Your county tax dollars are hard at work! But accomplishing what?
Letter to the Editor
Last updated 1/27/2016 at 11:56am
On 1/11/16, the Spokesman Review announced that Okanogan County is one of five Washington counties that each donated $1,000 to the American Land Council (ALC), an organization supporting the militant (Bundy) takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. As of last April, 47 counties nationwide had given an average of $4,660 apiece to this organization. The ALC supports the transfer of ownership of federal public lands to local governments.
Do we really want our hard-earned tax dollars spent in this manner, considering the very real needs of fire victims, the homeless living under bridges, and local citizens’ desires for continued ownership and access to their lands? How many tax dollars, in addition to the $1,000, has our county spent on this one issue in its expressed desire to be at the forefront of this movement?
Jim Chmelik, closely affiliated with the ALC and founder of the Western Landmark Foundation, met with our county commissioners during the summer of 2015. He requested donations of $3,500 to $5,000 toward a lawsuit designed to force the federal government to relinquish its public lands. Chmelik stated he would collect the counties’ donations when 50 counties had written letters of support to be taken to Washington, D.C. Our commissioners’ discussion of the letter and their positive reaction to Chmelik’s approach occurred during their 8/3/15 meeting. It does not appear in the commissioners’ minutes.
No one should be surprised that public document requests to our county have greatly increased with citizens’ attempts to understand the actions and priorities of our commissioners. Although failing to support a low-interest loan for our voter-approved public transit system, the commissioners seem to have no problem supporting their own pet projects.