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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (May 8, 2017)
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017
Founded in 1873
DAVID F. PERO, Publisher & Editor
LAURA SELLERS, Managing Editor
BETTY SMITH, Advertising Manager
JEREMY FELDMAN, Circulation Manager
DEBRA BLOOM, Business Manager
JOHN D. BRUIJN, Production Manager
CARL EARL, Systems Manager
New cutters will boost
Coast Guard’s presence
he mouth of the Columbia is one of world’s great mar-
itime entryways and corridors. A decision by the U.S.
Coast Guard to station two of its brand new 154-foot
Sentinel-class fast response cutters here is an acknowledgment
of our estuary’s strategic and practical importance.
This has long been Coast Guard country. The U.S. Life-
Saving Service, one of the Coast Guard’s parent agencies, estab-
lished a station at Cape Disappointment in 1873, one of its first.
Coast Guard presence here has expanded time after time in the
subsequent 144 years, most recently with relocation of sector
headquarters from Portland.
The cutters, at a combined cost of around $150 million, will
greatly enhance security and safety along the Pacific Northwest
coast and beyond. With an operational range of 2,500 miles and
a top sustained speed of about 35 mph, these cutters will be able
to respond wherever needed in record time.
At a time when maritime commerce is expanding, security
threats becoming more worrisome and other missions becoming
more complex, these cutters will catch the Coast Guard up with
the 21st century. Always among our nation’s most competent
and well-respected agencies, the Coast Guard will make good
use of these long-needed assets.
For our area, the cutters will help guarantee continuing vital-
ity of Columbia River shipping and other, more localized eco-
nomic sectors like commercial fishing. They will even play an
important role in the tourism industry by ensuring the safety of
Astoria’s robust cruise-ship business. They will even be tour-
ist attractions in their own right. Curious onlookers will gather
wherever the cutters end up being moored and they will add to
the fascinating panorama of passing vessels on the river.
Each of the new cutters will require two officers and 20 crew
— presumably along with additional shore-based support staff.
These added paychecks will reverberate around our communities
in countless positive ways.
It is worth noting that this welcome development also will put
more pressure on local housing stock and add more motor vehi-
cles to crowded streets and highways. Their grateful neighbors
will appreciate whatever the Coast Guard can do to help address
The Coast Guard’s decision is a big win for Astoria and all the
towns of the Columbia and adjacent Pacific shoreline. We appre-
ciate it and offer our continuing thanks for all the Coast Guard
does on our behalf.
Warrenton should tap
Balensifer for mayor
arrenton city commissioners have an important
decision to make Tuesday of who should be the next
Former Mayor Mark Kujala stepped down from the position
in March, mid-way through his four-year term to spend more
time focused on his family and on his business. Kujala served
12 years on the commission and became the city’s first elected
mayor in 2014. The remaining four commissioners must now
choose who among themselves should step into the mayor’s
position and fulfill his term, which expires in
Commissioners Henry Balensifer and Rick
Newton are seeking the position. Balensifer,
who was selected by fellow commissioners as
mayor pro tem under Kujala, is serving as act-
ing mayor until the appointment is made.
Assuming that Balensifer and Newton
will each vote for themselves, the decision
rests between Commissioners Pam Ackley
and Tom Dyer. If the City Commission is
divided 2-2, Balensifer would remain acting
mayor until the stalemate is broken or until the 2018 election.
Balensifer’s or Newton’s appointment as mayor would create a
vacancy for their commission seats, and the commission would
be charged with appointing an applicant from the community to
fill that term.
We believe Balensifer is the better choice and should be
Warrenton’s mayor. He was first elected in 2012, and has been
in the pro tem position since 2013 when it was called vice
chair prior to the mayor’s position becoming an elected one.
Balensifer is extremely active in the community and the years he
has spent as deputy mayor have groomed him for the job of rep-
resenting the city.
It’s important the commission make a choice because the fifth
commissioner’s slot will be vacant until a choice is made or until
the election next year. Commissions usually have an odd number
of members so votes won’t end in ties, and even though commis-
sioners aren’t elected based on geographical districts, it’s import-
ant that all the positions are filled and all residents are fully
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
‘Guilty as charged’
andidate Stephen Fulton is correct. I have a decid-
edly different position on the proposed Life Flight
location that is in direct conflict with the interests of his
On April 10, I submitted a ten-page technical mem-
orandum to the Port’s Airport Advisory Committee and
Executive Director Jim Knight in response to candidate
Fulton’s published letter of March 23, proposing to ter-
minate the Bales lease and convert the hangar for Life
The purpose of the AAC is to advise the Port Com-
mission with recommendations on both general busi-
ness matters as well as consequential decisions that
affect the airport.
On Jan. 17, AAC Chairman Henry Balensifer sub-
mitted the AAC’s recommendation for the location of
the Life Flight facility at a meeting of the full commis-
sion. The commission listened, discussed and adopted
the recommendation for two southern sites. Commis-
sioner Fulton voted the only “nay” vote on the resolu-
tion. The two southern sites became the governing pol-
icy of the Port.
Candidate Fulton’s proposal in his press release of
March 23 is in denial of the facts that had been previ-
ously presented to and acted on by the commission.
Candidate Fulton proposes a solution that is potentially
unsafe, costly and time-consuming; it also stands little
to no possibility of regulatory approval.
Candidate Fulton’s proposal has peripheral issues
requiring resolution which would likely create as much
or more effort than the commission approved primary
and alternate sites. Candidate Fulton’s proposal is a
simplistic solution to a not so simple problem. Engage-
ment with the Port staff and the AAC on the full range
of relevant facts would have generated a more realis-
tic solution, although still unlikely to achieve regulatory
I serve at the pleasure and direction of the Port’s
executive director as a contract employee. I work on
those activities which he directs and delegates to me. If
candidate Fulton defines conflict of interest as carrying
out assigned duties in conformity with Port policy and
each day bringing to those tasks the best of my ability,
judgement, experience and creativity, then I am, “guilty
Interim Airport Manager
Port of Astoria Regional Airport
Stokes for health district
ome May 16, I hope you will give some serious
thought to voting for Mindy Stokes for Clatsop Care
Health District Director Position 1. Mindy has been an
active member of the community in ways that advocate
for the rights of the elderly, women and LGBT members
of the North Coast, and will achieve great things in this
position if given the chance.
Having worked with Mindy in a variety of educa-
tional and activist settings, I can tell you she is motivated
to work, and actively seeks to represent the best inter-
ests of the community. She is meticulous but thoughtful,
driven but easy to talk to, and she will tackle local health
issues head on until she is satisfied with the result. She
truly is a “people’s” candidate. I encourage you to vote
’m writing to support Patrick Wingard’s re-election to
the Clatsop Community College’s Board of Directors.
Patrick’s record of community service spans both paid
and volunteer positions over a period of many years.
He serves to further the best and brightest, the great-
est good for the greatest number, in whatever capacity he
finds himself. As a land use planner or a governing body
member, as a friend or neighbor, Patrick Wingard acts
as a stable, logical and intelligent voice to promote and
protect good causes and efforts wherever he’s involved,
locally and regionally.
His collaborative skills demonstrate his flexibility and
focus, yielding wonderful results. As a community, we’d
be well-served by his re-election.
Aho and Burke serve district
s a long-standing member of the Clatsop Care
Health District Board, I’m encouraged by the recent
interest in the district, and by the unusual interest in serv-
ing on the district board. The two individuals who are
contesting current board members bring enthusiasm and
skills which could serve the district well. However, this
alone does not warrant a vote to replace the incumbents
they are challenging.
Long-term care is a complex enterprise, and it prob-
ably takes the typical new board member over a year
to effectively participate in board discussions and deci-
sions. Understanding these complexities is especially
critical now, as we deal with a rapidly changing opera-
tional environment that has led many providers of nurs-
ing home care to exit the field.
Karen Burke, our current chairwoman, has more
than eight years service on the board, and has been an
engaged and effective leader. As an experienced nurse,
she brings that perspective to board discussions along
with a solid understanding of the district’s operations and
challenges, and especially the circumstances leading to
recent board decisions.
Prior to joining the board, Mike Aho spent more than
four years gaining an understanding of the district first-
hand, while family members were either resident in a dis-
trict facility or utilizing services provided by district staff.
When he had questions about the district’s operations,
he began regularly attending our board meetings to learn
more. With that, and his experience as a small business
owner, he has become a valued member of the board.
Mike Aho and Karen Burke have been working dil-
igently to ensure that the district continues to provide a
variety of long term care services to the area. They have
shown their commitment to the district, and our commu-
nity, and I strongly recommend that they receive your
Support for Lum-Toyooka
y name is Stephanie Snyder, and I, along with my
husband Ryan Snyder, own and operate Martin
Hospitality and a small collection of hotels and restau-
rants in Cannon Beach. I am writing this letter today in
support of Lori Lum-Toyooka for a board position on the
Seaside School District.
I have known Lori for 15 years, and have watched
her impact on the community in which she lives and the
communities in which her company serves throughout
Clatsop County. She is extremely involved in the local
schools, and currently serves alongside me on the Par-
ent Teacher Organization (PTO) for Broadway Middle
School. Lori is very involved with volunteering for fund-
raising efforts, and in efforts to help kids have special
opportunities at school like cultural events, assemblies
and field trips. Lori has been strategic in her leadership,
and has an ability to inspire those around her.
Professionally, Lori is striving with their business at
Lum’s Auto, not only being considered one of the best
employers in Clatsop County, but also in their efforts to
meaningfully engage locally, and give back in time and
treasure to the community.
These brief comments share my absolute support of
Lori and her efforts to join the school board for Seaside
School district. I know she would be fantastic fit; dedi-
cated and passionate.
Running for school board
’m a progressive running for Position 4 on the Astoria
School District Board. Two years ago, I took a job here
in Astoria so that my wife and I could be close to her sis-
ter and two nephews. Coming from Indiana, we love the
beauty of the area and the town, and we’re grateful every
day to live in this wonderful place.
Last year’s presidential election was a shock to my
system. After a few days of reflection, I resolved that I
would become civicly active in my new hometown to try
and make a positive difference.
In the past few months I’ve become active in the Clat-
sop County Democratic Party. I’m honored they chose
me to serve as one of their delegates to the Democratic
Party of Oregon’s State Central Committee to recom-
mend policy and help the party move forward in our
state. Now I’m running for Astoria School Board to fur-
ther serve you and our schools.
Why am I running? There are many reasons, but the
top one is that our current Secretary of Education, Betsy
DeVos, is an advocate for “school choice” policy, sup-
porting the establishment of private charter alternatives
to public schools.
My issue with this system is that it diverts fund-
ing from public school programs, often with little over-
sight or guarantee that they will provide adequate edu-
cation. I’m committed to fighting to keep public money
in the public schools. If the federal government forces
us to divert funds to for-profit education programs, I’ll
help to create the most robust system of oversight possi-
ble to ensure that our tax dollars are used to benefit stu-
dents in our community, and not just line the pockets of
I have three years of experience as an English teacher,
and I currently work as a data analyst for Greater Ore-
gon Behavioral Health Inc. I also served two years as
vice-chairman on Bloomington, Indiana’s Commission
I think my experience and skills will be great assets
for the school board, and I hope you will give me your
vote. Please visit my website at www.andydavisfor-
schoolboard.org to learn more about me.