Letters to the editor
It's been, well - swell
Editor, The Times:
Hard to look your neighbor in the eye, is it? Decisions coming up that will make it even harder? Seattle people too informed and well-educated? Neighborhoods too eclectic where the executive has to share barbecue smoke with a lowly machinist? And damn it, they can demonstrate right in front of the offices when wage cuts are announced. It is time to seek a more "business friendly" location.
Yes, it is too bad business decisions cannot be made in an objective atmosphere. Where those decisions will not be contaminated with the expressions in the eyes of the people at the grocery store, the theater or the sidewalk. After all, we are no longer required to taste and smell death in war, why require it in business? A remote site where unions are outlawed and thinking people are in the minority. Texas would make an excellent choice.
Of course, there is no harm in extracting a few concessions from your home state while you are at it. It works for sports franchises.
Perhaps it is time for the New Boeing to leave. Perhaps it will be less painful for those of us who regarded the Old Boeing as a good neighbor, turned into a supra-national company, building its products in places where labor's value is somewhere behind carbon paper.
I will remember fondly the many times in years past, turning to my host in a foreign country and proudly telling him that the airplane that brought me there was made in my hometown of Seattle. No more...
So... goodbye and it's been good to know ya'.
- Ivars Skuja, Kirkland
You just don't get it, do you.
You just don't understand that Washington is not a business-friendly place.
You just don't get it that Seattle only follows Philadelphia and New York in business taxes.
You just don't get it that Boeing is unhappy that Everett (got) $52 million for the Everett plant expansion building permit and added countless millions more in "environmental remediation."
You just don't get it that 19 months to obtain the Everett plant expansion building permit was about 18 months too long.
You just don't get it that Boeing was not about to install a new traffic light system in Renton in exchange for a building permit for a third final assembly building.
You just don't get it that Boeing does not appreciate Olympia determining what health-care benefits they must pay. You just don't get it that Boeing does not like being fined by the Department of Labor and Industry when an employee chooses to not follow safety procedures.
You just don't get it that Boeing is no longer willing to pay for a bloated, inefficient government.
You just don't get it that Boeing has excess property and plant in the U.S. and you have seen the last of the Boeing expansions in Washington.
You just don't get it how lucky Washington is that Bill Gates is a Seattle area native. You just don't get it how lucky Washington is that the McCaws are Seattle area natives.
You just don't get it. You just don't get it why I am leaving Seattle as soon as possible.
- Robert Wheeldon, Seattle
Churlish cads... ?
Well, thanks a lot, Boeing. The announcement of Boeing's corporate headquarters leaving Seattle hit me hard. Not because you don't have the perfect right to move your headquarters, but because of the way the news was delivered.
Members of my family have worked for your company for over 50 years. My father took a job with Boeing after the war in the 1940s; my brother retired from Boeing after spending his entire working career there; and now, two of his daughters, my nieces, are employed at Boeing.
Suddenly, from Washington, D.C., you announce that you are pulling your headquarters out of Seattle.
Where are your corporate manners? Seattle is your birthplace, Boeing, and what a difference it would have made to those of us who have a history with your company, if you had acknowledged what Seattle has meant to the growth and success of your business. If you had made the announcement in your own backyard, with a sentence or two of appreciation for the Seattle community and its workers, and the realization that this would have a huge impact on us, it at least would have made us feel like it was a proper good-bye.
Your corporate behavior is like leaving the party without thanking the host - and even worse, slamming the door in our face. We expected more from you.
- Dottie Parcheski, Bainbridge Island
... or scorned suitors?
The Boeing headquarters move could be: (a) just the first step in a long series of moves from the state of Washington; or (b) a message to the people of Puget Sound.
When I first came to Seattle to work for Boeing in 1960, I was amazed at the number of "Boeing haters" around town. An awful lot of them worked for Boeing. My commanding officer in the USAF had a sign in his office that stated: "If you work for a man, don't knock him." There are still a lot of Boeing haters around, including, on many occasions, The Seattle Times.
When Boeing was getting the clearance to expand the Everett plant to build the new 767, there were all kinds of groups trying to get money from Boeing for the roads, schools, etc. They all had dollar amounts they thought Boeing should shell out; up in the billions (repeat billions). Some higher-up in Boeing said at that time, This may be the last major expansion Boeing will make in the state of Washington, or some words like that.
So, why should Boeing lose sleep over leaving Seattle? Boeing's handling of the move indicates they are moving for the stated reason, with no advance threats or blackmail; "we just want a better location." I think Boeing is a class company by not bargaining on the relocation - or I hope they don't start bargaining.
- J. Lawrence Pfalzer, Bothell
Good will wanting
As a former 20-year employee of Boeing, I would like to say something to departing Boeing executive Phil Condit regarding the moving of Boeing corporate headquarters. Good riddance and don't come back.
You may remember that last year, after failing to give SPEEA members a decent contract, the top 200 executives of Boeing received a cash award of $1 million, with the top five executives receiving even more. At the same time, the janitorial employees at Boeing's California locations saw their wages cut from $8 an hour to minimum wage. These employees, who were almost all single mothers, were denied a living wage in the name of corporate efficiency.
While I was at Boeing in the '90s, Condit and the rest of his crew were given the opportunity to buy millions of dollars' worth of stock at a reduced price if they could raise the stock price to the mid-$40 range. They proceeded to lay off employees and force early retirement on mid- and lower-level management. This was done in an attempt to make Boeing look "lean and mean" to Wall Street stock analysts. They succeeded, and were able to cash in to the tune of millions of dollars.
Unfortunately for everyone except them, the loss of experienced management at the lower levels of the company resulted in production snafus that sent the stock price reeling and severely damaged the company's position and prestige.
These executives say they want to move to a location with a more "pro-business environment." What this really means is they want to move to a place that will be more forgiving of their dismissal of social responsibility to the community.
What they fail to understand is that it's their employees and the community that make the company function, not just the 200 richly rewarded executives at the top.
Mr. Condit, get out of town. You can't leave soon enough for my liking. You don't deserve Seattle.
- Rick Meisenholder, Bellevue
I can think of no better way for Boeing management to assure the success of Airbus than to tell its own employees their home town is a place not worth working in.
- John Krausser, Seattle
I can already see much of the blame for Boeing's departure being piled on the WTO protesters for having sullied the business-friendly sheen of the Emerald City.
Advocates of such misguided criticism need to wake up and smell the fair-trade coffee regarding Boeing: What we have here is yet another case of a multinational corporation showing utter disregard for local community needs and packing up to leave in search of cheaper labor and more copious tax breaks.
Now, what was it that the majority of the WTO protesters were trying to warn us about?
- Jeff Stevens, Seattle
Road to retirement
As if I didn't have enough reasons not to vote for Paul Schell - when given a chance to let Boeing leave Seattle and slightly improve traffic conditions in the region, he tries to get them to stay. This guy has got to go.
- Jeff Reifman, Seattle
OK, Boeing headquarters is leaving, Microsoft is not making millionaires like it used to, we have an energy-rate crisis, we have a water-supply disaster impending this summer, earthquakes are evidently a more serious matter around here than we thought, and it looks like Sound Transit is not going to fix traffic problems even if the system gets fixed.
Time for everyone to quit squabbling about their special interests and get together for some cooperative, heavy lifting on these problems.
Gov. Locke, what have you been doing for the past few years? Crisis is a time for leadership. We don't need talk about conservation, we need action on solutions!
- Richard Grosvenor, Anacortes
Decline and Paul
We were born in Seattle decades ago at a time when our elected and appointed officials respected the American ideals of free enterprise, faith and honor. Unfortunately, all has been lost to "political correctness," class warfare and cowardice disguised as "tolerance."
Seattle downtown businesses paying high taxes are vandalized by paid WTO activists and innocent people are mauled and murdered in the streets on Fat Tuesday, a meaningless tradition, while the police stand by and watch. Meanwhile, Mayor Paul Schell, who lacks both courage and conscience, does not have the decency to resign. If we were Boeing, we'd leave too.
- Mike and Sharon Johnson, Coupeville
Seattle in the raw
Your story "What do you call a town that keeps losing its identity?" (Times, March 23) gave me a rueful chuckle. What was the Puget Sound region's identity in the first place? What made it so alluring? Was it business? Industry?
In the first place, there were the forests, the salmon, the water, the clean air. Business was built on those. Then forests, salmon, water and air became "amenities." Now they are just dreams, because business and industry are far more important. The salmon are nearly extinct, the forests are clear-cut, the air is full of car exhaust, and we face serious drought. And then businesses go out of business, million-dollar stock portfolios go pooffff, and industries leave town for better shareholder profits.
Maybe, sitting on bare mountains with no water, coughing in the smog, Seattle can at last comprehend its real identity.
- Joy Shayne Laughter, Seattle
As a member of the Human Subjects Review Committee during April 1983, I expressed significant concern about Protocol 126 for T-cell depletion of donor marrow for patients about to undergo (specific) bone marrow transplantation. Having been involved with clinical research in cardiology at the UW School of Medicine, I had substantial experience with ethical reviews of experimental protocols involving my area of expertise.
I was disturbed by the evidence available to the Human Subjects Review Committee that one of the antibodies in another study was associated with occurrence of unexpected new cancers. Hence I felt obliged to point out that the document for informed consent should at least indicate that significant adverse effects of such therapy ought to be known to patients considering this form of cancer treatment. Unfortunately, according to The Seattle Times ("Uninformed Consent" series, March 11-15), the recommendation was not adopted and the subsequent review committee was not informed. My appointment to the committee was not continued either.
For me, that assignment was the most difficult, frustrating and unsatisfactory of all the professional committee involvements I have had over the course of four decades. I find the published reports in The Seattle Times credible. I think this series represents an outstanding example of responsible investigative journalism.
Finally, I commend the courage of the paper to publish such a comprehensive review and particularly the editorial in the Sunday Times ("Full disclosure at The Hutch," March 18). In time, the proper reputation of The Hutch will be restored, patients will be better informed, and have the necessary confidence that they will receive the best of ethical medical treatment from this institution.
- Robert A. Bruce, M.D., professor emeritus of medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
Best care available
As a hematologist at the University of Washington, I have cared for many patients at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I find it difficult to imagine how a responsible analysis of cost and benefit could have led The Seattle Times to publish its attack against The Hutch. Most disturbing is the harm you have inflicted on the families of patients that have been to The Hutch.
Undergoing a stem cell transplant is an experience of unparalleled intensity. Despite extraordinary efforts, approximately half of all patients ultimately die. What remains for their families is the sacred assurance that their loved ones received the best care available in the world.
To have gone back to some of these families 15 years later and told them that their loved one's doctors acted unethically, without giving the doctors a chance to explain, was a monstrous act. To the extent that The Seattle Times succeeded in robbing these and other families of their peace of mind, you have done immeasurable harm.
- C. Anthony Blau, M.D., associate professor of medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
"I'm poor, I'm poor." That is what the stock market is saying. "I lost a million yesterday, and now I only have 20 million left."
What do they all want? Why, for the Fed to turn on the money spigot and rescue them. Electronic money creation backed by the government and endorsed by God - the trickle-down welfare state at its finest.
Alan Greenspan would do better than to listen to the rich. America has an interest in seeing the initiation of a new kind of economics. The wealthy seem to be more dependent on inflation than everyone else.
Dependency is a terrible thing. We need to make the rich self-sufficient. Only when everything they own is no longer dependent on periodic injections of fresh money from the Fed will they be truly proud.
- Dale McCracken, PoorRepublicans.org, Seattle