John Koster
John Koster for County Council


John Koster's activities while a member of the
Snohomish County Council   (2001-2005)

A Legacy of Positive Change and Accomplishment

Koster champions property rights

Our second president, John Adams, stated, "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." A society of home and property owners is a free society. Read about it here:

Snohomish County opinion "Life, liberty and property"
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
The state Growth Management Act (GMA) mandates that cities and counties protect the "functions and values" of their critical areas, defined...

Koster said the memo left him surprised and frustrated. "I don't know what he's (Reardon) suggesting here, whether he wants to throw everything out and start all over again, which means we won't make it (the state deadline), or if he wants to again work cooperatively with the council to get this thing done," Koster said. "To me, this doesn't demonstrate a whole lot of cooperation." Read about it here:

4/20/2004 - HeraldNet: Officials tangle over process (requires HeraldNet Clickshare account)
The flames are flickering in the flare-up between Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon and the County Council over an update of rules that protect ponds, streams and other critical areas.

County Councilmen Gary Nelson, John Koster and Jeff Sax have done an excellent job of balancing the needs of Snohomish County with the needs of our environment. They have done an excellent job of working with city and county officials in adhering to the Growth Management Act as it was intended. Read about it here:

10/12/2003 - HeraldNet: Guest Editorial (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
"The Government derives its power from the people. The people do not derive their rights from Government. When the people fear the Government, the people live in tyranny."

Koster saving Farmland, promotes Purchase/Transfer Development Rights Program

These projects have bipartisan backing. Democratic County Executive Aaron Reardon and County Council Vice Chairman John Koster, a Republican, have been united in taking steps to bolster agriculture, touting it as key to Snohomish County's economic and cultural development.
Using market-based tools to protect farmland into perpetuity is a clear step in the right direction. Read about it here:

6/9/2005 - HeraldNet: Preserving farmland with market-based tools (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
As growth pounds away at Snohomish County, its pressures are building on local farmers.

Andy Werkhoven was desperate when he wrote to Councilman John Koster a year ago. His family's dairy — with its 700 cows — is next door to the Hoberg property, and he knew homes would not mix well with his dairy's noise and odors. Read about it here:

Program preserves farmland
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Chet Hoberg's 40 acres of corn were just a few permits away from becoming a subdivision when Snohomish County government stepped in. Hoberg had never farmed...

6/7/2005 - HeraldNet: County pays to preserve farmland (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
MONROE - For decades, Snohomish County officials have talked about the importance of saving farmland. On Monday, they put $542,000 of county and federal money where their mouth is.

Farming is an increasingly difficult business, buildable land within Snohomish County is in short supply, and farmers facing tough times often consider selling property to developers. But what if those developers paid farmers to continue using their acreage as farmland — in exchange for the right to build extra units on urban land elsewhere in the county? Read about it here:

County proposal could save farmland from development
Wednesday, May 12, 2004: Local News
Farming is an increasingly difficult business, buildable land within Snohomish County is in short supply, and farmers facing tough times often consider selling property to developers...

Pilot project to save farms OK'd
Wednesday, September 17, 2003: Local News
All along Highway 530, Stillaguamish Valley farmers are bailing out. Paint peels off empty farmhouses, broken-down trucks and tractors with flat tires are parked in old barns...

Plan would let farmers sell development rights to builders
Wednesday, November 20, 2002: Local News
Snohomish County farmers struggling to make a living selling milk, pumpkins and vegetables might soon have something else to sell: the development rights to their land. If the County Council...

Koster works hard to promote Farming

Snohomish County's Agricultural Action Plan, unveiled Thursday, is an outgrowth of the well-attended Focus on Farming conference hosted by Executive Aaron Reardon and County Council Vice President John Koster last year. It was developed by an advisory group that included some of the county's leading farmers. Read about it here:

3/20/2005 - HeraldNet: County sowing seeds of successful farming (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Long before Snohomish County relied on Boeing, biotechnology and the Navy, its economic base was agriculture.

“The free Focus on Farming, a daylong event, was co-sponsored by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon and County Council Chairman John Koster.” Read about it here:

Farming conference may sprout into annual event
Wednesday, November 24, 2004: Local News
More than 300 farmers attended Snohomish County's first farming conference Thursday at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds. The free Focus on Farming, a daylong event, was co-sponsored...

County Councilman John Koster and Reardon organized the conference.
"The best thing we can do is listen to farmers," Koster said. Farmers have a lot to say, but don't often know how to get their voices heard, he said. Read about it here:

11/19/2004 - HeraldNet: Conference gives farmers a say (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
MONROE - Dan Bartelheimer, a third-generation farmer from Snohomish, said he isn't encouraging his two children to pursue careers in agriculture.

"It is critical that county government do its part in helping to promote and protect agriculture in Snohomish County," County Council Chairman John Koster said in a news release on the summit. "There are many ways government can help farming interests, not the least of which is making sure we are not getting in the way with cumbersome regulations." Read about it here:

Farms are focus of summit
Wednesday, November 17, 2004: Local News
John Ikerd imagines a world where people build houses around farms the way they build golf-course communities. With the right zoning regulations, he thinks farms can blend with...

Koster’s balanced fiscal approach working well for
county budget process

Just when bipartisanship seemed to have deserted Snohomish County government, it reappeared last week to forge a responsible spending plan for 2005. Read about it here:

11/28/2004 - HeraldNet: Leadership trumps partisanship on budget (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Just when bipartisanship seemed to have deserted Snohomish County government, it reappeared last week to forge a responsible spending plan for 2005.

There's no such thing as a perfect budget. But I think this is a good budget," said John Koster, County Council chairman. The 2005 budget will top $550 million, down from $572 million this year. Read about it here:

11/24/2004 - HeraldNet: County Council adopts 2005 budget (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council unanimously approved the proposed 2005 budget on Tuesday, and refrained from raising two of the county's three property tax levies.

Koster, recalling the $7 million in damages from the October floods, said there are other areas where the county could be spending money: "To do this when we've got so many other needs.” Read about it here:

3/26/2004 - HeraldNet: Council's spending priorities take shape (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The latest volleys in the burgeoning battle over county budget priorities were fired this week when Snohomish County Councilman John Koster and Councilman Jeff Sax voted against hiring a Washington...

The council's Republican majority rejected Democrat Drewel's proposed 1 percent general property tax increase, keeping that levy where it is. Read about it here:

11/23/2003 - HeraldNet: Guest Editorial (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
When government's executive and legislative branches are controlled by different political parties, you either have cooperation or gridlock. Fortunately, Snohomish County has a good share of the former.

Koster, Nelson and Sax question Reardon’s motives and
methodology in budget showdown

Which is it, Mr. Reardon? Did you actually inherit a budget problem that only you can solve, saving the county's debt-ridden taxpayers from financial ruin? Or is this overblown "crisis" the precursor to a budget that reflects your priorities rather than the public's priorities? Read about it here:

8/29/2004 - HeraldNet: County executive embraces hysteria instead of history (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
When the 2005 Snohomish County budget is unveiled next month, it will begin weeks of scrutiny by the County Council before adoption in November. An ordinance county Executive Aaron Reardon vetoed last week, which changed the county code regarding

Koster a strong County advocate for more ball fields

My heartfelt thanks go out to John Koster and the rest of the council for approving the tax exemption. Thank you! Read about it here:

6/26/2005 - HeraldNet: County right to exempt ball fields (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
I would like to commend the Snohomish County Council for granting a tax exemption for recreational ball fields in Snohomish County. As a Little League baseball coach in Snohomish, I have closely watched the ball field issues unfold and was concerned

“People need to understand the agenda of forced urbanization and rabid environmentalism that is being advocated by the 1000 Friends and politicians like Dunshee. The ballfields issue is yet another case where their extremist policies have trumped common sense.) read about it here:

7/27/2004 - HeraldNet: Dunshee, 'friends' thwarted efforts (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
In response to Rep. Hans Dunshee's recent comments regarding the countywide ballfield shortage, it should be obvious that he is blowing smoke to cover his tracks.

Snohomish County Council Chairman John Koster, R-Arlington, said he has a draft of a county-code amendment that would allow ballfields on farmland. He and other Republicans on the council acknowledged that it would probably be appealed, but Sax said that could be a good thing. Read about it here:

Ballfields issue has political game plan
Wednesday, August 11, 2004: Local News

Last week, a delegation led by Snohomish County Council Chairman John Koster, R-Arlington, and three staff members from the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development discussed other possibilities for finding land for recreation. No pact was reached, but Koster hopes the state officials will help the county lobby for the state bill. Read about it here:

Officials going to bat for ballfields
Wednesday, June 23, 2004: Local News
Snohomish County officials hope for a state-law change to legalize ballfields on protected agricultural land, and they've pointed to the 1,300-strong North and South Snohomish...

Koster, the chairman of the council, said the arrangement sounded like a "backroom deal."
"To me, this isn't anything short of extortion," Koster said. "I don't know if it's legal. But it's damn sure not ethical." Read about it here:

6/21/2004 - HeraldNet: Mud fight over ball fields (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Snohomish County Councilman John Koster is crying foul over a proposed deal that would apparently resolve the dispute over endangered ball fields near Snohomish.

It's very difficult for the county to compete with commercial land prices, said Snohomish County Council member John Koster. Koster said Snohomish County lost money recently when a soccer tournament moved to Skagit County for lack of fields here. 

"We've got thousands of young people who want to play soccer or baseball, and leagues are clamoring for fields to play and practice on, and we've got a lot of agricultural land that hasn't been farmed for years," he said. Read about it here:

2/13/2004 - HeraldNet: Too many players, too few fields (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Soccer is a popular sport among children and adults alike. But finding a field to play on in Snohomish County can be practically impossible.

Attempt to turn farmland into ballfields falls short
Wednesday, April 09, 2003: Local News
Support fizzled last week for a bill that would have allowed soccer fields on agricultural land, and the measure died in the House Local Government Committee. "There was really strong...

Measures could turn farmlands into ballfields
Wednesday, March 05, 2003: Local News
Get Snohomish County Councilman John Koster a plow, a tractor and a soccer field, and he says he can rule out the biggest argument against allowing ballfields on protected agricultural...

Koster drafts resolution in support of Ten Commandments monument; County Council passes unanimously

The resolution was the idea of County Councilman John Koster. And the issue drew a crowd; more than 50 people packed the council chambers for Wednesday's meeting. Read about it here:

8/14/2003 - HeraldNet: County Council supports marker (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
After hearing repeated history lessons and a call to turn back the tide of intolerance, the Snohomish County Council unanimously adopted a resolution Wednesday supporting the city of Everett's controversial Ten Commandments monument.

EVERETT — Snohomish County Council members plan to vote this morning on a resolution showing support for the city of Everett and its fight to keep a monument containing the Ten Commandments that has stood outside a city building since 1959. Read about it here:

News from around the county
Wednesday, August 13, 2003: Local News
Snohomish County Council members plan to vote this morning on a resolution showing support for the city of Everett and its fight to keep a monument containing the Ten Commandments...

"I think we have an opportunity to stand up and say hey, these moral principals should be held in high esteem," said Koster. Read about it here:

8/12/2003 - HeraldNet: Marker catches eyes of council (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
County Councilman John Koster can't see the city of Everett's controversial Ten Commandments monument from his sixth-floor office in the county administration building.

Koster supports countywide “War on Meth”

Councilman John Koster said money alone won't win the war, nor would warehousing drug offenders in jail. "We've got to do prevention as well," Koster said. Read about it here:

5/14/2003 - HeraldNet: Council declares war on meth (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday declaring a war against methamphetamine, one of the first steps toward creating a plan to shut down neighborhood drug houses and reduce illegal drug use.

County officials have plans, but not cash, for 'war on meth'
Wednesday, May 07, 2003: Local News
Snohomish County politicians are forming an unlikely coalition to wage what they're calling a "war on meth. " The council and offices of the executive, sheriff and prosecutor have...

1/24/2003 - HeraldNet - Granite Falls rallies to fight meth (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
You would not be exaggerating to say a third of the town showed up Wednesday night for the Granite Falls Community Coalition's town meeting on methamphetamine.

Koster bringing back balance and sensibility to county government, sticks to principles, stands down environmental radicals

"I am ... a bit puzzled as to why you have selected the Skykomish River as a main focus of your report, in that the Skykomish is a very healthy river," Councilman John Koster wrote to American Rivers. "(It's) arguably the cleanest in Snohomish County." Read about it here:

4/16/2005 - HeraldNet: Councilmen rebut report on Skykomish (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
When the environmental group American Rivers announced earlier this week that the Skykomish River was the fourth most at-risk river in America, some members of the Snohomish County Council were caught by surprise.

That's what County Council Chairman John Koster, R-Arlington, has been arguing all along. Koster said this week that the victory was worth the cost to appeal the board's decisions. The decisions, he said, preserve "the right of local electeds to do the jobs that they're elected to do." Read about it here:

Land-use rulings go county's way
Wednesday, October 27, 2004: Local News
The Snohomish County Council isn't used to winning land-use battles. Since a Republican majority took over the council in 2002, environmental groups, local residents and even the...

2/12/2003 - HeraldNet - GROWTH MANAGEMENT: Debacle hurts the people of our state (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
This is in response to the Feb. 2 letter written by Susan Gregerson ("Growth Management; What yardstick are we using"?)

Council leaders say conservationists and anti-sprawl watchdogs grew accustomed to too much power while Democrats controlled the council. Now, builders and developers get a fair hearing, they say. "I think they had a council here previously that was unfriendly to growth," said council Chairman John Koster, R-Arlington. "I think it was unbalanced the other way. But I really believe that this council is more balanced.” “Environmental activists complain about the council's policies, but they don't call or write, don't make appointments to talk, don't offer to compromise.” Read about it here:

County's environmental forces losing strength
Wednesday, August 18, 2004: Local News
The last time Snohomish County leaders considered how to protect the county's most environmentally sensitive areas, more than 150 people testified before the County Council over...

Koster’s Business Roundtable shines light on Washington state’s punitive business climate

Williams, speaking at a business round table organized by Republican Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, encouraged attendees to keep on top of business legislation and let their lawmakers know what they think about it. Read about it here:

4/8/2005 - HeraldNet: 'Anti-business' legislature chided (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
MARYSVILLE - A number of anti-business measures are making their way through this year's Legislature, a former lawmaker told business leaders Thursday.

Koster’s balanced approach at Island Crossing lauded by
Councilman Steve Baker

January 23, 2005 (Arlington City Councilman Steve Baker’s letters, as appeared in the Everett Herald and Arlington Times):

As we enter another election cycle and consider the makeup of our County Council, we all need to keep a few things in mind as environmental extremists step up their attacks on John Koster and the Republican majority.

Smarting from the balanced, common sense approach Koster has returned to the county's planning process, the extremists are agitated and ready for a fight.

The facts of the Island Crossing land-use proposal are so misrepresented in newspaper gossip as to suggest deliberate distortion. The standard ruse is that Dwayne Lane owns 110 acres of farmland at Island Crossing, which he proposes to "take out of farming" and turn into a car lot with consequent flooding soon to follow. The truth is quite different.

A main proponent of the land use change at Island Crossing is the City of Arlington. And the Arlington City Council has supported this proposal unanimously. Dwayne Lane is one of 23 owners of the 110 acres involved. None of that acreage is in commercial agriculture, and Lane's 15 acres has not been farmed for 30 years. The previous owner, Mrs. Roberta Winter, has twice testified to the County Council that the land was divided in the 1970s to build Interstate 5, and that since then, the land has been considered unsuitable for commercial farming.

Lane's car lot would employ more that 40 people with stable, family wage union jobs in the north county area. And he is committed to an engineering plan that would actually improve the surface water drainage in the area.

I know John Koster as a man of integrity who meets with hundreds of people and devours thousands of pages of reports. He agonizes over difficult land use decisions. He loves the north county area and cares about the people who live there. As a lifelong resident and a former dairy farmer, John knows Snohomish County is a great place to raise families. For those families to prosper and to continue with a balanced approach to government, we need to support Koster and the Republican majority County Council.

Steve Baker
Arlington City Council

Koster plan to streamline permitting process approved and successfully implemented

Following Demarche's recommendations, County Executive Bob Drewel and County Council Vice-Chairman John Koster developed a customer service-oriented mission for the office and charged a committee with making improvements. The team met monthly with county leaders. Read about it here:

10/19/2003 - HeraldNet: Taking pain out of the process (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Something is shrinking in Snohomish County's Planning and Development Services office: the time it takes to get help.

1/23/2003 - HeraldNet - Permit department will get a makeover (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council unanimously approved a $260,000 contract Wednesday to reinvent the county department that processes development permits.

Koster concerned that increased mitigation fees will
cause housing prices to soar

"In my opinion, if you raise mitigation fees on housing, you're going to create increased costs for housing again," said John Koster, another county councilman. "And affordable housing is an issue in this county." Read about it here:

2/23/2004 - HeraldNet: Population growth to tax roads budget (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Three hundred million dollars. It's not the size of the next Mega Millions lottery jackpot. It's the size of the budget gap that Snohomish County is facing to have roads ready to handle the next wave of population growth.

Koster promotes affordable housing, helping out families

The Snohomish County Council is considering allowing mobile homes as accessory dwellings on larger lots in rural parts of the county. Current rules prevent mobile homes from being used as an extra apartment on properties. "I think it's a good thing," said Councilman John Koster, chairman of the council's planning committee. "People who have a piece of ground that size can have their kids live on the property or their parents." Read about it here:

3/5/2004 - HeraldNet: Lot rules may ease for some in county (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council is considering allowing mobile homes as accessory dwellings on larger lots in rural parts of the county. Current rules prevent mobile homes from being used as an extra apartment on properties.

Koster promotes integrity in voting, supports keeping our polling places open

“People have lost faith in Washington's elections system. And while vote-by-mail is popular with the voters, and easier on county auditors, it is fraught with possibilities for fraud that can only further undermine people's perceptions of electoral fairness.” Read about it here:

8/21/2005 - HeraldNet: County Council vote will protect our future votes (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Three cheers for Snohomish County Councilmen Gary Nelson, John Koster and Jeff Sax for rejecting the recommendation of County Auditor Bob Terwilliger to make Snohomish one of the next jurisdictions in Washington to adopt vote-by-mail for all future

“Councilman John Koster, however, is unwilling to give up precinct polling stations, citing a voter's right to privacy. He said that privacy could quickly evaporate if family members are coercing someone to vote a certain way on a mail-in ballot.” Read about it here:

Election 2005
Keep the polls open? Costly move likely
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Snohomish County likely will spend more than $1 million to back up electronic voting machines with paper records instead of switching to...

"I just don't think the general public is comfortable yet with all-mail ballots," said Councilman John Koster, who voted against changing to all-mail elections. "I think people should still have the right to go to the polls and cast their ballot." Read about it here:

8/18/2005 - HeraldNet: County votes to keep its polls open, despite cost (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
EVERETT - Snohomish County voters will keep their right to go to the polls, despite a still-climbing estimated cost to do so.

Koster acts fast, saves abandoned mobile home and
debris from falling in river

Best called Snohomish County Councilman John Koster and asked if there was any way the condemned mobile home could be moved before the next high water sucked it in.

2/12/2005 - HeraldNet: Home razed before it could fall in river (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
ROBE - One man's question has led to the dismantling of a condemned home before it could fall into and possibly pollute the South Fork Stillaguamish River.

Koster supportive of Snohomish County four-year college

"We need a four-year school in this county," he said. "If you look at what other countries are doing to educate their citizenry, we're falling behind. We've got to make the investment in the future." Read about it here:

Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Push for 4-year college revs up

Koster supports County relationship with Tulalip Tribes,
signs resolution

Although the County Council had been asked last month to agree to a joint resolution, questions from county attorneys about the draft resolution stalled passage.

"There were no major concerns with the concept," Council chairman John Koster said. "We've always had a good working relationship with the tribes." Read about it here:

5/18/2004 - HeraldNet: Tulalips, county sign pact (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Standing just a few footsteps from where the Treaty of Point Elliott was signed almost 150 years ago, leaders from the Tulalip Tribes and Snohomish County signed an agreement Monday to create a cooperative alliance between the two governments.

Koster helps Lakewood store owner roll back excessive fees

He was shocked when Snohomish County wanted to charge him $72,071 in traffic mitigation fees for moving to his new location. The fees are designed to get new development to pay part of the costs of improving roads, said Steve Dickson of Snohomish County Public Works.

The state Department of Transportation did not charge any fees because the store's customers would simply be moving nearby. The county used traffic studies provided by Bray's consultants, Dickson said. After talking with County Council members Kirke Sievers and John Koster, Bray did another survey that provided specific customer information about their travel patterns. That new information led to a new assessment of $27,847. Read about it here:

4/24/2004 - HeraldNet: Lakewood store pushing back its curbside service
Most business owners want to be close to a main road. But Lakewood Grocery owner Dennis Bray has learned you can be too close.

Koster celebrates opening of Centennial Trail

The new stretch will open to the public at 12:30 p.m. Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon and County Councilman John Koster will host the celebration at 20th Street NE and Machias Road. Read about it here:

4/2/2005 - HeraldNet: 23 years later, happy trails (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Twenty-three years ago, the idea that would eventually morph into the Snohomish County Centennial Trail came to life among a group from Lake Stevens.

Koster opposes special tax breaks for Tribes

On Monday, Koster noted that the county has had a good relationship with the tribes, something he wants to see continue.

"Occasionally we are going to have our disagreements on public policy. This is one of those times," Koster said in a statement. "We will continue our dialogue on this and other issues and work toward our mutual goals." Read about it here:

4/5/2005 - HeraldNet: Tulalip sales tax bill fails again (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
OLYMPIA - A bill allowing the Tulalip Tribes to retain millions in sales tax revenue collected at its Quil Ceda Village failed Monday to win approval from a key state Senate committee, effectively ending any chance of passage this session.

County officials oppose the measure. County Councilman John Koster, whose district includes Quil Ceda Village and the Tulalip Indian Reservation, is scheduled to testify at the hearing. Read about it here:

3/31/2005 - HeraldNet: Tulalip sales tax debate is delayed (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
A tax bill that would cut the amount of taxes Snohomish County gets from Quil Ceda Village was pulled from a public hearing before a state Senate committee Wednesday, and will be heard Friday instead.

County Councilman John Koster, whose council district includes the Tulalip Reservation and Quil Ceda Village, said the county faces a big economic impact if the proposal becomes law. Koster said he will testify against the bill. Read about it here:

3/29/2005 - HeraldNet: Tulalip tax plan battle brews (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council stepped up its fight Monday against a proposed state law that would give the Tulalip Tribes a portion of sales tax revenues that are collected at the tribes' Quil Ceda Village and now go to the county.

Councilman John Koster said Monday that it should be no surprise the council opposes the bill. "We're obligated to provide services to all parts of the county, and that takes money," he said. Read about it here:

Sales-tax bill draws opposition
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Breaking away from a long-standing position of neutrality, the Snohomish County Council formally opposed pending legislation Monday that...

Compassionate Conservative John Koster
working to help the homeless

"Government has a role to play, but ... there are dozens of organizations, public and private, that are working on this issue every day, and we need to do a better job coordinating with them to maximize our impact in this area," he said. Read about it here:

Homeless camp grows along river
Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Koster condemns cross burning incident, calls for a week of “brotherhood”, and acceptance of people regardless
of their race, creed or color

The resolution, passed unanimously by the County Council, encourages county residents to deepen their understanding and acceptance of people regardless of their race, creed or color.

The resolution carries a message, said Councilman John Koster: "We will not allow such an evil to take a foothold here.” Read about it here:

4/1/2004 - HeraldNet: County Council calls for a week to protest racism
The Snohomish County Council took a united stand against racism Wednesday by declaring next week Brotherhood Days in Snohomish County.

Koster promotes fiscal responsibility, questions
wisdom of NASCAR proposal

Snohomish County Council Chairman John Koster called ISC's $50 million contribution "woefully inadequate." He also noted that track-site landowners have not been contacted by ISC. Read about it here:

NASCAR track's financing at issue
Wednesday, November 10, 2004: Local News
As a key legislative committee prepares to hear testimony tonight on a proposed NASCAR speedway, some Snohomish County officials say the track may be on shaky ground unless developers...

Snohomish County Council Chairman John Koster said he was surprised ISC offered only $50 million. But he said transportation improvements are a more pressing issue. Those could run into problems in the Senate Transportation Committee, where the ranking Democrat, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen of Camano Island has said she doesn't support a track. Read about it here:

Racetrack hinges on hefty help from state
Thursday, October 07, 2004: Local News
If the state wants a NASCAR speedway built in Snohomish County, it won't come cheaply. State legislators yesterday heard for the first time what it could take to get racetrack...

Koster promotes integrity in hiring and fiscal restraint, questions Reardon’s choice of cronie for staff position

Council concern over James Lee's job with the county has stretched across party lines, with Sievers, a Democrat, and Council Chairman John Koster, a Republican, voicing similar concerns.
"That's a pretty substantial salary," Koster said.

Council members want to know what hiring rules apply to temporary employees, how many temporary employees are working for the county and how much they are being paid.
"We will be asking those questions," Koster said. Read about it here:

10/29/2004 - HeraldNet: High-pay temp is asked to testify (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Snohomish County Councilman Kirke Sievers wants the employee at the center of a hiring controversy to testify before the County Council's finance committee.

"I can't imagine temporary employees making this much," Nelson said.

Council Chairman John Koster said the county already contributes to the Snohomish County Economic Development Council, a group of public and private agencies that promotes job growth. It received $80,000 in county funding last year.

"I'm not so sure that just adding paid positions (in county government) gets that done," Koster said.

10/28/2004 - HeraldNet: Reardon worker hired for big wage (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
A key staff member of Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon's 2003 election campaign has been hired by the county as a temporary worker at a pay rate of more than $75,000 a year.

Other council members said they were not sure whether the county could afford an economic-development coordinator next year.

"Whether it's Lee or not, I think the county needs to look at whether this is a value-added position," said council Chairman John Koster, R-Arlington. Read about it here:

Reardon, council clash over employee
Wednesday, November 03, 2004: Local News
A flap over a temporary planning-department employee could stymie the Snohomish County executive's economic-development plans for next year. The County Council says it may cut...

Koster seeking to clarify role and responsibility of advisory group

It is our job as elected officials to take a higher road, seek common ground and allow for cooler heads to prevail. Through such an experienced attitude can we all meet the needs of those who elected us and truly create a better tomorrow for Snohomish County. Read about it here:

5/18/2004 - HeraldNet: County planning: Let cooler heads prevail (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Considerable concern has recently been expressed regarding an ordinance that clarifies the roles and responsibilities of Snohomish County Tomorrow (SCT). During the discussion of this issue, some unfounded allegations were made. I think it

1/31/2003 - HeraldNet - Two competing reports on growth combined (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council has resolved its dispute with county and city planners over a controversial growth report. Since August, two competing versions of the report have been the subject of praise and ridicule.

1/26/2003 - HeraldNet - COUNTY GROWTH: Sax, Koster, Nelson are on right track (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
In reading the Jan. 12 guest editorial "Drewel's vetoes draw proper line on sprawl," one finds Kristin Kelly and Marc Mechling touting urban sprawl as the "most important threat to our quality of life." I wonder what quality of life they are

1/19/2003 - HeraldNet - Guest Editorial: “Drewel's veto of land proposals ignores facts” (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council is vividly aware of what's on the minds of our citizens. Their concerns include jobs, affordable homes, taxes, the economy, traffic and environmental protection.

Koster organizes Reagan Memorial Service for Snohomish County

"Ronald Reagan worked tirelessly throughout his life advancing the cause of freedom."
Koster said the president brought optimism and hope to the nation.

"He is at peace, safely at home in heaven," Koster said. Read about it here:

6/12/2004 - HeraldNet: Ex-president proclaimed a great leader (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
A crowd of more than 100 gathered in the courtyard of the Snohomish County Courthouse Friday to honor Ronald Reagan, as Americans across the country bid a final farewell to the 40th president.

"Ronald Reagan set the example for greatness," said County Council Chairman John Koster, R-Arlington. His voice broke as he added: "He showed us the shining city on the hill, and he taught us that we could reach it if only we could reach for it." Read about it here:

Mourners in region attend Reagan services
Saturday, June 12, 2004: Local News
As the body of Ronald Reagan traveled to its final resting place in California yesterday, the 40th president's passing was observed in several Puget Sound-area observances, marked...

Reagan was the right man at the right time, county council chairman John Koster said.

"America needed someone to give them a vision and remind us of the principles that we were founded on. "He brought optimism and hope to a world at a time when we really, really needed it and were desperate for it," Koster said. Read about it here:

6/10/2004 - HeraldNet: County will honor Reagan on Friday (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council has declared Friday a countywide day of mourning to honor the passing of Ronald Reagan.

Snohomish County Councilman John Koster never met Reagan, but said he entered politics in 1990 because of him.

"He's one of my political heroes," he said. "The belief and the vision Reagan had in America motivated a lot of people to get into politics." Read about it here:

6/6/2004 - HeraldNet: Reagan left his mark on the county (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Ronald Reagan left a deep and abiding impression on the politics, economy and people of Snohomish County and throughout the state of Washington.

Koster honors Ronald Reagan, Democrat doesn’t

"I think Ronald Reagan was a great patriot," said Council Chairman John Koster, R-Arlington. "He was an enemy of communism." Read about it here:

Snohomish County splits on declaring Reagan Day
Thursday, February 05, 2004: Local News
Snohomish County Council Republicans wanted to honor a "great patriot," an "enemy of communism" who they say inspired "freedom-loving people" during his presidency. But a loftily written...

2/5/2004 - HeraldNet: Reagan Day proclamation splits council (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The gloves came off over the Gipper. The Snohomish County Council split along party lines Wednesday as Republicans pushed through a resolution honoring former President Reagan amid Democratic dissent.

2/4/2004 - HeraldNet: Council battles over Reagan Day (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The gloves came off over the Gipper. The Snohomish County Council split along party lines today as Republicans pushed through a resolution honoring former President Ronald Reagan amid Democratic dissent.

Koster making positive changes at county level,
frustrates liberals

"Obviously, we're frustrated," said Kent Hanson, the Snohomish County Democratic Party's chairman. "It's our opinion that we've given more ground than we're getting."

To Republicans, the new majority means they're finally getting their chance. They've made headway on some of their issues, including individual property rights and the balance of power between the executive and council, said Frauna Hoglund, the GOP's county chairwoman. Read it about it here:

Democrats 'frustrated' by life in council minority
Wednesday, May 19, 2004: Local News
Snohomish County Councilman Dave Gossett is used to being the only "no" vote on growth decisions. Before a vote, the Mountlake Terrace Democrat often talks to himself. He shakes his head...

Koster says no to heavy-handed tactics from Exec’s office

Council Chairman John Koster, R-Arlington, also has refused to go along with new guidelines the executive sent out last month for dealing with the county staff. Under then-Executive Bob Drewel, council members went directly to the staff for information. Reardon wants the council to route requests through department heads.

Koster instructed council staffers to ignore Reardon's request. "The fact of the matter is the executive doesn't have the authority to direct legislative staff," Koster said. Read about it here:

Reardon, council members clash
Wednesday, March 03, 2004: Local News
A $2. 8 million contract with the Snohomish County Office of Public Defense has revealed a partisan rift between the new county executive and the Republican-controlled County Council...

Koster brings sensible, balanced discussion to Paine Field debate

"It may be an idea whose time has come," said Koster, adding that service at Paine Field in some ways is a "no-brainer." It's just more convenient. But Koster questioned whether the county could afford it if it meant spending $10 million to $20 million. Read about it here:

Commercial flights out of Paine Field?
Wednesday, February 04, 2004: Local News
Hank Robinett drives 40 miles to Sea-Tac airport to catch flights to Palm Springs, Calif., where he vacations from his real-estate development job. The drive irks Robinett, 73...

Koster welcomes Reardon to the conservative movement

The Republican-controlled County Council, which is responsible for the budget's approval, is openly supportive of the POG process. Council Chairman John Koster on Tuesday announced a pair of high-profile public meetings next month where details of the process will be presented. Read about it here:

3/18/2004 - HeraldNet: IN OUR VIEW (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Government is more resistant to change than most institutions, so it's especially noteworthy when its leaders welcome it.

"I wanted to say, 'Welcome aboard, man,' " said council Chairman John Koster, R-Arlington. Read about it here:

Koster praises Reardon's budget plan
Wednesday, February 04, 2004: Local News
Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon's first address to the County Council had an unexpected effect on the council's conservative chairman. "I wanted to say, 'Welcome aboard...

What makes it different is the forward-thinking plan Reardon, a Democrat, laid out to achieve it. It's an ambitious but achievable plan, and one that was well received by Council Chairman John Koster, a Republican. "I'm open to every idea to get this economy going and make government work better," Koster said, adding that he likes what he has seen of Reardon's plan so far. Read about it here:

1/29/2004 - HeraldNet: IN OUR VIEW (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Citizens deserve a growing economy and efficient, accountable government.

Koster supports of Robe Valley fix, wants property protections

When that might happen is unknown. County Council Chairman John Koster has said he has significant questions about the draft, saying it doesn't pay enough attention to the protection of private property or public safety. Read about it here:

Robe questions how to stay afloat
Wednesday, January 21, 2004: Local News
The asphalt that once was part of Rivershore Lane comes to a cliff like end over the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River. Pieces of front steps, yard furniture and other debris...

Koster appointed Council Chairman

As he passed the council gavel to Koster on Monday, Nelson praised him for his "discipline and talents" and said he was proud to have presided over the council during what he called its most productive year, 2003. Read about it here:

News from around the county
Wednesday, January 07, 2004: Local News
The Snohomish County Council has appointed Arlington Republican John Koster as council chairman for this year.

Koster defends property rights, takes on Locke,
Growth Hearings Board

County Councilman John Koster, who earlier characterized the hearings board as a "kangaroo court" because it is made up of members appointed by the governor, said having the policies reviewed in superior court would level the playing field and speed up the review. Read about it here:

9/17/2003 - HeraldNet: Council wants to bypass growth board hearing (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council is asking the state attorney general to move Gov. Gary Locke's challenge to two controversial county growth policies to superior court.

But County Councilman John Koster said Wednesday that the governor's request itself goes against the act. "GMA is touted as bottom-up planning. This is top down," Koster said. Read about it here:

9/10/2003 - HeraldNet: Locke fights county on growth (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Gov. Gary Locke has ordered an appeal of two controversial growth policies adopted by the Snohomish County Council, saying the move is necessary to uphold the state's Growth Management Act.

County Council members have been critical of Locke for taking an appeal before a board he appoints. County Councilman John Koster, R-Arlington, called it a "kangaroo court." Read about it here:

Another appeal sought by Locke on land use
Thursday, November 06, 2003: Local News
Gov. Gary Locke stepped into Snohomish County land-use issues yesterday for the second time in two months. Locke directed the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic...

Koster concerned about affordable day care for elderly
and disabled, supports changes at state level

"There's a huge number of baby boomers coming into retirement ... and we don't have a system that can handle all the baby boomers," said County Councilman Koster, who has met with DaVore and her attorney. But the change really has to happen on the state level, Koster said. Read about it here:

Requirements frustrate caregiver
Wednesday, January 01, 2003: Local News
It was the power saw he left in her bed. The sawdust in the sheets, the metal blade against her comforter. That's what made Katie DaVore finally acknowledge her husband's Alzheimer's...

Koster pens resolution to Support Troops,
Council passes unanimously

3/23/2003 - HeraldNet - WAR WITH IRAQ: This is 'Support Our Troops Week' (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The Snohomish County Council declared this week Support Our Troops Week. What a wonderful way to show our patriotism, solidarity and support for our brave men and women fighting this and past wars.

3/20/2003 - HeraldNet - County Council urges unity for Support Our Troops Week
On the morning that America began a second war with Iraq, the Snohomish County Council(requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount) stood united to declare next week Support Our Troops Week in Snohomish County. The resolution was the idea of Councilman John Koster.

3/18/2004 - HeraldNet: Council proclaims support for troops (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Recalling the train bombings in Spain last week and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Snohomish County Council has proclaimed next week Support Our Troops Week.

Darrington boys win state basketball championship,
Koster honors team via Council resolution

"What you've accomplished comes with a lot of hard work. You've given a real sense of pride to this community," County Councilman John Koster said.

Snohomish County honored its hometown hoops heroes Wednesday, as the County Council unanimously approved a resolution honoring the Darrington High School boy’s basketball team for winning the state Class B championship. Read about it here:

4/10/2003 - HeraldNet - County honors hoops champs of Darrington (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)

Councilman John Koster, who represents Darrington, wrote today's resolution, which says in part, "This kind of community spirit and dedication is an example of why Snohomish County is such a great place to live." Read about it here:

4/9/2003 - HeraldNet - Thanks for the ride, Loggers (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
That fairy-tale team from the movie "Hoosiers" has nothing on the hoop heroes from Darrington.

Koster concerned about traffic on 172nd, supports T.R.A.P.
and efforts to secure funding for new overpass

Finding our 40-year-old, $26 million overpass once again dropped from the list of needed transportation improvements, a group of local businesspeople solicited help from a bipartisan group of elected officials. Out of meetings with Marysville Mayor Dave Weiser, Arlington Mayor Bob Kraski, County Council member John Koster and Arlington City Council member Oliver Smith, the TRAP coalition was formed. Read about it here:

1/3/2004 - HeraldNet: Guest Editorial (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The adage, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going," certainly holds true in the case of the obsolete overpass at I -5 and 172nd Street in North Snohomish County.

The mayors of Arlington and Marysville met Thursday with local business leaders and representatives of U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., and Snohomish County Council member John Koster to plot strategies for getting the 172nd Street NE overpass funded. Read about it here:

5/17/2003 - HeraldNet: Smokey Point fix is stuck in traffic (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Traffic has gotten so bad here that local politicians are planning to hire a lobbyist to honk legislators' horns in Olympia for a long-stalled new interchange on I-5.

Koster helps 9/11 victim’s family reunite

With the help of John Koster, now a county councilman, and financial aid from the Snohomish County chapter of the American Red Cross, the Cartiers traveled back East to be with family and eventually settled in the Queens section of New York City. Read about it here:

9/12/2003 - HeraldNet: Julie Muhlstein - Herald Columnist (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
On my kitchen windowsill are two paper cranes. They're tattered and dusty. The woman who folded them drew eyes on the birds to amuse my son. Japanese legend says origami cranes are symbols of miracles and peace.

Koster concerned about Stanwood floodway issues

11/2/2003 - HeraldNet: Lingering waters cause concern (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
The flood ain't over till the skinny pipes drain. That was the scene that Stanwood and Camano Island commuters found this week in the fields south of Highway 532 and downtown Stanwood.

Koster defends, protects county ranchers and dairies
during Mad Cow scare

Koster, a former dairy farmer, was asked about the safety of eating American beef during a film shoot at an Arlington dairy farm. "There's confidence in the safety of our meat supply," Koster said, noting that beef consumption has risen slightly since the first reported case of mad cow disease in the United States in December.

2/20/2004 - HeraldNet: COUNTY WATCH (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
Snohomish County Councilman John Koster stepped in front of the camera last week for a Japanese television show that's doing a documentary on mad cow disease.

Koster working with Council for better schools

Read about it here:

2/23/2004 - HeraldNet: SNOHOMISH SCHOOLS (requires HeraldNet Clickshare acccount)
On Feb. 4, the Snohomish County Council passed a resolution that enables the Snohomish School District to obtain land that will serve our students as our community grows.