10/15/2018

Rebuttal Response to Mr. Brotherton

From: Dan Toepper, Candidate for PUD Commissioner
www.electdantoepper.com

I have been attending PUD meetings, hearings, and workshops for nearly five (5) years.  I also served for two (2) plus years, on the PUD Citizens Advisory Board (CAB).  In my professional career over the past 28 years, I have worked on environmental clean-up, habitat restoration, and infrastructure installation, that includes water, power, sewer, stormwater drainage systems and retention ponds, landfill liner and leachate systems repair and telecom. 
My opponent in the Jefferson PUD No. 1 Commissioner race, sent out a county-wide email through a political party electronic contact list and on his website.  I feel compelled to offer-up rebuttal to a large portion of everything he had to say.

The PUD currently has a Strategic Plan and its needs updating.  Tom Brotherton was nowhere to be seen at PUD hearings, meetings or workshops until a little over a year ago.  If he had attended any of these hearings, meetings or workshops, he would know there is an existing Strategic Plan.  Washington Public Utility Districts Association (WPUDA) came to JPUD No. 1 and held training on how to organize your strategic plan.  I know this because I participated in the workshop.  

He talks about the PUD becoming involved with high-speed rural broadband and internet.  I would love for the PUD to be able to supply its customers with high-speed rural internet broadband.  The reality is, the PUD does not have rural broadband customers, because by law the PUD cannot offer retail internet.  If we tried to do that at present, we would end up in litigation and most likely be successfully sued by internet service providers (ISPs).  If you would like more information about the PUD possibly becoming involved in telecom, I would advise you to listen to the NoaNet presentation audio recording for August 30, 2018, that is found on the JPUD website under Special Meetings.  Don’t be deterred—please listen to it in its entirety.  

Regarding PUD fiscal health and financial future, I have been advocating for a new Chief Financial Officer long before my opponent started attending PUD meetings.  

The candidate who touts himself as the “Candidate of Science” states “one can’t be off the grid for roads or information”.  Does he not grasp the concept of wireless and satellite communications?  Which by the way, are currently available to nearly the entire county through private sector internet service providers.  I am curious to hear the details of what exactly it is he is alluding to with that statement.

He touts his managerial skills and experience.  PUD Commissioners, by Revised Code of Washington 54 (RCW) and the PUD Governance Policy, only manage one employee, the manager.  So, I would like him to explain who it is that he expects to manage.  The combined board is the entity that is tasked with the oversight of the manager, not any one commissioner.  The manager, under the aforementioned references to documentation, is the person tasked with day-to-day operations of the PUD and oversight of all of its employees.  

He states that you should vote for him because he is going to lower your rates, improve the economy and protect the environment.  I would like to have him explain, in detail, how he is going to lower our rates with a 10-year BPA contract that increases its rates 3 to 5 percent a year and requires a minimum usage, that if we fall below that level, our rates are increased to cover the difference in guaranteed power that we contracted to buy.  On the water and sewer systems that the PUD maintains and operates, rates were just increased to compensate for a long period of time where rates were not increased, so now the PUD needs to upgrade and maintain the systems.  Like everything else, inflation is also part of these financial equations.  Again, ask him to explain in detail how he is going to lower the rates and how long it will take.  The best way to improve the economy is to focus and prioritize on providing water, power and sewer services to the communities that need it to expand affordable housing and for job creation.  No one in this county wants to see the environment or our quality of life to be diminished.  Myself included.  I was born and raised in this county, and like many of the other people who call this place home, my family strives to be good stewards of the land.  

He concludes his plea for your vote, your help and your support by stating “I don’t intend to be the caretaker of a public utility”.  Would someone ask him politely and with respect to quantify and qualify that statement?  With a $102 million debt over the next 24 years and an electric branch of the utility that is a $36 million operation of a $39 million PUD budget, I don’t think anyone expects him to be a caretaker.  Almost everything he proposes, if you can find any detail on what he proposes, will most certainly lead to higher rates, fees, surcharges, and more debt.  

Good intentions are just that.  Until you attach detail and a plan that lays out how you are going to achieve your intention, its just vague talk and empty promises.  In my opinion, my opponent has not explained how to achieve what he proposes, however well-intentioned they may be.  

Thank you for your attention.  Please vote for Dan Toepper PUD Commissioner and put the PUD in the hands of the people of Jefferson County. 


Dan Toepper
Candidate for PUD Commissioner

5/03/2018

Dan Toepper for PUD Commissioner

  
Dan Gets Teamster Endorsement                                Dan at the Fair            

As the General Election cycle is in full swing, I am calling on supporters of my candidacy to contact me if they can help with the campaign. There is a lot of work to be done so that we will be successful.
Fundraising is also a priority to generate the funds for advertising and a countywide mailing. If you can donate to the campaign, it will be greatly appreciated.

Getting information out to the voters about the PUD, the PUD Commissioner race and the issues surrounding them is imperative over the next six to eight weeks.

Please remind your friends, family, neighbor, co-workers to mark their General Election Ballots Dan Toepper for PUD Commissioner.

I need your help. Thank you in advance.

Endorsements:
Teamsters Joint Council 28
Olympic Labor Council
Olympic Peninsula Building Trades
IBEW Local 77
LiUNA Local 252
Operating Engineers Local 302


Former Elected County Officials:
Herb Beck
Marianne Walters



5/02/2018

About Dan


Dan Toepper (2nd on left) and family

I am 58 years old, born and raised in Jefferson County.  My grandparents purchased 160 acres of timber and farmland in Port Ludlow in the mid 1930’s, which is still in our family today.  Thanks to them, my family has been blessed to thrive in this county for over 80 years and on its fourth generation to be born here. 

I grew up in and around agriculture, fishing and the timber industries.  All of which are still a huge part of our culture, economy and identity here in Jefferson County.  County life back then consisted of chores, school, sports, 4H, Boy Scouts, band and choir; all of which left me with a strong work ethic.

I graduated from Chimacum High School in 1978 with National Honor Society honors.  
My wife Robin and I will celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary this year.  We have a wonderful family of four adult children and six beautiful grandchildren.

WORK HISTORY

I worked on the Olympic Peninsula in the fishing, timber and construction industries until 1990. In 1990, I joined the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 302 where I’ve worked as an equipment operator for the past 28 years all over Western Washington all the time residing here in Jefferson County. 

Joining the Union in 1990 helped me expand my experience and gain training from employers and the Union to work on utilities and infrastructure installation, remediation and shoreline habitat restoration.  Some of the most recent projects that I’ve been on are relocating the sewer and pump station in Sequim Bay State Park, Olympic Discovery Trail work through Sequim Bay State Park, culvert replacement and salmon habitat recovery on four creeks in Kitsap County, digging the foundation for the new maintenance building at Fort Worden to name a few.

In June, I completed work on the Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park installing fiber optic conduits and vaults. I am currently working for a Jefferson County construction contractor installing gravity sewer, 10" water main, service electrical and storm drain in Gig Harbor.

Dan Toepper
Email Dan at Toepper4PUDcommissioner@gmail.com
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - Photos of Dan at Work Fixing Utilities  - - - - - - - - - - - -
Gig Harbor Sewer Project                       Gig Harbor Sewer Project

4/30/2018

Vision

Dan working on Electric and Telecom work at Winslow Way.

There are many areas in which I believe that Jefferson Public Utility District #1 can focus on starting immediately:

Communications and community outreach need to be addressed.  Commissioners should increase their public exposure by attending more community organization gatherings.  PUD communication through the press and online should give more information regarding short range planning.

Internal policies, procedures and measuring metrics need to be evaluated or created.  Strong leadership starts with well-defined goals, precise guidelines to achieve objectives and a system for measuring success or failure.  When everyone involved knows what is expected of them and have the tools to achieve benchmarks, internal communications and continuity can be improved.

Well-defined short term (four years or less) and long-term (four to ten-year(s)) goals are critical to fixing budgets, keeping rates low and maintaining a high quality of service and reliability.  The price and availability of water and energy will fluctuate due to markets, climate and growth as we move forward.  JPUD #1 must be proactive in identifying those trends accurately and honestly.  Clarifying what capital improvements are needed is a priority.

I believe the PUD has a larger role to play in emergency preparedness within the County and the region.  JPUD should do a better job of promoting its current participation with other County entities in emergency preparedness and disaster planning.  Examining its contingency plans if there is a disruption of power and water service should also be evaluated.

Systems Redundancy needs to be an area that gets more evaluation and discussion.  Determining problem geographic areas and expanding the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system are first steps.  A comprehensive plan to deal with above ground or below ground communications and power installation must be cross-referenced with our capital improvements and construction by other entities within our right-of- way’s, easements or service area.

JPUD should make every effort to assist in economic development within our service area.  This could be possible through encouraging and facilitating Local Utility Districts (LUD), Fiberhoods to assist ISP broadband service, improving conservation education and expanding rebate options to name a few.  More thought and research should be encouraged to see if JPUD can play a non-monetary role in completing the Olympic Discovery Trail.

I support efforts to make the PUD become more self-dependent over time as BPA may not always be our best option or sole source of energy.  Any steps we take should be well thought out as well as operationally prudent and economically sound.

Low income/disabled assistance is necessary for our less fortunate neighbors.  Communication with the public about how to set and administer those policies coupled with conservation, rebates and working with other organizations need to be emphasized to reduce any financial impact on the PUD.

Lawsuits and litigation are always going to be part of doing business in today's culture.  Our goal should always be guided by the law that PUD’s are governed by.  We should make sure that due diligence is always taken, and we listen to all those who voice concerns about any issue or problem before the PUD.  Marginalizing, minimizing or otherwise disregarding public or business input is never helpful in avoiding conflict. 

Mission

   
Dan working on Kingston Pipe Project and Sequim Bay Park Sewer By-pass

I became extremely interested in JPUD #1 four years ago while campaigning for County Commissioner.  During my campaign back in 2014, I started attending many meetings across the political and community spectrums.  I still regularly attend many organizational, governmental and economic related meetings within the county.  However, the PUD really caught my attention.  

I joined the PUD Citizens Advisory Board in 2015 and spent two years on that board learning a lot about the PUD history, operations, policies and staff.  I have regularly attended PUD workshops, public meetings and hearings as well as Citizen Advisory Board and Board of Commissioner meetings for the past four years.  JPUD has gone through some rough water and still needs help setting a steady course.  

I possess the aptitude, disposition, as well as life and work experience skill sets that are a good fit for a PUD Commissioner.

I will work to help the PUD to be more accountable to its customers, improve the reliability and affordability of service and always insure that the PUD is approachable and transparent to the community it serves.

The voters of District 3 and Jefferson County deserve commissioners who can listen to all points of view, give timely and informative responses to questions and concerns then apply that information to form PUD policies or solutions.  Citizens and businesses expect and deserve answers as well as due process because they are the owners and the customers of JPUD.  To those owners I would ask; know how the issues and the candidates may ultimately affect your personal liberty, your pocket book, family or business not just today, but for years into the future.  Insist on factual information based on legitimate research, backed by real law and demand accountability.  

I look forward to discussing the issues with you as I earn your trust and your vote.


Thank you

Dan Toepper
Email Dan at Toepper4PUDcommissioner@gmail.com

Work History

I worked on the Olympic Peninsula in the fishing, timber and construction industries until 1990. In 1990, I joined the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 302 where I’ve worked as an equipment operator for the past 28 years all over Western Washington all the time residing here in Jefferson County.

Joining the Union in 1990 helped me expand my experience and gain training from employers and the Union to work on utilities and infrastructure installation, remediation and shoreline habitat restoration.  Some of the most recent projects that I’ve been on are relocating the sewer and pump station in Sequim Bay State Park, Olympic Discovery Trail work through Sequim Bay State Park, culvert replacement and salmon habitat recovery on four creeks in Kitsap County, digging the foundation for the new maintenance building at Fort Worden to name a few.

In June, I completed work on the Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park installing fiber optic conduits and vaults. I am currently working for a Jefferson County construction contractor installing gravity sewer, 10" water main, service electrical and storm drain in Gig Harbor.

Dan Toepper
Email Dan at Toepper4PUDcommissioner@gmail.com
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - Photos of Dan at Work Fixing Utilities  - - - - - - - - - - - -
Gig Harbor Sewer Project                        Gig Harbor Sewer Project


Olympic Discovery Trail Bridge Footings        Sequim Bay Park Sewer Bypass.

Election Process

Dan works on Kingston Telecom Project.


Greetings to my neighbors of Jefferson County. If we haven't met already, my name is Dan Toepper and I would like to represent you as the next Jefferson County Public Utility District #1 Commissioner (JPUD) from District 3. JPUD has three (3) elected Commissioners, who serve 6-year terms. The districts are the same as those of your County Commissioners. The Election process is two-fold. A primary election cycle for District 3 voters runs from May through July.

With only two candidates in the race, my name will not appear on the primary ballot. However, my name will appear on the November ballot. I am asking for your support so that I will be successful in both cycles.  Voter turnout and participation is important in both election cycles. I urge you to please mark your ballots for all the elected officials and ballot initiatives especially the PUD race which doesn’t always get as much attention.

The JPUD Commissioner position is a non-partisan race.  I am filing as a No-Party Preference candidate, which means that I am not affixed or affiliated to any political party and won’t be receiving financial help from any political party.  I also ran for County Free-Holder in 2013 as No-Party Preference and as a candidate for Jefferson County Commissioner in 2014 as a No-Party Preference candidate.  No-Party Preference means that I don’t have anything against people from any organized political party.  I simply choose not to be partisan or prejudiced against individuals who chose party affiliations.  I prefer to deal with the issues and possible solutions in a respectful and thoughtful manner. I am interested in what everyone has to say regardless if you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or Libertarian; good ideas are not exclusive.