million already invested in the project was a waste of money? They argue that there may be liability the OPUD might face to remove the dam and clean up the sediments above the dam (which may or may not be contaminated with heavy metals from mining)? If it is the latter, why do they refuse to gather any actual facts to support or refute this possible alternative? Private, state and federal funding are available to largely offset the financial costs for removal and remediation, yet the OPUD fails to fully explore these opportunities.
As our representatives in the OPUD we expect that they will fulfill their responsibilities to ratepayers by scrupulously evaluating the alternative to the project of removing the dam as a least expensive alternative to forging ahead with development at all costs.
It would seem easy enough to walk away from the project before committing ratepayers to pay untold millions more (estimates range from $35 million to $50 million-plus) to fully develop the project. It was not, after all, their decision to come this far, but their thumbprints are all over the decision to go further.
Stephen Ralph, Winthrop
Hall for auditor
I am endorsing Cari Hall for Okanogan County auditor. I have known Cari for many years. I had the pleasure of working with her in her previous position as chief financial officer for a large nonprofit entity the county has connections with. And, more important to me, I have had the pleasure of working with Cari on a daily basis for three years now, after being given the opportunity to hire her as our finance manager.
Cari is uniquely qualified for the important position of auditor. She has the accounting background and experience to help guide the county in budgeting and financial matters as a member of the County Finance Committee, the members of which, by statute, are the county treasurer, auditor and chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. She currently attends the monthly Finance Committee meetings to present the financial reports and answer questions. Her advice and comments during these meetings, budget meetings, and throughout the year is respected and well received by the county commissioners as well as other department heads and elected officials.
Cari’s qualifications for the job include the knowledge and capability to understand the mandated requirements and work in every department of the auditor’s office, recording, elections and licensing as well as finance. This knowledge stems from her willingness to help wherever needed, whenever she can. Her eagerness to work and learn has resulted in Washington State Department of Licensing certification, not an easily achieved accomplishment.
Cari’s customer service is unsurpassed! She is exceptionally good with people. She listens and is willing to go the extra distance to assist in whatever task, transaction or problem needs to be addressed and completed. Cari has the respect and is well liked by everyone in the office, and I believe by most, if not all of the people she comes in contact with on a regular basis.
Please join me in supporting Cari Hall for auditor — she is the best candidate, and the only qualified candidate in the race!
Laurie Thomas, Okanogan County Auditor
Diamond is qualified
I am writing in support of Dr. Ann Diamond, who is running for Washington state 12th Legislative District as an Independent. First of all I appreciate the Independent aspect. I wish more of our political candidates would run as Independents as our two-party system does not seem to be working well.
There are many reasons to vote for Ann. In small group meetings I have seen firsthand how Ann dives into issues and educates herself in order to evaluate the pros and cons of issues and to come up with best solutions; issues like water rights and affordable housing.
The 12th District is a large area, mostly rural with diverse populations and concerns. One of the biggest problems facing our region and our country is simple, affordable health care. Ann’s experience as a doctor and clinic owner in Winthrop makes her the best person to help guide any and all discussions in our Legislature about health care. We need people with direct knowledge of our fragmented health care system and ideas for its improvement. Ann understands how complex health care has become and how expensive it is, who pays for what and who might be profiting while others go bankrupt. I hope voters will take a good look at what Ann has to offer and vote in the upcoming election.
Karen Reneau, Winthrop
I need to correct an impression created by one of the responses to my op-ed on Initiative 1631. I have no present association with the Association of Washington Business.
I was on a committee at a time I was a partner at Perkins Coie LLP from which I retired several years ago. The opinions I expressed in my article are entirely my own.
I am not opposed to a carbon tax per se, only the failure to meaningfully address climate-related issues in I-1631. Here in the valley a meaningful targeted carbon tax could fund one of the four alternatives to allow our local power utilities to provide green energy for the community:
• Acquire a small nuclear power plant such as that used safely in nuclear submarines to provide needed base load.
• Construct a major solar field on several hundred acres on the Rendezvous, which has appropriate solar orientation.
• Use the local hilltops to site a wind farm to serve the valley.
• Acquire sufficient right-of-way and water rights to build a high dam in an area such as Black Canyon.
The benefits of green energy come with the environmental consequences of the necessary facilities as well as the higher cost.
I have been involved in the permitting of solar farms, wind farms and small dam and streamside projects. Each of these alternatives raises considerable local environmental concerns. But until we are ready to accept the consequences of green energy in our own back yard, seeking the benefits of green energy with the burdens placed in someone else’s back yard is not an acceptable solution.
Sandy Mackie, Winthrop
Similkameen River needed
The Okanogan PUD plan to generate power at Enloe Dam is a huge waste of our ratepayers’ money. It may be a death sentence for Upper Columbia steelhead now in serious decline moving toward extinction.
Removing Enloe Dam would make 350 miles of habitat available upstream for Upper Columbia River steelhead, bull trout and Pacific lamprey, a keystone species of the Pacific and Columbia Basin. Dam removal would allow the natural deposition of rock, gravel and woody debris downstream which would build better spawning beds for Chinook salmon. It would also lower water temperature 1.7 degrees Celsius and save 114 acre-feet of water from evaporation off the reservoir. Forty percent of the salmon reared at the new Chief Joseph Hatchery are trying to spawn in the Similkameen River. They need more room and better conditions. Chinook salmon were jumping at the base of Enloe Dam again this July as they have for years. Video can be seen at Facebook/Friends of the Similkameen.
The PUD has claimed the sediment behind Enloe is loaded with heavy metals but there is no evidence. Two small sample studies have been done, one by the PUD and one by the Department of Ecology. The majority of samples taken have been under the allowable state standard. The “super fund myth” is used to justify electrification.
The cost of dam removal would not be paid by the ratepayers. The money would come from the $22 million set aside by the mid-Columbia utilities for the recovery of salmon/steelhead habitat each year. It would be administered by agencies like NOAA, National Marine Fisheries and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
All marine species are threatened with extinction. Forty percent of all marine species have gone extinct just since 1970. We need to do our part and remove Enloe Dam.
Joseph Enzensperger, Oroville
Brown will represent us
Congressional candidate Christine Brown supports universal access to health care, recognizes the impact of climate change on our economy and future, favors a fair tax structure that avoids ballooning the national debt, and regulating the financial sector to prevent another economic crisis.
She pledges to reject partisanship, in favor of considering multiple points of view. In contrast, our Representative Newhouse is hyper-partisan. When pressed on his reasons for voting dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), without having a replacement plan, Representative Newhouse replied that he represents the “entire country” (which is code for ultra-conservative billionaires). Wrong answer: the House of Representatives was established to represent the full range of interests across this vast nation. Our district is relatively rural and low-income, making it particularly dependent on the health insurance plans offered through the ACA (full disclosure: I am one of the 20 million people depending on the ACA for my health insurance).
Thanks to the relentless weakening of the ACA by the president and congressional Republicans, we are now down to one provider in Okanogan County; two years ago there were three. This is just one of the many ways Representative Newhouse has been willing to sacrifice the interests of his district to the dictates of his party.
According to the self-funded, non-partisan group Politics That Work, which compiles data on the results of policy decisions and voting records, here are a few of Representative Newhouse’s priorities. He supports taxing the middle class 84.6 percent of the time; higher spending 68.5 percent of the time; funding education 27.8 percent of the time. On the other hand, zero percent of the time he supports: taxing the wealthy; a robust social safety net (like Social Security); countering Russian interference in elections; financial sector regulation; labor rights and wages; consumer protection.
Across the board he votes against the interests of the middle and working classes. His campaign financing shows why: 82 percent of his funding comes from outside of this district, almost all of which is from sources representing wealthy interests.
It is time for change. I am voting for Christine Brown.
Gina McCoy, Winthrop