The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Brittany Allen

Arnold rebuts factual errors in recent letter to the editor


A letter published in The Sentinel from Lyle Ferch regarding the candidacy of Pat Arnold for county commissioner has been found to contain several factual inaccuracies.

Because The Sentinel takes very seriously factual accuracy in any of its content, including letters, Arnold was invited to present her corrections to the errors once they were independently vetted.

The most general of these points has to do with Ferch’s claim that Arnold is only running as an independent in this year’s election for county commissioner because “she had to resign her position as a Democrat precinct committee officer just before she filed for this election.”

In an article about Arnold’s entrance into the election published in The Sentinel last month, it was reported, after an interview with Klickitat County Auditor Brenda Sorenson, that Arnold not only did not file, but because she had not filed she also could not declare a party affiliation. As a write-in candidate, Arnold therefore is technically running as No Party Declared (NPD). She had no choice in the matter since she did not choose to file and declare or even run until after she was written in during the primary.

Of this lack of choice, Arnold has said: “This was actually fine with me, given the ferocity of feelings about the national campaign, and given my preference for Bernie Sanders,” after having being quoted in the aforementioned earlier article as saying: “I  think both of the major parties are struggling with divisions in their ranks around their candidates. I think it’s probably a plus at this point to be running without a party label, because those labels have gotten kind of muddled for one thing, and I also think a lot of people are really uncomfortable with them.”

Of her resignation from the position of Democratic Precinct Committee Officer (PCO), she has also stated that she “resigned as Democratic PCO in 2010, because there was a qualified, enthusiastic person who could do the job much better than [she].”

Other inaccuracies pertain to details about her involvement with certain environmental groups. According to Arnold, “There were no lawsuits by environmental groups regarding the removal of Condit Dam,” to the contrary of what Ferch claimed in his letter. “There was a settlement agreement worked out between the then dam owner and a large number of groups and agencies.”

In an email correspondence last Friday, Arnold also continued to say: “There is no ‘washed-out marina.’ Sediment piled up in front of an in-lieu fishing site used by tribal members. The settlement agreement contained financial provisions to repair and restore the site, and planning and permitting for that restoration have been continuing over the last couple of years. Spawning beds have not been destroyed for years. The redds in the river below the dam were in use the spring after dam removal, and there are redds well above the dam site in locations previously inaccessible to salmon.”

Arnold also made a point of saying that “there is no ‘bumper crop of eels’ swimming up the river.  A few anadromous lamprey have been seen, and this is an expected and hoped-for development.” In a phone interview with Arnold, she explained that lamprey are known to be a native food source.

Another claim made by Ferch contested by Arnold stated that, “She was instrumental in suing the county over zoning around BZ Corner forcing tens of thousands of dollars of legal expense on county residents, but she didn’t care; she and her radical environmentalist Associates in the Friends of the White Salmon River filled their agenda.”

Arnold rebutted this statement, saying: “Friends of the White Salmon River appealed the Husum/BZ Sub Area Plan at the request of nearly 100 property owners in the planning area, who had concerns about the plan,” and that “[t]he Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the appellants.”

Among Ferch’s inaccurate claims was one that brought into question the ethicality of Arnold’s sources of campaign funding. To the allegations made by Ferch that she has been funding her political endeavors “from the money acquired over the last 25 years from the lawsuit against the old RABANCO landfill,” or other under-the-table donations, and his call asking her to publicly disclose the source of her campaign contributions,” Arnold replied: “The suggestion that my campaign is funded by Dennis White and that I am hiding sources of contributions is absolutely false.  The Whites did not support me in 2004 and are not supporting me now.  My campaign contributions and expenses are available at the Public Disclosure website, and we have been making weekly reports since the start of the campaign in late August.  Rex Johnston also has a PDC website but has chosen not to report contributions.”

Arnold’s PDC reports are viewable online at: browse/current-candidate-campaigns/arnold-pat-county-commissioner-klickitat-co-2016.


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