Bickelhaupt should be re-elected to Columbia Hospital Board
I am writing this letter in support of Blaine Bickelhaupt, who is running for re-election to the Columbia County Hospital Board.
I served with Blaine on the Hospital Board for four years and continue to serve with him on the Hospital Finance Committee. There is a steep learning curve, and it takes several months to get up to speed when you first start on the Hospital Board.
It takes longer than that to understand hospital operations and budgets. In the next year there will be changes in the way and amount of money the hospital receives from Medicare and Medicaid. These payments will be reduced in the coming year.
Dayton is designated as a Critical Access Hospital, and because of this, it gets cost-based reimbursement. This designation allows hospitals in small communities to stay financially viable.
The critical access piece may also look different next year. Budget reductions that are necessary at the state and federal levels (due to the economic picture) will make an impact at our hospital and will change the bottom line on operations.
This impact could be substantial. In the next year I feel it is important to have individuals on the board who understand and can work with large budgets and are familiar with hospital operations. It is important that the Board members have the qualifications to deal with the changing economic picture.
Blaine has these qualifications and would be an asset to the community serving another term as our hospital commissioner.
Initiative 1183 makes liquor to easy to obtain in Washington
I was discharged from the Army at Fort George Meade, Md., in 1947 (drafted at the end of the war in Stevens Point, Wis.). During job interviews (for some, I was still in uniform) at various locations in Maryland, I noted the availability of hard liquor everywhere - corner groceries, drug stores, delicatessens, even gas stations and at competitive prices. In sharp contrast to my recent residence in Pennsylvania, 1943 to 1945.
I also recall both my younger brother (he was on college break) and I attended a couple of New Year's Eve parties (1947-48) with lots of girls and liquor We were both real sick - he more so than me - the next day. He was just barely of legal age (looked too young) and I recall that nearly a majority of the other partygoers of both sexes were underage.
Subsequently, he was teetotal for 14 years. Both of us now avoid hard liquor and consume only beer and wine in moderation.
Initiative 1183 will make it all too easy for our younger generation to become addicted. Investment advisors identify the alcoholic beverage industry as a growth investment, in contrast, regrettably, to the dairy industry.
Mike Fredrickson is wise choice for Port commissioner
Mike Fredrickson has a great record as Port of Walla Walla commissioner.
During his tenure the next section of U.S Highway 12 has been completed, the five-building wine complex has been finished and occupied and most importantly, the award-winning Railex Produce Distribution Center has been completed and is swiftly moving area produce to the East Coast in four to five days.
Mr. Fredrickson was recently appointed to the Governor's Connecting Washington Task Force.
This body recommends transportation projects and funding to the Legislature. He is one of three appointees from Eastern Washington. This is a very responsible position and recognizes his value to this area.
A lot is being said about the Port's policy of land acquisition. In its competition for businesses with family wage jobs, the client companies won't talk to a Port district that doesn't have land and infrastructure available. Negotiations with potential clients would be a nightmare if multiple landowners had to be involved in the transaction.
Yes, the land is off the tax rolls, but without the Port's retaining land itswork would be impossible.
Transparency is another issue stressed by the opposition. There are sufficient laws and rules in place to ensure this. Many companies the Port does business with will say specifically, "if any of this information gets out, we will end our negotiations." The Port simply can't run to the media every time a business sneezes in this direction.
The real underlying motivation of the challenger is the removal of Jim Kuntz as Port executive director. Mr. Kuntz is doing a great job. The Port's tax rate has declined, costing the taxpayers less each year and he has directed the highway completion, winery incubator and Railex projects. His salary is approximately in the middle of competing area's CEOs. His responsibility level is very high and deserves his level of compensation
Mike Fredrickson is a man of great personal integrity with deep family roots in this Valley. His dedication to his job is as deep as his roots. Considering the level of recognition he has achieved and his stellar record of achievement as a commission member, he deserves to be retained.
Mike Fredrickson, the wise choice for Port commissioner.
Cummins works for the city and Southeastern Washington
This letter supports Jerry Cummins for Walla Walla City Council, Position 4. He supports regional issues such as retention of the VA hospital and safety improvements for U.S. Highway 12. The VA is important to me because my husband is deployed in Afghanistan and returning soldiers may need VA medical services upon their return.
Jerry has proven his desire to serve the citizens of Walla Walla with an unbiased and objective history. Jerry has many years of dedicated public service as a member of the Walla Walla City Council and has approached issues in a conservative and objective manner.
Not only do you see Jerry at large public events, you also see him at VA Community Task Force meetings, public transportation meetings, community dedications, etc. He is vested in Walla Walla and Southeastern Washington.
His service is recognized by several state agencies and his appointment to the Public Works Trust Board has put Southeastern Washington communities in a position of having a representative capable of addressing our local infrastructure needs.
I encourage citizens of the city of Walla Walla to re-elect Jerry Cummins!
Walla Walla Valley community helped one of its own
If you did not attend the benefit for Todd Munden at the Milton-Freewater Posse House, you missed a big treat. It is amazing when our community comes together to support one of our own.
Yes, even though he does not live in Walla Walla, people from all around this community came to support this hometown hero who has a hero's courage and courageous smile.
To look at him, you would not know anything was wrong. But after reading the bio of his pathway challenge, oh - howdy - he truly has courage beyond belief and he is what we call a hero.
Everyone makes mistakes, but when that mistake costs more than money, the true friends come out of the clouds to give a helping hand. Oct. 8 was an landmark night for this Valley ... we come out to support one of our own who was hurting. That is what is great about our community, we help when help is needed.
So many helping hands made this gathering of friends so successful. To be just a small part helped me believe in this community and Valley. Way to go Walla Walla, Lowden, Touchet, Waitsburg and, of course .Milton-Freewater.
Todd Munden, may the Lord speed your recovery in lightning fast mode.
R. T. Swanson
Have President Obama and his gang sunk to new low?
It hasn't been that long since Barack Obama stated that nasty remarks and name calling should have no place in political discourse. Obama neglected to mention that nasty remarks and name calling are still OK if uttered by Obama and his supporters.
Obama is desperate to see his massive boondoggle spending bill passed. It's obvious he'll go to any lengths to bully congressional Republicans into voting for it. Just within the past few weeks, Obama showed no restraint when it came to implying that Republicans lack intelligence.
Obama said Republicans just don't understand his spending proposal, so it has to be broken up in little pieces so Republicans can grasp it. Then, Obama said that Republicans want "dirty water and dirty air."
Joe Biden says rapes will increase if Obama's spending bill isn't passed. The way Biden thinks, which is just like his boss, Republicans want more sexual assaults.
Democrat Rep. Andre Carson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has said tea party members want to see black Americans "hanging on a tree."
Have Obama and his gang sunk to a new low? In my opinion, they were already there!
Campaigning at fundraiser inappropriate
On Oct. 2 the American Association of University Women Walla Walla Chapter held its annual kitchen tour community fundraiser. This is a great event and AAUW should be recognized accordingly.
Regrettably, Barlow Corkrum used this community fundraising event to promote his campaign for Port commissioner. Mr. Corkrum's remodeled kitchen was part of the tour. When you got to his house you were asked to take one of his campaign brochures as people were actively campaigning.
Mr. Corkrum should have used better judgment. Taking advantage of an AAUW community fundraiser for his own personal campaign is uncalled for. He should have put this fundraiser targeted for student scholarships and local educational projects ahead of his own ambitions. He should have taken one day away from his campaign and simply supported this community event as a citizen.
I am sure AAUW did not approve Mr. Corkrum using its event to advance his personal campaign for the Port commission, nor do I believe AAUW is endorsing his campaign. AAUW is a fine organization and is not to blame. It appears it was simply being taken advantage of.
It would be in AAUW's best interest to publicly clarify Mr. Corkrum was not authorized to use the event as part of his campaign.
Fresh ideas, people needed on Council
A recent letter to the editor stated that Mary Lou Jenkins hadn't attended Walla Walla City Council meetings because she said "she has a life."
Perhaps it's because she's busy listening to the concerns of the citizens of Walla Walla. Perhaps it's because she's been making time in "her life" to attend functions for a variety of businesses and organizations that have never had a chance to be heard by current Council members.
However, with all of the ways each and every citizen of Walla Walla has access to the Internet and complete coverage by our very own Union-Bulletin, she can - and has - kept abreast of Council agendas without being there in person. This is due to the advent of these new, fresh technologies.
On that note, new, fresh ideas, perspectives and people are desperately needed in our City Council.
Twenty-plus years on a Council doesn't sound fresh or very willing to adapt to anything new. For a city that is obviously crying out for a new direction, and cries that land on deaf ears, their time is up.
All of the new candidates deserve a chance to be heard and bring forth the ideas of the citizens of Walla Walla - citizens who are fed up with the same "good old boys" calling the shots.
Vote for Mary Lou Jenkins and all other challengers this November!
Mall owners should pay for tire
My daughter was driving to Sears to return shoes for me on her lunch break. She turned at the stoplight behind the old Rex building. As she was headed to Sears she tried to avoid a giant pothole. Let's just say the pothole won.
She heard air loudly hissing so she got out to look. Her brand new tire was flat. A big hole in it.
She called her dad who called Hinton Tire Service, our tire guy who went to make the car operable so we could get it to his shop. He will have to order another tire. Keep in mind it is a $120 per tire. We just spent $480 on four new tires.
I called the city of Walla Walla and was redirected to the city attorney's office. The person I talked to was nice but did not know who to tell me to contact. The attorneys are in court the next two days.
In the meantime, my daughter sits with no vehicle. Yes, she has full coverage insurance but the deductible is $250. She is a single parent with two jobs, no child support and she borrowed the money to buy the tires from her parents. We already are stretched thin as she is starting college at Hair Tech in January.
We never ask for money or hand outs. We take care of our own. However, enough is enough. These people who own the Blue Mountain Mall should be embarrassed. If the mall parking lot was taken care of properly this would not have happened. Yes I am frustrated. I want answers. Who is going to pay for this? When are these people going to own up and show their faces?
Oversight by Port management poor
The management of the Port of Walla Walla needs to be held accountable for years of poor oversight and poor decision making.
In far too many instances the Port has failed to protect the financial interests of the public and it has resulted in millions of dollars of losses.
The biggest case in point is the $110 million bond default by the Port of Walla Walla in a deal between Ponderosa Fibres and its joint venture with what was then Boise Cascade.
Real people lost real money on that deal in which the Port management was directly involved. People's retirements that were invested in certain mutual funds or municipal bonds lost their savings as a result of a very risky deal that went bad, brokered by the Port of Walla Walla.
More recently the Port's insurance costs have increased from $78,000 to nearly $300,000 per year because Enduris, the government insurance pool provider kicked the Port out of the pool, saying that Port management "failed to comply or cooperate with risk management requests" and the Port "failed to conform to Enduris' underwriting guidelines." Not a good track record for the executive director or the commissioners who provided oversight.
I believe the management of the Port of Walla Walla needs far better oversight from someone with honesty and integrity we can trust. For these reasons and many others, I fully support Barlow Corkrum for the Walla Walla Port Commission.
Fred Mitchell has experience needed
I have known Fred Mitchell all my life and I'm proud to say he's my dad.
He has always been a man of honor and integrity and is being supported by the Walla Walla firefighters and the chief of police in this election.
Walla Walla has always been his home and he has spent a lifetime serving this community. He has the time and the experience to help guide our city through these hard economic times. I urge you to join me in supporting him in the upcoming election.
Corkrum cares about our environment
I am writing in support of Barlow Corkrum's candidacy for District 2 Port commissioner. Born and raised in Walla Walla, Barlow knows this county and cares about its citizens - a commitment proven by his history of active participation in local affairs. He understands what our community was, is - and most importantly - what it can be.
Barlow recognizes the Port can and should recruit beyond just industrial enterprises to include retail, tourism, and development of our own homegrown talent. He understands that small businesses create most of the new jobs, and he fully supports restoring the small business development center.
Realizing that our quality of life is dependent on the quality of our environment, Barlow sounded an early alarm when the Port tried to recruit a polluting coal-fueled power plant into our Valley.
For that we should all be thankful.
In short, Barlow Corkrum is a man of intellect, integrity and vision. Please join me in supporting Barlow Corkrum for Port commissioner.
Karen Hoel Kinder
Mike Fredrickson tends to business
I have listened to Mr. Corkrum twice as he has solicited my support. I do not appreciate or agree with his approach of reorganizing the Port's priorities nor his future plan of investigating the activities of the Port. This is unnecessary, counterproductive, wasteful and extremely costly to us as taxpayers.
As a business person and supporter of the U.S. Highway 12 project my interest lies in generating family wage jobs and good transportation in and out of the Valley, which the Port has done.
Mr. Corkrum does not appear to be an expert in business development, marketing or management as is our current Port staff. Mr. Fredrickson has these qualifications and appears to be using them to promote the Port's goals effectively.
Mr. Corkrum's goals seem to be merely to "stir the pot" and sow divisiveness between the other commissioners and staff. Mr. Fredrickson, on the other hand ,works well with the other commissioners and staff and leads from a position of positive reinforcement rather than confrontation as Mr. Corkrum has promised to do.
In Mr. Corkrum's letter to the editor dated Oct. 10 he infers that the Port's economic development meetings are business meetings requiring minutes to be taken and a record made of those who attend and how they voted. I find this view very interesting as I have regularly attended these meetings for many years and have only been asked to "vote" once or twice and only as a means to gather a general consensus from community leaders on a particular subject.
These meetings are not business meetings but rather a report to the community on Port activities, economic conditions of the state, city of Walla Walla, Walla Walla County and other significant business activity in general. No official business is conducted at these events that would require minutes to be taken. Mr. Corkrum also complains that lunch is provided at the Port's expense to attendees. This is true and greatly appreciated by those who take their lunch hour to attend.
From my conversations with Mr. Corkrum and my observations from the campaign it appears that the bottom line to Mr. Corkrum's basis for running for Port commissioner is not to unseat an unqualified incumbent or improve the Port's performance, but rather is a personal vendetta against certain Port staff. Period!
Business at the Port or any organization should be above petty politics and personal smears, which is why I support Mike Fredrickson for Port commissioner. He tends to business!
Airport is front door for new business
The contest for Port commissioner has been full of sound and fury, but there has been very little mention of one of the Port's prime responsibilities. The Port of Walla Walla offices are just a few hundred feet from the main runway of the airport, and that airport is the front door for new business in the Valley.
Tomorrow's new investors, new employers or company managers are going to arrive by business jet, and the airport presents their first look at the city. Any pilot who regularly visits towns in the Pacific Northwest knows that Walla Walla's front door needs some work.
Some of the issues seem arcane, such as the category of runway lighting the Port chooses to install and how that impacts year-round air traffic.
Other issues are as simple as providing a comfortable place for business pilots and business passengers to meet and greet.
The best efforts of the dedicated people who operate the facilities at the airport cannot overcome the shortcomings of the facilities themselves. The airport is more than just a big piece of real estate to develop and rent. The airport is one of the most important business advantages Walla Walla possesses, and someone needs to pay more attention to it.
Taxpayers should be outraged
Port of Walla Walla commissioners' management decisions have come into question recently over excessive executive salaries, trips to the director's condo in Phoenix and the director's unprofessional behavior, etc. As with most things, there is always more to the story.
The Port of Walla Walla's three commissioners oversee the executive director and have set his salary at nearly $160,000 per year. That salary is higher than Washington state's attorney general, all 174 Superior Court judges and over three times our state legislators' salary. No question, the Port director is extremely well compensated by our commissioners.
The bigger question is, why did the Port commissioners fail to address alleged concerns about unprofessional behavior?
What our current Port commissioners might have done through their mismanagement is to put the Port into a very precarious, very costly position. If this were a publicly-traded company, stockholders would be outraged. In this case, it is taxpayers who should be outraged.
The truth is Port is doing well
It would seem that some are of the opinion that if something is repeated enough it will become true, even if totally untrue or unfounded. Such applies to the Port race.
It was first alleged that the Port meetings only recently started keeping minutes. Not true. It was alleged that the Port conducts its business behind closed doors. Not true. Other allegations, innuendo, gossip and insinuations have been made, but aren't really worth further discussion.
The truth is the Port of Walla Walla is doing pretty well. Given the economy over the last three years, the Port is doing exceedingly well.
The truth is the Port has been keeping accurate minutes, records and accounting for decades. The truth is the Port's meetings are published well in advance, are open to the public and if anyone wishes, one may attend and even speak or ask questions at every meeting.
The truth is the Port's offices are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, and many weekends you will find the executive director, Jim Kuntz, in his office still working. Jim is available, informed and diligent, and he does a great job for the Port.
Anyone is welcome at the Port offices to ask any questions, offer suggestions or just take a look at what goes on there. I've done so. If you want information, go, ask. The truth.
The truth is this group of Port commisioners, along with the executive director, are doing very well by this community. They are diligent, hard working, knowledgeable, attentive and great stewards of public interests. They listen, they investigate, they solve, they prepare for tomorrow.
They are doing well by the citizens of this wonderful community, love this community, and are our neighbors. Mike Fredrickson is an important part of the success the Port enjoys, and will continue to serve us well. The truth.
Our votes are important. Base yours on the truth, not gossip, unfounded assertions or sour grapes. My vote is for Mike Fredrickson, based on what I have seen, experienced and know. The truth.
Fredrickson doesn't use service for political gain
On Oct. 2 I attended the American Association University of Women annual kitchen tour. This is a fundraiser event for student scholarships and local educational projects. As a retired teacher I really value the purpose of this event.
One of the kitchens on the tour was that of Barlow Corkrum. The kitchen was beautiful. In looking around I noticed he had his campaign materials on the island counter top. He also was visiting with those of us as we entered the kitchen area. One couple was new to the area so he was homing in on them and presenting them with his literature. This bothered me as being new to the area, would they know of the commissioner role that he was campaigning for?
I felt it was a conflict of interest as he was using this community fundraising event to advance his political ambitions to be elected to the Port Commission. I also felt there was undue political pressure to take one of his campaign brochures. Did the organizers of the tour know of his intent?
Mr. Corkrum should not have politicized this event. It is not fair to AAUW and its objective. Is Mr. Corkrum that desperate to be elected to the Port Commission that he had to take advantage of this community fundraiser? He would have been better served by taking a day off from his campaign to support raising money for student scholarships and local educational projects. He would have been demonstrating to the community that he was putting his political ambitions aside for the betterment of the community.
I find it interesting that one of the campaign issues for the Port Commission race is Mr. Corkrum's lack of community service history. One has to know his community to better serve his community. This was a great opportunity for Mr. Corkrum to donate his time and efforts without any political overtones.
I also believe it would be in AAUW's interest to publicily clarify that Mr. Corkrum was not authorized to use the event to further his political ambitions. Those who attended the event should not have received his brochures.
In contrast, I have had the opportunity to serve on several committees with Mike Fredrickson. He serves on the committees to make Walla Walla a better place to live. He does not use his community service for political gain. Please join me in voting for Mike Fredrickson for re-election as Port commissioner.
Corkrum will play by the rules
I know Barlow Corkrum. We are of like mind. I say that becuase he understands that honor and integrity are unquestioned rules to live by.
I learned these rules serving our country in the Navy. Barlow learned them very early on from his father, who was an Air Force pilot.
One of the Navy tenets is to be ready to lead ready to follow and never quit. As a sailor, Barlow knows there is a time to do these things.
I believe that his time has come. He has prepared himself to lead but he is also willing to follow.
From what I have seen, he does not back away from a challenge.
For these reasons, I am confident that Barlow will be a great Port commissioner.
Please join me in voting for Barlow Corkrum. We need someone who will play by the rules.
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