Friday, October 14, 2011

North Cascade Hwy

I have worked for WSDOT since 1993- there are many good people who work there and go the extra mile everyday. There are many different jobs, in fact jobs are changing daily it seems.  Next year they make pavement markings a separate crew for the region. We love to paint the North Cascade Hwy- but never have participated in the spring opening. This video made last May shows you some of the things that go into opening it up in the spring. In two more months it will probably close due to snow. I hope you have had the opportunity to cross the North Cascade Hwy (SR 20)- sometime. It is one of the most beautiful routes in the state.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seattle Duck Boats

Yesterday we drove to Seattle. It was fun. We arrived around noon and got home around 11. We met Sue and Keisha, Tim & Janice as well as Derek, Dawn, Grace & Trent. It was a beautiful day, and did not start raining until we left for home around 8;30pm.  We ate lunch at Seattle Center(pizza for me), took the duck boat tour, took monorail downtown,  and ate dinner at Cheese Cake Factory(Bbq.salmon for me). I forgot my camera, but found this video on youtube that pretty much described the duck boat tour and shows you how beautiful Seattle is on a Sunny Day. I think this video was made 2 years ago- but do things really change- can you believe next year the Space Needle (and monorail) turns 50? And the Elephant Car Wash in Seattle is still going?
 Taken around 8pm
Taken around 2;30pm
On the Monorail

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'll be Broke for Christmas

The PFD issue goes back to 2006.  I have stated before "I am opposed to putting a sales tax increase on the ballot- period."

I get tired of hearing its only .2% increase- I can remember when sales tax was 5%- now we are at 8.1%- Yes I know Seattle has higher sales tax, but that is one reason I do not live there and certainly not a reason to raise taxes. I remember when a vote was taken to lower the .4% link sales tax amount- and because it was a 3 choice ballot issue, the majority actually favored lowering sales tax, but because the highest single option which was to keep it where it was- that option passed. If it will only cost you 30.00 more per year, then why not lower it by .2% and we would not miss it? Some figure a .2% increase would cost  EW city residents over 600,000 per year? For the next 20 years for more? With Inflation, could that amount double in 20 years?  Then do not forget the state may want to increase your sales tax as well? Inflation this year is running over 4% and many did not receive salary increases last  couple years, many took pay cuts,  and some were laid off.  Where does it end- just look at your next phone bill next time or book a vacation. Some think increasing taxes will cause inflation and hurt the working class people.

Lastly- I can promise you I would never have voted for the PFD district if indeed there was any possibility of a tax increase later on. (the council vote was 6-1) I was promised it would never happen. Now I wish I had voted no on the PFD, partly so the state could have kept the .4% sales tax portion since they are so broke now. I have heard some say that Wenatchee could take half of the LINK 4% sales tax and give it to the arena debt? Others have said Wenatchee could impose .2% on City of Wenatchee only, and we would then pay it when shopping there? The city spent over 8,000 on a study  on a sales tax increase with the results a resounding no on even putting it on the ballot- what has changed in 1 year? I personally think Wenatchee has known about this bill for years and done little toward resolving it, and perhaps spent more on legal fees fighting it than resolving it.

It is not my intent to tell Wenatchee what to do. I am sorry for this mess and the needless finger pointing that has gone on. I have nothing to hide. You can listen to council tapes if you wish. I did find this email in my files that showed information I was given and shared several years ago on this. It is between Mark Kulaas and Mary Hunt back in 2006;
From: [ ]
Mark- thanks for your openness, and thanks for your recent vote regarding the pfd. I certainly know less than you do, and many of the issues you face, we face in East Wenatchee only on a different project- but I know the pressure you must have been under for such a vote. I am greatly troubled over the fact that the 4.3 million overrun is just for finance/interest charges- not contruction and change orders, which has not even began? 4.3 million amount seems high considering the city will be buying it back in a year or so and that part of the 43 million must be for finanicing/interest already? I am also concerned that the speed this is being pushed thru could overlook other things as you stated.(look how long it has taken for us to get the East Side Hiway project....) I wanted to share emails I had at start just in case those issues were overlooked- although maybe Wenatchee is holding the bag- all taxes come from citizens, whether they come back from Olympia or DC. I certainly am not trying to tell you how to vote- I just am glad you took time to look at both sides of this issue- something I feel many others have not. I get concerned when I always see unanimous votes on issues. This is more than an emotional issue, there are facts involved that must be addressed. Another issue that may be overlooked is parking- does the parking spaces provided meet code and are they adequate for a full house? Dennis

From: [ ]
To: Mary Hunt (x261)
Subject: public facilities district agreement
Mary- thanks for your assurance that our citizens cannot get stuck with additional taxes like happened with metro in king county. Like I said, this was not a big deal,- I just was surprised at the opposition to that simple wording being inserted. We have it in minutes stating our city cannot be liable in any way, and page 2, sect.3 actually does does exempt city from liabilities of district, thanks to a wording change by Chuck. I did vote for the agreement. We had one no vote, and that was based on his feelings that private business should operate without taxdollar support- the same feeling as he has toward football and baseball stadium in King county. I appreciate your input and letting me vent- I value your wisdom. this facility will come in handy at graduation time next year and in tourism to our valley. Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Mary Hunt (x261)
Sent: Tue, 9 May 2006 08:34:53 -0700
Subject: RE: public facilities district agreement
Good Morning Dennis,
Thanks for your interest in the PFD and wanting to protect the interest of your citizens, that is commendable!!!!!!!! I do believe the structure of the way the PFD is set up and the resolutions and ordinances are set up that there is no possible way the City of Wenatchee can come back to us financially. Rest assured that will not happen. This arena will be a good thing for the future of this valley and our kids. I believe we are going to adopt the resolution today, at least I'm voting yes.
It was good seeing you and your wife last Friday. Boy could you believe the crowd at the parade?
Take care,
Mary Hunt, Douglas County Commissioner
District 3
PO Box 747
Waterville, Wa 98858
509-745-8537 office
509-630-3576 cell
632-5213 home
From: [ ]
Sent: Monday, May 08, 2006 10:08 PM
To: Mary Hunt (x261)
Subject: public facilities district agreement
I don't know if you have signed the events center PFD interlocal agreement yet or not. I am having a problem with their possible refusal to allow us to insert in section 8 "a hold harmless from any liability for East Wenatchee city residents, should there be insufficient funds to meet any obligations of the district."
I have concerns regarding their possible refusal to insert such language. The PFD is a stand alone agency, we were clearly told our city residents have no financial obligation in a council meeting last year- and the fact they are reluctant to put that in writing speaks louder than anything else. I certainly do not expect to hold up this PFD district by my one vote- but unless I see a hold harmless agreement for our citizens, I will probably withhold my support for this agreement Tuesday night.
Just wanted to give you a heads up- not trying to sway your vote or make a big issue out of this. This question could come up on your KPQ interview Tomorrow. Dennis

----Original Message-----
From: Allison Williams <>
Sent: Tue, 9 May 2006 13:15:20 -0700
Subject: RE: PFD Interlocal Agreement

Thank you for the opportunity! 

From: []
Sent: Tuesday, May 09, 2006 1:11 PM
To: Allison Williams
Subject: Re: PFD Interlocal Agreement
 thanks- that was exactly what the hold harmless agreement would do. If you decide to take out insurance, that is up to you, as long as the hold harmless wording is in place to procect us- I will support agreement. I do not expect it to be a big issue as it is a private entity and we cannot be held responsible- its just a extra protection that will probably never be needed. If any, the wording will show even more your faith in the system. thanks for responding.

-----Original Message-----
From: Allison Williams <>
Sent: Tue, 9 May 2006 11:35:42 -0700
Subject: PFD Interlocal Agreement

Good morning Dennis:  I was in Waterville this morning and Mary Hunt passed along your email to me and asked that I respond.  We want to assure you that the city of Wenatchee is doing everything in our power to support the Public Facilities District and alleviate concerns of liability of other PFD members.  After this issue came up, we spoke with our representative at the Association of Washington Cities and Nancy Neraas, our advisor with Preston Gates and Ellis for the PFD formation.  They assured us that the PFD, as an independent entity will have their own insurance that will hold all members harmless.  As an assurance that the PFD would have that insurance, we have added language that the city of Wenatchee would pay for it if it was needed.  We believe that this will protect all of us as members of the Public Facilities District. 
It was also assuring for me to speak with Randy Lumsden at AWC and be assured that we are not recreating the wheel, but instead following where groundwork has already been laid. 
Thank you, and please don't hesitate to let me know if you have other concerns. 
Thank you!! 
Allison Williams
Executive Services Director
City of Wenatchee
P.O. Box 519
Wenatchee WA 98807-519
(509)664-3335 (fax)