Letters to the Editor, March 24

Open Space to stay

This is written in response to a question posed byJudy Palmer in a letter to the editor published last week regarding the DraftComprehensive Plan.

She asks the question “Are you planning on getting ridof the Open Space designation?”

The quick answer is no. It is a State law.

The Open Space Act was created by the Washington StateLegislature in the early 1970’s.  It isdefined under RCW 84.34. It has three separate categories. RCW 84.34.020(1)addresses public benefit types of land such as riparian areas and wildlifecorridors. RCW 84.34.020(2) addresses lands used for commercial agriculturalproduction. RCW 84.34.020(3) addresses lands that have less than 20 acres ofcommercial timber on them.

The premise behind this Act is that in exchange forproviding benefit to all people, either through the protection of riparianareas and wildlife corridors, or the growing and harvesting of food and fiberor the growth and harvest of timber, the landowner receives a reduced propertytax bill related to the land only.

These are all property tax classifications. Theseclassifications are based upon the current use of the land. The landowner mustapply for this property tax classification and they must comply with therequirements of whichever property tax classification they apply for. In allthree categories, there is a lien that follows the land so that in the eventthe land use changes to something other than the intended use under theproperty tax classification, the landowner must pay back the last past sevenyears worth of property tax savings plus interest and penalty. Again, this isall described in statute and created by the Washington State Legislature.

There are also provisions written within the statutethat directs the granting authority to not impose any additional tax, interestor penalty if government regulation or restrictions are imposed which deny thecurrent use of the land thus requiring the granting authority to remove theland from the property tax classification. 

The granting authority for subsection 1 is the CountyLegislative Authority. They have given day-to-day administration of thisprogram to the County Planning Department. The granting authority for subsection2 & 3 is the County Assessor.


Scott D. Furman

Okanogan County Assessor

Unhappy with PUD’s ‘tiered rates’

In response to June Bardonski’sletter to the editor published March 17, 2011:

I was speechless after opening myPUD bills for January and February 2011. I have written a letter to thePUD commissioners regarding my usage, the new “tiered rate” impact on myhousehold.

I was certain there had been amistake in meter reading until I pulled bills from years 2008 and 2009 – Ifound in 2009 I used approximately 3000 less KWH for the same two-month period.This was due to a milder winter. However, in 2008, for approximately the sametwo-month period, my total KWH usage was almost identical to the total KWH usedduring the last two billing cycles.  

The combined billings forJanuary/February 20ll compared to the 2008 billing showed a 25 percent increasein cost.

I have heard numerous complaintsfrom many in the community regarding the current rate hike. I am not certain Ifully understand the justification for this new “tiered rate” given thedemographics of the customers and economic times.

As I pointed out to thecommissioners, there are ways for me to conserve energy and I will make aconscious effort to do so. I am also not opposed to a rate increase; however,15-25 percent per household is excessive.

It is a bit disheartening to thinkour “new tiered rate system” helps fund a new PUD building, higher salaries forthe commissioners, new meters and additional staff required to oversee thenew meters and new billing system. The customers served by the district receivenothing more then “lighter wallets” and frustration with the “powers that be atthe P.U.D.”

Joanne Morris

Appreciate the generosity

I would like to thank the wonderful community of Orovillefor their awesome support of my Inland North West Honor Flight Nacho FeedBenefit dinner. With everyone’s help I was able to raise another $1500,enough to send almost three more Veterans to D.C.  

I want to thank the Oroville American Legion and AuxiliaryPost #84, The Camaray Motel, Frontier Foods, everyone who donateddesserts, everyone who came to meet and support me and especially the lateMr. Halvorsen for asking me to speak at the Legion about my project andfor helping me advertise the dinner. Thank you again for helping mesupport and honor our World War Two Veterans, I really appreciate that yourtown is so supportive and generous.


Justin Peterson

Chewelah, Wash.

Care for the Earth

Open Letter to the Okanogan County Board ofCommissioners:

I believe that those of us presentat this time in history have a responsibility to those not yet born-aresponsibility to care for the Earth in such a way that enables the futureinhabitants of this land to enjoy the natural beauty and wealth that hasblessed our own lives. The Comprehensive Plan for Okanogan County should givestrong consideration to the rights of the future generations of this land.

 Some of the residentialdensities being considered are beyond the sustainable limits of the watertables and natural resources in this fragile area. To increase the human demandon this already delicate balance would jeopardize the very foundations of thisecosystem. For our generation to allow such action would be disrespectfulnot only of this land, but all subsequent generations of this region. 

 The needs and desires ofthis region’s current occupants must be balanced with the natural ability ofthis land to accommodate these needs and desires. Fresh water isalready a limiting resource in much of this region, and should not be furtherjeopardized by increased population densities in water-stressed areas. 

 Please act to insure that this ComprehensivePlan insures the beauty and livability of this fragile area for futuregenerations. To do anything less would be a violation of our obligation to ourheirs and to the land itself.

Thom Speidel


A tidal wave of tyranny

Embracing the Keynesian Myth by Bill was a greateditorial, but the last part of the article caused a question that I havewrestled with a long time. I agree that the Keynesian philosophy has alwaysbeen the hope and change myth that has doomed our nation with themathematically challenged politicians we continue to elect. Bill’s solution toour problem “will only come when government starts to get out of the way.”

My question is, now that Uncle Samis suffering from an extreme case of acromegaly, caused by the abnormal growthof socialism, how would government get out of the way? Where would it go? It isin its own way most of the time, while stepping on and squashing the peoplethat are trying to support and feed it. What would the people of the UnitedStates do if the 16,000 employees at the Department of Energy went to work inthe field of finding, producing, and marketing energy instead of restricting,regulating and stopping the production of it? What would we do if theDepartment of Education stopped masquerading as a department of education andwent to work in locally controlled education? What would we do if theEnvironmental Protection Agency stopped pretending it was concerned about theenvironment because it can impose fines on people and business for the solepurpose of growing itself?

We are focused on the tsunami thathit Japan and seem to have missed the tidal wave of tyranny that keeps poundingus. If the alphabet soup of unconstitutional government agencies in Americaceased to be, what would we do without their obtuse, and arbitrary abuse thatkeeps pushing forward the continuing resolution of wasting the labor of thepeople and throwing away our natural resources?

 As the Obama administration promotes Bullying Awareness, I wonderif they see any bullying in their policies of forcing Health Care on the peoplewhile exempting themselves from it?   

Steve Lorz


Mickey Mouse returns

The Tonasket Middle School and HighSchool Band left following school dismissal on Wednesday, March 9 and returnedand returned from Disneyland on Sunday evening March 13. It was an incrediblybeautiful experience for these musicians being able to attend an afternoonclinic on musical sight-reading and then be in the parade into and through theDisneyland grounds.

They were chosen through audition,by Disneyland, for this opportunity even though they learned a lot, they alsoenjoyed the Disneyland atmosphere being exposed to many of the opportunitiesand activities on the grounds. It would be difficult to capture and communicatethe joy of the experience so I would suggest that you talk to any band member,the chaperones that accompanied them or the music director, Patti Middleton.

This old coffee drinker wasfortunate enough to be one of the adults along for the trip. Though I did nochaperoning, I can share something for which we can all be proud and grateful.The chaperones were absolutely incredible and worked as a team. But, thesestudent musicians were wonderfully beautiful in their attitude, conduct andoverall cooperativeness.

They way they acted, talked andpresented themselves well as they marched, as they played and as they were apart of the general public. Our band not only presented themselves in thehighest of deportment, but as a result they painted a positive picture of ourschool, student body and the town of Tonasket.

They left as Tonasket Tigers but inthe true atmosphere of Disneyland they returned as the mouse that roared havingleft a very positive impression upon all who experienced them.

The Old Coffee Drinker,

Randy Middleton


No help for little guy

What an unexpected agenda MotherNature has for us. The latest in Japan would make Godzilla jealous. Naturaldisasters have multiplied greatly in the last decade. Just a cycle? Maybe. Ifso, the people of the world are at great risk. All of us.

We live in a mysterious world whereanything can and will happen – eventually. Human nature prefers denial, a builtin safety net to protect our sanity, but we can’t hide from or ignore calamity.It can strike anywhere unannounced, ready to thin our population. Theegomaniac, self-serving, greedy, cold, heartless people in this world are in myopinion the main reason we are self-destructing. A lot of people have forgottentheir roots.

We are all a part of God’s family,all Earthlings and the hate and prejudice that permeates this world is going totake it down. Look at the GOP’s agenda. It appears they want class warfare as ameans to control (lock up) the have nots, mostly the ones that see the light.The money-grubbers of the world have no plan to help the little guy. They wantus out of the picture, with no say in any world events or economic design.

This plot being implemented will do nothing but make thepoor and downtrodden loved more than ever in God’s eyes. He does see and knowall. Don’t lose faith or hope in this mixed up world. It’s all part of theplan. Something loathsome is upon us and the whole world is under its thumb.Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of good out there but it’s gettingthinner by the day.

Dan Dixon