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Yes votes urged

I have lived in the Sunnyside School District for many years and have always supported kids and public schools. From 1973 to 1977 it was my pleasure to have served as a board member of the Sunnyside School District.

I have listened to a presentation from school administrators on the cost of the bond issue and special levy and how the money will be used. The special levy will replace the levy approved in February 2000. The bond issue will be used to build new schools and remodel others. The difference in cost of voting yes or no is only $5 a year if your home is valued at $100,000.

The board of directors have done what they said they were going to do—lower taxes and bring a lot of money into the Sunnyside School District with the special levy. The bond issue is needed because we are growing over 100 students per year and we need more classrooms and more teachers to keep up. If a new school is constructed, the state will pay 82 percent of the cost. You can't beat a deal like that.

I urge you to vote "yes" and "yes" on both issues.

/s/ John Greenhalgh, former Sunnyside School District board member

Seeking all REC funds pointless

I appreciated the Jan. 8 article covering the City Council’s confusion about Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar’s participation on the LYVREC Board. I was appointed by the mayor last summer to be a member of the REC Board and was elected vice-president. I want to assure the Sunnyside community and the City Council that Mrs. Aguilar did represent the Council’s proposal for all of the remaining funds. She brought the matter to the attention of the REC Board at the next meeting, right after it was requested of her to do so.

What the City Council does not seem to understand is that it has no authority to control those funds, but merely to have representation for the benefit of the Sunnyside and Grandview communities. This seems particularly curious since Councilman Bruce Ricks is a former member of the REC Board.

The funds came from a federal grant and are disbursed through Yakima County for the benefit of the two tracts which include Sunnyside and Grandview. Of the large grant that was originally made available, only $100,000 is remaining. The City Council is also trying to get back money that was allocated last year for the neighborhood outreach program, which cannot be done.

The expectation for Councilwoman Aguilar to go to the REC meeting and demand all the remaining funds is pointless. The REC Board is legally accountable to the county and the federal government for appropriate and fair disbursement of the funds. Mrs. Aguilar is one member among several, from both cities, who have worked together to establish a criteria by which many organizations can compete for funds through the grant system.

The Sunnyview Skate Park is a viable project, as are the other six proposals that are under consideration.

It’s too bad that there is not more money to cover all of the requests. The REC Board is doing a very careful job deciding how to fairly distribute the available funds.

/s/ Dr. Michael Henry, Pastor, Sunnyside Free Methodist Church

Time for a new S’side newspaper?

Bob Story’s policy of “front page editorials,” where he unethically presents his opinion in hopes that it will be conceived by the public as fact, has unfortunately left the community of Sunnyside with no credible local source of information regarding our local politics. (He does not live in the city and rarely attends council meetings. Where does he derive his information and opinions.)

Some issues that are very important to the decision-making process of Sunnyside voters are misrepresented in his paper due to his unethical, journalistic tactics of attempting to MAKE the news rather than report it. A recent example is his year-ending, 12-31-2003 headline, “Sunnyside councilman insists she wants to unite community.”

This article about Bengie Aguilar should have been a letter to the editor. But, Story once again gave preferential coverage on the front page to promote his personal agenda. It appears that the Daily Sun News is beginning to campaign early in the election year early and providing expensive space to their chosen candidate.

Strategically, his articles falsely erode the efforts of many of our elected persons who have contributed greatly to our community and conducted the business of Sunnyside to promote the community in an effort to dig this community out of a hole created by 15 years of “special interest politics” during the Leo Fancy regime.

The Daily Sun News waged a similar undermining campaign against the outstanding efforts of, then councilman Chad Werkhoven. Those who know of Werkhoven’s commitment to integrity and work ethic, watched in dismay as the Daily Sun News savagely and unjustly painted him as a racist to provide an unfair advantage to his opponent. Similar to Story, most of the community voters do not attend council meetings and have only the front-page opinions of the Daily Sun News for information, or misinformation.

Mike Kantman is a consistent bright spot in this dark-sided-news reporting. Eagle Press, owner of the Daily Sun News, is located in Hood River, Ore. The owners are far removed from emotional or ethical responsibility for the activities of their satellite newspapers. Story’s front page editorializing must reflect the policy of Eagle Press or they would be more prudent about monitoring such violations of journalistic etiquette. As we begin to search for a city manager to fill the big boots of stalwart Dave Fonfara, maybe it is also time to solicit individuals who would be willing to invest in a news media of accurate reporting, as Bob Osland did more than 40 years ago when he created the seed for the Daily Sun News with a paper consisting of one legal-sized sheet of colored copy paper.

/s/ James E. Stevens, DMD, Past Sunnyside City Councilman

(Publisher's note: The Daily Sun News is a part of Eagle Newspapers, Inc., a group of Northwest community newspapers based in Salem, Ore. Contact information: Eagle Newspapers, Inc.; P.O. Box 12008; 4901 Indian School Rd.; Salem, Ore. 97305; 1503-373-1774; President, James O. Smith)

Becoming

an American

President Theodore Roosevelt gave an answer in 1890 in an address before the Holland Society of New York that I would like to share here:

"We of the Holland blood of New York have just cause to be proud of the men of note in American history who have come from among us...(but) the point on which I wish to insist is, that the Hollanders could never have played such a part, could never have won honorable renown by doing their full share in shaping the destiny of the republic, had they remained Hollanders instead of becoming Americans...Had they remained aliens in speech and habit of thought. Schuyler would have been a mere boorish provincial squire instead of a major general in the Revolutionary Army, Van Buren would have been a country tavern keeper instead of the President of the mightiest republic the world has ever seen, and Vanderbilt would have remained an unknown boatman instead of becoming one of the most potent architects of the marvelous American industrial fabric."

/s/ Hank Timmermans, Sunnyside

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