Diversity, lawmakers, property taxes | Letters

Mar 07, 2018

Can only hope that courts will see through lawmaker’s sham

I am very disappointed to see that each of the three politicians that represent my district in Olympia (Rep. Strom Peterson, Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self and Sen. Marko Liias) voted for Senate Bill 6617 to exempt themselves from the publicly mandated public records disclosure act.

And to have the bill marked as an “emergency" so that it cannot be repealed through a referendum vote is even more appalling.

Is it any wonder that more and more Americans are choosing not to vote, since we seem to have so little say in what the people who in theory represent us are doing in Olympia? I guess the voters of Washington can only hope the courts see through this sham and take the appropriate action.

Neal Steik

Clarification on diversity books in Edmonds School District

Re: “Who approves what books go into Edmonds’ schools?,” Letters to the Editor, Feb. 22: The Diversity Commission was honored to be allowed by the Edmonds School District to donate books to each of the elementary schools on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Led by Commissioner Anabel Hovig, a former teacher, the commission found six books written for schoolchildren that deal appropriately with such issues. Prior to their distribution to the schools, the books were subject to full vetting by district staff.

In fact, even the superintendent herself was involved in the process. The books will be available at the schools’ libraries for interested students. Lastly, the donation of books to the district is not a novel concept, as donations are accepted yearly through its book drive.

Patrick Doherty
Economic Development and Community Services director
Edmonds Diversity Commission


Do you know where your property taxes go?

How many of us scrutinized our 2018 Snohomish County real estate tax? After last year's huge increase due to higher valuations, I took a closer look.

According to the Assessor's Office, my property value increased over $50,000 from 2017. I find that difficult to swallow – hat would be good news only if I wanted to sell.

Compared to 2014, four short years ago, my property taxes have increased just short of 300 percent. In 2014, 8.09 percent of our bill was attributed to voter-approved referendums. By 2017, that had increased to 51.78 percent.

In 2018, besides valuation increases, state and Edmonds School District portions rose significantly, the latter all to fund education. Can't our legislators be more creative? It seems too easy to slap property owners with the educational tab.

In my senior years, I only want to hang on to my home.

Diane Duca

Racism alive and well in Edmonds; listen to our neighbors

There have been some letters recently in which residents insist that Edmonds is a peaceful and kind city, a friendly town that welcomes people of all races. These letters dismiss the experiences that our neighbors are themselves trying to tell us about.

Letters use terms like "reportedly" and "fake news" in response to black people telling us about being harassed at their work site when a noose was left there, or about black children from Edmonds being subjected to racist slurs and threats of violence.

When our black neighbors tell us that not all is peaceful and kind here, we plug our ears and insist that racism is a thing of the past.

Racism is alive and well in our country, and even in our town. The obviously violent racism of the pre-civil rights era isn't as common, but a deep well of racist bias still exists, waiting to be drawn on when people think they can get away with it.

And as long as we keep ignoring this, we'll never truly be good neighbors to the diverse people who live in our city.

If we want to believe in an Edmonds that is diverse, friendly and safe, then we need to listen to our neighbors when they're threatened.

Cory Hanson


Please don’t shoot the messenger: Silence is also complicity

I heartily agree with Nancy Farnam that Edmonds is friendly and welcoming (“Producer’s comments don’t reflect Edmonds’ welcoming nature,” Letters to the Editor, Feb. 15).

However, bad things do happen in good places. What sets a good and welcoming city apart from most places is how people respond to these incidents. Do they deal with them head on or sweep them under the rug so as not to tarnish our outer image?

I am not suggesting that Farnam is doing the latter. I think she would probably appreciate if I had balanced things a bit with a positive recognition of Edmonds. I love Edmonds, and I think we do have the friendliest folks around. I live in the Bowl and within walking distance of the noose incident.

I am also a person of color, who sees and experiences the world from a different lens. This is the reason why I said that it is hard to watch the current Driftwood Players’ “To Kill A Mockingbird” and honestly say times have changed. Have we made progress? Yes, we have made some progress, but we still have a way to go.

We cannot ignore that in the last year hate crimes and incidents have risen exponentially, and white supremacists have come out of the woodwork. We cannot ignore this. In fact, I prayed hard that it would not extend to our city.

Ticket sales for our show were already through the roof without my mentioning the noose incident. To imply that I used this story to raise ticket prices is far-reaching, not to mention insensitive to the two African-American workers who found the two nooses at their precise work station.

Let us pause for a moment to picture two nooses hanging there.

The noose is perhaps one of the most violent symbols of the Jim Crow era. The police closed the case because they were not able to apprehend the perpetrator/s. This does not mean it did not happen. In fact, this is not the only reported incident in Edmonds.

A few months prior we had three racial graffiti incidents. One was in Esperance, where some residents found swastikas painted on their cars. The second was racial slurs spray-painted around Madrona K-8 school property (included were swastikas and the “n” word), and shortly after that police caught someone painting a swastika on a car by Westgate chapel.

Most recently, another racial incident at Harvey’s Lounge, where two students were threatened and called the “n” word. These kids are still traumatized, as are many of us in the community. A suspect at the bar has since been arrested. Were it not for all the good families who stepped up in outrage and the support of our local police, we might have lost valuable investigative time, which was the case with the noose incident.

I believe because the noose incident was reported later, the police lost a lot of critical time. This, along with citizen response, may have prompted a quicker and efficient response in the Harvey’s case. One of the things I am most proud of is how our Edmonds citizens, local police and mayor have responded. Families from all around rallied together in support of the family.

After the Madrona incident, families also rallied to improve school protocol and have been working with the Edmonds School District to continue this effort. Our local ENAC (Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition) stepped in and placed messages of love on many cars in the Esperance neighborhood after their Swastika incident, and recently wrote a letter of support to the victims of the Harvey incident.

Our Diversity Commission continues to be vigilant and is always seeking ways to guide the community. Our mayor and councilmembers are also vigilant and responsive. In good times and bad, it takes a village to eradicate that which is toxic in a community.

If we can learn one thing from “To kill A Mockingbird,” let it be this:

Please do not shoot the messenger. We need to speak up and remain vigilant for the sake of our community, because by not acknowledging our own shortcomings we become complicit to the very thing we are outraged by.

Anabel Hovig
Producer, “To Kill a Mockingbird”


What kind of parent sends kids to school with no lunch?

Strom Peterson's House Bill 2610 makes me very angry (“House passes Peterson legislation to ban lunch shaming,” Feb. 15).

Peterson needs to educate himself about what's really going on with school lunches. First of all, we don't shame anyone at my school. I have worked for Edmonds School District for 15 years. What I want to know is when did it become the school district's, or society's, job to feed someone's kid?

What happened to not having children until you can afford them? Free condoms are available at any Planned Parenthood (the key word there is “planned”). Tell me what kind of parent sends their elementary-age child to school with no lunch and no money? Who does that?

We are fortunate enough to have some awesome food banks in this area; there is no excuse. It doesn’t take much to feed a kid. Our sack lunch looks a lot like the lunches kids bring from home. It is nutritious, and kids really do like cheese sandwiches.

I actually have kids who want our sack lunch. Where you need to be putting your time and energy is in the fraud and waste that happens everyday, at every school. No one wants to talk about the parents who can afford to go on a winter and spring vacation every year, but their kids get free lunch. Or the parents who can go out and buy a brand new vehicle, but their kids get free lunch.

There's something wrong there. I could go on and on and on. How about the parents that get denied for free or reduced lunch and just turn around and fill out a new application and change the numbers? They know no one's checking. It happens all the time.

Where your efforts should be is in funding education and not being so wasteful. You can tell that most kids are not being taught that at home. They don't think twice about dumping their whole lunch in the garbage.

Show them the kids who are dying around the world everyday from starvation. I invite you to come to my school anytime and sit by the garbage can at lunch. It is unbelievable the food these kids throw away. It's not just school lunches, either, it's the fancy lunches with all the cool packaged items.

What kids need is fast and nutritious food that they can eat quickly, because what they really want to do is to go out to recess. We need to stop enabling these millennials and make them step up to their responsibilities.

They can somehow afford the fancy phones and the hundreds of dollars of tattoos they have on their bodies, but they can't afford to feed their kid lunch?

Something is very wrong there.

Dan Joyner




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