Letters to the Editor

'Thumbs up' to Snoqualmie campground sweeps | Letters to the Editor

On your article in the July 2 Valley Record, “Camp Sites Get Clean Sweep,” I just wanted to give a big thumbs up to the officers patrolling the Middle Fork and other problem “hot spots” along the I-90 corridor.

These officers, many of whom I personally know, often patrolling alone in remote areas, are confronting hoodlums and other problem people from the Valley and beyond who come to the woods and along the rivers to drink, party, and often vandalize.

Friends of the Trail hired off duty King County Sheriff’s officers to conduct emphasis patrols for two summers, and the results and positive benefits were undeniable. They patrolled from Snoqualmie Pass to Issaquah in the usual areas, Middle Fork, Tinkam Road, Exit 38, during the summer months, and what a difference it made in how much garbage and illegal activity we saw, and we are out there every day.

Friends of the Trail has spent thousands of hours with initial cleanups and follow-up maintenance from the Middle Fork to the Pass, and keeping it clean isn’t easy. With volunteers, last year Friends of the Trail moved over 120 tons of garbage plus dozens of vehicles, boats and trailer houses across Washington state, much on the I-90 corridor from Vantage to Issaquah. It becomes frustrating dealing with the same problem people in the same places. On any weekend, you see vehicles full of yahoos running through the mountains, illegally dumping, drinking, smoking dope, and shooting stuff up in places they know they shouldn’t. After 12 years in this business, we’ve seen it all.

Friends of the Trail sincerely wants to thank the King County Sheriff’s Office, especially officers Brent Naylor, Chad Devore and Mike Miner, Washington Department of Natural Resources officer Chris Rankin, U.S. Forest Service officers Jeff McIntosh, and the late and great Shane Wyrsch, along with all the officers I forgot to mention who keep the order.

Wade Holden, president

Friends of the Trail

Railroad pets?

I have just heard that the Railroad Days committee has decided this year’s theme will be “pets.” The question is: Are they serious?

Fish, birds, snakes and cats do not function well on a leash. Snoqualmie does have a leash law, you may remember.

You get a lot of dogs together, they get excited. When dogs get excited, they bark. They also pee and poop. This is just what we need at a town festival. Hundreds of kids and parents walking around with hundreds of excited dogs. We will see dog poop on the lawn. We will see dog poop on the streets and sidewalks and maybe dog poop in the stores.

You have to wonder if the Railroad Days committee will have the King County Animal Control out for the weekend. Not all pet owners register their pets as required by law. Not all pet owners get their pets the law-mandated shots such as distemper, rabies, etc. So will the animal control officers be around?

Another question is: Will the Railroad Days committee have adequate insurance if an excited dog snaps at and injures a child? Or if a dog bites another dog, a pedigreed, high-value dog? Then who sues whom?

Eight or 10 years ago, when the Railroad Days theme was “Hawaiian.” I thought that was pretty silly. What does Hawaii have to do with a Pacific Northwest lumber and railroad town? Not much, I thought. “Hawaiian” is no longer the silliest Railroad Days theme. It has dropped to second place.

The Railroad Days theme is “pets?” Is the committee serious?

Viktor vander Dekken

Snoqualmie

Teacher pay raises

In response to last week’s editorial, I would like to respond after having served on all district negotiating teams for all union contracts for 20 years on behalf of the district and our community. Mr. McKiernan presents three points and I would like to briefly respond to each of these.

First, as to the openness in contract negotiations, the district budget is a public document that can be examined top to bottom by anyone interested, including the unions. The union party line is that somehow all the money they want is being secreted away somewhere. They are never able to prove it, but it sounds good.

Second, as to being members of the team, there is not a committee that union members are not asked to participate on in the decision-making process. Our district is considered a pioneer in staff involvement and shared decision making. We introduced building-based authority and funded what are called unit budgets, which can be spent at the discretion of the building team within the mission statement and goals of the district. Among the 20-plus days of extended pay days, all paid out of your local levy dollars, the teacher’s union again has authority to decide how more than half of those days are used.

Third, as to value in terms of pay, this argument is trotted out by the union at every negotiation. The teacher’s union received substantial increases in the last contract that impact other areas of the program. The union agreed to issue a joint statement to the community from the board and the union at the end of those negotiations, explaining the potential impacts. Instead, the union refused.

In these difficult financial times for all of us, the union is already scheduled to receive a 5 percent raise from the state of Washington. This will require the district to find local levy dollars to fund this increase for the extra days for teachers and for 50 percent of the Public Employees Services’ entire contract, since the state uses a horribly out-of-date schedule of the required number of these people. Teachers’ aides, which we rely on so much and do a great job, are not even considered necessary by the state. In addition to the 5 percent raise, all teachers with less than 20 years of experience will also receive a salary step pay increase.

To the community, I ask you to keep this in mind when September approaches and the union rhetoric becomes shrill in tone. You will hear over and over that if only the board and administrators would give the union everything they want, the problem will go away. The union will pretty it all up, but that is really the bottom line. I understand that it is the union’s job to secure as much compensation for their members as possible, but when it comes at the cost of bankrupting the district, the means do not justify the end.

I suggest you get out of your office and learn some facts for yourself. You owe it to your readers.

Rick Krona, former school board member

North Bend

Roundabout questions

For the past several months, I’ve eagerly awaited the delivery of my weekly edition of the Valley Record with the hope of being able to read some “news” about something that has been affecting hundreds of Valley residents many times each day, as they travel through the new “roundabout.” But each week, I’ve been disappointed. So I’d like to ask a few questions with the hope that a reader out there might have some of the answers and write in with them.

First, who was the bright penny that approved the design and start date for the project? Did they consider the impact on school bus schedules or the hundreds of parents that drive their kids to and from school, or that starting when they did, they might expect a rain delay or 20?

What Disneyland ride was the inspiration for the roundabout design? To the best of my knowledge, a “roundabout” is a circular impediment placed at an intersection. They got it right in Fall City and at the I-90 North Bend exit. What happened at Cedar Falls Road?

Where did they find the construction company? And didn’t they contract for a completion date? At the beginning, when driving my kids to school at 7 a.m., I’d see a group of 10 or 12 workers huddled together and I assumed they were assessing the day’s agenda. In the afternoon, I’d see four or five workers, and two of them were flaggers and the rest were shoveling gravel. It wasn’t long until the huddles disappeared altogether, and many days flaggers and shovelers were all I saw.

When is the roundabout going to be finished? Back in early May, I was able to ask one of the flaggers when she thought they were going to be done. A smile appeared as she looked at her watch and replied, “Oh, about an hour and a half!” When I finally got control of my laugh attack, she said they’d be done in early June. As of this writing, on July 9, it remains unfinished, and thanks to that flagger I think I know why. The answer to where the construction crew came from is Seattle. They’re between gigs as stand-ups from the Seattle comedy club circuit, and this roundabout that isn’t a roundabout is just a big joke and we haven’t figured out the punch line yet.

The Valley Record states on its front page that it is serving the community of North Bend, among others. I’d be more apt to believe that if an effort was made to inform its readers about an issue that impacts their lives each day, often multiple times. Or maybe I’m supposed to believe that “no news is good news.”

Al Clarke

North Bend

Bike rodeo

The King County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the city of North Bend, sponsored their third annual bicycle rodeo on June 7.

We would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to our sponsors, Scott’s Dairy Freeze, Snoqualmie Valley Kiwanis Club, Another Hair Place, Singletrack Cycles, Mountain Meadows Farm, and Mountain Mist.

Without their help, this important child safety event would not have been possible.

Sgt. Joseph Hodgson, chief of police services

North Bend

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