PUD actions valid
I served the residents of the Pacific County for over 28 years as a PUD commissioner. I sincerely thank the public for their support of me and my judgment during those years. As some of you may recall, when I first campaigned, I made a promise to you the voters of Pacific County that if elected I would do my very best to represent you, the owners of the utility. It has always been important to me to represent your collective interests in my position as a PUD Commissioner.
Recently, my judgment and the judgment of Diana Thompson were called into question by an opinion piece in the Willapa Harbor Herald by Pat Myers. The opinion piece argued that we unethically gave General Manager Doug Miller and Chief of Engineering and Operations Jason Dunsmoor service contract agreements.
What Pat Myers doesn’t tell you is:
1. Service contract agreements are very common in PUDs for their general managers;
2. Succession planning is necessary for a smooth transition from one general manager to the next; this too is common in PUDs and in business in general;
3. The agreements were reviewed by PUD attorney Will Penoyer, and finally;
4. My colleague and good friend, sitting commissioner Mike Swanson also voted in full support of the service agreements.
I encourage Pat Myers to check the dates of the resolutions and check the vote on the service agreements. It was a unanimous vote that included the full support of all three members of the Board of Commissioners. Why Pat Myers is attempting to create division by pitting Diana Thompson and myself against Mike Swanson is beyond me. Perhaps Mr. Myers has ambitions to be the general manager?
In closing, we all voted together in support of the service agreements. There was no conspiracy to subvert a public process. Publishing false narratives and sensationalizing half-truths is unbecoming of the Willapa Harbor Herald. The lies, spread of negativity and innuendo are intended only to malign the character and good standing of members of our community and I can no longer remain silent.
Satisfied with PUD
Reading some of the past letters to the editor of the local newspapers, there seems to be a very small group of head hunters circling the Public Utility District including two of the commissioners. I have only been a ratepayer for about 51 years, less then some more than some but, I enjoy being able to flip a switch and “Let their be light” and also the fact that during the last few wind storms the lights never blinked. Nobody wants to pay more than they need, but compared to the rates the cities of Raymond and South Bend charge for basic service I think I’m getting a fairly good deal, as far as personal service I think it’s great. Try getting that from the city of Raymond.
Mr. Craig and Mr. Sheldon believe the Tokeland project was ill conceived and way over budget maybe yes, maybe no, so with the new commissioner and Commissioner Swanson they got the project stopped so “now what?”
Along with a couple other projects they claim that Mr. Miller and Mr. Dunsmoor put together they are trying to make us believe that they had the “sole power” to borrow $20 million for these projects. I think not, The sitting commissioners at that time had to agree for the projects to continue and borrow that much money. Maybe they didn’t have enough education to make that great of decision! They also claim that Commissioner Thompson and past Commissioner Hatfield were puppets for Mr. Miller and Mr. Dunsmoor to get their way, Wow! Now we have Commissioners Anderson and Swanson puppets for Mr. Craig and Sheldon.
The way Mr. Craig and Mr. Sheldon are berating and belittling these two one would think they had a doctorate degree in electrical engineering and if they do maybe they should apply for the job, or at least come up with a better idea.
I know that Commissioner Anderson can dig a ditch and bury septic tanks, and probably does not think twice about the charging his high rate for service but can he and the other two commissioners along with Mr. Craig and Mr. Sheldon layout a power grid, get the lights back on in a power outage? Did they design and set-up the power plan to service all the pot growers without taking away from the rest of us?
My point is I’m very satisfied with my PUD service and rate. You small band of head hunters do not speak for me. If you want to screw-up your power source fine, but leave mine alone.
If you don’t like what you have find another source of power.
The truth matters
Misinformation. It seems to be everywhere these days. It played a pivotal role in our presidential election, it has taken over our political dialogue and it has even seeped into our hometown newspaper.
The thing about misinformation is its ability to take many shapes, some obvious and others quite innocuous. That’s why it can be such an effective tool for those with an agenda or such an obstacle to the ill-informed among us.
In recent issues of the Chinook Observer we have seen how the seemingly innocuous version of misinformation can play out. At first glance there seems no obvious attempt at misinforming but when I started digging into the matter it became very apparent that I could no longer come to that conclusion.
A letter from Rob Waltemate was published a few weeks ago under the heading of Guest Column. After reading Waltemate’s letter I wondered why this obviously bias and factually inaccurate letter was not in the letter to the editor section with all the other opinion pieces. So I wrote a response outlining my disagreement with his thesis and questioned why it had been given special treatment. While my letter pointed out Waltemate’s agenda driven concerns and questioned his far fetched remedies it never commented on the current condition of the County’s economy.
So, imagine my surprise when I spotted my letter the next week under the heading “County Economy is OK” or something to that effect. I have since recycled that issue and forgotten the exact wording. Why would a letter that never mentioned the current condition of our economy be characterized as such? I thought it odd enough that I emailed Editor Matt Winters that day and asked why he chose such a title. Two weeks passed and I never got a response.
I didn’t see being ignored as an answer to the question so after waiting two weeks for a response I called his office and left a message. He finally relented and returned my email with a half-hearted apology and a patronizing tone. He did not, however, feel inclined to answer any questions. Now I’m really puzzled.
My question seems pretty fair, Matt Winters’ false characterization of my letter has since caused Mr. Waltemate to write a response based solely on that false characterization. Matt Winters has put me in the position of defending a statement I did not make and he feels no obligation to explain his actions. How odd is that?
If this were the only instance of misinformation being promoted without explanation I would likely let it go. It is however one in a string of many so I am inclined to shed light on them.
In a recent issue of the Observer Allie Friese was given a headline and byline for her article on the Middle East. This gives the impression that the information in that article has been vetted and approved by the editor meaning we as readers can put more stock in it than we would a letter to the editor. Apparently that was not the case as Jon Chambreau pointed out with great clarity the next week.
So, we have seen recently these two cases of misinformation being promoted in our hometown paper. No big deal you say? Perhaps, but if that is the case why the lack of response from the person that makes it all happen?
The same week as my last letter Matt published one from Sandy Nielson, a very informative fact-based account that did a great job of explaining the complicated issue of immigration. Now hers was the type of letter I could understand getting special treatment. Instead Matt chopped it up and hid it in the back of the paper. This is the very thing I am trying to understand. Why promote Rob Waltemate’s message but not Sandy Nielson’s? Why promote misinformation instead of quality information? I don’t think that’s the kind of question the editor of a paper should shy away from.
While Matt’s seeming lack of regard for misinformation spreading through our paper is alarming to me, it rather pales to his willingness to publish time and again the slanderous personal attacks, character assassinations and agenda driven misinformation from Dick Sheldon and Ron Craig. These are the tactics of bullies and they should not be encouraged by acceptance in our newspaper. Wayne O’Neil would never have allowed such a thing.
Sorry Rob Waltemate, I know you went through all the trouble of looking stuff up and everything but I’ll stick with my original letter and not try to answer for Matt Winters headline. I’m sure you mean well but in the end while you might be a good carpenter, you are not a credible source for socioeconomic advice.
I see it as incumbent upon all of us to call out misinformation whenever and wherever we see it. There is no useful purpose for it except to deceive and manipulate. Perhaps Mr. Winters has been unintentionally lax in his duties or perhaps he takes advantage of his position to spread misinformation as he see fit. There was a time I thought I’d know the answer to that question but now I’m left to wonder.
Slaughter at `Black Lake
It was Friday, April 28, when I ventured over to neighboring Black Lake to see if I could catch a couple of planted trout for dinner. I situated myself onto the platform at the west edge of the lake, set up my fishing gear, and made a cast into a slight wind that was coming from the northeast. I was pleasantly entertained by three senior gentlemen who were also fishing from the platform. Their topic of conversation was the slow fishing compared to times past.
I then noticed a small flash of silver near the far shoreline that soon disappeared down the gullet of a cormorant. I stopped my fishing, concentration for a moment and counted a group of three cormorants. For some reason I looked at my watch and noted that it was 1:15 p.m.; and when I looked back to the lake, my attention was diverted up into the southeastern sky because of a huge flock of birds approaching the lake. As they came closer I identified them as cormorants, much too many to count, but the overall consensus was 200 to 300 cormorants.
The birds flew around over the lake, but the entire flock eventually consolidated into a single group at the far northeastern end of the lake, which was also the direction from the wind. Then, as if they were an attacking army brigade, spread out enough to cover the central portion of the water and proceeded to move through the lake heading downwind toward the opposite shore. We saw the cormorants diving and splashing. There was a multitude of flashing silver sided trout disappearing down the gullets of these predators as the procession marched through the lake. As they approached the south shore, they came to a halt, and then as if they were troops on command, took flight again and regrouped near the northeastern shore, assembled again, to perform with the same precision as before. This was truly a horrifying sight to witness the sterilization of Black Lake.
What we observed was analogous to a coordinated, strategic, military mission, which would systematically sweep through all the depths to decimate the pan-size population of rainbow trout at Black Lake. This was an appalling demonstration of the adroitness of successful predators. To the dismay of everyone who enjoys their favorite pastime at Black Lake, there is no hope. The funds appropriated from fishing licenses to stock Black Lake have literally gone to the birds!
What to do? Limiting this predator’s population has already been initiated; however, we witnessed the capability of this surviving predator. Perhaps the focus should be on their prey, at least at Black Lake. What is the limit to the size of their prey? In my personal observations, I have never seen a cormorant engulf a fat healthy looking four pound salmon or trout. Could this be the answer? Certainly the state fish hatcheries have brood stock and also create and raise triploid trout. If these fish were not consumable by predators such as cormorants, would this not be a better solution than the wasted three to a pound hatchery plants? On the down side, if this came to fruition and became a news item, this quiet community lake could get invaded by many more fishers. The only balance that I could foresee from such an outcome would be to have similar planting operations on many lakes.
Rodney Katayama, DDS