Letters to the Editor

Letters: Oct. 13, 2019

Great participation in coalition event

Thank you, Tri-Cities, for coming out to the Tri-Cities Immigrant Coalition’s event “The Celebration of Our Immigrant Community Through the Arts.” It was a huge success. Fourteen artists representing seven different heritages shared their art with an attendance of 500 people. Art, food and music created the perfect opportunity to get to know our neighbors. Those who attended voiced surprise and pleasure knowing that there are so many people in the Tri-Cities who are concerned and supportive of immigrants.

I want to thank our sponsors, volunteers and Palencia Winery for their contributions to this wonderful evening. Art, inspiration and relationships can change society faster than politics.

Marsha Stipe, Chair, Tri-Cities Immigrant Coalition, Richland

Meadows best for port commission

This November, I urge you to vote for VJ Meadows the Port of Kennewick Commission.

I'm proud to call VJ a colleague and a friend who has the experience and passion to bring sorely needed order and professionalism to the port. I've personally seen her leadership skills truly have a positive impact in private, public and nonprofit environs, whether guiding the Tri-City Food Bank or managing the small business program for a major contractor. For 25-plus years, I have seen the fruits of her efforts result in benefits to our community.

Bring professionalism and character back to the Port of Kennewick...Vote for VJ Meadows on Nov. 5.

Mike Talbot, Kennewick

Devagupta great choice for board

Beyond a doubt, Rama Devagupta is the most qualified, dedicated and experienced candidate for Richland School Board, Position 5. Rama is a tireless and committed educator, the mother of two accomplished adult children and is a community volunteer in a wide variety of service.

I have known Rama for nearly 10 years. We both taught science at a middle school, and I observed first-hand Rama’s integrity, thoughtfulness and constant drive to incorporate challenging, innovative STEM curriculum for all her students. Rama has also been a successful instructor to other teachers sharing new ways to implement technology in the classroom.

With Rama’s strong science background as a PhD chemist and public-school educator, she has continually volunteered in science fairs and exhibitions, empowering students to new levels of achievement. I admire Rama for her generosity, her intelligence and her dedication to a good cause. Rama always asks herself “how can we work together to most benefit our students?”

Rama is the perfect advocate for us as parents, for our students, and for the future of our Richland Public Schools. With proud enthusiasm, I support Rama Devagupta for Richland School Board, Position 5.

Mrs. Colleen Yahyaoui, West Richland

Criminals won’t obey gun laws

Mr. Henager’s criticism of my opinion piece mirrors the anti-gun rhetoric I hear time and again, the use of sensationalized events to promote a misleading narrative.

The 2017 FBI homicide statistics I referenced add up to 10,982. Of that number, 403 deaths were by rifle (any kind).

Another point Mr. Henager missed is the Odessa shooter did fail a background check. Right or wrong, failing a background check does not relegate one to an automatic arrest no matter how much one would so desire. The referenced shooter should have never had access to a weapon of any kind, nor did I imply any such notion.

Regarding the Federal AWB, it’s a known fact it had little effect in criminal activity. The operative word being criminal.

As to defining assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, it’s whatever a person decides. You say tomayto, I say tomahto. Any item, no matter what attributes or looks it has, is an assault weapon when used against another human being.

And again, show me how any of the points I countered in the opinion piece would stop or prevent more shootings! My ‘insincere objections’ are based on facts, not wishful thinking. Criminals won’t comply!

Dan Deckert, Benton City

Mastaler right for Kennewick board

Pat Mastaler can bring cooperation, leadership and a wealth of knowledge to the Kennewick School Board. He has sent three children through Kennewick schools and has been a supporter of education for many years. He has served on different committees for the district and has spent time in the elementary, middle and high schools teaching the Junior Achievement curriculum. He is active in the community and has taken on leadership roles to ensure successful outcomes.

Pat understands Kennewick schools, the business of running a school district and cares about students and teachers. He would be a great choice for Position 5 to lead Kennewick schools into the future.

Peter Turping, Richland

Slovic aiming to make city better

In a recent Letter to the Editor, a writer assailed Randy Slovic for her opinion on the Snake River dams. Obviously, that writer mistakenly believes the Richland City Council, for which Ms. Slovic is running, has decision-making authority over the dams. Unfortunately, that uninformed citizen is most likely a voter who will use misinformation, not only to guide his vote, but to try to influence the vote of others.

The truth is that Randy Slovic cares deeply about the city of Richland, and wants to use her experience working in government to serve its citizens. For the past several months, Randy has been canvassing our neighborhoods, listening to residents’ ideas about how to keep Richland a wonderful place to live, and how to make it even better. Her opponent has remained silent, apparently believing that incumbency is all he needs to be reelected.

Regardless of how you vote, please consider what is actually relevant to the job of city council member, and whether that member cares about your concerns and interests for our city.

Randy Slovic has already proven that she cares, and her experience in government will make her a powerful advocate for you.

Tim Taylor, Richland

Progressives are too far to the left

Watching the presidential debates, with all the candidates offering more government bailouts and taxpayer-funded freebies, am I the only one struck by how far left the progressives have moved the Democratic Party?

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

Bill Sheretz, Kennewick

Vote for Sundvik is a right step

A vote for Diane Sundvik to fill Kennewick School Board Position 5 is a step in the right direction.

I have known Diane for nearly 28 of her 29 years in the Kennewick School District, during which time she served almost 2,000 students and their families. Prior to coming to Kennewick, she spent nine years with ESD 123 in Finley, Burbank, Paterson, Connell, Kahlotus and Star.

Working in Special Education has given her the knowledge of both the student needs and budgetary responsibilities necessary to provide these students with the best education and services possible. Diane’s knowledge about KSD’s funding stems from spending four years working closely with local and state legislators.

I share Diane’s belief that our district’s greatest assets are our children, and that they deserve the best possible education we can provide. We need to have school board members who have hands-on experience with the day-to-day activities, operations, and needs of the district’s students, families, employees, and community.

School board decisions should come from well thought out and researched information, in which the community has been involved and has listened to with great care.

Take that step, vote for Diane Sundvik KSD School Board Position 5.

Kim Watt, Kennewick

Thompson saved us $202 million

The test of a councilman is what he accomplishes for the benefit of the citizens. I have worked with Bob Thompson for over 20 years and I have solid evidence of his achievements on that score. A prime example that affects all of us is in our electric utility rates.

In 2000, the city was faced with alternatives for a new BPA contract. The Richland staff, its consultants and neighboring utilities were pushing the council hard to select the so-called “slice” form of contract, and in a preliminary vote the council concurred. A minority of the Utility Advisory Committee argued the slice contract posed too much risk for Richland. As mayor, Thompson went to great effort to provide the minority position ample opportunity to be heard and to bring in our own consultants to provide viewpoints from other utilities. In the end, Thompson, after careful consideration changed his mind and was helpful in persuading a slim but crucial majority to join him in the final vote to reject the slice option.

So far, Richland ratepayers have saved a well documented $202 million in the first 18 years of this contract because of this action. Let’s keep Bob on the job.

Hank Kosmata, Richland

Get out and vote in November

Local officials make decisions that are a part of your everyday life and will have a long term impact on your community. These decisions range from what your children are taught in school, to the creation of local ordinances and how tax revenue is collected and applied within your community.

Given how impactful these individuals can be, I would like to remind you of the embarrassing voter turnout we saw in Benton and Franklin counties for the primary election. If less than 25 percent of registered voters vote, then who is making the decisions for you and your community?

What is your excuse for not voting? Voter registration is online, information on candidates and issues is readily accessible online, ballots are mailed directly to registered voters with postage-paid envelopes for return. The time it takes to register, learn about the issues and vote is likely less than one episode of your favorite show on Netflix.

Do you want corrupt officials who squander your tax dollars? Do you want a school district where facts are a footnote? Or would you prefer a strong community that embodies your values? The decision can be yours. So, what is your excuse for not voting?

Patrick Mahoney, Richland

Lower standards wrong approach

The states of Oregon, Colorado, Iowa and Washington have legislation pending that would permit high school football teams to transfer to lower divisional competition based on their student-body poverty levels. This apparently will create ‘competitive equity,’ a euphemism for ‘winning.’ What message are we sending our children? Are you poor — then surrender and demote yourself. Are you losing — then diminish your goals. Seems that we’re trying to ‘level the playing field’ of life in many areas—heard any arguments for ‘income equity’ lately? What about lowering requirements for graduation or reducing standards for passing tests?

Compare that to the coaches who are fired for losing or moral indiscretions. They, however, are rewarded with million-dollar buyouts. Hey, it pays to lose and flout the rules. How does one explain this curious dichotomy?

Seems that we are focused more on winning than providing a decent education and meeting the basic life-needs of disadvantaged students. Is it better to brag about trophies, or boast of students who learn through failures and beat poverty by succeeding through higher education? Lowering standards will certainly accomplish one thing – lower standards. A guaranteed win for mediocrity.

Gabe Lyons, Richland

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