Letters to the Editor: Readers speak out on elections

Oct 08, 2017

Cathy Baylor ideal for school director

Having known and conversed with Cathy Baylor for many years, I know of her genuine interest in our community’s children.

She has, in the past, spent many hours creating and participating in various school activities and extra-curricular activities related to creativity and also to the arts.

Her mind and heart would make her an ideal member of the school board, and I recommend her for your vote: Edmonds School Board Directors, position 4.

Ellin Snow


Cathy Baylor would be a voice for students and teachers

The voters in the Edmonds School District Board race have a refreshing opportunity to choose someone who is both high energy and student focused. Cathy Baylor is a candidate for Position 4 on the Edmonds School District Board.

Cathy is a nationally certified music teacher who has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington with an emphasis in education, music and Spanish. She graduated from Lynnwood High School and has lived in south Snohomish County for 49 years. She has been a volunteer for 30 years in school and community education programs.

Cathy’s music students, both young and old, give her rave reviews for her preparation, enthusiasm and the joyful way in which she encourages them to succeed. Cathy recognizes the advantages we have in the Edmonds School District for being the diverse community that we are.

She supports a multicultural curriculum in humanities classes to prepare our students for the real world. She would be a voice for the arts, because it is proven that an arts education builds critical and creative thinking skills that lead to other academic successes.

Cathy Baylor would be a voice for the teachers because they are the key to the success of our students.

I encourage you to vote for Cathy Baylor for Edmonds School District director, Position #4. She will represent all of our students in guiding them to becoming successful adults in our community.

Dick Van Hollebeke


Cathy Baylor would be an asset

I would like to endorse Cathy Baylor for Position 4 on the Edmonds School Board. She is efficient, organized, creative, responsible and would be an asset on any board she served.

Carolyn Malnes


Not time for change at Port of Edmonds

During the past 20 years, the Port of Edmonds has made an important transition from an average marina serving primarily as a home for fishing and small boats to being elected both the best marina on Puget Sound by King 5 TV and the best marina in the United States by a national publication.

The Port of Edmonds has led the marine industry in planning for a very long-term future by developing a financial plan that looks far enough ahead to allow for the cost of replacing the docks and other physical assets without taxing Port residents to pay for it.

The public amenities that the Port provides are enjoyed by many of our residents. The public walkway, the new plaza by Anthony’s restaurant, and the Sea Jazz program are examples of Port efforts to enhance our quality of life.

Just as importantly, the efforts by the Port toward economic vitality is attracting tourists and businesses that bring in revenue that would otherwise have to come from taxes. Great examples are the whale-watching expeditions and the Destination Edmonds program, which encourages visitors to the Port to visit many of the businesses in the downtown area.

In addition, despite owning about only 10 percent of the marsh and 5 percent of the 700-acre watershed, the Port has spent about $3.8 million in voluntarily cleaning up historic contamination at Harbor Square, replacing the stormwater conveyance system, replacing roofs with eco-friendly roofing systems, installing and maintaining filters in stormdrains, and cleaning out sediment in site catch basins.

All of which result in improved stormwater quality from Harbor Square, as compared to the untreated stormwater that flows from the upland drainage basin and State Route 104.

The Port is where our beautiful natural environment and our built environment literally and figuratively meet. The current commissioners understand this and take their jobs very seriously. They put in countless hours preparing for meetings and attending conferences that provide state-of-the-art information.

Their opponents have just started to attend Port Commission meetings.

You may hear that “It’s time for a change,” or “The Port is not doing enough to help the Marsh,” or “They’re spending taxpayers money to fight environmental safeguards.” The truth is it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize or, worse, present biased information that doesn’t present the whole picture.

We need to do our homework and make sure we make an informed vote for Port Commissioners this November.

You can find extensive documented information at www.fairescomm.com or stevejohnstonforport.com. Look for the “Facts about the Port” on their home pages. Don’t vote based on sound bites.

Mike Schindler


Current Port commissioners failing our environment

Because actions speak louder than words, we need to look beyond the expensive PR material put out by the Port – using public funds. The Port message is that they are doing a great job with the current commissioners, but the facts indicate that they have minimally met basic environmental requirements, and then only under duress.

The “voluntary” cleanup they brag about was necessitated by a lawsuit from Harbor Square tenants. And then only the bare minimum was done, leaving high levels of carcinogenic chemicals in the marsh and ignoring Department of Ecology requests to clean adjacent groundwater.

As a matter of fact, Harbor Square and other parts of Port property are still listed as hazardous sites by the state Department of Ecology.

The slanted coverage of Port accomplishments presents a false picture that glosses over serious problems. The incumbent port commissioners are wasting public funds in an intentional effort to mislead us.

It is time for new leadership at the port. Angela Harris, Susan Paine, and Lora Petso offer experienced leadership coupled with sincere environmental concern.

Marjie Fields


Port of Edmonds is Edmonds’ crown jewel

The Port of Edmonds, in my opinion, is the crown jewel of our beautiful town.

In the 60 years that I have lived in Edmonds, I have seen the port grow and improve into what it is today – a five-star marina with fine restaurants, a pubic fishing pier and a quaint boardwalk, which most of us enjoy year-round.

This week I had the honor of attending the Port of Edmonds Commission meeting and was astounded by the amount of knowledge the five commissioners demonstrated. This year, three commissioners are being challenged for their nonpartisan positions: Fred Gouge has 18 years experience on the Commission. His family was a port tenant starting when the marina opened in 1962, and he worked for the Port putting himself through college.

Bruce Faires has been on the Commission for 18 years, has been a port tenant for 27 years, and he and his wife have been longtime advocates for the town of Edmonds.

Steve Johnson, the newest member of the Commission, was appointed in 2016 and has 35 years experience providing environmental project management services to public ports, including the Port of Edmonds, and was also a past port tenant. That's 72-plus years experience combined.

I can't help but wonder what the Port of Edmonds would look like jf such a change ever occurred. If you were hiring for a CEO position, would you hire someone with experience such as demonstrated above or someone who has no experience or personal connection to the business?

The Port of Edmonds runs a business with taxpayer assets worth approximately $50 million. What is the motivation for the candidates who are running against the incumbents? Not one of these candidates thought that it was important enough to come to the first 2018 budget baseline conditions workshop held Aug. 28.

This meeting focused on property tax, economic development and moorage rates for 2018, and was advertised and open to the public. I would hope that the citizens of Edmonds would protect one of their most valuable assets and vote for the most qualified candidates for commissioner for the Port of Edmonds.

Jean Sittauer


Vote Harris, Petso and Paine for the Port of Edmonds

Three Port commissioners will be up for re-election this November. A glossy brochure produced by the Port was mailed to Edmonds residents several weeks ago. In the brochure, as well as in a letter in last weeks’ Beacon, the Port commissioners were praised for their outstanding environmental stewardship of the Edmonds Marsh.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While development is one of the primary responsibilities of the Port, it should not be at the expense of the environment.

Recent Port publicity states that they spent more than $2 million cleaning up industrial contamination in Harbor Square. However, a search through Port records reveals that they did the cleanup only because they were in litigation with their lessee, Harbor Square Associates, not because they were good environmental stewards.

Best available science requires a 110-foot buffer around the marsh. The Port’s constant efforts to maintain only a 25-foot buffer – more favorable to developers – reflects its lack of concern for one of the few rare ecosystems in Puget Sound.

The Port’s plans for condos built right up to the edge of the marsh are on hold for now, but will resurface when they feel they can successfully push their pro-development agenda through the required channels.

What would best serve the interests of Edmonds citizens, visitors and future generations? A degraded swamp surrounded by more buildings and traffic, or a quiet place to enjoy nature, photograph wildlife, and teach schoolchildren about this unique ecosystem?

Voting for Angela Harris, Lora Petso and Susan Paine for new Port commissioners would help ensure protection for the marsh. The choice is up to you.

Sharon Sneddon


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