Bold Colors Blog

Stickin’ it to the libs, one day at a time

Posts Tagged ‘Skagit County’

Renewal time for the Skagit GOP?

Posted by Liberty on January 19, 2009

It’s the time of year when the local encampments of political parties boot out the old and welcome in the new, in terms of leadership, that is.  There was an article in the Skagit Valley Herald this weekend about the changing of the guard at the Skagit GOP.  It seems that the Skagit GOP keeps a pretty low profile so I always read the article when there actually is one.  I don’t know of the media doesn’t offer much coverage or if they aren’t really doing much that’s newsworthy or if they actually enjoy their anonymity.  You’d think they would see the obvious benefit in having the public know that they even exist.

County GOP’s new leader says party needs to regroup

“Conservative leaders here say President-elect Barack Obama and Democrats riding his coattails at state and local levels grabbed the youth vote with tech-savvy campaigning and promises of the good life. Now, they say, it is up to conservatives to learn from their losses as they regroup and reorganize for the future.

‘I think the mechanics of the Obama campaign were stupendous,’ said new Skagit County Republican Party Chairman Bob Eberle, 72, a La Conner resident and former state representative. ‘And I think the Republicans better learn from that. They have got to get into the modern world.'”

That sounds promising.

“Not only did Democrats beat Republicans with better online campaigning and fundraising, Eberlesaid, they also won out because Republicans strayed from traditional conservative values: protecting the pocket book, acting ethically, holding regulation at bay and protecting the nation. Only on the latter did the Bush administration and Washington, D.C. Republicans succeed, he said.”

So we’ve been hearing this kind of trouble-shooting since November 5 but he is on the right track.  No problems there.  The thing that really resonates with me about Chairman Eberle’s statement here is that he puts the responsibility for GOP failings squarely where it belongs–with the Republican party.  But when we get to the quotes from the out-going chair–that’s when we get a little insight into what’s been on the mind of leadership for the past four years. 

“Ann Marie Humphreys, who just stepped down after four years as the county’s party chairwoman, wants to return to those same values. But it will be a challenge, she said, because young voters are not as galvanized around conservative ideas as they once were.

She said many first-time voters were drawn in by Obama’s youth and by what she calls his ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ ideas.

‘We have a country that is turning on a socialistic scale, and in the process of doing that, you have young people that are going over to the other side, hand outs,’ she said.

Humphreys, 68, said children are being ‘brainwashed’ in universities and even high schools to be socialists and communists and, in short, to vote for politicians like Obama.

‘Everything is handed down to them that they do not have to go out to work,’ she said. ‘… The parents are not allowed to reprehend without the children saying, ‘Don’t you put a hand on me. I will report you to the police.’”

Hmm…where to start.  I’ve read similarly incoherent quotes from former chairwoman Humphreys in prior Herald articles.  Those incoherent quotes that I’m thinking of also had the same condescending tone towards younger voters.  Maybe the reporter is taking her out of context…hopefully the reporter is taking her out of context. 

From Skagit Democrats rejoice in Obama victory

“Annmarie Humphreys, chair of the Skagit County Republican Party, blames the youth for the election results.

‘You had the youth out this time like you’ve never had before,’ Humphreys said. ‘Young people haven’t been around long enough to know that a person is more than an individual standing up there and speaking.’”

Insulting younger voters is not the path that the Skagit GOP will successfully take towards re-building.  Chairman Eberle’s first action as chair should be to make sure that former chairwoman Humphreys has no further contact with the media.  Either she has a penchant for making ridiculous, inarticulate statements or she’s giving the reporter way too much divergent material, thus making it more likely that she’ll be taken way out of context.

When you blame a segment of the voting population for the outcome of an election, you’d better be basing that on something concrete.  Just making a general statement about how the schools are turning all the kids into communists and socialists makes Conservatives sound negative, extreme and well…old.

In order to successfully renew itself, the GOP as a whole needs to articulate a clear Conservative message.  They need to translate for the general public how the philosophies of Conservatism are relevant to how a lot of us live our lives.  They need to talk of the free market, of individual rights and responsibilities, of reducing the tyranny of government.  They need to make people understand how a more Conservative government would benefit them.  And, they need to be a lot more savvy about what to say to the media and how to say it.

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Posted in Conservatism, Future of the GOP, Skagit County | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Regulation, red tape & more expenses for small businesses–just what our economy needs!

Posted by Liberty on January 11, 2009

Tainted-toy law could hurt some small businesses

“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that under the new law, products for children ages 12 and younger cannot be sold if they have more than 600 ppm total lead, even if they were manufactured before then. That lead limit drops again to 300 ppm on Aug. 14 and, ultimately, to 90 ppm.

The reason behind the law is simple enough — to keep kids safe. The push for it came after the recall of multitudes of lead-tainted toys made in China in recent years.

As of Feb. 10, all manufacturers — even local mom-and-pop toymaking operations — will have to certify that their products for children meet safety standards. Aragon points out that she sells locally made bibs and sweaters, items that will also have to be certified — by a third-party accredited laboratory. A home-testing kit won’t do.

The costs could reach thousands of dollars.”

I’m sure that lawmakers only had the best of intentions in mind when they passed the “tainted-toy law.”  And…there were probaby crying victims at a Congressional hearing.  But the effect that these regulations will have on small businesses is just plain devastating.  It’s frightening that rather than encouraging and protecting free enterprise, our government is hell bent on destroying it.

Posted in Skagit County, Washington State | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Skagit County’s first out of wedlock birth of 2009

Posted by Liberty on January 5, 2009

Skagit County’s first new baby of 2009

“With a due date of Dec. 26, Shanel Armstrong expected her baby to come on Christmas. When the day passed, she thought it might come on her birthday, Dec. 31.

Instead, she gave birth four hours and one minute into the new year, making her 7-pound, 15-ounce son the first baby in Skagit County for 2009.

After nine hours of labor, 15-year-old Armstrong gave birth to Daymonnta Armstrong-Spencer, a baby boy.”

I’m not going to take the time to search the goskagit.com archives to confirm what I’m about to say.  I’m going to rely on my powers of recollection, which are really pretty good.  Whenever goskagit.com, The Skagit Valley Herald or any of their affiliated free papers like the Burlington Argus or Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, publish a story about a baby, it has always been born to a teenager or unmarried parents.  They never publish stories about babies born to two people who are married to each other.  Every “first new baby of the year” story that I can recall has been out of wedlock and they usually publish a plethora of “human interest” pieces about teenage moms around graduation time.  Don’t get me wrong–I oppose abortion and consequently, I have to give these girls credit for choosing to give their babies life.  But why are they in the paper?  Doesn’t that just serve to minimize the seriousness of the mistakes they have made and normalize the idea of teenagers raising babies?

Posted in Abortion, American society, Skagit County | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

A small update on Skagit property taxes

Posted by Liberty on December 20, 2008

According to a poll on goskagit.com [aka, the closest thing the Skagit Valley has for news], out of 218 total votes, 162 voters have seen their property taxes increase.  That would be 74%.  Here’s the poll:

Have your property taxes in Skagit County,
Total Votes: 218
Raised
200 %  74% (162)

 
Lowered
16 %  6% (12)

 
Stayed the Same
29 %  11% (23)

 
Do not Pay Taxes
27 %  10% (21)

 

Posted in Redistribution of wealth, Skagit County, Taxes | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Follow up on Skagit property taxes

Posted by Liberty on December 2, 2008

Property assessments shocking to some

“Dennis Thomas has lived on his five-acre property near Concrete for 35 years. He figures his assessment has gone up more than 50 percent in two years. Officials from the Assessor’s Office have claimed that rural five-acre lots like Thomas’ remain in high demand, which would partially explain the increase.

‘I think that would be debatable if you talk to any of the Realtors up here,’ Thomas said. Anything in the $200,000 to $400,000 price range “is absolutely not moving,” he said.”

Apparently I wasn’t the only one surprised by Skagit County’s valuation of my property.  This article goes on to say that they have already received hundreds of appeals.  The last day to appeal your assessment is December 5.  The Skagit County Assessor’s website has tax information and a link to the appeal form.

Posted in Skagit County, Taxes | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

They want how much?!

Posted by Liberty on November 12, 2008

I received a Property Value Change Notice in the mail yesterday and when I saw what Skagit County has assessed our property at for our 2009 taxes, my jaw literally dropped.  Needless to say, it was a much bigger number that we could have expected.  I tried to call the county to ask if perhaps there had been a mistake but it was 4:20 pm and that may have been a little too close to quitting time for the county employees to answer the phone.  So then I dug out all the Property Value Change Notices we’ve received since we purchased this property.  A little bit of quick math showed that, according to Skagit County, the assessed value of our property has risen by 47.5% from 2004 to the 2009 tax year.  Interesting!

Using the Skagit County website, I was able to pull up a 15 year history of the valuation of this property and the taxes paid each year.  In past years, there have been several instances where the value did not increase from year to year and there were even a couple of times when taxes were lower than the year immediately prior.  Unfortunately, that has only happened for us one time–we paid $40.43 less in 2006 than we did in 2005.  2006 aside, our taxes have risen.  In 2009, our property taxes will be over $500 more than they were in 2004.

I understand and accept that property taxes are part of owning property.  It’s just interesting how quickly that valuation has jumped up–especially when all you hear in the news these days is how bad the real estate market is.  I’ll be doing some more research to find out how the real estate market really has been doing in our area and how much this house is really worth.  If you’ve received one of these notices, examine it closely!  If you don’t think that the assessed value of your property is fair and accurate, you have the right to appeal it.

Incidentally, when people say that schools in Washington are underfunded, I usually don’t believe them.  Confirmation for that came on my 2008 tax statement.  Our home is quite modest and yet over $650.00 of our property taxes went to the local school district.  That doesn’t count all of the state taxes that we pay that go towards education.  In my opinion, the problem is how schools are spending the money, not how much property owners are paying.  But, that’s another post for another day.

Posted in Skagit County, Taxes, Washington State | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »