Yes to grizzlies
Go to GrizzlyTimes.org if you are interested in reading about the people who favor grizzly restoration. There are also many books, but my favorite is “The Wolf’s Tooth” by Cristina Eisenberg, which deals with all predators, all over the world, and the “trophic cascade” role they play to keep ecosystems healthy.
Grizzly Times details the problems for these bears in the Rockies where some detractors think they’re more appropriate. As a wilderness and backcountry national park ranger I worked with grizzlies in the days before bear spray. The only problem then, as now, was with unaware and ignorant people who were oblivious to the wildlife around them, and details like which way the wind was blowing.
Personally I prefer places with grizzlies, and I miss them here. Unwilling to move back however, because of our superior skiing, I favor reintroduction.
Eric Burr, Mazama
Making sense of it
Politics is interesting. It’s “asymmetric.” For instance, the folks in office appear to have an advantage, in that they actually know the issues and can speak about them from that knowledge. That’s sometimes a good thing, but it also means that they have to make sure they’re telling the truth, because it’s easily checked.
“Challengers,” on the other hand, are theoretically at a disadvantage, because, generally speaking, it’s more difficult for them to know all the ins and outs of a given issue. But then, on the other, other hand, that means it’s both easy and attractive to simply make stuff up, because it’s really, really hard, often impossible, for the people they are attacking to “prove the negative,” and most voters aren’t going to know the difference.
That’s what we’re seeing in the race for fire commissioner here in Okanogan County Fire District 6. I’m a firefighter, and I’ve also been involved for years in trying to get a new central station built in Winthrop, so I know a good bit about the issues. I find myself tempted to respond to the silliness from people who clearly oppose the station and apparently oppose everything District 6 does. But I’ve figured out that it’s pretty much pointless: I have to make sense, because I know the data, whereas they can simply make statements with no factual or logical basis, and somebody is bound to believe and probably repeat them.
So what’s a voter to do? Well, when I see an issue I don’t fully understand and don’t really have the time to research, I tend to look at who is voting which way. It’s not perfect, but, if I’m fooled, at least I’m not the only one.
So who is voting for Brandenburg? His web site lists well over 300 supporters from all over the valley, so pretty much everybody is going to know someone on the list. And, interestingly enough, the list includes, so far, over 30 District 6 firefighters, which is getting pretty close to all of them.
Alan Fahnestock, Mazama
Questions about gravel pit
Virtually every time an article is written on the proposed gravel pit in the lower valley, it is said that the county and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have agreed on a price of $750,000 for the remaining acreage that the county doesn’t need. This doesn’t seem to be the case.
No price can be negotiated until the state receives and agrees to a proposal from the owner (the county does not own property). Then the price of sale is set by an appraiser at the “fair market value” of the property.
The whole land value set by the Okanogan County Assessor is set at $434,500. The county has successfully negotiated the purchase price at $1,000,000. There is an option in the agreement for an appraisal. But it doesn’t seem the commissioners what to exercise it though.
Your article states the county has been searching for a new gravel pit for over a year now. A whole year of looking. So now let’s go in emergency mode and buy the first overpriced piece of property they could find. There is absolutely no hurry. This land has been for sale for at least a couple of years now and isn’t going anywhere soon.
The county has yet to show an alternative site to be compared too.
I’m not against the proposed site and voted at the local meeting to go forward with the inquiry of the site. The more I checked into what we were being told, I determined that there wasn’t an emergency. Now again they have changed what was said at the June meeting in Methow. Commissioner Hover held up his hand and showed four fingers. Indicating four weeks of site crushing, then flashed five fingers. Indicating every five years. Now less than three months later, they are asking for up to 10 weeks and on a 24-hour schedule. Funny how things change.
Howard Harbo, Methow
When it comes to deciding who to vote for in any election, there are some generally accepted guidelines that we all hopefully follow.
Those guidelines say we should not elect someone based on our friendship with the candidate. Instead we should vote for someone based on a number of attributes. Those attributes include their qualifications for the position, their familiarity with local issues, their ability to listen with an open mind and to reach consensus. Also, are they looking to the future or do they only look to the past? We should also be aware of what motivates the candidate to run for office — are they running because they have a genuine desire to serve their community?
Darold Brandenburg is the candidate considering the firefighting needs of our communities into the foreseeable future. We all should be aware by now that we will be living with the probability of increased fire activity. The current station in Winthrop is woefully inadequate to handle today’s needs much less tomorrow’s. If you’re in doubt about that, and I suspect many are, just drive up to the Winthrop station and have a look for yourself.
In order to serve the needs of our communities, our firefighters need some basic services such as a dedicated decontamination area. This is paramount for their safety as well as the safety of their families. They need to be able to don their gear in a space where they don’t have to dodge moving vehicles (as they currently do). In the future, we may need to have firefighters stationed at the fire hall and they will need to have rest and cooking facilities. And in the event, God forbid, of another devastating fire, they will need to have an area where large numbers of fire managers can meet and plan.
And it is up to us to elect someone who will bring these attributes to our communities and provide our firefighters with these services.
When I consider all of these things, the clear choice is Darold Brandenburg.
Patti Nordby, Winthrop