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September 24, 2009     Cheney Free Press
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September 24, 2009
 

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Page 4 Free Press OPINION Once again we remind you... Thursday, September 24, 2009 It comes around every fall. You know, the annual reminder you hear all the time? Any guesses? No it's not time to turn back the clock, that comes Nov. 1. What the Cheney Free Press editorial board is talking about is something statistics point out that anywhere from 50 or more percent of people con- stantly blow off. Voting! Following up a little on last week's discussion in this space surrounding the Constitution, and seeing as though there's another election cycle in the works, albeit lesser in stature than the one a year ago, citizens seem to take for granted their duty to vote. With a general election coming up Tuesday, Nov. 3, and a lot to vote on, we urge you to cast your ballot. While a much larger percentage of citizens vote in national elections, and while that is all well and good, what happens locally may have a larger and more direct effect on you. Yet just one-third of the electorate showed they cared in the primary this past August. Part of that could be attributed to the time of the year. You know, summertime, when the livin' is easy and our thoughts tend to drift more towards barbecues, not ballots? Write to th And then controversies over the president's ad- dress to school kids and what followed play more into making voters even more apathetic. Regardless of your political leaning, it's not what we need. There tend to be so few participating in selecting leaders and determining how our tax money is spent that they get their own way. And out of that small percentage, how many voters really know more than the cosmetics of the election and decide their vote not on their knowledge of the issues but on who's got the most signs or buys the largest share of TV time? Many people's views today are formed by what comes to them, be it the talking heads on the largely right-leaning talk radio; or the left that populates what is presented by most of major network televi- sion news. Becoming an informed voter should be a journey. It should be something you seek and that doesn't just come to you. You being informed can be hugely im- portant with many area leaders and representatives on the ballot. And then there are all the local tax issues - the parks bond and later a likely one for Cheney schools - that will be upcoming on the ballot. You can spend that extra time to become informed now because you spend less time and effort to vote in the first place with an all mail-in ballot. Today there is no excuse inour largely "I want it now, I want it all" world because for the last few years our ballots have been delivered to us in the mail and can be taken away by the postman. No more of those trips to the local polling place that can take what, a whole 30 minutes out of one's day? e Point Forum is chance to hear, talk with Cheney candidates The deadliest ingredient... But is the mail-in ballot playing a part in lower voter turnout? The electorate may see a disconnect in their community and less4nterested in issues. While a 44 cent stamp does save a trip to the polling place, what is lost is the ability to chat with people in your neighborhood, the election workers and grab a cookie on the way out the door. L 00tters So we leave you with a reminder - again! Voting should not be a burden but a priority and a privilege. There's time before the general election ballots begin arriving in your mailbox to get yourself a little more informed and engaged. If you do vote, keep it up. If you don't, make sure you do this time. Swannack endorses Pat Hailey for state representative I wish to express my sincere Pat's experience working in in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the thanks for your kindness during, our schools for 10 years and later injuries many of our brave men I would like to take this oppor- tunity - our space, your reading time - to invite you to our third an- nual Cheney Free Press Candidates Forum. That goes for non-Cheney Free Press readers and subscribers as well. The forum takes place Wednes- day, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m., and as al- ways, thanks to Jim Missel, Cheney High School assis- tant principal for student activities, and others at the district, it will be held in the high school's Little Theatre. John McCallum This year's forum will be in two parts. The first will feature the four candidates vying for two City Council spots: Graeme Webster and Fred Pollard for Position 1, Mike McKeehan and Kathleen Warren for Position 3. After a short break, part two will commence with mayoral candidates Allan Gainer and Tom Trulove taking the stage to field your ques- tions. And that's the key element about these forums. These are your ques- tions, not ours, although we may throw one or two in at times to keep things rolling. Other than that, it's the citizens who grill the candidates, either through the written question portion where participants write their questions on cards that are then selected and read to the candi- dates by the moderator - that's me - or asked directly of the candidates themselves in the forum's finale. The forum provides a chance to hear what these candidates have to ,say about issues facing our city, and why they feel they are the best suited to address those issues. With two of the seven council seats up for elec- tion, and the mayor's office, there's plenty at stake. For a complete description of tle mayofsduties anauthofities a look at Rcw 5f2.060, Su boiled down, the mayor is Cheney's chief executi,6 offic6r L the CEO. The mayor is in charge of depart- ments and their employees, with authority to hire and fire department heads. The mayor sees that all laws and ordinances are enforced, and that law and order is maintained. The mayor approves or disapproves contractor bonds, makes sure all contracts and agreements are kept and performed, and with council's approval, can initiate legal proceed- ings to enforce those documents. The mayor prepares and submits a proposed budget to the council for approval, and can vote at council proceedings in case of a tie. The council organizes and regu- lates the city's affairs according to the charter, and defines functions, powers, duties and compensation of its employees. It adopts and enforces ordinances, sets penalties for their violation, and exercises powers in regards to the sale, purchase, main- tenance, restoration, regulation, beautification, protection, use, vaca- tion, abmidonment and disposition of public byways, real property of aU kinds, structures, or any other im- provement or use of real or personal property and aspects of collective bargaining. The council also controls the ren- dering of local social, cultural, recre- ational, educational, governmental or corporate services. It also has say in operating and supplying utilities and other municipal services. There's more under RCW 35A.11.020, and frankly it would behoove everyone to read hotlY' sections of the state laws to better understand the functions of our governments. These are the powers that voters will be placing their trust in a small group of people to faithfully execute on our behalf and benefit after November's election. The Cheney Free Press Candidates Forum will give voters a chance to ask these candidates how they intend to use those powers to make life better for us in Cheney. Forums such as these are at the core of our democracy. Our repre- sentative government derives its power from us, the electorate. And yet too often today we complain about being shut out of this process, and frankly in many cases don't take the time to fully execute our rights as voters. Your right as a voter has already begun. It becomes publicly mani- fested on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the Cheney Free Press Candidates Forum. We'll see you there. John McCMlum can be reached at jmac@chene#eepress.com this primary election. My family and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet you and learn about your communities, participate in your parades and talk with you about the issues facing us. It was a good experience, even if I didn't make it to the general election. As I said during the voter's fo- rum in Pullman, I would endorse the candidate whose values were closest to my own and whose skill set I believed best fit the needs of the 9 th District and our families. After much consideration, ! have chosen to endorse Pat Hailey. Pat has a good combina- tion of skills including serving our schools, operating a farm and knowledge of how Olympia works. serving as an elected official on North Franklin District's School Board is important for our chil- dren. She understands the chal- lenges facing our schools and has worked to fix problems and improve the education our chil- dren receive each day. Pat lives and works on a farm. Again, she understands the chal- lenges we as farmers face. Day to day she has todeal with the same issues we do -- taxes, regulations, inspections and issues such as water rights -- all of which can make or break each of our farms. I know she will be looking out for us in Olympia. Pat also lived as a military wife during her first years of marriage to Steve. With our commitments and women have received, we need to honor them by fulfilling our obligation to provide for their care. I know Pat will always look out for our veterans, their wives and their children. They have taken care of us, and we must take care of them. For these reasons and many more, including Pat's strong set of Christian values, I have chosen to endorse Pat and help her in her campaign. I hope those of you who voted for me and valuewhat I value will choose to support Pat and also vote for her during this upcoming general election. I believe she is the right choice for District 9. Art Swannack Lamont Cheney's 50-acre park: what it could mean for my child I am a parent whose child participates in the special recreation activities through Cheney's Park and Recreation Department. Being able to provide fun, interesting activities through an environment that offers my child the protection and secu- rity he needs to feel comfortable to participate is of great impor- tance to me. My child has learned a great deal through the structured environment in school. Now through the Special Recreation. Program he is able to use his learned social skills in real life situations and increase his con- fidence level even more. The Park and Recreation Department has a growing pro- gram for our citizens that utilize the Special Recreation Program. We also need a home base. Our home base was the Wren Pier- son Building before its collapse last winter; our program is just one of the many programs that has been farmed out in order to continue their Operation. The 50-acre park and the community center that is to be built on the site will provide the facilities all of our children deserve to grow up using along with our senior citizens. This site will provide a place for the Special Olympics to practice, a place for social events through the special recreation programs as well as any classes offered in the future. Please consider the impor- tance Proposition Ony has for all of the citizens in Cheney. Lavertta Lawrence Cheney See Letters on page 5 FREE PRESS Publisher Harlan Shellabarger Sales Steve Barge Carol Campbell DeeAnn Gibb Wendy Westby Graphics John Myers Karen Robinette Editor John McCallum Reporters Paul Delaney Ryan Lancaster Becky Thomas Bookkeeper Debi Labish Circulation Manager Sharon Tennison Vol. 1-13 - No. 23 Press Production Manager Randy Warwick Pressmen Mark Cordes Ed Geary Sergio Reynaga Front Office Rubi Geary The Editorial Board is composed of Paul Delaney, John McCallum, Harlan Shellabarger The Cheney Free Press is published every Thursday by the Free Press Publishing Company, William Ifft, president. Periodical postage paid at Cheney, Wash. 99004. Published at 1616 W. First Street, Cheney, Wash. 99004. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Cheney Free Press, P.O. Box 218, Cheney, Wash. 99004-0218. ID PUBLICATION # 102240 The Free Press requests that contributors observe the following deadlines, which will be strictly en- forced: OBITUARIES, MEETINGS OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES -- Tuesday, 10 a.m. CHURCH. WEDDINGS. CLUB MEETINGS. ALL SOCIAL NEWS - Monday, noon DISPLAY ADVERTISING -- Monday, 4 p.m. LEGAL NOTICES -- Monday, 5 I.m. CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING --Tuesday, 11 a.m. Rates: Addresses in Spokane County, $24 per year within Spokane County; $36 per year outside Spokane County; senior citizens in Spokane County, $22 per year. For other rates, call 235-6184. Subscription cancellations are non-refundable! HOW TO CONTACT US Letters We welcome letters to the editor of 300 words or less. Deadline is Monday at 4 p.m. Letters must be signed and include a daytime phone number. We reserve the right to edit for length, style, policy and libel laws. Phone: 235-6184 Fax: 235-2887 emaih cfp@cheneyfreepress.com online at www.cheneyfreepress.com Keep those letters.coming!. A vibrant opinion page leads to a vibrant commumty Your Cheney Free Press editorial staff John McCallum Editor Main contact for anything re- garding Cheney Free Press editorial coverage. Covers all Cheney High School sports, Eastem Washington University news. jmac @ chenevfreepress.com Becky Thomas Staff Reporter Covers all Cheney govem- ment, community and school district news and eventS. becky@ chenevfreepress. corn Ryan Lancaster Staff Reporter Covers all Medical Lake government, community and school district news and events. ryan@.aegdreelaress, com Paul Delaney Staff Reporter Covers all Medical Lake High School and Eastern Washing- ton University sports. Contact for miscellaneous sports. pdeMnev @ chene yfrepress. co]3