Letters to the Editor

Lockwood has the necessary background, experience

Steve Lockwood, candidate for the Bonner County Board of Commissioners, is a strong believer in transparency, and doesn’t think our current elected county officials are practicing it today,

“Today’s county commission is making decisions privately, before public meetings, and not making it easy for voters to follow their actions,” says Lockwood, who is running in the Democratic primary election for District 3.

A 19-year resident of Bonner County, Steve has the background and experience needed for this important job. After retiring as an Operations Manager for AT&T, he was elected to Sandpoint’s City Council, chaired Sandpoint’s Planning and Zoning Commission and is currently on its Urban Renewal Board. He also served on the Lake Pend Oreille School Board.

Lockwood cites the need to preserve the clean air, water and public lands that make our county special to live in and attractive for businesses and employees. He also stresses the need to promote moderately- priced housing and create strategies that attract jobs paying a living wage for a family.

Be sure to vote for Steve Lockwood in the primary May 15 and in the general election on Nov. 6.




Lockwood will serve county well as commissioner

I have known Steve Lockwood for many years and in various capacities. In all of that time, Steve has proven himself to be a good and decent man. He has a history of public service to Sandpoint during which he has shown that he treats people, all people, with great respect regardless of differences of opinion. He will bring calm and good will in service as a county commissioner. I urge you get to know Steve Lockwood.




Unpleasant surprises may face many county landowners

Unpleasant surprises may face many Bonner County landowners. The county is considering undermining 27 years of countywide zoning by allowing illegally created parcels created before Nov. 18, 2008, to be lawful through “amnesty.”

This waives 27 years of zoning standards, like lot size minimums, and 13 years of subdivision standards, like the need to plat. Your neighborhood may change without notice as you welcome neighbors to lots you thought were too small to develop. This “amnesty” is unfair to those who followed the rules. For example: A 20-acre parcel zoned agricultural since 1981 with a 10-acre minimum was split into four 5-acre properties, violating the lot size minimum without going through the subdivision process, would now become legal.

Folks who bought into a neighborhood in rural Bonner County thinking they were moving into an agricultural area now find that this isn’t going to be the case because neighboring lots will be smaller.

The code proposal would affect property owners and jurisdictions county-wide. A fire district that has staffed for homes on 10-acre lots, could find itself serving many more property owners, with no advance notice. Roads may not be properly sized. Water and sewer districts may be overextended.




Get involved, participate in planning proposals

In response to Steve Lockwood’s comments January 23, 2018…“Bonner County zoning codes are up for changes ‘with’ the usual opportunities for citizen input. Industrial plants are ‘not’ being permitted in many county zones.” Since 2008, there have been more than a dozen amendments making more than 60 text changes to the Bonner County Zoning Ordinance. The process requires a public hearing with the Planning Commission and with the Board of County Commissioners. The proposed changes are noticed in the newspaper and are sent to all taxing districts at least 15 days prior to the public hearing. Additionally, the Planning Commission holds workshop discussing the proposed changes and the public is always welcome to attend.

These proposed changes are available at the Planning Department page on the county website under current projects, File AM161-18. This project is not being rammed through. As part of the above stated public process, there was a request to allow for more time to review and provide comment on the proposed changes.

It appears this is another attempt to insight fear and mislead the public. The point is taken that if you live in the County you should participate in the public process. The famous quote that “The world belongs to those who show up” is real. Changes to ordinances and plans are often made because of one person’s comments. You do have a voice and you should participate. Take the time to read the proposals on your own, form your own opinion and show up – write a letter, or email, make a phone call or come and meet with the Planning Department or even better, come to a public meeting. Take the opportunity to participate. It really is you who makes the process transparent.



Demand open process on proposed planning, zoning changes

Do you want an industrial plant near your rural home? No? Then read this:

Bonner County zoning codes are currently up for changes without the usual opportunities for citizen input. Under currently proposed revisions, industrial plants would be permitted in many county zones, potentially including yours. Protection of private property will be weakened.

In the past, citizens were offered many opportunities to contribute to changes such as these. The county held evening workshops in many locations, published progress reports, and tried hard to keep you informed and include your ideas.

Zoning for industrial uses is only one of many changes underway. Today’s commission may be doing the legal minimum, but they are trying to ram this through without your knowledge and ideas.

If elected Bonner County commissioner in November, I will transparently conduct public business. Today’s commission is doing the opposite.

Call the commissioners at 208-265-1438. Ask for a copy of the proposed changes and demand an open process!




GOP tax plan adds to wealth gap between rich, others

Make no mistake. The current Republican plan to change the tax code is to give huge tax reductions to their political donors, in spite of resulting debt increases.

After years of saying deficits are the greatest problem we have, Republicans in Congress have decided that the deficits which will result from the tax reductions will give them an excuse to cut programs such as Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare.

So, big tax reductions for the superrich and for corporations, increasing national deficits and debt, and an ever widening gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us.





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