Oak Harbor City Council

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The Garry Oak Tree at the Oak Harbor Post Office was cut down this Sunday morning.

The City gave very little notice that it was to be cut down but the condition of the tree is what is caused the expedited action on the cities part.

Last May a 100 pound branch broke off in a windstorm and last June another 300 pound branch fell on the sidewalk. This spring and summer when the tree is in full leaf and the sap is running would have more than likely caused more limbs to fail.

It is certainly sad to see a tree of this age cut down but the years were not been to kind to it. This tree was more than likely planted alongside a wagon trail some 400 years ago and the since then that wagon trail has turned into the city we know as Oak Harbor. Once you pave over a trees roots the tree suffers and eventually the tree needs to be removed. (Pictures below the fold)

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We have sent 10 questions to all of the candidates for the upcoming Oak Harbor City Council election. In the following weeks we will be posting the answers that the candidates supplied us for your information. All of the candidates for all of the council seats were sent these questions with the exception of Skip Pohtilla whom we could find no contact information for.

All of the candidates were asked the following questions:

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The city of Oak Harbor is at a crossroads. The citizens of this city have a choice to make this November that will greatly change the direction of our city.

At stake in this election is control of the City Council.  A majority of the council has decided to obstruct the new Mayor that was elected on a platform of change and openness by a wide majority of the citizens.  For the last several years we have seen a great deal of contention between the Mayor and those that have the most control over the future of Oak Harbor, the City Council. When the citizens of Oak Harbor elected a new Mayor, Scott Dudley, by a 12.93% margin over his opponent and incumbent Mayor Jim Slowik they were hoping for change and a new way for our city to be managed. This change cannot happen with the current members of the City Council as they have chosen to be obstructive since the day the new Mayor was elected.

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The video below is an example of why we have some local politicians that cannot be trusted to speak honestly and why we have a City Council that is misinformed on the issues. We have a local politician, one that should know better, attempting to clarify to the Council that the the Hotel Motel tax is somehow not a tax. This politician calls this tax pass through dollars, reimbursed dollars or designated reimbursed dollars and attempts to avoid the concept that these are taxes and that real people pay this tax.

Oak Harbor has one of the highest lodging tax rates in the State and certainly in our local area. The “2%” tax is a tax make no mistake about it. Yes it is passed through the state. But it is a real tax real and real people pay it. It makes no difference to the visitors to our city whether it is “passed through” the state or not as it comes directly from their pockets. While it is called the “2%” tax our city taxes 2% under RCW 67.28.180 and also taxes an additional 2% under RCW 67.28.181 for a total of a 4% tax on all hotel motel sales. So in Oak Harbor this should be referred to as the 4% tax…not the 2% tax as stated by this politician.

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The upcoming election for 4 Oak Harbor City Council members is going to be very  important to the citizens. In this post I will outline some of the issues that we currently  have with our planned septic treatment facility or Clean Water Facility to highlight why we have a City Council  that consistently makes the wrong choices for Oak Harbor and why many members of  the current Council need to be replaced with new blood in the Council.

We have a plan on the table by the current City Council that has not been thought  through and will cost the citizens of our community dearly.

1- Plan was rushed.
The current plan was rushed though the council, several recommendations were made to  take the time to do this right and all of those attempts were rebuffed by the Council.
There was a recommendation made to put the engineering of this sewage treatment plant  out for a competitive bid. The Council refused and instead chose an engineering firm  solely on the basis that it would take another 3 month to put this out for bid. They  chose the engineering firm that the city has used for the last several years and that has  consistently given the city the most expensive options.

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The Whidbey News Times recently published a letter to the editor that was an attack piece on one of our local Oak Harbor politicians. There was no evidence or facts stated in this letter just accusations that were basically a smear attack on this politician and everything he stood for.  

I thought the timing of this letter to the editor was a perfect opportunity to link to an article about Sandra Day O’Conner’s recent keynote address to the “Transforming America: Women and Leadership in the 21st Century” conference in Boise, Idaho.

In this address Justice O’Conner stated:

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Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley has a new blog. It is called “The Mayor’s Corner”.

It is refreshing to see a politician who actually attempts to communicate with his constituents directly. I have seen the Mayor at many local events, he always seems to attend every one that he can and does a good job of interacting with the public while at them.

This is a first for Oak Harbor that I know of. An internet savvy Mayor using the internet to directly communicate with the citizens is something that all of our politicians should emulate.

As a lot of our local politicians do not communicate at all with their constituents this should be a wake up call for them as many do not even return e mails when they are sent to them. I am not even sure they check e mail from the lack of a response from them.

Check it out!



At the City Council meeting on August 7th 2013 the Oak Harbor City Council passed resolution 13-20 which states:



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Interesting City Council meeting last Tuesday night. On the agenda there was an item that was recommended by the city Attorney Grant Weed to be placed on the agenda and brought before the council. This item was included to ensure the city was following the most recent court decisions and was placed on the agenda as a policy change to protect the city from a possible future lawsuit. We are not going to get into the details of  the proposed city policy but instead the process that was unfair to the citizens that attended the meetings and also the interesting comments to the council and citizens that occurred during the  meeting.

The wide majority of the crowd at the meeting was there for this one issue. It was on the agenda and information was included in the agenda package that was available to the council and the citizens on the previous Friday. The issue was never heard by the council and the citizens that attended never got a chance to participate. The council had adequate time to prepare themselves to hear this issue but instead they short circuited the process by removing this item from the agenda leaving the citizens that came to speak without an issue to speak to.

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After the city council refused to change the makeup of the Marina Advisory board at the insistence of the Chair of the Marina Advisory Board Christon Skinner the Mayor removed Christon Skinner from the board.

The Mayor wanted to expand the board by 2 members and allow 2 non marina user onto the board and to include a live aboard from the marina on the committee. This was fought by the chair who wanted to keep the status quo on the board.

This is a good move for Oak Harbor, the marina belongs to all of the citizens of Oak Harbor not just the users of the marina. By having a couple of members on the board that are not marina users is an attempt to get the marina more integrated with the citizens and working with the city and it’s residents and to encourage activities that help Oak Harbor and not just the Marina and it’s users.

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I thought I would re-post the first article ever posted to jokeharbor.org/islandpolitics.org. It was posted on 10-1-2010 and here is what it said:
(See the original post with images below, don’t miss the images!)

“Oak Harbor has recently decided that Pioneer Way, the historic downtown of our city, is to be turned into a one way street. This is being done against the will of the residents and businesses in the downtown area. There have been many accusations of conflicts of interest and of illegal votes by City Council members.”

The re-posting of this is rather fitting because the the issue that this article was about was just the start of a long drawn out saga that is not over yet some 3 years later. 

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Friday, March 22, 2013
Oak Harbor, Washington – Lucas Yonkman, a lifelong Oak Harbor resident, disabled veteran, and local businessman has announced his candidacy for Position 4 on the Oak Harbor City Council. Yonkman, in announcing his candidacy, has also announced the platform on which he is running and his reasons for doing so: “I want to bring the voice of Oak Harbor’s citizens back to the city council, to take a good look at our expenses and find ways to make it more affordable to live in our great city, and above all to ensure transparency, honesty, and accountability in our City Government”.

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On March 21st 2013 Sandi Peterson announced that she is running for Oak Harbor City Council position 5 which is currently held by Joel Servatius.

In speaking with Sandi she states that her reason for running is that she has had enough! 

Enough of the culture of disrespect; enough of the lack of civility; enough of the council, with rare exception, acting without concern for those they serve, the citizens of Oak Harbor.  Enough of their over reaching and micro management. She believes that the people who live, work and do business here deserve better. 

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Again we see our obstructive Oak Harbor City Council in action.

Recently Mayor Dudley appointed a new city attorney as a full time city employee to replace the interim attorney. The City Council has refused to confirm this appointment. This is 3 or 4 to zero in confirming the Mayors appointments without obstruction. (Correction: The City Council approved ONE appointee without obstruction, Larry Cort.)

Let’s go back a bit in recent time to when the City Council approved a new rule that allows the City Council to confirm the Mayors appointments. Since inception Oak Harbor has allowed it’s Mayor the sole ability to hire and fire administrative personel under his control until this new rule by the council. This new rule was adopted with some controversy as this allows the council to control who works under the Mayor’s control and for the citizens of Oak Harbor. Remember the City Attorney and management personnel works for the Mayor and the citizens in this city not the council. The Mayor is elected as our executive officer and all city management personnel work directly under his control. The council has thrown a wrench into this process by voting in themselves the ability to confirm those appointees. Now the Mayor is faced with hiring an employee under his direct control but having to go through our obstructive City Council to actually hire that employee. There has not been one appointee for a position chosen by our Mayor that has not been rejected or obstructed by this council with the exception of Larry Cort.

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UPDATED (see below) Was a series of on-line readers’ comments on the morning of Saturday, 09 Feb, simply “too much” for the Whidbey News-Times (WNT)? The newspapers’ on-line editorial chastised citizens about exercising their 2nd Amendment Rights at this past Tuesday’s Oak Harbor, WA City Council meeting. The WNT posted the editorial Saturday morning, and it was attracting a series of readers’ comments that were not favorable towards the WNT’s stated views. Around noon, the newspaper “pulled” the editorial from the on-line edition. The newspaper’s original link to that editorial is now met only with a page which reads “Page Not Found”.

Did the WNT decide to “pull” it’s editorial permanently from being on-line? Or, are they simply temporarily avoiding the growing number of on-line comments which had been criticizing the newspaper’s stated position? A readable copy of the WNT editorial appears below the “Read the rest of this entry »” link. The subject editorial was apparently printed in the locally distributed hard-copy edition, as evidenced by the Whidbey News-Times, February 09, 2013 (“Green Edition”)  on page 6).  Read the rest of this entry »

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