Letters to the editor

October 7, 2009

By Contributor

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Pam Teal has dedication needed for Renton School Board

As a Newcastle resident and parent in the Renton School District, please join me in electing Pam Teal for the Renton School Board.

Pam has lived in the district since 1985 and has two sons who have attended Renton schools for their entire public education. Pam was appointed to a vacancy on the Renton School Board on Feb. 3. She is now running for election for a full four-year term.Pam has volunteered for more than 13 years in numerous PTA leadership roles, including Renton PTSA Council president and legislative representative (serving 19 Renton PTA units); and bond and levy committees, including the Simple Majority Campaign and boundary review committees.

Pam currently chairs the Renton Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee, is a mentor for Communities in Schools, is a member of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and is on the Renton Community Foundation Board of Directors.

I have personally worked with Pam on several PTA committees and the Simple Majority Campaign. I’m impressed with her commitment to a better education for all students.

Every child deserves a quality education to ensure a successful future. Pam has the dedication and knowledge to make that happen.

Please vote for pam teal for Renton School Board, Position 5 on Nov. 3.

Christie LeBar


There is no place for campaign sign destruction or theft

I’ve been a resident of Newcastle for more than nine years and have seen many city elections come and go. During these elections, I notice the signs coming and going as well. Then, I read and hear stories about people stealing them for various reasons, not the least of which are as a campaign strategy. This practice is shallow, petty and illegal.

I heard that one candidate has “lost” 50 percent of her signs. A different candidate says many of hers are missing; I found one of hers snapped in two and thrown down a ravine near my neighborhood.

Campaigns for public office are about each candidate presenting their views to the public and allowing the public to vote for the candidate who shows the most integrity, strength of character and vision for the city’s needs. Competing for votes with honor and humility is key.

Any destruction of property that does not belong to you is vandalism and legally punishable. Obviously, taking property that doesn’t belong to you is theft. Apparently, some adults need to be reminded of this.

Gretchen Paletta


Jean Garber has shown great regional leadership

Thank you for the profile on the candidates in the September issue.

I would like to encourage the voters of Newcastle to re-elect Jean Garber. She clearly has pride in the city and the desire to continue to enhance our quality of life. She has shown great leadership on the council in helping get funding for the Coal Creek Parkway project, and moving that project forward to successful completion.

She has also shown leadership in moving forward a plan that will result in a pedestrian-oriented town center, with mixed-use buildings that provide more shopping and service choices for residents. This will save us from strip-mall development and provide revenues that the city needs to continue operating into the future.

Jean’s regional leadership also helps Newcastle. She is the caucus lead for 35 suburban cities, including Newcastle, on both the King County Growth Management Council and the Puget Sound Regional Council Growth Management Policy Board. This gives Newcastle greater influence in regional decisions that affect our city. In addition, Jean’s regional work helps build the trust that gets us outside funding for projects.

One of the projects I would like to see under construction soon is the Newcastle Sports Park, because our kids need athletic fields. With Jean’s leadership, we have a better chance of forming funding partnerships and moving that project forward.

Please remember to fill out your ballots by Nov. 3 and vote for Jean Garber.

Mark Garvin


John Dulcich will protect vision of the city we all want

As we enter the season of election signs decorating every street, dinnertime door belling and hype, I would like to take a moment to strongly recommend John Dulcich for City Council. Not

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because John is a friend, or because he has served the city well in the past. Not because he is an honest, generous, person who invests his time in making Newcastle a gem of a city. And not even because he has a track record of success.

I am recommending John because he is a levelheaded, hard-working leader. He understands what Newcastle needs — not chartreuse and orange signs to the tune of $100,000 — more than that actually. Not a change of “logo,” which cost the city an arm and a leg. And certainly not an 8 percent pay raise across the board to all city staff.

What Newcastle needs is a councilman who listens, gets things done in a no-nonsense way, and protects a vision of Newcastle that we all want. Not a mini-Bellevue and not a mini-Renton. We do not need more high-density apartment buildings, traffic and crowds. No.

What we need is leadership. John’s vision for Newcastle preserves the character of our city, grows the tax base in reasonable, doable ways and tackles the financial challenges coming our way.

John is a proven leader who has dealt effectively with myriad challenges over the years and has shown himself competent and effective in making Newcastle the city it is.

In Newsweek’s 2009 rankings of best places to live in the United States, Newcastle was honored with the 17th spot. I believe John had something to do with that. His goal of returning to fiscal responsibility has my vote. His commitment to get the library built has my support.

I hope you will carefully analyze the track records of the candidates who are asking for your vote, and see that there is, indeed, a difference in philosophy. This economy and these demands on an ever-decreasing pool of funds require creative thinking and fiscal restraint. John Dulcich offers that, and more.

Jayne Bell


Clear choices for City Council

We are very fortunate in Newcastle to have six individuals who are working hard to communicate their views to voters across our city. While I do not agree with the views of all of the candidates all of the time, I am equally appreciative of their campaigning efforts.

To me, the election comes down to actions Newcastle residents want for the future of our city. Do we envision a downtown that offers the charm of University Village or Redmond Town Center, or would we rather have more strip malls, drive-thrus and fast-food restaurants?

Do we want to tear down the fruit stand and immediately

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green-light the construction of an unneeded Walgreens?

Do we want to immediately drive out leaders within City Hall despite the on-time and under-budget completion of the biggest capital project Newcastle will see for decades?

These are the primary differences in the candidates we are choosing between this year. Three of the candidates believe we should encourage more strip malls and drive-thrus while three others have a vision of a better Newcastle. Three of the candidates have no problem with a Walgreen’s while three object. Three of the candidates want to run off city staff while three others believe in keeping top-quality employees to serve Newcastle residents.

Needless to say, I do not want more strip malls or fast-food restaurants, I see no need to damage a local business (Bartell) in favor of a new Walgreens, and I believe we should keep city staff who have performed an exemplary job on our behalf.

The three candidates who share my views and have earned my endorsement are Jean Garber, Karin Blakley and Kandy Schendel. I encourage Newcastle residents to support them as well.

Andrew Shelton


Newcastle needs Erxleben and Crispo

This political season in Newcastle has seen the usual allotment of charges and counter-charges about who is best qualified to sit on the City Council. Some of it just doesn’t make sense to me.

One common accusation is that Rich Crispo and Bill Erxleben are negative because they have been critical of some council decisions. Well, who hasn’t been?

Rich spoke out against spending more than $50,000 to re-brand Newcastle and replace street signs that were working just fine with ones that many of us have trouble reading in daylight, let alone at night.

He also opposed adding $8 million to the city’s debt to build a new City Hall when we can go on renting the current location for the next 10 years at a deeply discounted rate.

Bill, they say, was against Coal Creek Parkway. Not true; he only wanted to wait until funding was in place to pay for it so that Newcastle wouldn’t be stuck, as we now are, with a multimillion dollar deficit we have no way of repaying.

Some folks say Rich and Bill might be disruptive on the council. Well, I should hope so. I want my representatives to care passionately about the issues before them and to debate them vigorously. It’s high time someone disrupted a council that’s been asleep at the wheel while the city manager steered Newcastle into the red ink.

Lastly, I hear that Rich and Bill are anti-city. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They both see a rosy outlook for Newcastle, if we can just live within our means.

We won’t be able to afford police and fire protection if the council continues to approve extravagant spending on studies and consultants for pie-in-the-sky projects. Other candidates may realize this but, unlike their opponents, Rich and Bill aren’t afraid to say so.

If we are to avoid property tax increases or a utility tax, we need councilors who want to restore balance to the city’s budget. We need Rich Crispo and Bill Erxleben.

Sue Beverly


Support Dulcich, Crispo and Erxleben

I support John Dulcich, Rich Crispo and Bill Erxleben for the Newcastle City Council. All three are remarkably well-qualified, with solid credentials and the kind of experience our city needs in these tough times. John and Bill served on the City Council; Rich has sat in on council meetings for nearly three years, getting an up-close view of city government.

As councilors, John and Bill supported parks and trails. John helped the Hazelwood community get Donegal Park, through his votes and service on the park committee. Bill took the initiative in putting a sidewalk along Newcastle Way. And Rich has worked with Newcastle Trails.

Jean Garber should be retired from the council. She has an unrealistic downtown vision that has cost us dearly — the promised King County Library System library has been delayed for years — and could cost us more.

If KCLS had proceeded with its original design of a standalone library, it would have been finished a year ago. But the vision Jean Garber shares with Councilman Sonny Putter and City Manager John Starbard — a multistory downtown, with apartments over shops — got in the way.

They persuaded KCLS to do a mixed-use development, and KCLS spent time and money developing a new design, with apartments wrapped around the library (leaving little room for expansion).

It’s a bad deal for taxpayers: Lorig, the co-developer, was promised an eight-year tax holiday, and apartments don’t pay their way as it is. The library must wait until July while Lorig seeks funding; then, KCLS can start over. And the visioneers still want a mixed-use City Hall.

For years, Garber voted with Putter in opposing a Parks Commission and the purchase of the entrance parcel to complete May Creek Park and its historic rail-trail. And after the council voted for the entrance parcel, and we finally had a grant to buy it — and a willing seller — Jean voted to return the grant.

John Dulcich, Rich Crispo and Bill Erxleben are the best choices for Newcastle.

Garry Kampen


Support ISF Calling for Kids campaign

I hope that you will join me in supporting the Issaquah Schools Foundation’s Calling for Kids campaign.

Having had children in the district for 10 years, I have seen great programs disappear and students needs unmet due to budget constraints. Parents work to fill the gap by hiring tutors and supporting PTSAs at the school level, but this isn’t enough.

That’s where the foundation comes in — the organization provides support across the district. Many of you are familiar with the grants that ISF provides to support school programs, like the wonderful Bluegrass and Folk Arts music project supported at Newcastle Elementary School.

Beyond these school grants, the foundation provides districtwide programs that support teacher training, science curriculum, tutoring for high school and middle school students, etc.

This is where the foundation, working with the district, helps fill the funding gap for all of our students. When you see the flyer in the mail or receive a phone call Oct. 20-21 asking for your support, please say yes and donate.

Betsy Pendleton


Help the schools, even in this economy

The brutal reality is that all state school districts face enormous budget cuts this year, Issaquah included, and it is not supposed to get better any time soon. It is very easy to focus on the negative, but instead we can choose to focus on the positive and direct our energies to areas where we can directly financially support our local school district.

The Issaquah Schools Foundation raises money to help the district provide students with a comprehensive 21st century education. On Oct. 20-21, the foundation will host the Calling for Kids campaign. Nearly 200 high school students will make phone calls to all district families, and it is critical to hear them out as well as to donate.

The campaign goal is 100 percent participation. If every district family contributes, the foundation can raise more than $1.4 million for our schools. If you do not want to receive a call, then make sure to donate before Oct. 5 and you will be removed from the list.

We live in a community that deeply cares about the future of our children’s education. We all need to do our part in making this campaign successful. Go to www.issaquahschoolsfoundation.org to learn more about the connection between strong schools and a vibrant community.

Leslie Patten


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