Letters to the Editor: Sept. 15, 2016

Writing too many litigation checks

Dear Editor,

The county commissioners have recently given final approval to both the county Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance. These documents now will guide land use in the county.

Both the Plan and now the accompanying ordinance have been appealed. The first appeal, on the Plan alone, was filed in 2015 by the Methow Valley Citizens Council (MVCC) and Futurewise. It was based on the argument that the Plan was inadequate and a violation of state law. It over-allocated water

resources, ignored the county’s own wildfire protection plan, and failed to identify the agricultural, forest and mineral resource lands on which the county economy is based.

Superior Court Judge Culp, ruling on the original appeal in late 2015, asked the county commissioners and the appellants to work together to resolve these issues in the final plan and zoning ordinance. The commissioners declined.

Thus, after the final approval in July 2016, the appellants, noting that none of their original issues had

been considered, were forced again to appeal. This time they were joined by the Yakama Nation, who contend that the Plan threatens the Tribe’s fishing rights by failing to protect the quality and quantity of groundwater. They also contest as inadequate the county’s argument that regulations are already in place at the project level.

So once again our commissioners go to court, using their expensive private attorney to represent them at a cost of $300 an hour. These expenses will be added to the many other litigation costs undertaken by the commissioners in the past 3 years.

Despite budgetary difficulties, the litigation checkbook always appears open to them.

Jessica McNamara



Must voice my concerns

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express a deep concern I have regarding Sheila Kennedy’s honesty. On more than one public occasion, she has disparaged my late husband, Michael Greene, who served the community as Director of Tonasket EMS District. She claims he mismanaged funds and that he was somehow responsible for the demise of the EMS District. Quite a feat for a person who was dead long before Tonasket EMS District dissolved!

Over 2014-2015 Washington State Auditor’s office performed a routine audit of the EMS District. The preliminary auditor’s report (which was unchanged in the final report) was made available to the Board of County Commissioners towards the end of 2015. After reviewing this audit report, the BOCC voted in December 2015, to RENEW my late husband’s contract as Director of Tonasket EMS District for another term. If the BOCC had unresolved concerns about my late husband’s performance, I seriously doubt they would have voted to renew his contract!

My husband died of a cardiac arrest on January 8, 2016 after a valiant effort of resuscitation by myself and members of Tonasket EMS, Tonasket FD. and North Valley Hospital ED staff.

Within two months, the Tonasket EMS District Advisory Board suggested the BOCC hire another Tonasket EMS member as director. It was AFTER my husband’s death and subsequent appointment of the new untested director, that the Tonasket EMS District began to falter. Whatever the reason for these problems, they were new and arose AFTER my husband’s death! As a volunteer Advanced EMT member of Tonasket EMS District, I observed this situation first hand.

It is a complete lie for Sheila Kennedy to claim that actions of my late husband Michael Greene, were the reason the BOCC had to dissolve the standing Tonasket EMS organization and award the service contract to Life Line Ambulance Incorporated. It is also a cowardly attempt to shift responsibility for an unpopular decision she made in the year she is seeking re-election.

Shame on Sheila Kennedy for blaming her own unpopular decision on a dead man who is not even here to defend himself in the public arena!

I hesitated to voice my concern regarding this situation for many months. But, I believe the voting public has a right to know there is another side to this story and that Sheila Kennedy is being dishonest in her public version of the “facts”.

In service to my community,

Barbara Greene

Wife of the late TEMS Director, Michael Greene


Excited for upcoming commissioner election

Dear Editor,

It is exciting to have an election for Okanogan County commissioner that is both competitive and includes candidates that are a significant improvement over the sitting commissioners. I am writing in support of the candidate that I consider the most capable and motivated in the race, Ashley Thrasher.

The single most important quality in a county commissioner is the desire and ability to understand the complex needs of the county’s citizens and our businesses to create conditions that will improve the economy, public health and disaster preparedness for the long term. Ashley Thrasher has the drive and intellect to accomplish this. I have seen Ashley dive deep into the data and work tirelessly to communicate with her prospective constituents to understand their needs and perspectives. I have seen Ashley seek the counsel of local health professionals to understand the current opiate crisis and strategies for treatment and public health response. I have seen Ashley engage business owners both large and small to understand what the county can do to support private business without limiting the county’s ability to serve our community directly. I have seen Ashley’s multifaceted understanding of wildfire prevention and preparedness.

Above all, I know that Ashley Thrasher will be a powerful advocate for all the members of our county and will communicate in an open and honest way with every one of us!

Joshua Cole



Supporting Thrasher for job

Dear Editor,

The race is on between Ashley Thrasher and Andy Hover for Okanogan County commissioner in district 1. Both are excellent candidates for the position and the selection is difficult.

I have decided to support Ashley Thrasher for the following reasons.

During the public forums she was the most organized and most clearly outlined her position on various issues. During the public meetings she was the only one to point out that the county commissioners made several decisions that were detrimental to Okanogan county and its citizens. These decisions ranged from hiring out of area contractors verses local workers, entering into several avoidable expensive lawsuits and the commissioners failing to support conservation easements.

She will listen to the needs and concerns of the citizens of Okanogan County and act in a manner that will be open and responsive. She is hard working, organized, thoughtful and yet tough enough to handle the duties required of a county commissioner.

Al Hymer