Letters to the editor
Strong leader's visionextends to region'stransportation woes
Editor, The Times:
The Times editorial answers its own question as to why County Executive Ron Sims has "so much confidence in Sound Transit light rail" ("Ron Sims' free ride," Times editorial, March 25). It is because, as the editorial rightly states, "Sims is a very strong executive."
This is why he is not going to offer a "smarter alternative." Unlike The Times, he has the vision to know that rail mass transit on a separate guideway, despite the frustrating setbacks Link light rail has suffered so far, is still one of the only realistic long-term answers to this region's transportation mess.
He knows only too well that the "better ideas" such as more buses, which a credible challenger would likely espouse to defeat him as county executive, are chimerical, and have already been - over and over again - studied to death. This is why on Jan. 11 Sims spoke out like the strong leader he has become in urging the Sound Transit board "to break the dam of indecision" that has plagued this region for so long and vote yes on the $500 million in federal money for Link, which they overwhelmingly did, 15 to 1.
-- Dean Claussen, Bellevue
Roads lead out, too
Is traffic congestion an opportunity rather than a problem? It depends on what you want. If you are a developer and want to accommodate more growth, it is a problem. If you are a person who wants this area to be a decent place to live, it is an opportunity to put the brakes on runaway growth. If the problem is defined as too many people rather than too little road space, the solution is simple and so much less expensive. We do not build more roads and save billions of dollars. Growth will slow and hopefully go negative until the traffic situation is more bearable.
The alternative is to spend billions of taxpayer dollars for more roads that will soon be filled by new growth that will cause more traffic congestion and demands for more road space.
There are other issues that argue against more roads and more growth. We are running short of water, power, space for recreation, and space to build. It would make more sense to direct the growth to other areas of the country where there is space and the growth would be welcome.
-- Gordon Gabrielson, Bellevue
After reading Robert Wheeldon's letter (Northwest Voices, March 25), I must come to the conclusion that he just doesn't get it. Contrary to popular belief, natives in this region like clean water, controlled growth, clean air, greenbelts, trees and fish. In order to pay for these perks, we all must control our need to grow and build without consequences.
Our region is a fantastic place to live. It's high time those businesses that wish to locate here pay the price of entry, or go somewhere else. Want to build a mall? Then do it like Vancouver, B.C., does. The contractor and business must pay for all infrastructure improvements.
A long-time friend and 20-year Boeing employee told me the other day the move will affect him not. He sees his boss three times a year. So now he just has to fly to Chicago or Texas in order to do it. Big deal!
Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Mr. Wheeldon. You obviously want your cake and to eat it too... Seattle will survive, probably thrive, and so will Washington.
-- Robert Dier, Renton
There are two facts of life in Washington that are obvious to all: Urban and rural voters have very different views on many subjects, and the initiative process is very loaded toward the masses in the I-5 corridor. Sadly, many rural voters, feeling subjugated to the ant colony that is the I-5 corridor, refuse to vote any more, knowing that their vote truly doesn't count.
Thanks go to Rep. Jim Buck, R-24th Dist., for sponsoring SJR 8206, which would require that signatures for such special-interest initiatives come from around the state, making sure that those making the ballot actually represent the whole state. Then in November, it's one voter, one vote. What other hope would you offer a hard-working Eastern Washington farmer, who has no control over which initiatives make the ballot or which ones pass? As it stands, he has no control over the future of his state. Make this one state again!
-- Stan Kemble, Buckley
Bush on environment
Corporations clean up
Following the end of the Clinton administration, congressional Republicans expressed outrage and conducted hearings concerning the presidential pardon of Marc Rich.
More recently, President Bush has broken his campaign promise to reduce carbon emissions, has rolled back limits on arsenic in drinking water, has eliminated rules making mining companies responsible for environmental damage they cause, and has moved to re-open 60 million acres of national forest to development and logging.
These actions serve only to benefit the mining industry, the oil and coal industries, and the timber industry - the same corporations that gave millions to the Bush presidential campaign. The connection here between the presidential action and the large donations is unmistakable, and much more disturbing than in the case of the Rich pardon.
Unlike the pardon, these anti-environment presidential actions will be detrimental to millions of Americans. All of us suffer when our air and water are polluted and our nation's natural heritage is sacrificed for the short-term profits of the corporations that helped elect President Bush.
I suppose if President Bush and his congressional allies don't care about clean air and clean water, we shouldn't be surprised to learn that they don't really care about clean government either.
-- Michael Hintze, Seattle
The Hutch series
I appreciated the recent series on clinical trials at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center ("Uninformed Consent," Times series, March 11-15), and while I'm not qualified to judge whether these trials were conducted appropriately in all respects, I offer the following proposal for FHCRC and other research centers to consider:
If FHCRC and the doctors who manage these studies own stock in the biotech companies whose products are being tested, then reasonableness and equity suggest that a generous allotment of stock be assigned to those who volunteer their bodies and their lives, in some cases, so that cures might be found for cancer and other health problems.
-- Walt Blackford, Langley
Boeing flight path
Whys of Texas
Anyone want to bet against Boeing choosing Texas? Anyone want to admit that it's because Texas is a "right-to-work state" where qualified (yes, I said qualified) people can be hired for less money and lots fewer headaches? Anyone want to guess how long after this move it will be before the actual manufacturing (or the majority of it) moves to Texas too?
Anyone want to admit that while Boeing has been a good friend and employer in Seattle, they were most generally treated by politicians and unions like their own private bank? Anyone want to take responsibility for driving this good friend out of the state? I didn't think so!
Robert Afenir, Coupeville