Letters for the week of Aug. 7

Aug 07, 2013

Birthday party was no picnic

Editor, The Beacon:

My wife and I took our granddaughter, her brother and sister to Lighthouse Park on July 16 for a birthday picnic. We were fortunate to find a covered table and looked forward to enjoy a nice meal.

Imagine our shock to find a dirty, messy table with pieces of smeared food on it besides the filth on the seats. The floor below the table had greasy bits of food smashed and ground into it also.

Now, I’m not one to make a snap judgment and say our mayor is falling down on his job of administering the works here, so I returned on July 31.

Mr. Mayor, I’ve heard you mention several times how proud you are of Lighthouse Park and what a benefit that it’s ours now. This place is so dirty and filthy I wouldn’t take you there to eat.

I can’t imagine visitors looking at that mess and ever wanting to come back to a disease-ridden park like that. If this is your style of management, I can only wonder how badly the rest of the city is being run.

I’m going to the council meeting on Aug. 5 to ask for funds to rent a power washer and clean that place up myself, as I’m too embarrassed to have anyone else see how bad it is down there.

You want four more years; I say you’ve already done enough damage to this fine city. We need a better mayor than you.

Ron Clark,

Mukilteo

Re-elect Joe Marine

Before Joe Marine was elected as mayor, planning for Mukilteo (City Hall, the community center, waterfront development, etc.) was largely unproductive for both the leadership and the community.

Once elected, Joe has accomplished a lot by building on his experience and the relationships needed at the local, state and national levels.

It’s not possible for Mukilteo to stay the sleepy town it once was. Families are busier than they used to be. Our lives are more complex. There’s a greater number of us working (commuting), and recreating now, than in the past.

Mukilteo is enjoyed by many as a result; it’s a busy place. We don’t have to accept this change as a loss. In adapting to the change, Mukilteo can be even better than it once was.

Last year, the City Council, against the desires of Mayor Marine, voted to remove from the Long-Term Comprehensive Plan consideration of an alternative road, other than Highway 525, to improve current and future traffic concerns.

The council, including his two opponents for the mayor’s race, demonstrated short sightedness for Mukilteo in doing so.

Continued traffic problems and struggling businesses in Old Town are inevitable without an alternative road to mitigate the demands of the commuter traffic. Joe knows this, and refused to sign the resolution.

Joe is a friendly guy with a great sense of humor, contrary to what some have written about him. He is sensitive to managing and preserving the best of Mukilteo.

I appreciate his vision and experience, which has made Mukilteo known as one of the top small cities in America in which to live.

Mayor Marine’s accomplishments are the most varied and successful of any mayor my family and I have experienced in Mukilteo. We are particularly thankful for the improvements made at Lighthouse Park and for the return of the Community Center to Old Town.

We’ve been waiting more than 20 years for the ferry to be moved, and for the waterfront to become more alive. While some of us are inclined to enjoy wooded parklands with trails, others, like I, can’t wait for a waterfront promenade!

I am thankful for Joe’s perseverance and leadership for leading us closer to these realities. Please join me in re-electing Mayor Joe Marine. His vision and experience will continue to serve Mukilteo well.

Jennifer Baxter,

Mukilteo

Mukilteo deserves better

Anyone who holds a public office is open to a certain amount of criticism. It comes with the job.

Naturally, it escalates around election time but, I have to admit, I was surprised to see two letters in last week’s Beacon (from Jim and Judith Underwood and Chris Beard) [“We support Joe Marine,” and “Marine is committed to Mukilteo,” page 4, July 31] taking shots at me because I don’t support their mayoral candidate.

I’m not sure if they realize I’m not running for re-election!

Jim Underwood calls out Steve Schmalz and myself, saying we’re “bent on turning Mukilteo into a mediocre city after their own image. They have no positive agenda.” You can’t be serious!

And then Chris Beard, claiming, “Mr. Stoltz has been entertaining us with is bilious letters of contempt for the mayor for several years.”

These are both examples of the accusers sinking lower than what they are accusing others of. Clearly they see only negativity where others see opportunity for improvement.

I have to admit, I used the term “mediocre” in my last letter [“Time for Marine to move on,” page 4, July 24] deliberately although I was surprised how offended both the Underwoods and Chris Beard would be with their interpretation of my statement.

I’ll also admit, I had to look up “bilious” and am now torn as to whose letter I take least seriously.

After serving almost two terms on the council, I do know a little bit about what goes on inside of Mukilteo government and, as offended as these letter writers may be by the information I share, everything can be substantiated, if you know where (and care) to look.

I too love Mukilteo, its people (well, most of them), and over the past 29 years have raised my family here. I KNOW the people of Mukilteo deserve better from their local government, because I’ve seen what goes on from the inside.

Some are happy with the status quo, and some expect better. I expect better.

Kevin Stoltz,

Mukilteo City Councilmember

Japanese Gulch: A fool’s paradise?

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. I respect others’ opinions, even if I disagree. You can always learn from people, whether you agree with them or not.

When that opinion comes with a tirade of baseless insults and misconstrued information, I am less tolerant and less likely to take them seriously.

Here are some facts for you to mull over.

Just over 58 percent of Mukilteo voters approved of a tax increase last year in order to purchase the remaining 98 acres of land in Japanese Gulch. This fell short (by around 150 votes) of the 60 percent supermajority needed for the measure to pass.

At the time we were asking Mukilteo voters for more than $3 million to be spread over a period of five years. The average Mukilteo taxpayer would have had to pay $78 more per year or less than $400 total in tax increases over the five years, had the measure passed.

One of the biggest objections we heard about the ballot measure last year was that Mukilteo citizens should not have to pay for this park alone, as people from Everett and elsewhere would benefit from the park and use it.

We listened to what our opponents had to say, and set to work to address their concerns.

With tremendous support from the community, including Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine and the current City Council, state Rep. Marko Liias, state Sen. Paull Shin and Snohomish County Councilmember Brian Sullivan, we were able to bring in the regional support that many of you had called for.

In fact, currently there is $1.8 million in state and regional funding earmarked for the purchase of land in Japanese Gulch.

We are also working to help secure additional funding that will hopefully bring the total allocated toward the gulch purchase up to somewhere over $4 million.

The city of Mukilteo has contracted the services of Forterra, a professional and highly respected land conservancy and community building group, to help develop and negotiate a reasonable plan to obtain the gulch property.

This includes getting an independent appraisal of the property, which should be completed very shortly.

Soon Mukilteo will need to decide what, if any, funding the city is willing to allocate toward purchasing the property, but it will clearly be a lot less than the $3 million nearly approved last year.

The trust that owns the 98 acres did not drive the property into bankruptcy because it was “undevelopable,” they inherited the property as part of a bankruptcy settlement.

If we don’t act soon and complete the purchase of the remaining 98 acres, the current owners will sell the property to developers and it will be converted to light industrial use.

Those are the facts. We are very close to obtaining Japanese Gulch, but we still need the support from the community and from our local government and politicians.

If you would like to see Japanese Gulch preserved forever as open forest land, please tell everyone you can, including the mayor and city councilmembers, as well as your state and local representatives.

You can also donate to the Japanese Gulch Group, and our team will work on helping to obtain the gulch on your behalf.

As for “who is the greater fool,” I think it is pretty clear who is fooling around and who is presenting the facts to you, so you can make an informed decision.

Let’s work together to make this community better now and for generations to come by securing the property in Japanese Gulch and keeping it as an urban wilderness area.

Arnie Hammerman, President,

Japanese Gulch Group

The Beacon does not condone name calling in letters to the editor. We’ve let a couple slip by, including one last week from a reader who disparaged two councilmembers, Kevin Stoltz and Steve Schmalz. We regret the oversight. –Ed.

Matt Laird will be missed

I read Matthew Laird Meyer’s obituary in the July 31 issue of the Mukilteo Beacon [page 8].

Matt had a soft exuberance about him. I’m amazed at how much sorrow I feel and how touched I am by a guy I really didn’t know. Heaven (if you believe in a thereafter) is really getting a great deal in receiving him.

A death is hard to take, no matter if that person was a relative, friend or “just” an acquaintance. It is doubly painful to know that that person was Matt, who had a way about him that was admirable.

This is such a close-knit community, that for those of us raised in and around Mukilteo, we will always remember those we even shared only a small moment of time with. He’s a Mukilteo resident worth remembering.

I only knew him from the grade school and high school years of our lives, but for my limited purview, he left an impression on me. I feel like I lost a close relative, a close friend.

Growing up around him, he was fun loving, joyful, gregarious and was the kind of guy to egg you on.

You could feel the guy’s presence from a mile away. He was a really great guy.

Michael James Young,

Mukilteo

Volunteers make all the difference

The July 24 issue of The Beacon ran a wonderful story about the great volunteerism by Philips employees at the Mukilteo Community Garden on July 12, a United Way initiative [“Volunteers give community garden a facelift,” page 2].

As a volunteer at the garden that day, I was one of those folks who had tears in my eyes when the Philips volunteers arrived. We can't thank them enough for all they did that day in the garden, but we hope their experience will bring them back next year.

Additionally we would like to acknowledge and thank Northwest Waste Management for donating the use of a large open dumpster for the day. They delivered the dumpster and hauled it away completely full of trash as part of the clean up day at the garden.

Between Philips, Northwest Waste Management and all of our wonderful volunteers, we can truly say it takes a whole village to make a difference.

Diane Gordon,

Master Gardener and Board Member,

on behalf of the Mukilteo Community Garden

Volunteers needed for ‘petting zoo’

Volunteers are needed for the last Instrument Petting Zoo this summer, from noon to 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 in the Lighthouse Park band shell during Mukilteo's annual Lighthouse Festival.

Instrument Petting Zoos promote the joy of music. You can see it in the faces of parents when their kids are tying to play the different instruments.

Volunteering is fun, too! It's magic seeing how much kids enjoy trying to make music on the instrument that you love to play – a special kind of sharing.

Through experience, we have found that kids love to learn from kids. If the "teacher" is on the young side, the newcomer – the child trying out the instrument – feels more at home.

In addition to our faculty and Kamiak High School's music service club, we are asking for the participation of our own students, ages 12 and older. We can never have too many teachers.

Wind instruments for the "zoo" are provided by Kennelly Keys and strings by Hammond Ashley. We need "teachers" who play the violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone.

If you can help, call 425-308-5503 for more information or to let us know you're coming You can also email us at info@genenastrischool.org.

Try it! You'll have a great time and earn community service credit, too.

Carol Harkins, Director,

Gene Nastri School

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