ON THE ISSUES FACING LAKEHAVEN
Water rights are human rights.
Water rights are civil rights.
In a modern and moral society, everyone should have access to clean, safe water and sewer. The year-long COVID-19 moratorium on water and sewer shut-offs demonstrated no significant fiscal impact on the district, and it should never end. Our most vulnerable neighbors should not be threatened by shut-offs at times when they're struggling the most; a better world is possible, and we already live in it. Water and sewer services are not commodities -- they are the most basic human needs that we all have. I will fight to protect yours.
Climate change is local.
Climate change is now.
In June 2021 there was a heat dome in western Washington that today we're calling historic, and a few years from now we'll call Tuesday. At least 112 Washingtonians died that weekend -- predominantly the very old, the very young, and the very poor. Climate change is at our doorstep. But here is the most important thing to know about the climate crisis: it is not too late. We can still change the future. That begins in the present. Now. Today. Here.
As a climate scientist, I believe that our ordinary lives, and those of our children and grandchildren, critically depend on how Lakehaven manages our water into the future. We have the power to plan our infrastructure around the local and specific climate impacts that our watershed will face: bigger winter storms, longer summer droughts, deadly heat waves, and more. I will fight for proactive investment in economically savvy, adaptable infrastructure that better serves the needs of our community as we confront climate change head-on.
For the health of our community.
Smart and affordable.
There's a lot of good that a municipal utility district can do and do immediately for the community. Permanently suspending water and sewer shut-offs is one such astonishingly easy and direct way to make peoples' lives better, and we can do it today!
The stakes are high. Failure to plan for climate change now means steep expenses later on as we scramble last-minute to serve less water to more people. What is more, failure to provide water and sewer to everyone doesn't mean they stop drinking and needing a toilet; it just means they might drink bad water and wind up in the ER, or pollute a water source and endanger public health. Caring for the sick costs money; cleaning up the mess costs money. Pay now or pay later, we will pay regardless. Why not invest in the most modern and moral society we can afford? We all do better when we all do better.
For the environment.
For the community.
In the past, Lakehaven has been sued by environmentalists for not meeting minimum legal requirements for wastewater discharge into Puget Sound. The district has settled by promising improvement, but a water quality goal of meeting minimum legal requirements is not good enough: we deserve better. I am running to challenge the district to strive for the best possible water quality, for both public health and environmental health.
Environmental science is important, but it also isn't enough. The Lakehaven community deserves environmental justice. We must protect both the environment and one another, beginning with vulnerable communities disproportionately impacted by climate change. The great challenge of our time is to ensure everyone survives and thrives in our changing world. By focusing on not only ecological restoration but community resilience and social equity, we will leave no one behind.
Lakehaven should take pride in being an outstanding employer. I believe that Lakehaven's unions (IUOE and AFSCME) have made it stronger, and will work to promote partnership between the district and its workers. The district faces an aging workforce. We must recruit and train the next generation of employees, and we must ensure these career opportunities are available across the diverse population of our entire community.
There is also opportunity to be had in the just transition of our infrastructure away from the use of fossil fuels. And, with the recent passage of Washington State public broadband legislation, there is potential to connect Lakehaven with water, sewer, and FIBER. Affordable public internet would create opportunities for every citizen and business in our community.
No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge
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Water rights are children's rights. Water rights are elders' rights. Water rights are immigrant rights. Water rights are indigenous rights. Water rights are worker's rights. Water rights are housing rights.
I'm Dr. Liz Olhsson, and I'm running for the Lakehaven Water and Sewer District's Board of Commissioners, Position 5. Please join the Liz Olhsson For Lakehaven campaign, and together, let's protect EVERYONE'S rights to what we all need most to live.