New politicians face big issues

Record Editorial

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 3:36am
  • Opinion

A new council member and mayor in North Bend and two new council members in Snoqualmie have been sworn in and are ready to go.

In North Bend, David Cook took his seat on the council, while newly elected Mayor Ken Hearing settled in at City Hall.

In front of them and their fellow City Council members are issues that have been outlined in the pages of the Valley Record such as the construction moratorium, water access, annexation of the Urban Growth Area and traffic. Council members Mark Sollitto, Chris Garcia and Karen Tavenner also were sworn in, having won their respective elections.

It will take teamwork to overcome many of these. All of those watching from the sidelines have high hopes that the team jells and the issues we have been contemplating for several years are tackled in a cohesive fashion.

In Snoqualmie, two new council members, Jeff MacNichols and Nate Short, have one large item to contemplate: Snoqualmie Ridge Phase II.

With a $23-million difference between the city and the project’s developer, Quadrant, it is unclear in what direction the expanded development will move. One thing is for sure, both cities have to think about their tax base and the financial viability of their respective cities.

But looming larger than both city councils is another Tim Eyman initiative aimed at reducing property taxes by 25 percent. Frankly, I believe Tim Eyman is nothing more than a publicity fiend. Yes, his initiatives were once popular, but as people measure the impacts in their own communities, his support appears to have dwindled.

This proposed cut could be the worst of the bunch as taxing districts, created and supervised by voter approval, face cuts to basic services.

It all boils down to one thing: Should the public vote on every single tax on a consistent basis or trust that the people we vote into office can make the right decisions regarding the use of our tax dollars? I think Eyman is forgetting that we elect the decision makers. If we are not happy with the process, we elect new decision makers.

Now, this may not be true for every elected position. There are going to be times when we are not happy with an elected official and waiting until the next election to boot them out of office doesn’t satisfy our desire for immediate action.

In this case, it’s a matter of supporting our basic infrastructure such as emergency services, police, hospital districts and the city. Yes, I am concerned that my property taxes have skyrocketed to an almost unaffordable level. Yes, I am concerned that the county executive didn’t seem to get the message that the economy was faltering and that county staffing levels needed to be cut. But, do I think a 25-percent cut across the board is the right answer? No. It’s as simple as not supporting Executive Ron Sims in his bid for governor.

If we can’t pass a levy lift for fire services, what makes Tim Eyman think anyone will really tax themselves for services they may not see as beneficial on a consistent basis? Out of sight, out of mind. I haven’t had to call for a fire truck, thank goodness, but that doesn’t mean that fire services aren’t important.

So we all need to really consider how important basic services are to our well being. Eyman’s way is not the answer. If you are that concerned about how your local taxing districts are spending their money, go to the meetings, provide your input, get involved.


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