Letter to the editor

In the article from the week of 3/15/2017, Mr. Doty and Mr. Jensen said, “There is a group trying to undermine the Maryfest, Inc., Board of Directors.”

We are not trying to undermine the current board or cause harm to the Marysville Strawberry Festival. We are a group of former Maryfest board members, volunteers and community/business members who are concerned about many of the actions of the current board and its members, and we want to ensure and preserve, not undermine, the success of the festival so that it will return to being a community event in which the community can participate and of which we can be proud.

The article did list some of our concerns included in one of the letters we sent, but the article did not ask either Mr. Doty or Mr. Jensen to respond directly to any of those concerns. There were two other letters, including concerns such as the 2016 election process, by-law infractions, illegal board of directors, lack of a treasurer for 2-3 years, lack of financial accountability to those whose financial support was provided to support the festival and other concerns.

The article stated that many people in the “opposition group’ had been involved for years and resigned for various reasons. Many did resign due to the way Maryfest was being run by the current board and the fact that concerns or questions fell on deaf ears. Maryfest is being run by one or two people, and if questioned you were put down, backed into a corner or threatened.

The board sent a number of Maryfest volunteers/members letters suspending, rejecting, terminating their memberships and threatening legal action against them. One letter barred a person from attending any festival event for life. They also took away the charter membership for life of a person who had been with Maryfest since its inception in 1974. We have the letters to prove this. For Mr. Jensen’s information, charter membership includes the right to vote and until August of 2016, when Mr. Jensen was running the election, I was sent a ballot and voted each year, and my ballot was accepted.

Mr. Doty and Mr. Jensen also referred to the group as a “Secret Society.” We have been anything but secret, holding meetings in public and welcoming anyone who wanted to be involved. We would challenge Mr. Doty and Mr. Jensen and the Maryfest Board to use the same transparency. People and events change, the foundation on which Maryfest was built should not. The Marysville Strawberry Festival is our community festival, and it belongs to our community, not to an outside influence for personal gain. We as a community need to “take our festival back,” put it in the hands of those who care about and live in our community, and to ensure that it continues for our children and grandchildren to enjoy for many years.

Cheryl Deckard Marysville