As a former school board member for the Sunnyside School
District and a long-time farmer in the Sunnyside area, I would encourage voters
to support the special levy and bond issue on Feb. 3, 2004. It will help to
keep taxes low and the quality of our school facilities and programs high.
/s/ Alfred Newhouse, Sunnyside
I was saddened to see the cry of racism in last Friday's
edition of the Daily Sun News. How disappointing it is to hear there are people
who want to divide our community. And if they don't get their way, they stoop
to playing the race card.
Should Councilmen Ricks and Vlieger been accused of racism?
I don't think so. Let's look at the complaints that were levied against them in
last Friday's paper.
The first letter was written by Samuel T. Martinez. He
accused Ricks and Vlieger of using the "official pulpit to espouse their
racist and divisive attitude regarding a positive economic development effort,
because Hispanics are promoting a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce." These two
councilmen were not trying to divide our community, they were trying to keep it
together. It seems to me that Mr. Martinez is the one wanting to tear it apart.
Mr. Martinez went on to say "Spanish speaking business
people in Sunnyside want to promote their businesses, as well as promote
economic development in our community. It is "our" choice how we
decide to do it. It is not the choice of racist leaders to tell us how to
promote and develop "our" business." Again, who sounds racist
and divisive? I thought that we were one community with diverse ethnic
backgrounds. It sounds like Mr. Martinez want to segregate the community. I
thought segregation was illegal.
He went on to allege that our city council has ignored the
downtown businesses by not providing infrastructure for them, because they're
Latino owned companies. What a crock! The city is providing the same sewer,
water, power, parking, roads and other services to the downtown merchants that
they provide to every other business in Sunnyside. If Mr. Martinez expects the
city to renovate the buildings for him, he's looking for a handout in the wrong
place. It is the responsibility of the building owners to update them. Perhaps
he should look to them for his economic development.
The second letter was written by Carlos Maya III. Mr. Maya
also considered Councilmen Ricks and Vlieger divisive because they didn't agree
with having two chambers in town. He wrote, "I believe that forming a
Hispanic Chamber is an answer to Sunnyside's Hispanic owned businesses."
Again, why would he think the answer is dividing our community?
I have contacted our Chamber of Commerce and found that they
have done many things to reach out to our Hispanic businesses. When Councilman
Bengie Aguilar told our chamber president of her intentions to divide our
community, M'Liss Bierlink tried to work with Ms. Aguilar to keep our business
core together. But what did Bengie do? She set up a meeting with several Latino
owned businesses here in Sunnyside, the president of the Pasco Hispanic
Chamber, herself, and invited several members of our Chamber board to attend.
Talk about racist and divisive! Ms. Aguilar and her
associate from Pasco informed our Hispanic business owners that they should
only promote and do business with other Hispanic people. Racist? Divisive? You
All of the minutes from that meeting are available from our
chamber. You don't have to believe me, you can find out for yourself what
As a member of the community, I am sick and tired of hearing
this kind of rhetoric from people like Bengie Aguilar and her cronies who wrote
the letters in last Friday's paper. We don't need this in Sunnyside. We have
enough problems here without Ms. Aguilar stirring up the beehive.
I have been following Bengie's career since she was elected
to the city council. She has done nothing but drive a wedge between the
cultures of this city. If therre is a racist on the council, she is it. In the
interest of our community, she should step down and shut up. If she wants to
help the Hispanics, that would be the best thing for her to do. Then we could
get down to the business of uniting and involving all the people of Sunnyside
in bettering the community as a whole. Let's not attack Councilmen Ricks and Vlieger,
let's applaud them.
/s/ Brent Cleghorn, Sunnyside