Land trust, Freedom Foundation, loving Edmonds | Letters

Jul 31, 2017

Land trust group forming

RE: “Land trusts for Snohomish County?” (Letters to the Editor, July 20): We are in the process of forming our 501c3 (currently referred to as SnoCoCLT) nonprofit and then will begin marketing in earnest.

Any interested persons are welcome to attend our meetings – we call the current phase “Start Up Committee” – on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Habitat for Humanity office on Highway 99 in Lynnwood.

I am on the board of directors for the Northwest Community Land Trust Coalition, and have been a lending partner to CLTs throughout Washington for about eight years. I recently retired from lending specifically to start the SnoCoCLT. I had been trying to squeeze the start-up into my free time for three years.

Kim Toskey
Affordable housing advocate and volunteer


Loving life in Edmonds

Absolutely love your weekly. Read every page on Thursdays and, when finished, know what is going on in our area.

It is one of the factors that give our wonderful little town its small town feeling.

Another is the flower basket project downtown. Signed up when I first moved here, and check on my basket a couple of times each month.

I moved here after living in Innis Arden since 1957. Love my life in Edmonds.

Paula Wehmeyer


Freedom Foundation headline misleading

I wanted to raise a question regarding the article “Freedom Foundation targets councilmember with suit” (July 20).

Why does this title fail so badly to describe the story? I expected to read about how the Freedom Foundation, a taxpayer advocacy group in Olympia, somehow had done something malicious to Councilmemeber Mike Nelson.

As I read the story, I learned that nothing like this happened. First, the lawsuit was filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, not the Freedom Foundation. Second, I find that none of this “targets” Nelson, and that he personally is not mentioned in the lawsuit.

I do think that this is news, however, since it isn’t often that the state of Washington sues the business of an Edmonds councilmember for several million dollars’ worth of violations.

I also believe that as the executive director of this organization, the charges do reflect poorly on Nelson. I would be interested in learning more about what violations occurred, and the role Nelson had in making these decisions, rather than the irrelevant issue of whether unions are important or not.

I hope that future coverage will better explain what happened and how it reflects on the quality of the city leadership team.

Bruce Guthrie


Editor’s note: The Attorney General’s office filed the lawsuit after receiving a citizen action notice from the Freedom Foundation against Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Leadership Council 14.

The Beacon received several emails from the Freedom Foundation, as well as those on the foundation’s mailing list, that called attention to the lawsuit and Nelson specifically. Ferguson, who himself has unsuccessfully tried to sue the Freedom Foundation for breaking campaign finance laws, recused himself from the SEIU lawsuit. The Beacon will report on the lawsuit when it is settled.

Freedom Foundation claim ‘jaw dropping’

I read last week’s Beacon article, “Freedom Foundation Targets Councilmember with Lawsuit,” July 20. Councilmember Mike Nelson is the executive director of Leadership Council 14 of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), for whom the suit was brought.

My jaw dropped when I read Nelson’s comment calling the Freedom Foundation “an extremist organization.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

The article goes on to clarify that the attorney general’s office “received a citizen action notice from the Freedom Foundation alleging multiple violations of the state’s public disclosure laws in April 2017.”

The Freedom Foundation does great work to help rein in unions in the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. From the organization’s website: “The Freedom Foundation is working to reverse the stranglehold public-sector unions have on our government.

There is no path to expanded freedom, opportunity or prosperity until we make collective bargaining transparent, give government employees a choice to join an employee's union or not, and prohibit taxpayer's money from being unwillingly used to influence the political system. Freedom Foundation has the will and skill to take on those who attack our freedom.”

I challenge Mr. Nelson to demonstrate how The Freedom Foundation is an “extremist” organization. When those on the left can’t argue with facts, they go for character assassination and name-calling. One of the oldest tricks in the books.

Nelson and the SEIU should have followed the law in the first place, and a lawsuit would not have been filed.

Bob Wilke





Comments (1)
Posted by: Nathaniel R Brown | Jul 31, 2017 11:03

Bob Wilke writes that “My jaw dropped when I read Nelson’s comment calling the Freedom Foundation “an extremist organization.” Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The foundation may well do some good and valuable work.  But from the sidelines, an organization that refers to “revers[ing] the stranglehold public-sector unions have on our government,” and states that, “There is no path to expanded freedom, opportunity or prosperity until” their view of the proper place of unions is met, well, this does seem a little extreme.  “Freedom Foundation has the will and skill to take on those who attack our freedom” rings a rather loud bell as well.  Unions “attack our freedoms”?

Many believe the power of unions as being used in the wrong way, but we need to remember the historic role unions played in giving workers decent pay and reasonable hours, and it is hard to see how these achievements constitute an “attack on our freedoms.”  In fact, the contrary might be seen as true: surely workers, citizens, should have the freedom to organize and fight for their perceived rights?

There is truth on both sides, but heated rhetoric tends to produce more passion than reason, and in the process, you can almost always guarantee that someone’s voice will  be shouted down or ignored – and if that’s not an extremist’s “stranglehold” on freedom and prosperity, I don’t know what is.

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