Pullman needs Chris Johnson

Do you know that Pullman needs Chris Johnson on the City Council? I think the current council members are good people and I don’t have anything bad to say about them. But I also realize that being a good person isn’t always enough when making big decisions for a growing city.

I have known Chris for years and he definitely fits the bill as far as character goes. He has impeccable integrity, courage to ask hard questions and that innate selfless nature that is essential for a public servant.

Let me put it in perspective. Years ago, Chris saw my family struggling to disassemble a large playset outside and dropped what he was doing, grabbed his tools, and came running to spend the afternoon helping us.

This vignette exemplifies Chris’s character and what he will figuratively do for Pullman.

I have seen Pullman sometimes flounder as we wrestle with growth management and the accompanying environmental and economic impacts therefrom. Chris has tools that will assist our city with these struggles.

With an MBA, and an impressive resume including posts like chief financial officer of WSU-CAHNRS, city finance director, and regional audit manager for the Washington State auditor’s office, he understands how to manage finances. But he has also managed huge environmental cleanup projects, and dealt with the intricacies of bonding and other city issues which frankly can be overwhelming to council members who don’t understand them the way Chris does.

Chris Johnson is qualified to work for the city of Pullman, yet is willing to give us his expertise and experience as a public servant. How can Pullman possibly turn down the opportunity to have someone so qualified on our City Council?

If you haven’t voted, please seriously consider Chris Johnson, because whether or not we realize it, we need him!

Lani Cordova, Pullman

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Supporting Zabala, Kelly and Laflin

I want to encourage Moscow voters to support Ann Zabala, Sandra Kelly, and Maureen Laflin on Tuesday. These three represent the Moscow that has been a little progressive island in traditionally regressive conservative state. Berends, Urquidez, and Mitchell do not uphold the values that have defined Moscow as a very special place to live for so many years.

Two of the candidates have stated that they would be in favor of removing an ordinance that protects LBGTQ people from discrimination; the other would not remove it but made it clear that he does not support those protections. Two of the conservative candidates belong to Christ Church, a cult-like fundamentalist group that has been trying to take control of Moscow for many years and demands obedience from its members. It would be naïve to think that with Berends, Urquidez, and Mitchell on the council further unchecked expansion of Christ Church would be prevented. Let’s not allow Moscow to become the Northwest version of Heritage USA of the Ark Encounter.

Let’s work against regressive ideology and unchecked sprawling growth. Vote for Ann Zabala, Sandra Kelly, and Maureen Laflin on Tuesday. Keep Moscow progressive.

Holli Cooper, Moscow

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Moscow police are not communists

For several months I’ve been reading headlines and emails referring to “massive tax increases,” people losing their homes, and even “Communism.”

But when I read the actual articles, I understand that the increase is about $8/month for a typical household (not per person). This is the funding for a Moscow police station, which was a legitimate need and approved by more than two-thirds of local voters, and a pay increase primarily for Moscow Police Department officers. I will pay more because I have a larger home, and large commercial properties will also pay more. The cost for the police station has actually come down substantially since we voted on it. How about that; a government program that is cheaper than advertised. This doesn’t sound like communism to me.

I’m quite certain our local police officers are not communists. The pay increase sounds like simple supply and demand economics: our police are among the best, which is why other departments want to hire them; law enforcement skills are in demand and if we want to keep them we need to pay them more.

Several years ago, Walter Steed was on the City Council while also chair of the Latah County Republicans. He had a master’s degree in business and spent several years studying the city budget before he ran for office, which seems like the right way to do things. If he didn’t find waste in the budget, it likely just isn’t there.

It now appears that these claims about taxes may have just been a distraction from people who oppose Moscow’s support of the gay community. I trust Moscow voters will see through this.

P.S. A disabled or retired person with a limited income can apply for a “Circuit Breaker” tax reduction by contacting the Latah County Assessor’s office.

Barrett Schroeder, Moscow

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If you don’t vote, you can’t complain

I would like to encourage voters to cast their ballots for Maureen Laflin. She is capable, concerned and enthusiastic. Remember, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain and every vote counts.

Kay Swenson, Moscow

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Proud of Pullman, but enough may be enough

We are once again being asked to approve more tax levies … the hospital this “go around” and probably the school district and city the next. Passage of these levies will result in wonderful additions for our city, but how many residents of Pullman really know that the community property owners (residents, landowners, and business owners) are the ones who are paying for the levies which are approved? (And yes, renters will also pay by increases in their rent).

Historically, Pullmanites have been willing to pay for the best. That is why we have beautiful schools and a wonderful hospital.Our parks are so well cared for, our streets are cleared of winter snow is timely manner, etc. etc. Historically I have been in favor of passing these levies, but I am beginning to feel that enough is enough.

I believe it is time we start thinking not only of the consequences of our yes votes but take a very hard look at whether or not our quests are absolutely necessary or if there are ways in which we can meet our needs in other ways? I’ve lived in this community long enough to remember when we used our creativity to meet our growing needs and wishes. One example: when our elementary schools became overcrowded, we moved our sixth-graders to the Lincoln Junior High (then becoming the Lincoln Middle School); when our middle school became overcrowded, we organized a second middle school (in Gladish, which the district then owned).

Midge Bashaw, Pullman

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Exciting times ahead; vote for right people

The upcoming years will be an exciting time for Moscow. The downtown is a dynamic, vibrant place with great restaurants and our farmers market. There is job growth lead by NRS and Emsi and our public sector employers. Our citizens are willing to invest in the city as shown by our police station bond.

But there are challenges. Because we are a desirable community, our housing prices are rising rapidly and with them property taxes. This increase is disturbing to all of us but a threat to many of those on fixed income. This is happening all over the state and the legislature may choose to cut property taxes. Unfortunately, the legislature doesn’t collect so the reduction in collected taxes will fall on cities, counties and schools — not the state. The city of Moscow will be under financial pressure if this happens because there is no other source of revenue to replace lost property taxes and the legislature is unlikely to give us a local option sales tax.

We need to have steady City Council leadership for the future. We need leaders who will make decisions benefitting the whole community. They will have to make tough choices on where to spend our tax dollars: economic development, affordable housing, police, roads and paying our city workers a fair wage are among the many needs.

Anne Zabala, Sandra Kelly and Maureen Laflin each have unique experiences that will strengthen our City Council. I have seen them all work in the community and I feel confident they will bring good judgement, wisdom and compassion for all the citizens of Moscow to the council. I will be voting for Anne, Sandra and Maureen and urge you to vote for them as well.

David Nelson, Moscow

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Johnson is the right choice for Pullman

The citizens of Pullman have a unique opportunity to elect Chris Johnson as one of your City Council members. Chris and I worked together at the Washington State Auditor’s Office and during that time he served as both a role model and mentor to me.

While we have both moved on in our careers, Chris and I have always kept in touch to seek each other’s opinion on how to solve problems we face in our careers. I can always count on him for level-headed advice. His knowledge of how things get done in local government is second to none.

I strongly urge the citizens of Pullman to support Chris on Nov. 5. He is one of the most ethical and trustworthy people I know – You can count on him to be a tireless advocate for the best interests of Pullman.

Justin Long, Olympia

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Supporting Laflin for Moscow City Council

I support Maureen Laflin for Moscow City Council. I have known her in several capacities: first as a faculty member at the University of Idaho College of Law when I was a student, then as a colleague after I graduated, and currently as a collaborator on appellate cases. Maureen is a smart, dedicated and passionate public servant and has served our community for the past 28 years.

As a lawyer and mediator, Maureen has a collaborative approach to problem solving which will serve Moscow well. She listens to and considers each person’s viewpoint, and she will seek out information from knowledgeable experts in order to make well-informed decisions.

Maureen served as the director of the College of Law’s Legal Aid Clinic for nearly 25 years, supporting and advocating for the citizens of this town. Her extensive background managing situations of conflict and helping individuals and groups come to resolutions is a vital skill for the City Council. As a member of the Moscow City Council, Maureen will continue her distinguished history of supporting and advocating for our city.

Join me on Nov. 5 in electing Maureen Laflin to the Moscow City Council.

Jay Johnson, Moscow

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Laflin will prove breath of fresh air in Moscow

I encourage everyone to vote Nov. 5. When you vote I hope you will support Maureen Laflin. There are many reasons Laflin is a great choice for City Council – she is smart, thorough, conscientious, experienced, and devoted to public service. For me the most important reason to vote for Laflin is that she will listen to everyone and work to bring us all together. Laflin is willing to sit down with anyone, from any background, and discuss the issues confronting our town.

She will weigh all viewpoints before reaching any conclusions. She will act in the best interests of all the people of Moscow. Maureen is a uniter who strives to build consensus whenever possible. As a mediator she works to enable the competing parties to find a solution of their own making, so that both parties can take ownership in the resolution of the dispute. I am confident she will do that for all the people of Moscow.

In these times, when discord and division surround our politics and everyday life, Laflin is a breath of fresh air seeking to bring people together for the common good. Please vote Nov. 5 and please vote for Maureen Laflin so that Moscow can be a place that is even greater than it is today!

Ben Beard, Moscow

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