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No to privatizing

Why are we giving our city jobs to out of county, possibly out of state companies? Why are we going to pay to privatize our water and sewage system?

Do you, the residents of Sunnyside, realize that if we contract out these services, that they come with a price. No company is going to work for free. There will be a fee for their services and whom do you think will have to come up with the additional money? We will.

Our monthly water bills will rise 10 to 25 percent overnight. I don't know anyone who can afford that. If you think about it, I see brown lawns and higher prices in the stores and markets in our future. Think about it, higher utility bills for business owners mean higher prices for us, the consumers. I guess my lawn won't be greener next year. So much for beautification awards.

Has anyone thought of the safety issue involving out of state/country companies. Think about it. Do their employees go through background checks? They won't be drinking or using our water.

This issue needs to be put to a vote by the residents of the city. We should be the ones to decide if this is right for us. We have a right to voice our opinions on issues that directly affect us.

We need local people to work on our local water and sewage issues. Who knows our needs or understands us better than local folk. I don't want to wait a week for local services because I'm on a waiting list.

Come on Sunnyside, stand up for our city workers and their families. Nobody knows this city and its needs better than the employees who work and live here. No outside company can replace their knowledge or love for our city and its residents.

Stand up Sunnyside, and start using your voices. Only we can say no to our city employees being put out of jobs.

/s/ Patty S. Denson, Sunnyside

Councilman’s actions questioned

I have been reading the Daily Sun News this past week with great interest and have an uncontrollable urge to respond to the articles in the Oct. 26 edition and the letter to the editor in the Oct. 27 edition about and by our own egostistical Councilman Bruce Ricks.

First, I believe that it would be appropriate for me to thank City Manager Bob Stockwell for giving me back my first amendment rights. I have sat through many council meetings over the past years and one thing that you learn very early on as a city employee, you do not publicly or privately for that matter disagree with some of our council members. The personal issues developed and the vindictiveness of some of these people may take years for them to bring to fruition the retaliation that they feel you so richly deserve, but it will happen.

The article in the paper in reference to the new casino being established by Rob and Sue Rice and the response from Ricks once again showed the immaturity of the councilman. The Rice's did in the past come before the city council asking permission to open a mini-casino next to or as a part of the bowling alley they currently own. The council, right or wrong, after much public input was against the operation of mini-casinos inside the city limits. Now, after what I would assume was a lot of hard work and being able to gain the financial backing needed to open this casino, Rob and Sue will be opening this business venture outside of the city limits and outside of the control of the city council. Congratulations.

The Rice's have pursued their American dream and established a business that they are passionate about. They jumped through all of the required hoops and gained approval of the county commissioners, elected by the people of Yakima County to serve their interests. But, they failed to ask approval of Bruce Ricks.

During the unprovoked outburst by this councilman at the Oct. 25 meeting, there were several unsubstantiated statements made that I for one would like to see the data and the background to back up the claims. I, for one, am tired of seeing our council make statements shooting from the hip and not having the facts to back the claims up.

Regarding the county commissioners hiding the fact that they were allowing the use of the building in question as a mini-casino—I believe the agenda for the commissioners meeting was published as required by law. I believe that we do not pay our county employees to hand deliver agenda items that they believe may be of interest to the councilman, so he may advise them of the proper disposition of that item.

Councilman Ricks stated that Yakima County hid the fact that it was going to lower the gambling tax for the Rice's. Maybe it should have dawned on the councilman that the Rice's or any other citizen has the right to request a change in taxation or fees before any governing body. It is then up to the elected officials for the jurisdiction to make the decision on what is appropriate, not the council in Sunnyside or any one council person not elected to serve in that jurisdiction. I do not remember our council asking permission of the county commissioners to change the fees for the installation of windows after one complaint from one business owner, nor do I remember the council seeking advice from other jurisdictions on the appropriateness of electronic advertisements on ice cream wagons, again for just one complaint.

Councilman Ricks states that the new casino will dump on the City of Grandview and the City of Sunnyside's fire departments and police departments for coverage. For the councilman's information, the police protection for this building will be provided by the Yakima County Sheriff's Office. Granted, should there be a very large incident, the Sheriff's Office may ask for assistance or mutual aid from Sunnyside or Grandview. It's done all of the time and we at times receive mutual aid. Look at all the logos on the doors of the parade entries during our Christmas parade.

As for fire protection, Yakima County Fire District #5, stations 13 (Sunnyside) and 14 (Grandview) would provide the fire coverage for the building. Should they need more assistance they would call station 15 (Mabton) or others. Should they need some specialized equipment, such as a ladder truck, they would call the City of Toppenish, City of Grandview or City of Prosser. The cities of Sunnyside and Grandview share volunteer firefighters with the fire district, should they need additional help they would not call the City of Sunnyside because all the available volunteers would already be commmitted to the fire district.

If Councilman Ricks is referring to EMS calls, the fire district again would send an aid vehicle to the call. Should they need an ambulance, they would call either the Sunnyside Fire Department or Prosser Ambulance. Runs generate revenue, enough said.

As for Councilman Ricks' comments about SunnyView Park, go back and check the minutes of the council meetings and budget sessions. Yakima County simply said it could no longer afford that park and it would be closing. The City of Sunnyside jumped in and said they would gladly take over the park. Was it a good thing? Here again, it is all in the taxpayers' personal views and perspective. However, no one forced us to take the park.

According to the councilman, the three major newspapers that cover the council meetings can never seem to report the story accurately. Is it that they cannot or do not write the story in the same frame of mind that he is? My suggestion would be for Councilman Ricks to pre-write the stories he would like to see them print, hand them out prior to the council meeting and then and only then will they have the opportunity to take the same slant on issues the councilman seems to feel he has the right to demand.

I would really like to comment on Ricks' letter to the editor, but I believe I probably am well over the limit on the number of words I am allowed here. I think it is sufficient to say that his letter sounded like it was written in the fashion of a child's book. This well demonstrates Mr. Ricks' belief in the average intelligence of the citizens of the community. According to his list of people and organizations that said "you are wrong," Councilman Ricks evidently never heard of the phrase, "If enough people tell you that you are wrong, you probably are."

/s/ Jim Stanton, Sunnyside

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