Noma for prosecutor
I watched the debate between the candidates for Okanogan County prosecuting attorney. Arian Noma came through as the better candidate. His answers were clear and cogent. Platter evaded the questions, and his answers were unrelated to the questions. Noma will improve morale by keeping open communication with the sherriff’s department. Vote for Noma.
Carolanne Steinebach, Twisp
In defense of inconvenience
We are writing to respond to the letter from last week bemoaning the lack of veterinarian service on the weekends in the valley. For one, we are questioning the accuracy of the statements as we remember the story of the lost dogs last winter and a vet friend who spent many “unofficial” hours caring for the frosted pups.
Also, we cherish the minor inconveniences of rural life, be it a store closed on Sundays, spotty Internet, or long drives to the airport. As full-time residents we chose to give up the conveniences available in not so “hole-in-the wall” towns on the other side. We even accept that many projects go unfinished for some time when we can’t get something at the hardware store, the weather demands that we play outside or we are happily interrupted by visitors or party invitations.
We are confident that in an emergency, many valley residents, including the vets, would happily help out a visitor and their pooch, but we encourage everyone to remember what we gain from not having it all, all the time. Inconvenience can also mean figuring things out on our own, building relationships by seeking the help of neighbors and learning new skills. In the case of our vets, it may also mean a much-needed weekend mental break skiing the trails or a day relaxing with their children. After all, aren’t we all here to enjoy our time together in this uniquely “inconvenient” location?
Brynne Edwards and Kelly Grayum, Twisp
The PUD’s folly
In an Oct. 10 letter to the editor the writer asks, “Why do the (PUD) commissioners cling to this dream of redevelopment of Enloe Dam when so many other cost effective and sustainable alternatives exist?”
The explanation could be that the PUD is following the “March of Folly” that noted historian Barbara Tuchman describes in her book of that title. She defines “folly” as government pursuit of certain policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of reasonable alternatives. The four characteristics all these follies have in common are:
• the policy taken was contrary to self interest (as in the projected cost of the dam versus the small rate of return; to say nothing of the ire of ratepayers when they see the results of the folly reflected in their bills).
• the policy is not that of an individual, but of a group (in this case the PUD administration and board).
• the policy is not the only one available (there are other possibilities for the dam itself and for other sources of power that would be much cheaper and easier to obtain).
• the policy was pursued despite forebodings that it was mistaken (all the facts indicate this policy is no longer sustainable and will result in the greatest yet of PUD boondoggles).
So why continue?
“There is,” Tuchman wrote, “always freedom of choice to change or desist from a counterproductive course if the policy maker has the moral courage to exercise it. He is not a fated creature blown by the winds of Homeric gods. Yet to recognizer error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government.”
Although history offers many examples of these marches of folly, Tuchman concentrates on three at various times and places. Yet it is not necessary to range far afield to find our own march of folly right here in Okanogan County with our own PUD.
Unlike the historical examples however, there is still time for the commissioners to muster their own “moral courage,” admit they were mistaken, and reverse the course of the march. Dare we hope?
Jessica McNamara, Tonasket
Your vote matters
Did you know that in the 2016 presidential election, over 108 million eligible voters didn’t vote?
Were you aware that nationally, the voter turnout was less than 40 percent in the 2014 midterm elections and 21.4 percent of eligible voters were not registered? That’s greater than 46 million people.
And here is another sobering statistic — according to a Pew Charitable Trusts Foundation 2016 survey, around 60 percent of both unregistered and registered voters said they had never been asked to register to vote. The study also showed that eligible voters don’t register for two main reasons — they don’t like politics, but more importantly, they don’t believe their vote matters.
I am writing to point out that your vote does matter.
Here in the Okanogan County 2016 elections, 17,862 out of 22,456 eligible voters cast their ballots. That is almost 80 percent, and resulted in the election of two new county commissioners. Your vote can be part of creating a significant change in your community. Voting does matter, but equally important, so does encouraging and assisting the non-voters you know to register and vote!
Ballots are mailed by Oct. 19, so you should have your ballot by Oct. 25. Online registration ended Oct. 8, but you can still register in person at your county elections office (listed in the back of your voter’s pamphlet) until Oct. 29.
Remember, you don’t have to place a stamp on your ballot if you drop it in the mail. However, if you are sending it by mail, especially in the last few days before the Nov. 6 deadline, make sure you hand it to the post office counter person and have it postmarked for that day! At the last election, 100 ballots were rejected due to a late postmark! If you are unsure where your ballot drop box is in your community, its location will be listed on your ballot envelope, or call 1-800-448-4881.
Your vote is one of the most important ways you can effect change in your community. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.
Rick Rottman, Winthrop
Saving Methow jobs
The proposed open pit copper mine on Flagg Mountain by Mazama has, as its one and only positive attribute, the possibility of family wage jobs. So let’s talk about jobs.
The economy of the Methow Valley is almost completely based on three pillars: tourism, agriculture and fisheries. Tourists depend on a pristine and beautiful landscape to draw them here. Agriculture in this dry part of the state requires irrigation water. It would be economically unfeasible to use treated water for that purpose — clean untreated water is needed for irrigation. And the fisheries obviously use clear-running river water for the hatcheries.
Open pit mines always scar the landscape (have you seen one that is beautiful?). Pollution of surrounding water is the rule rather than the exception with this kind of mining. So: If you disfigure the landscape, render the water too toxic for irrigation, and kill the fish you can kiss the economy of the Methow Valley goodbye.
You can think of the mineral withdrawal proposal as a jobs preservation act for the Methow. Please come to the public comment meeting on Nov. 13 (Winthrop Barn, 6 p.m.) to show that the Methow is too beautiful to mine.
Peter Bauer, Winthrop
The truth about I-1631
After carefully reading both the pros and the cons of I-1631 I can say with certainty that I will be voting for it. I also strongly encourage you to explore other sources of information such as a variety of on-line articles from across the state. Here is an example of a fact-filled, non-biased source: https://ballotpedia.org/Washington_Initiative_1631,_Carbon_Emissions_Fee_Measure_(2018).
What I found was that many of the arguments against I-1631 were inaccurate. For example, ads have pointed out that the coal-fired TransAlta power plant in Centralia is exempt from the fee proposed by I-1631. It is exempt, but only because it is already scheduled to close by 2025.
Other ads against I-1631 say that pulp and paper mills and a wood-fired energy producing plant in Kettle Falls would be exempt. That is true due to an existing Washington state law that doesn’t consider burning wood to be a greenhouse gas so long as Washington state maintains its forest base.
Even the argument against I-1631 in the state voters’ pamphlet uses inaccurate language such as calling this a “tax.” Initiative 1631 is not a tax, it is a fee as none of the funds collected would go back into the General Fund.
Further claims in the voters pamphlet say “I-1631 … imposes a permanently escalating tax on Washington families, and disproportionately burdens those who can least afford it.” The way I read the text, the “fee” would continue only until we reach our greenhouse gas emissions goal. And page 10 of the voters’ pamphlet reads, “At least 15 percent of the clean air and clean energy investments must be used to reduce the energy burden of people with lower incomes through programs such as assistance with paying energy bills, promoting public transportation, and reducing energy consumption.”
This might not be the perfect solution to reducing our carbon footprint but it is a start. We will never reach our greenhouse emissions goals if we don’t start doing something about it now. Ask yourself what kind of world do you want to leave to our children and grandchildren. Isn’t something positive better than nothing at all?
Patti Nordby, Winthrop
Hawley for sheriff
I would like to express my support for the next sheriff of Okanogan County. This is a very important position requiring someone who can represent both the sheriff’s office and the county in a positive and professional manner day to day and during major events. In addition they must provide management, leadership, direction and be well rounded. Humble enough to reach out and ask for assistance and strong enough to make a hard decision under stressful or critical times. The candidate who fills this role the best is Tony Hawley without question.
Working with Tony Hawley for 20 plus years, I have witnessed his leadership, professionalism, work ethic, compassion for others and ability to make decisions under stressful incidents. Tony meets challenges with a “can do” attitude, works well with all agencies and partners to achieve success. Tony is honest, trusting, has high personal and professional ethics and moral values. Looking at Tony Hawley’s achievements and professional development he has shown a strong dedication to continued learning and self-improvement. These are the attributes required in a candidate to lead the sheriff’s department into the future.
Please join me in supporting Tony Hawley for sheriff of Okanogan County! Vote for Tony Hawley in November, he is the best person for the job.
Wayne Walker, Omak
Reject I-1631 propaganda
Giant oil companies are spending millions of dollars to oppose Initiative 1631 (carbon emission fees on fossil fuel polluters). They have been filling my mailbox with misleading information. I assume other Methow Valley News readers are getting the same propaganda.
The oil companies don’t have any good argument to deny that together they are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases in Washington state. Their main attack is that I-1631 exempts some other large polluters. In other words, if anyone gets away with polluting, then everyone should.
This argument standing alone is obviously ridiculous. So the oil companies are also using misleading numbers. They say that eight out of 12 of the largest “individual” polluters are exempt from the carbon fees. Even if it were true, it would be a totally bogus comparison.
The oil and gas industry is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gasses and climate change. It’s virtually the only group pouring in money to oppose I-1631. It makes utmost sense to target that industry for this first, important step.
It may be true that the largest individual producer is a coal plant in Centralia. But it is exempt because it is in the process of shutting down and will be closed before I-1631 takes full effect. Six other individual exempt polluters burn wood. Wood is not a fossil fuel, as are oil, gas and coal.
After the closure of the Centralia coal plant, reasonable estimates show that about 80 percent of the state’s fossil-fuel emissions will be subject to the fees. That seems like a pretty inclusive initiative.
The other side of the coin is a bitter pill for the oil companies and a big win for Washington communities and citizens. The fees collected will be used to support clean energy production in Washington. They will also go to helping adapt Washington to climate change. I-1631 will prove that clean energy creates long term, local jobs. That is what we need, and the last thing those out-of-state oil and gas companies want to see
Randy Brook, Twisp
No on I-1634
I’m writing to encourage people to vote no on I-1634, which concerns “taxation of certain items intended for human consumption.” In one week, I received three mailers urging me to vote yes on this initiative. The campaign is largely and generously funded by beverage companies because sweetened drinks such as sodas are currently a source of revenue for some local governments. Our basic groceries such as fruits, vegetables, milk, meat and bread are exempt from state taxes and most likely will remain that way to make them affordable for middle and lower income families. Taking power away from local communities to tax unhealthy beverages puts those decisions in the hands of the state with less local control and sets a dangerous precedent. Let’s keep control of these revenue streams in the hands of the local communities who can decide for themselves rather than bowing to large and wealthy corporations. Vote no on I-1634.
Nancy Kuta, Mazama
We would like to thank the Winthrop Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) and the Town Council for their existing and ongoing financial support of The Winthrop Rink.
We could not continue to build and grow our facility without their support, along with the generous donations of time and money from our wonderful community members, businesses, and other donors. Thank you all for believing in the rink!
These contributions have been put to good use—the Winthrop Rink has become a popular draw for visitors and a valued recreational opportunity for our community. From our Learn to Skate program and hockey tournaments in the winter, to pickleball, birthday parties, and rollerblading in the summer, we are fortunate to have such a unique and wonderful year round facility to enjoy.
Because of the recent contributions from LTAC, and the donations we hope will continue coming in from the Give Methow campaign, we should be able to purchase a new Zamboni that will help facilitate the growth of our hockey tournament schedule and the increasing local demand. We look forward to collaborating with LTAC and Town Council to continue to improve our facility to meet the demand of the community and our visitors.
The Winthrop Rink Board of Directors
Your story last week about a young hunter bagging his first bear had special poignancy for us because we knew that bear.
We live at the end of Big Valley View Road, on a bench above Big Valley and below Gunn Ranch. We feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful location, with the landscape and wildlife that make the Methow so special. Among those treats is, or was, our neighborhood bear. We never fed or in any way tried to tame the bear, but we valued the tracks, the scats and the occasional sniffing and snorting in the bushes. We know the bear wasn’t really ours in any legal sense, but it was part of our environment and felt like our friend.
Early Sunday morning we saw several hunters on the hillside beyond our house. Later in the morning we watched them roll the carcass of our friend down the slope. Our hearts sank. Then on Thursday we read further details in the News.
We don’t oppose hunting. We understand that hunting is essential for the health of some populations like deer that would otherwise suffer malnourishment and disease as a result of overpopulation. We don’t know if bears are in that category too. We also respect that our country has a long history of hunting and that hunting is a rewarding activity for many.
The hunters were on state land adjacent to our property. They were far enough away that we did not feel unsafe. Judging from the article in the News they are good citizens and an asset to the community. We didn’t see them doing anything unsafe or illegal, and to the best of our knowledge they were responsible hunters, with one big exception: With all the wild land surrounding our valley, why would they choose to hunt so close to where people live?
Alan Watson, Karen Nichols, Winthrop
Thanks from Little Star
At our recent Little Star Open House gathering, we were struck by the incredible community of people who believe in the value of early childhood education, and we wish to extend a heartfelt thank you here:
• To our long-time supporters — many of you have experienced the magic of early childhood through Rayma’s loving way and John’s can-do spirit over the past 36 years — thank you for continuing to believe in Little Star.
• To our newer supporters — you know that Little Star impacts a broad web of people, making it possible for parents to work and for employers to have reliable employees — your investment helps our whole valley thrive.
• To our parents and teachers — you know the value of nurturing relationships with young children, during a time when brain development is happening faster than any other time of life. You know that life-long skills like motivation, self-management and self-confidence emerge through positive interactions. Your patience and love has helped to sustain our school culture, so that our new growth is still firmly connected to our roots.
• To our community partners — Room One, the Methow Valley School District and TwispWorks — your insight has helped us to expand our reach, allowing for ever-more continuity and access to our shared programs and services.
• To our building team — Margo Peterson-Aspholm and Jeff Brown — you carried our dreams into reality. You sacrificed long hours and worked early mornings and late nights to make this beautiful building come together. Your work will serve thousands of families into the future.
• To every one of you who’ve helped us realize the dream of expanded early childhood education here in the Methow — thank you. You see that investing in quality programming for young children is a powerful act of hope for our world.
If you haven’t already, we invite you to stop by our new building in Winthrop or check out Little Star South to learn more about our expanded programs and shared vision for early childhood education for all in the Methow.
Katharine Bill, Little Star Board President; Dani Reynaud, Little Star Executive Director
Don’t fall for oil company lies
A recent United Nations report written by 91 scientists from 40 countries warns us we have 12 years to switch from fossil fuels in order to avoid catastrophe for our children and grandchildren. Twelve short years. Massive food shortages, extreme drought, increased wildfire risk, complete die-off of the coral reefs, unprecedented coastal and river flooding, a litany of grim circumstances that will cost us money and human life.
Washingtonians have the opportunity to vote for I-1631, which was designed by a diverse coalition to clean our air and quicken our transition to clean energy sources while creating living wage jobs. Ninety-nine percent of the money behind the television ads and flyers against I-1631 is funded by oil companies. All of the letters against I-1631 parrot the oil companies’ misleading arguments. Are we really going to fall for that? I believe that it is immoral to do nothing to protect the planet and the human life that relies on it. Washingtonians, let’s get to work on a solution, clean our air and create jobs. Please vote yes on I-1631.
Jeanne White, Winthrop