September 13, 2016
Meeting was called to order at 7:30am. Past PABA President, Jerry Hauxwell, led the flag salute.
Guests: Paul Hansen, Wayne Roberts, Paul Martin, Rich Erickson, Lee Whetham, Bobby Chapman, Bill Marsh, Ellen Fetchiet, etc., etc.
Dr. Luke Robbins, President Peninsula College; Bill Peach, County Commissioner, were given new member certificates.
Chamber Director, Marc Abshire, announced the luncheon, tomorrow, and the October Board meeting, will focus on the Chamber’s new strategic plan.
Harry Bell, Governmental Affairs Committee Chair, announced a meeting following today’s debate.
Andrew May corrected September 12 Board Meeting Minutes to read: “Association” instead of “Club”.
Mathew Rainwater pointed out spelling of “Septembeer” to “September”.
Edna Petersen moved and Kaj Ahlburg seconded acceptance of the minutes for August 30 and September 12, with the two corrections. Motion carried.
Andrew moved and a second was obtained extending the meeting to 8:45am. Motion carried.
Andrew pointed out the importance of the State Legislative position and then introduced Mike Chapman and George Vrable.
Mike told of his 25 years of Public Service in Law Enforcement and of being a County Commissioner. he said his degrees in Organizational Management have been useful in his career. The most important issues, to him, are McCleary, Public Infrastructure (such as roads and bridges), the B/O Tax, Property Tax and Income Tax.
George Vrable said he has had 35 years in Fire Service. His most concern is “phobia” and how it is affected the national election this year.
Q & A Period
Kaj: Position on the State Attorney General’s proposal on gun control and should there be a limit to the size of the magazine. How do they feel about Initiative 1491?
MC: Supports 1491 even though the subject died in Committee before. He said if the AG suggests any legislation he is the one who will have to follow through. He would like to look for a partisan outcome. The initiative should not be disallowed but he is not supporting it. He reminded the group the reason there are so many initiatives is because the Legislature would not take up the subject. That leaves the subject/problem to the voters.
GV: He is opposed to 1491 and is not families with the Attorney General’s proposal. It is important to not strip the Second Amendment from the people as they are doing in California. He has no strong opinion on the size of the magazine. Could be flexible but does not need to be 500.
George Bergner: Where is the State going to get the billion it needs to fund McCleary?
GV: Look at programs that can be closed or cut. Fund McCleary and then see if there is any money left for anything else. (Not sure what should be cut or closed.)
MC: A tax reform package might help even though State now has a regressive system. Do not give tax breaks to companies that take big tax cuts and then leave State with jobs.
GV: Doesn’t see need to change system now in place. There should be more discipline of larger cities. There is no reason to give businesses tax breaks.
Phil Kitchel: What role does the State Legislature play in passing School Bond issues?
GV: DNR should tax the maximum amount of state forest lands, at least to the point where they are still sustainable. Take advice from the foresters as to what should be taken from the forests.
Should the 60% on school bonds and levies be lowered?
GV: Supports just a majority vote.
MC: Supports lowering 60%. Would end up with new school construction and thus more jobs and employment.
Harry Bell: Should State Legislature oversee trust land?
MC: Too narrow an issue for this arena.
GV: It is the role of the Legislature to oversee DNR. He would push for maximum sustainable harvest. “Oversight it.”
Randy Johnson: McCleary! How are you going to makeup the billion needed?
GV: Cut back at other programs. Look at a tax.
MC: State Land Commissioner should be handling that. It is not the role of the Legislature to tell them what to do. All 98 Legislators have to work together. it is a bi-partisan effort.
Paul Martin: How do they feel about League of Women Voter forums or other groups?
MC: Would be glad to meet with LWV or any other group.
GV: Goes to forums and discussion groups to get votes. He feels LWV want to do good and they are humane, but together they are on “incremental steps to Socialism”. They are not non-partisan.
Peggy Norris: Should the legal age for smoking be raised to 21?
GV: Probably a good idea, but would be hard to enforce. He will have to think about adding another law.
MC: Good idea but the tobacco lobby will shoot it down. Feels that smoking leads to more gateway drugs.
How do they inform themselves about issues and make decisions?
MC: Look at a common ground. He reads on both sides, watches TV and listens to voters.
GV: Uses common sense, “idealogy is a box over your head”. He is open and pragmatic to issues.
Edna Petersen: How do questions in Port Townsend and Forks differ from those asked in Port Angeles?
GV: Port Townsend is more liberal. He can’t please everyone.
MC: Issue of transportation, health, women’s issues, environment, and lack of mills are brought up more in other cities. He feels that the public has not been well-served due to lack of attendance by both candidates at forums.
GV: Said he takes the middle road. He is proud he was a Democrat but is now a Republican because that shows he can change his mind. He has an open mind and is willing to listen. He is running for this position because he wants to do what is right for his children and grandchildren.
MC: Thanked PABA for hosting the two forums because he feels it is important to listen to the public. He challenged Ron Richards and Randy Johnson – whomever wins the Commissioner seat – to leave it in as good a financial shape as it is now.
Next meeting, Sept. 20, will feature Jim Buck on the topic of earthquake/emergency preparedness.
Meeting adjourned at 8:54am.