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Property tax, weed, Cliff Edwards | Letters


Last updated 6/22/2018 at Noon

Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self responds to property tax letter

Re: “Honest mistake or violation of the law?” June 7 Letter to the Editor from Ed Caspers of Edmonds:

Thank you for inquiring out about my newsletter and the property tax increase. I am glad you had a chance to read about our accomplishments in the 2018 Legislative session.

At the end of the 2017 legislative session, Democrats were faced with passing the Republican property tax increase or allow the state government to shut down. It was the only option put forth by the Republican-controlled Senate.

I opposed the property tax package but in the end voted for the compromise to avoid a government shutdown.

We passed this compromise on the night of the deadline with just a few hours until the stark effects of a government shutdown would begin to take place.

Originally, the Senate Republicans wanted an increase of $1.80 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Our House Democrat negotiation team was able to reduce that to 87 cents.

This session we began with a direct goal of even further reducing that increase.

We were able to invest enough in the supplemental operating budget to push that down to 50 cents. You will see this noted on your property tax statement for next year.

We began the 2017 session with a Supreme Court deadline approaching to fully fund our state’s education system. House Democrats proposed many options, but Senate Republicans struck down each one and held onto the property tax increase as the only option until the very last moment.

The 2018 session was a supplemental budget year, so we weren’t able to fully reverse the increase. We can't make fundamental changes in the supplemental budget, just make some tweaks and account for things that have changed since the previous budget was passed.

This year we had some extra revenue and some changes to our education funding timeline.

I have always supported closing a range of property tax loopholes, many of which were included as in the original House Democrat proposal.

I will continue to fight for a progressive tax structure that does not rest on the backs of our middle class and small businesses.

My hope is that we able to provide more relief once the 2019 session begins.

Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self D-21st Legislative District

Legalizing pot was not harmless

I wish to add a very important focus to Rick Steves’ reference to the marijuana reform law featured in the Beacon’s May 10th edition, “Keep on travelin’: Rick Steves says live like a local when traveling”).

Any notion that the new law legalizing recreational pot is progress speaks to the need for further public education.

Steves speaks of “pragmatic harm reduction” without regard or perhaps without knowledge of the tremendous harm that today’s pot is doing to both the teen/young adult age group as well as those with mental illness or a predisposition for mental illness.

To paraphrase Dr. Lloyd Sederer in “The Addiction Solution,” today’s marijuana is 60 times stronger than the pot of the 1970s. He says that it’s not for the developing brain (up to age 25), and that in families with the genetics for mental illness, today’s pot can unleash severe mental illness.

To quote psychiatrist Megan Gary, “Chemicals found in marijuana interfere with normal brain development and research shows that IQ declines … Long-term risk includes psychotic disorders … in those with mental disorders, psychosis is highly probable.”

Please re-read the preceding words and imagine, in truth, that psychosis is like a forest fire in the brain killing brain cells. This is nothing less than tragic!

Gary relates that there has been a dramatic uptick in marijuana use by 18- to 25-year-olds since passage of the new law normalizing pot usage. And yes, we know that there’s been a dramatic increase in homelessness/mental illness since passage of the “reform” law in our state.

Does any of the above speak of “pragmatic harm reduction”?

Sheriffs in both the marijuana-legalized states of Washington and Colorado tell us that there’s been no ”pragmatic harm reduction.”

Organized crime in the trafficking of marijuana is still rampant; how naive to think that drug cartels would back off due to less business.

Mr. Steves, since you traveled throughout Washington promoting passage of the law, I now ask what are you doing to promote accurate education of the dangers of marijuana?

Won’t you tell us how the taxes collected from legal sales are being spent to diminish addiction?

Are those taxes making it easier to get lower cost addiction treatment? Or are the taxes paying for TV commercials highlighting the dangers of marijuana especially for the young or those within the grasp of mental illness?

As an enlightened philanthropist and man of conscience, please consider your further duty.

Shirley Oczkewicz Edmonds

Thanks to Cliff Edwards for his sensitivity, understanding

My husband and I, as newlyweds, moved from our Seattle apartment to Edmonds in 1975. We raised our three sons in our Edmonds home and experienced the beauty of Edmonds, with its small-town feel, for 35 years.

It was home, and so no wonder I automatically without thought or difficult decision decided to choose the Edmonds Cemetery as my husband’s burial ground.

Now on this, the 11th anniversary of my husband's death, I would like to express my appreciation of Cliff Edwards, to acknowledge and thank him for his faithful service.

His consistent overseeing, sensitivity and understanding, along with the actual work of keeping up the Edmonds Cemetery, over the long haul makes him stand out to me.

When my husband first died, he was so helpful and patient with answering all my questions. I got comfort from the fact that Cliff was there with his presence to oversee the grounds in his dependable, consistent fashion.

Now I can go there any time, and know that even if I don't always see him, he is nonetheless making sure all is well. That fact really helped me through a very difficult time in my life.

Cliff's contributions extend beyond individuals such as myself to embrace our community, as he works with and cooperates with committees to support the grounds being used for other significant events, such as the Memorial Day service.

Since my husband’s death, I have not missed a single year of that ceremony, totally enjoying the lovely way to acknowledge our veterans, young men from Edmonds schools, along with my husband, on Memorial Day.

Without Cliff's help for that event and other opportunities he encourages on the grounds, we might lose out on that feel of family and closeness that seems harder to get today in our changing world.

So Cliff, though rather late in publicly acknowledging my appreciation for your contributions to Edmonds, and for your sympathy and help over the loss of my husband, I am glad for this opportunity to do so now.

Thank you, Cliff.

Bonnie Jakobsen Edmonds


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