Letters to the Editor

Voters have short-term memories | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

I would like to rant about all the negative campaigning we hear every time we watch a bit of television; it’s constant.

Not once have I heard a candidate actually say what they’ve accomplished or intend to accomplish, if they are (re) elected. It makes no sense to me for a person to spend money on advertising that bashes their opponent – why not use the opportunity to inform the public about accomplishments, experience, knowledge, skills, track record and personal convictions?

In local politics, there isn’t as much mud-slinging but I have witnessed it at the local forums this year, and again I ask, why not tell us what you’ve accomplished that seems relevant to the job?

How about volunteerism throughout your lifetime? Experiences you have that might be valuable as an elected official? Skills you’ve learned or honed and want to put to use in Island County or Olympia?

What it comes down to is whether or not you feel you can stand the heat in the kitchen and why you feel you make the best chef?

These public service jobs are not fun, they are not easy and despite what I’ve been hearing, with exceptions, good and honest people show up for their work every day to try and provide government services the people need.

Sometimes, we elect officials because they have a heart and try consistently to do the right thing, like John, Helen and Angie. It is far easier to criticize than to roll up your sleeves and offer valid solutions or find compromises for the highest and greatest good for all.

I don’t understand why the Fortunes hop onto the ballot, proceed to scream “I’ll reduce your taxes” when government charter does not allow the positions they seek to influence taxation one way or the other. At least have the courage to say you don’t know what you are doing and therefore refused to speak at the local public forums. What kind of nonsense does this demonstrate? If you cannot follow through on a commitment, good or bad, then get out of the race and let the qualified person step up to the role.

Furthermore, why would Kelly Emerson want to jump into county politics? It’s obvious she would be the minority on the board, if elected, and therefore deemed neutered, for lack of another term. Why upset government in such an ineffective way?

Here’s what bothers me the most, I contacted Kelly two weeks before those postcards were released indicating she and her husband had built without a permit.

First, I sent an e-mail asking for clarification of the issue. Secondly, by telephone, the weekend before the Clinton forum. Neither my e-mail nor phone call got a response.

When I approached Kelly at the Clinton forum, she brushed me off like a bad flea. “I’ve been soooo busy” was her response. Really? Well, if you cannot make time for answers now, what will you do when you really start getting into issues you know nothing about? Will you just brush people off if you don’t like the questions?

Lastly, I thought it was rather odd Debra Van Pelt would make a huge issue out of Patricia Terry having a background in nursing and management systems NOT superior court. Well, why hasn’t she been as vocal about Dave Mattens who had no background in assessing property before becoming assessor or Robert Bishop, a local vet, running for coroner?

Furthermore, why are the problems in the Superior Court office not fixed? You have been the deputy for five years. Why did it take Patricia to identify the bad and liable practices in the clerk’s office and find solutions for collecting money owed by court ordered offenders?

I thank the three commissioners who are serving us today. These are not fun jobs and they are done by people who care deeply about their communities, in spite of the political mudslinging that has transpired over the past few months.

If you think these commissioners need to be replaced and new blood brought in, where were you for the last 16 years under the Byrd, McDowell, Shelton years? Do you really think the servants we have today created this mess that they are forced to clean up? Think again. Vote again.

I worked under the all male Republican trio for three years and I have never seem the type of scheming, secrecy, back room dealing and plain old cronyism that took place during those years. Now, the commissioners I elected are dealing with all sorts of messes to clean up, but I guess their foes have short term memory loss.

Remember Deer Lagoon? Remember hunting in Island County? Remember the Boyer property? Remember the planning department becoming an empire under Phil Bakke? Remember Fort Nugent Park’s funding from Mac McDowell even though it is owned by Oak Harbor? Remember the back scratching relationship between Patty Cohen and Mac McDowell? Remember the Island County parks department that used to exist? Remember how Mac McDowell tried to change the distribution of Conservation Futures so that South Whidbey received none?

Anyway, happy voting.

Terri Arnold


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