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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
NSD Board needs strong leadership
I believe Todd Banks (District 5), Jeff Wirrick, Julia Lacey and Arthur Hu (District 1) are contesting the seats because the Northshore School District Board needs to take a different direction to successfully lead the district.
In the next few years, our district faces unprecedented economic challenges that impact it at every level (e.g., school closures, employee layoffs, eliminating and reducing programs and reducing support for both the gifted and remedial students). We need leaders to consider and apply innovative solutions toward fiscally prudent decisions. Furthermore, the board needs to seek out and build on the knowledge of our community members.
For example, the district will implement new math curricula for K-12, yet it did not seek formal and objective input from parents about whether/how they supported their children in their math work or how their children reacted to the math being piloted. Once they decide on new curricula, our community will be stuck with these programs for the next 10 years. Do we really want our children to continue being subjected to programs like the Connected Math Program and Core Plus? Because of issues like this, we need new and strong leadership in the school board.
Lyng Wong, Bothell
Kenmore City Council evaluation time
The recent article titled “Baker Q & A hits on State Route 522, post office” of June 3 requires an evaluation of the council’s performance over the past four years.
The mayor’s side-stepping of the SR 522 construction and post-office relocation issues are classical examples of this council’s ineptitude and inability to solve city problems. The following items indicate the lack of leadership and quality decisions by this council on some pertinent city issues.
• SR 522 (Bothell Way) construction: The council promised completion of this project in one year. Failed. Original cost projected at $33 million, now $78 million with a $25 million shortfall in funding. The council’s promise was, if the 9-cent gas tax passed the SR 522 was a done deal. Failed.
• Kenmore City Hall: This is an over-sized and over-priced structure. A quality city hall could have been built for several million dollars less cost. The project is loaded with luxury features and non-essentials, such as underground parking. This project is funded by a short-term loan at considerable interest, which was unnecessary when reserve funds were available. The council’s main objective for this building is to receive the gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) award and not what was in the best interest of taxpayers.
• Kenmore Village Project: This project is in limbo. There is no start date and no completion date. There is no anchor-store commitment and the downtown area is becoming a “ghost town.” The developer received substantial tax abatement at taxpayers’ expense. Low-income housing will receive tax exemptions for 12 years. These are bad concessions. Prospects are bleak for success.
• Kenmore Post Office: The council is without a post-office relocation plan after two years of talks with the U.S. Postal Service. This is a clear indication the council has no plan as to where public services will be located. Everything is in a haphazard mode.
• Urgent traffic light at 61st Avenue Northeast and Notheast 181st Street: The council promised a traffic light at this dangerous intersection four years ago. Failed. Later, citizens were informed the light would be too expensive. The final report indicated it would be coordinated with the SR 522 project. This may be years away.
• Unauthorized medical-insurance coverage for councilmembers: The council approved medical insurance for councilmembers without citizen approval. Councilmembers did not request such benefits when running for office. Citizens placed the “heat” on the council and coverage was rescinded.
• City master plan: According to councilmembers, there is no city master plan, only a division of four quadrants. There is no plan for placing public services and businesses with coordinated logic. Very poor planning.
This council has a four-year history of inferior planning, bad project funding and control of resources. This council failed to place citizen interests first and lack of serious communication with the public when facing city problems.
With the election of councilmembers due in November, Kenmore voters are encouraged to consider replacing incumbents.
Hugh Wiese, Kenmore