Letter writer's facts lacking

I have been watching and listening to what can only most charitably be described as the debate around the proposal to locate a branch of the King County Library on Snoqualmie Ridge. Mr. Fursman's letter [July 12] was typical of the intensely emotional and mostly non-factual response I have observed by residents of "historic" Snoqualmie to this proposal.

Fact: There is no legal historic vs. Ridge delineation. We all live in, and pay our taxes to, the city of Snoqualmie. The resentment of many long-term residents of the city toward the residents of the Ridge is amusing and misplaced. It was, after all, the "historic" city of Snoqualmie that struck a number of business agreements (and continues to) with Weyerhaeuser to allow the Ridge development to be built.

In fact, the city of Snoqualmie has gotten a number of significant benefits out of those deals, including for example, a new police station, which I believe is actually occupied by the police department, not standing empty as a protest against, in Mr. Fursman's words, "turn[ing] the original Snoqualmie upside down and mov[ing] everything to the Ridge for [our] convenience."

Fact: The Ridge has added a large number of city parks (yes, they belong to the city of Snoqualmie, including residents of the "historic" district) to Snoqualmie. The Ridge has also benefited from donations of land to support future elementary, middle and high schools.

Fact: The city of Snoqualmie has benefited from the new business park at Snoqualmie Ridge, bringing jobs and tax income to the city.

Fact: The King County Library Board has indicated that it will not make any further improvements to the branch in Snoqualmie, even if there is no new branch at the Ridge because the current facility is located, yes, Mr. Fursman, in a floodplain.

To help you clear up some other facts, sir, one important one you missed is that the number of books returned to the city branch is virtually double the number checked out - 195 returned for every 100 checked out. Likely, thatOs us Ridge folks being too lazy to drive to North Bend to return books that we were apparently not too lazy to drive to North Bend to check out!

In fact, before the North Bend branch was built, according to the county library board, the board recommended then that the facility in Snoqualmie be closed, and kept it open at the insistence of the local community. Yet the statistics on the use of the local branch seem to indicate mostly a lack of loyalty by all of Snoqualmie's citizens (including those on the Ridge) to the branch in "historic" noqualmie.

Here's the deal, Mr. Fursman. Like it or not, the time to voice an opinion about whether or not there should be development on Snoqualmie Ridge has passed. There is, and there will continue to be, significant development here, including a Habitat for Humanity project, including subsidized housing and including businesses and homes and recreation facilities that will be available to and accessible by all Snoqualmie citizens.

While I don't think we have quite doubled the population of the city just yet, within the next five years, the population of the city will increase considerably more, and that will be due to the Ridge. The Ridge will comprise (if it does not already) the lion's share of the population and the lion's share of the tax base of the city of Snoqualmie, and its residents deserve to have services provided to them by the city and county to which they pay their taxes, commensurate with the amount of taxes they pay. That, in case you skipped your American history and civics classes in school, is called representative democracy and the will of the majority.

Neither we, nor you, can have our cake and eat it, too, but we want the same things for our families and our children that all Snoqualmie citizens want. If the long-term residents of the city didn't want the Ridge here, they should have resisted strenuously and voted out the city officials who were (and are) making the deals with Weyerhaeuser to allow the development to proceed.

To express your anger and frustration at those of us who paid our own money to purchase homes here because it was a beautiful place to live is disingenuous at best. We can be and live as one community, or we can continue to view ourselves as two sides in an acrimonious civil war. It would be a real pity if someday it turned out that there were two cities here: Snoqualmie Ridge and the historic city of Snoqualmie. Let's hope that that never happens!

Jim Bernardo


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