Opinion

Letters?TO?THE?EDITOR

In response

Great front-page photo said it all

To the editor:

“Welcome home, daddy” — a sailor and his daughter with eyes closed to be in their private world.

No words needed — the picture says it all!

Alice Harper

Clinton

Our primary focus

is controlling growth

To the editor:

The March 29 Record headlined “Support softens for Freeland sewer system.” The Freeland City Committee believes this misrepresents its position.

It’s true, we aren’t “pushing” sewers — that’s the water and sewer district’s job. The committee itself has taken a neutral position on the matter.

However, the greater Freeland continues to grow; people continue to come. With the recent declaration of Freeland as a non-municipal urban growth area (NMUGA), the county has essentially created a new city on Whidbey Island. A sewer plan for the area is a requirement of that declaration. It also assures that zoning laws and development regulations will be written by the county to reflect an urban rather than rural area.

The Freeland City Committee’s primary focus is how that growth is managed, not whether Freeland remains an NMUGA under the control of the county or a municipality under local control. We are leaving whether sewers should or should not move forward at this time to the duly-elected officials of the Freeland Water and Sewer District.

Meg Wingard

Chairwoman

Freeland City Committee

Not all get a fair shot in school

To the editor:

I promised myself years ago that I would NEVER write another letter pertaining to our schools.

But…UGH…I know a word

I shouldn’t use But…The recent issue pertaining to Scott Mauk’s resignation has caused too many unpleasant personal memories to resurface, and I feel a sense of responsibility and a need to respond.

When I read about formulas dictating what is needed to educate our children, I’m reminded why the public school system is failing in our country. Why the drop-out rate is at all-time high, something we tried to ignore for years but finally is getting the national attention it deserves.

Eight years ago, Scott Mauk told me that he and the Bayview School couldn’t adequately meet my daughter’s educational needs because they didn’t have a special education teacher on staff.

The story is long, frustrating and complicated but the end result was one more dropout to add to the ever growing statistical numbers.

Here we are eight years later and Scott and his school still are not in compliance as they have students who qualify for services with no one on staff to address their needs.

Seems to me there should be some formula used to answer this problem but apparently there isn’t, so we’ll just continue on with a formula that ends with a ZERO education for some of the youth in our community.

Kathy McLaughlin

Clinton

Puget Sound Energy

Creating a PUD

means local control

To the editor:

The pending sale of Puget Sound Energy to an out of state (and country) investment group makes me shudder.

We need some semblance of local control for a commodity as important to us as electricity here on Whidbey Island. After a spate of not-so-distant-past power outages, local vocal pressure prompted the private utility to do some major tree trimming and other preventative measures. I’m not sure calls to Canada, Australia or Delaware will be as effective after the utility changes hands.

There is a real, but not simple, solution here. We can form a public utility district similar to our neighbor utility, Snohomish PUD. An Island PUD would return local control to us. With that control, we could redirect the money we consumers pay for electricity into maintenance, growth and system improvements instead of sending if off to investors’ bank accounts. We might even have local crews available to repair storm damage!

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW), Title 54, spells out all the rules governing the process of forming, funding and running a PUD. It covers acquisition of existing distribution property from the private utility, to electing PUD commissioners.

The link access.wa.gov gets you to the page where you can “Search with Ask George” (upper right of page). Plug in RCW 54 for an index to the chapters of Public utility districts.

I’m lucky to live in Clinton and have my water supplied by the Clinton Water District. Local commissioners know what the needs and realities of this community are. I’d hate to see the system run by a group of investors based in New York where taking profit was the underlining operational concern.

There are lots of issues. For instance, nonprofit PUDs don’t pay corporate income taxes and can pass those savings on to customers; however the tax base of the county could be affected, too. Acquisition of power from BPA or neighboring utilities would need to be resolved. Many, many things to consider.

Now’s the time for us to think seriously about a local electrical PUD, particularly with Puget Sound Energy asking for a stiff rate hike while at the same time proposing to sell itself to an international investment group.

Bob Kuehn

Clinton

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