Editor, Driving northwest, I rounded the curve at 6600 Sills Road, then swerved onto the shoulder and into the ditch, barely avoiding a head-on collision with a van that had crossed the double yellow line to dodge ruts and potholes created 12 days ago by Whidbey’s County Road Department.
Editor, On a rainy Saturday, March 21, some 200 people filled The Clyde Theatre in Langley to see a 1914 silent film entitled “In the Land of the Head Hunters.” This incredible film, created by Edward S. Curtis, was released in 1914 to rave reviews in Seattle and New York, but soon disappeared and was actually rescued from a dumpster in 1947.
Editor, On Feb. 14, Whidbey Island Nourishes (WIN) held its annual fundraiser dinner, Heart to Heart, at the Useless Bay Coffee Company in Langley. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to Des Rock, his assistant, Dan Fulton, and the staff at the Useless Bay Coffee Co. for hosting our Heart to Heart fundraiser, supplying the food and preparing a delicious gourmet dinner for WIN’s Valentine’s Day celebration.
Editor, Langley government has a nice website that they have obviously put some work into. Front and center is a calendar of government events. On April 14 there is a notice for a Langley Historic Preservation Commission meeting. Curiously, the big public meeting that will happen that day, the funicular meeting, isn’t listed, though the date has been known at least since it was announced on March 4 at the Langley Planning Advisory Board meeting.
Editor, Langley is in desperate need of an ethics committee. Most know of former Mayor Larry Kwarsick who falsified a document and intended to continue as mayor. Council members wanted him to remain in office dismissing the malfeasance (Dec. 18, 2012 council meeting minutes). Perhaps they agreed with the late Paul Schell who was quoted by Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat as saying to the blogger who discovered the falsification, “Shame on you … for starting this. You should stay in your new California home and let us alone” (Seattle Times, Dec. 22, 2012).
Editor, Several times now I have gone back to my computer and watched videos of the tsunami disaster in Japan and thought about how vulnerable we are here on Whidbey Island for the same thing to happen. I also wonder how many people are prepared for such a disaster. It has been estimated that even a minor ocean-born tsunami that races in through the Strait of Juan de Fuca will take out the highway and power lines in several places, leaving South Whidbey stranded without power for several weeks.
Editor, Ah, a good discussion (Patrick Ryan’s March 21 letter), somewhat inaccurate, but civil. I too echo Mr. Ryan’s call for attendance at the April 14 workshop on the marina/downtown connection in the hope that we have an open and creative discourse on options.
Editor, I wonder how Victoria Clipper passengers who use walkers would feel if they took a funicular or elevator from the marina and found themselves at Fourth Street and Cascade Avenue. Actually, I don’t wonder, since I’ve worked with that population my entire professional career, almost 40 years now. They would sit down on the nearest bench and ask when the ride to town was coming, since it was too far to walk. When they were finished enjoying downtown, they would ask for a ride back to the marina, since the walk back to the funicular/elevator would be not only long, but slightly uphill as well.
Editor, School Board legislative representative Rocco Gianni spoke in support of a bill that hinders access to public records. To make a case for deterring records requesters, he testified that a “former teacher’s” records requests cost the district $500,000 and that Superintendent Jo Moccia, who he characterized as an “expensive secretary,” wasted time perusing and redacting records. He called the situation “not morally ethical” and “a crime against children.”
Editor, I agree with Ron Kasprisin’s March 14 assertion that, “continuous, vociferous and intense support” for the Langley funicular is suspect. The city and a few others, including Kasprisin himself, have tried for years to push this project through with little public awareness or participation. In 2008, Kasprisin facilitated several months of closed-door meetings with the city planner, Larry Cort, and Paul Schell to plan development of the waterfront featuring mechanical assist to Cascade Avenue and determining changes to zoning codes regarding height restrictions and setbacks from the bluff to support it.
One of the most treasured American freedoms practiced in communities like ours across this country is the freedom to hold and express divergent and even opposing views on issues. Many people provide us in the city with very worthwhile suggestions, criticisms, questions, and perspectives about current issues of municipal interest. Sometimes it is challenging to really listen to these excellent suggestions when the input is accompanied with a further statement like: “if you’re not smart enough to see this then you deserve what you get!” or “who thought up this idea? - this idea is absurd!” or “do this unless you’re too lazy to do it, then maybe you can get one of your employees to do this.”
Editor, I’ve been thinking about the proposed Langley funicular since reading about it in The Record, and I’ve finally decided it’s a great idea, especially if it can be made to serve Langley residents more fully in addition to our boating visitors. For example, I live in an upstairs apartment which I love and hope to continue occupying as long as possible. However, I’m getting older, as are many Langley residents, and the stairs are getting more and more daunting. Therefore, why not add, with a simple series of bridges and ramps, ways of moving from the funicular to our upstairs apartments without having to walk up and down stairs? This could add years to our ability to remain in our preferred homes.
Editor, Food trucks? First we endured total harassment when we opened the pub next to a residential neighborhood and had to fight many long and arduous months with huge legal
Editor, This letter is regarding the story “Ethics board members hard to find in Langley” that ran in March 11 edition of The Record. As the council member who sponsored Langley’s ordinance creating an ethics board which was unanimously approved by the council on Dec. 16, 2013, I am concerned by the ongoing lack of any appointments to its membership.
Editor, In response to Dick McGrath’s letter “Town, Marina link good for business,” I have to say I couldn’t agree with his viewpoint on the funicular more. But why stop at the top of the bluff? Why not run the funicular all the way to DeBruyn Avenue conquering another long, steep hill? There could be “stations” at Cascade, Anthes, and Park avenues in between.
Let planner work, before opinions Editor, Watching such continuous, vociferous and intense support or opposition to a given issue makes me suspect, based on 45 years of public involvement experience, there are other underlying agendas at play: name recognition, pre-running for elected office, upset at elected official or officials for past rebukes, religious fervor, other and etc. WOW.
Editor, The Record’s online comments regarding the Langley funicular contain delightful input from Bob Prasch. He wrote, “Why take [the funicular] just to the top of the bluff? Why not all the way to DeBruyn Ave to conquer that long steep hill too? There can be ‘stations’ at Cascade, Anthes, and Park avenues along the way. Chimed music (like the kind you hear from an ice cream truck) can emanate from the vestibules as they go by. People from places like Lynnwood and Renton would be coming to Langley in droves! Maybe even Oak Harbor too!”
Editor, Call me old fashioned, but I still think it’s important to keep track of how our elected officials are representing their constituents.
Editor, On Tuesday, March 3, Langley Mayor Fred McCarthy sent an email to everyone signed up on his email list. It was a reaction to the Feb. 28 letter to the editor written by Sharon Emerson. The following day, The Record contained four pro-funicular letters. It is so incredibly coincidental that I believe the mayor’s email and the four published letters were coordinated to promote the funicular.
Editor, Langley isn’t the first city to build a funicular to connect a bluff to a beach. In 2009, Dana Point, Calif. built such a funicular as part of a deal with a developer. The result may be a warning for those who think a funicular is the best possible investment of hard-to-come-by capital improvement funds intended to boost economic development.