Time to regroup

By Rebecca Carr | Feb 19, 2009

The Snohomish County Councils unanimous vote last week in favor of the county building a terminal at Paine Field was perhaps the biggest body blow in Save Our Communities 20-plus year battle against scheduled passenger air service at Paine Field.

But a knockout punch it wasnt.

SOC members and others trying to protect and preserve our quality of life left the meeting outraged, frustrated and ready to step up the fight.

What we really want to be careful of is letting our emotions take over and obscure our message. At last weeks meeting, the proponents, quite frankly, presented much better.

They were calm, respectful and didnt disrupt the speakers with whom they disagreed.

Rude would be an understatement in describing some attendees behavior who oppose the terminal. Maybe it affected the outcome, maybe it didnt.

But the resulting 4-0 vote in proponents favor cant be ignored.

We understand the frustration and anger. Were not suggesting quashing those emotions. That zeal is needed now more than ever. Wed like to see all of that emotional energy harnessed into productive action that benefits the cause, rather than weakening our arguments by appearing volatile and irrational.

Those who took their turn at the podium last week were passionate and compelling. It was the behavior during others testimony that tarnished the image. Thats where we let our emotions eclipse our important message.

Theres a lot to do to educate the public as more and more people wake up to this issue, and to get our elected officials at all levels of government on board with our cause right now, more work than hands and minds available. SOC could use all the help it can get in this uphill battle that lately seems to only get steeper with each new development.

Get angry. Get upset. Scream, flail your arms, stomp your feet. Then pull yourself together, roll up your sleeves and get ready for the task at hand. But when were before our elected officials or the feds, lets present our case clearly, rationally, and with the respect toward the opposition and the decision makers that we expect from them.

We arent out of weapons, not by a long shot. SOC has in its arsenal a healthy budget to pay for legal services, as well as a number of talented individuals whose education and experience have been invaluable over the years.

But perhaps our most powerful weapon of all is the power of the pen. Write your city and county councilmembers. Write your legislators and senators. Write letters to the editor. But most importantly, exercise your right to vote.

Mukilteo resident David Foster asked the County Council to put the issue up for a vote of the people. It most likely wont be on the ballot in that form, but its impact will be unmistakable when and if we hold our elected officials accountable by voting out those who break their campaign promises.

The terms of three of the five councilmembers expire this fall: John Koster, Dave Gossett and Dave Sommers.

Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword. In this case, it just might deliver the fatal blow weve been fighting for all of these years.

But only if our cooler heads prevail.

For more information on SOCs ongoing work, or how to join the fight, please visit www.socnw.com.

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