May 17, 2016
President John Brewer called the meeting to order at 7:30am. Jim Hargrove led the flag salute. Guests were Mathew Rainwater, Rich Erickson, Trev Naranche, Jim McEntire, Laura O’Neal, Debbie Spinks, Judith Morrish, Patrick Downie, Steve Tharinger, Amy Miller, James VandeVeer, Bobby and Jennifer from OMC and Sissy Bruch from the Elwha Tribal Council.
Stephanie moved and Andrew seconded postponing reading of minutes. Motion carried.
President John Brewer said copies of letters, to be sent to the City of Port Angeles and to the US Army Corps of Engineers, had been placed on the tables and would be discussed at the May 24 meeting.
Marc announced the Chamber will be having a breakfast meeting on Wednesday at the Red Lion at 7:30am. Coffee and donuts will be available.
Phil Kitchel introduced special guest and speaker, retiring State Senator Jim Hargrove. Phil thanked Jim for all his years and work not only for District 24, but for the whole state. Edna presented Jim with a lawn chair and Harley glasses and scarf that Jim can wear while riding around on his motorcycle. Jim said he felt that his 32 years could be multiplied by seven times or even more because of all the work that goes into being a Senator.
The budget will have to cover more for forest fires, mental health, and the homeless. McCleary at $7.4 billion is hard to finance since funds must come from the state and not local levies. Property rich cities do not want to have their taxes raised, while poor cities do not have the funds to handle tax increases. “People want more spending, but do not want more taxes.”
Increased spending is needed for pension liability, children’s mental health and overtime for caregivers.
He is proud of his work on the Becca Legislation having to do with drugs and abuse. He feels that in 20 years it has helped to decrease the number of juvenile delinquents in jail which in turn decreases the number of adults in prisons. More time is now being spent in caring about kids before they commit a crime, than after. This also cuts down on the number of victims. While crimes of violence ar down, property crimes continue to rise.
Other issues that he has seen through are mental health, timber issues such as spotted owl, climate change – he feels forest management of fast growing trees and building with wood will help the climate problem. He is excited about the prospects of CLT.
Being a legislator is one of love and commitment. With an annual salary of about $44,000, most legislators are really interested in doing good and not just making a name for themselves.
He thinks that newspapers are still the best way of getting information out. Modern technology has a tendency to be sensationalized with talk radio being the worst. They might be entertaining but too many time they are giving out wrong information.
“Waste in government stories and programs are the worst.”
Q & A Period
When is he going to run for Land Commissioner? DNR and impact on legislation, landslides, landfill, federal role in school funding, cap and trade, gas tax increases.
Phil moved and Andrew seconded extending the meeting for 15 minutes. Motion carried.
Teacher raises, salary schedules, unneeded lawsuits that take time and money.
Speaker – May 24: Nathan West, City of Port Angeles Director of Community & Economic Development, Comprehensive Plan.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45am.