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Letter to the Editor: Councilwoman McConnell Urges Yes Vote on Shoreline Prop. 1

The Shoreline City Council feels a responsibility to move the city forward for the good of its citizens, McConnell says. This case is no different.

To the editor:

Please Vote YES for Shoreline Prop 1

And Say Yes to Local Control And Local Investment!

These are some of your Shoreline friends who have endorsed Shoreline Proposition 1 (www.LocalControlforShoreline.org):  ProShoreline, Shoreline Mayor Keith McGlashan and Shoreline Deputy Mayor Chris Eggen. Shoreline City Councilmembers Doris McConnell, Shari Winstead, and Will Hall.  32nd Legislative District Representative Ruth Kagi. Former Shoreline Mayors Ron Hansen and Bob Ransom. Former Shoreline Deputy Mayor Terry Scott.  Former Shoreline City Councilmembers Rich Gustafson and Kevin Grossman.  SPU Advisory Steering Committee members Gretchen Atkinson, David Harris, Joseph Irons, Lee Michaelis, William Montero, Edith Nelson and Sis Polin.  Melissa Anderson, Jamie Andrews, Wes Brandon, Herb Bryce, Sue Coulter-Armstrong, Craig Degginger, Todd Fiala, Maurice Hamington, Jan Hansen, Paul Herrick, Carolyn Hope, Tiffany Kopec, Sheila Long, Jack Malek, Paul Reed, Mary Reeve, Sophie Scheier, Mike Shelton, Judy Simon, Krista Tenney, David & Roseann Tousley, and LaNita Wacker.

I have studied materials regarding the possible SPU acquisition for the city of Shoreline from the city’s website, Local Control for Shoreline website and the No Blank Check website.  The Shoreline City Council feels a responsibility to move the city forward for the good of its citizens.  This case is no different.  ALL seven of the city council voted to put this acquisition on the November ballot.  Five of us have donated to the campaign that supports this acquisition and all council members have helped behind the scenes in one manner or another.  I believe as a city, we will look back and view SPU acquisition as one of the top accomplishments of this city.

This acquisition ballot measure has been a long time coming and I believe it may be Shoreline’s only shot to break away from SPU.  As we have the youngest “pipes” in their entire system, Shoreline will continue to be on the bottom of the maintenance plan as the rest of the SPU system averages well over 60 years old (reference:  SPU 2013 Water System Plan and Shoreline Water System Engineering Review on city’s website and in Prop 1 information brochure, sent to all Shoreline residents in mid-October). 

It doesn’t matter that SPU has reinvested some money back into Shoreline. It’s not enough and it’s not our fair share. After acquisition, all Shoreline revenue will be reinvested back into Shoreline. Experienced utility workers will be hired, not retrained staffers with little background in utility work. That’s just common sense.  

Why VOTE YES for Shoreline Proposition 1?

•Shoreline ratepayers west of I-5 will have 100 percent reinvestment back into Shoreline infrastructure.

•Voters specifically mandate the acquisition price (refer to ballot measure in Voters Pamphlet).

•Your water bill will NOT increase because of acquisition (refer to specifics in the ballot measure).

•Shoreline will implement a “main replacement” program, thereby improving the system.  SPU does NOT have a replacement program for Shoreline either now or in the foreseeable future (city of Shoreline website, SPU acquisition link).

•Shoreline will join Edmonds, Bothell, and Everett who operate their own water utility; all at average annual bills lower than Shoreline Water District (independent water utility east of I-5).

•The City of Shoreline has a long history of fiscal responsibility and conservative spending practices.  They have earned the trust of the citizens (source: 2012 citizens survey, city website). 

•The City of Shoreline has THREE directors with previous experience in water utility management who will assist in overseeing transition from SPU.  Experience matters and they have it!

Thank you Shoreline!

Doris McConnell

Shoreline

John Behrens November 05, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Responding to the above (1) Maintenance plan: Seattle uses a computer model to maintain its system and fixes things when they break. Shoreline plans on using the same system if they acquire the system. The age of pipes are not as important as the soil conditions and other technical issues when considering replacement. I am 60 years old and have not had to have any of my plumbing replaced.(2) 100% investment: You have to have money to re-invest. The Aurora Corridor has nearly 10 million dollars worth of water improvements and still counting. Shoreline proposes to raise money for a project of this size from you. All these costs were shared across a regional system with over one million customers.(3)City Hall proposes a main replacement plan based on l.5 million dollars of revenue from water bills every year. It will take 30 years to complete this plan. The real improvements are targeted to neighborhoods where development is projected to occur. This will allow the city to charge all of us to pay for large scale redevelopment rather than having the builders pay their fair share.(4) Rate will not increase: We will continue to purchase water from the same place Seattle. This proposal will not only raise our rates but all the rates SPU charges everyone. City Hall is telling you your bill is going to go up 56% in the next 7 years and then set the rate at that level. (5) Edmonds, Bothell, and Everett buy their water from Everett! We will buy our water from Seattle.
John Behrens November 05, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Experience does matter! We have a water supply system considered one of the best in the world. It provides clean, safe water. City Hall plans on amputating this system and trying to put the pieces back together again. We will lose the experience of both the Shoreline Water District and Ronald Wastewater as they are consumed by City Hall. They provide services at lower costs than either SPU or City Hall proposes, Your utility bills will go up. The prices are NOT agreed to. Simply read the front page of Noblankcheck.nationbuilder.com. It contains the dialogue between the City Of Seattle City Council members on this issue. Are they lying? What happened to the Southeast corner of the city that currently receives water from SPU and is NOT included in either the sale price or separation costs? Do you think SPU is just going to give this portion of its system to Shoreline for free? When you don't know how much something costs don't sign a contract to buy it! That is a Blank Check!
Wendy DiPeso November 05, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Councilmember McConnell is a very nice person but has zero credibility on this issue. She publicly stated at two public meetings that she had NOT read the materials provided to the City Council from the Ad Hoc committee prior to making her decision to support the proposition. I and a number of other citizens have read the materials and volumes of information obtained through public records requests that tell a very different story than what Shoreline City staff have proposed. The City needs to stop spending our tax dollars chasing empire building dreams and get back to spending funds on sidewalks, street lights and cross walks.
Don November 05, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Don't let government control your dollars. They've already proven they will spend every dollar their given and then more. Proposition 1 is bad for our already floundering economy. Proposition 1 is a blank check for City Hall. This is a scheme to raise utility taxes and water bills. City Hall will increase those taxes and water rates any time they choose without a vote of the people. This flawed strategy shifts the costs of increasing city spending onto local businesses, working families, and senior citizens. City Hall has not considered other ideas, like growing our economy to produce more revenues. Local control does not require total control by City Hall. Proposition 1 would threaten Ronald Wastewater District and Shoreline Water District, which already provide the best service at the lowest price because they legally must reinvest every drop of revenue to operate, maintain, and improve their systems. City Hall has no such requirement. Shoreline’s ratepayers have already paid for their existing water system. Don’t buy it again. No one knows what the final costs will be, or what it will include. If Seattle decides to sell its system, Seattle will set the price. Proposition 1 is a bad investment. We cannot afford to make that mistake. Don't give City Hall a blank check. Vote NO on Proposition 1.
Don November 05, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Very well explained Wendy DiPeso and building an empire is exactly their plan. They want to increase bureaucracy and our dependance on government which in turn increases our taxes. I have a feeling Obama may be giving them financial advice. Now if that isn't terrifying I don't know what is. VOTE NO on Proposition 1 if you want less taxes.
Arthur Maronek November 05, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Why to definitely VOTE NO! on Shoreline Proposition 1 Ms. McConnell says that ratepayers with have “100 percent reinvestment” in infrastructure. What about paying back the $40+ Million in bonds and short-term loans that Shoreline City Hall will need and the additional $50+ Million after 2020? “100 percent reinvestment” is not accurate. She says that voters specifically mandate the acquisition price. Shoreline’s City Attorney said that the price can vary without becoming a legal problem. That voter’s mandate the price is not accurate. Ms. McConnell says that water bills will not increase because of acquisition. But minutes from the negotiations between SPU and Shoreline dated 2-22-2012 reveal that Shoreline’s rates will be higher than SPU’s. To say that “Your water bill will not increase” is not accurate.
Arthur Maronek November 05, 2012 at 09:05 PM
She says that Shoreline will implement a “main replacement” program, and SPU does not have one. But the methods used will be the same as SPU’s, and Shoreline does not plan any water main or other replacements until after 2030. To say that Shoreline will implement a main replacement program that is better than SPU’s is not accurate. Ms. McConnell says that Shoreline will join three other cities which operate their own water utility at average annual bills lower than Shoreline Water District. What is not said is that two of those cities get their water from special purpose water districts like Shoreline Water District. Telling citizens that their annual water bills will be lower is not accurate. She also says that the City of Shoreline has earned the trust of the citizens. Opposition to the intent of Proposition 1, to increase utility taxes and water rates, proves that to be false.
Wendy DiPeso November 05, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Don, please note that if the City of Shoreline does take over SPU, they will also by law have to reinvest revenue collected into the system. However, the taxes collected would go to the general fund. The higher the rates, the more taxes collected on those rates. They also have a larger staff to support than special purpose districts that function with a very lean administrative staff.
Don November 05, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Wendy DiPeso, Don, please note that if the City of Shoreline does take over SPU, they will also by law have to reinvest revenue collected into the system. However, the taxes collected would go to the general fund. The higher the rates, the more taxes collected on those rates. They also have a larger staff to support than special purpose districts that function with a very lean administrative staff. Exactly Wendy, all were talking about is more government, more staff as you say to increase taxes which is absolutely the last thing we need. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 1
Don November 05, 2012 at 11:09 PM
I've spoken with neighbors about Proposition 1 and all of them are against it. Looks like it's going down the toilet via our existing water system which works quite well thank you very much.
Joseph Irons November 06, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Thank you Council Member Doris McConnell for sending this in. Lets keep Shoreline's money in Shoreline. VOTE YES for PROP 1 - VOTE YES for PROP 1 - VOTE YES for PROP 1 - Please join me and many other informed & active Shoreline residents in VOTING YES for PROP 1!!! Learn more FACTS at http://localcontrolforshoreline.org/ Some of the most important reasons to make the acquisition have to do with how a Shoreline customer of SPU is charged and where that money is spent: •Shoreline ratepayers have no representation in how rates, charges and taxes are set and spent. •Shoreline can acquire the system without any increase in property taxes or water rates beyond SPUs forecasted rates. •Shoreline ratepayers are charged a 14% premium for living outside Seattle. •Shoreline ratepayers are paying for non-Shoreline infrastructure improvements. •Shoreline ratepayers pay a Seattle utility tax that funds Seattle’s police, fire and parks. VOTE YES for PROP 1 - VOTE YES for PROP 1 - VOTE YES for PROP 1 -
Joseph Irons November 06, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Thank you Council Member Doris McConnell for sending this in. Lets keep Shoreline's money in Shoreline. VOTE YES for PROP 1 - VOTE YES for PROP 1 - VOTE YES for PROP 1 - Please join me and many other informed & active Shoreline residents in VOTING YES for PROP 1!!! Learn more FACTS at http://localcontrolforshoreline.org/ Some of the most important reasons to make the acquisition have to do with how a Shoreline customer of SPU is charged and where that money is spent: •Shoreline ratepayers have no representation in how rates, charges and taxes are set and spent. •Shoreline can acquire the system without any increase in property taxes or water rates beyond SPUs forecasted rates. •Shoreline ratepayers are charged a 14% premium for living outside Seattle. •Shoreline ratepayers are paying for non-Shoreline infrastructure improvements. •Shoreline ratepayers pay a Seattle utility tax that funds Seattle’s police, fire and parks. VOTE YES for PROP 1 - VOTE YES for PROP 1 - VOTE YES for PROP 1 -
Doris McConnell November 06, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Wendy, please don't go there on my credibility. Your credibility is an issue to many voters...didn't you run a "write in" campaign in 2010 against Mayor McGlashan? Why was it that you couldn't play by the rules and file for that race, on time? And why is it that Richmond Beach Community Association had to refer to their by-laws when you demanded a table at their candidates forum. They said no and so you blasted them through your email contacts. I have read SPU acquisition documents from the city, the Pro and Con website, spoken directly with Mayor McGinn and Seattle City Council woman Jean Godden and other staffers, whereas you come to continually criticize. Change happens when you can get people to want to listen and come to the table. Don's comments on the city (a government entity) running the water system west of I-5 makes no sense. Really, what do you think SPU (that answers to the Seattle City Council) is....SEATTLE PUBLIC UTILITIES. The fact that you are fine with another government entity owning and controlling your water boggles my mind. You can't even vote those councilmembers out of office when they raise our rates again and again, which they have and will in the future.
Doris McConnell November 06, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Aside from this little circle of people who are so passionate about this subject (myself included), I have spoken with voters who just don't see the controversy...it is as they have said to me "simply a no-brainer". I guess you and I are speaking to different people. What matters is the collective voice of the thousands of people that are Shoreline. We'll all hear from them today. Thanks
Arthur Maronek November 06, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Ms. McConnell's comments of 7:31 and 7:32 AM today are so completely like Shoreline City Hall's behavior. If they can't win an argument based on the merits, they attack the messenger!
Karen Easterly-Behrens November 06, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Ms MConnell, It would have been appropriate if you, as an elected official entrusted with the public good, had read the 12 pounds and much more in advance of voting on the city council rather than during the campaign. Local politics is real....our representatives need to be "fully present". This is real, people watch...and it is not just a small group of people. Intelligent people often disagree...it occurs and happens...the issue is important not the personalities.......your reply represents you as an elected official.
Karen Easterly-Behrens November 06, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Happy Election Day and thanks to all who participate!
Mary November 06, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Wow, Don. That comment right there made me happy I voted YES. Even before I read this letter and comments!
Doris McConnell November 06, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Thanks everyone for a lively campaign....and either postmark your ballot now (Bitter Lake office open until 6 PM) or LFP drop box by 8 PM.
Don November 07, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Where do we find the results?
Doris McConnell November 07, 2012 at 06:55 AM
You can find the daily results at King County Elections. With 10,000 votes counted. Shoreline Prop 1 is passing 70%. Thank you Shoreline
Don November 07, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Vomit.

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