Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
A couple of weeks ago I read and was appalled by a statement of one of our Assemblywomen as she was quoted as saying “what have senior citizens done to deserve a tax exemption other than get older?” I guess a short history lesson might be in order. The tax exempt status for seniors was a sign of respect and a thank you for all the things they had accomplished in aiding Petersburg's economic development before and during their fixed income days.
Let's start with the Petersburg Indian Association. They were not always in the position to help build a strong force to aid in the economic viability of Petersburg, but with the tireless efforts of many now “Elders” (Senior Citizens) such as the Lyons family, Hallingstads, Lucas, Kitos, Marie James and many others too numerous to mention, they worked hard to raise their families and develop Petersburg both economically and socially. By instilling those ideals into their offspring, we now have a powerful group taking on tasks that the Assembly cannot afford to tackle. No frills or statues, or any known economically viable construction, but just plain good sense construction. They also bought a used building, reorganized it, and made a very comfortable office and work space. All due to the vision of their “elders” of which they are very proud. I could go on almost endlessly touting their successes, but had better move on.
Again, a wonderful man and family, Willmer Oines who volunteered for many things, including, but not limited to approximately 25 years on the School Board. His futuristic view for economic development was to convince the City that Crystal Lake Hydro should be rebuilt. He and friends convinced the City to do just that and that Hydro has produced power for about 1 cnt/kw for 60 years. Yes, that includes your residence and business also Ms. Assembly lady. (Economic Development) An added feature to that project was a future hatchery for more jobs in Petersburg thanks to another Senior, Mr. Ernie Haugen, State Legislator for the Petersburg District and resident of Petersburg.
Let's not forget Bob Thorstensen, who after the demise of Pacific American Fisheries, convinced local fishermen to buy the cannery as a co-op and named it Petersburg Fisheries Inc. Can you even imagine what Petersburg would be like without the largest private employer in the community? With that and the Thompson Cold Storage, and the courage of some of the best fishermen on the west coast (possibly anywhere) to stay in Petersburg through those turbulent times is really economic development.
There were too many forward thinkers to brag about, but need to be mentioned. Dennis Lewis, Dave Carlson, Don Koenigs who negotiated power rates during the State power rate negotiations for the Hydro Electric start ups. Then there were people like, Vern Counter, Jack Longworth, Ed Hagerman, Jim Taylor, Swede Wasvick, many Wikan families, the Hammer families, and many, many more citizens that contributed voluntarily to the well being of Petersburg.
Now we come to your contributions-decimated a reserve account of the Electrical Enterprise fund, on the pretext they derived revenue from the Harbor improvements. Really? Then what about the Water Utility, or the Sanitation Utility, or the Motor Pool, that charges to maintain Harbor vehicles? What did they contribute?
$28,000.00 for a chunk of cement for the Castle on the hill (Fire Hall), wow, we need that. A Library large enough and fancy enough for Seattle, that will cost tax payers millions in bonds and O&M over the years, and to top it off $50,000.00 for art to be placed in the Library. $35,000.00 for a professional Head hunter to find a new Police Chief. $500,000.00 for design of a new Police Station, that should have been incorporated into the fire hall. Almost $50,000.00 for some broken glass on main street sidewalks, also on the tax payer dime.
This is by no means a complete accounting of the wasted dollars, but it will give the interested citizen an idea.
To the Editor:
I would like to congratulate the very fortunate citizens of Petersburg for their truly outstanding bookstore. I managed a bookstore in Oregon for a number of years, so when I visited your beautiful island, I had to discover if you had one. But I must say, I did not expect to find one of the best book stores I've ever been in. But of course, what really thrilled me were the hundreds of marvelous and obviously hand-picked books. It was clear from the moment I entered the store how very deeply the owners care about finding just the right books for very nearly any reader.
A sadness in my later life has been to watch many wonderful bookstores disappear. Please continue to support yours. It is a treasure.