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Friday, August 13, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Letters to the editor

Puncturing myths

Questioning safety of immunizations is smart medicine

Editor, The Times:

Regarding "Immunization rates need a shot in the arm" (Times editorial, Aug. 9, and see "Immunization rate improves, but state lags in U.S. survey," Local News, July 30), perhaps the reason vaccination rates are so low is that this is a region of highly educated, affluent citizens.

The average 2-month-old infant could receive 62.5 micrograms of mercury at a 2-month (pediatric) visit, 125 times the EPA "safe" exposure level.

Just the use of thimerosal alone is enough of a reason to question vaccine safety. Add in the question of immunity to adulthood of the varicella vaccine and the documented lack of research done on vaccines before their release — and any educated, affluent parent has no choice but to question their use.

As for combating misinformed Google searches with correct information, who exactly does The Times assume that source of correct information is? The drug manufacturer or the always-right, never unduly influenced FDA?

Thank God this is still a mostly free country.
— Melanie Froning, Seattle

Build up resistance

More people should be encouraged not to have immunizations, not the other way around. There are well-documented cases regarding the levels of toxins — especially mercury — in immunizations.

We are giving these shots to newborn babies with highly undeveloped nervous systems. It is extremely dangerous!

Until our government gets honest about the high increase in autism, we need to stop poisoning our children! And in fact, many of the so-called "diseases" that we are immunizing children against aren't even problems any more! And not because of immunizations, but rather these diseases have run their courses.

Before you encourage parents to get immunizations, let's do an extensive study on the benefits vs. the dangers.
— Anne Heartsong, Woodinville

Discourage spread of unease

The Times' editorial on immunizations was a timely spotlight on the fact that the majority of children missing or delaying immunizations tend to be lower-income and minority. Indeed, the challenge for them is access to health care. There is a critical window of opportunity, as parents prepare to send their kids back to school, which enables health care organizations to close the gap on the 25 percent of children not fully immunized.

This month, a dedicated network of community health centers throughout the state that serves publicly insured members of Community Health Plan of Washington, is offering special community events to help identify and reach Washington's children in need of immunizations. These efforts are designed to serve those most in need, and educate families on the health-care and insurance options available to them in order to keep their kids current on preventative health measures — such as immunizations.

This type of personal, community-based outreach by the health centers has paid off. Community Health Plan of Washington was just recognized by the state of Washington for achieving the greatest improvement of any health plan in the state on pediatric immunizations (children 2 years of age or older).

This achievement shows that the collaborative efforts of a local health plan, its doctors and health centers can effectively change the tide and find solutions to the disparities in immunization rates in our state.
Gary Feldbau, M.D., chief medical officer, Community Health Plan of Washington, Seattle

Flip side

Kerry's record marred

I hear John Kerry is a moderate. He has a perfect 20-year record of voting in favor of abortion and a 100 percent endorsement rating by the abortion lobby; and yet, pro-lifers speak at the Democrat National Convention.

Sixty-two percent of convention delegates support gay marriage; but there is no gay-marriage plank in Kerry's platform.

Kerry has more than once changed his support of President Bush's declaring war on and attacking Iraq.

If the claim is accurate that he is moderate, then who are the liberals? He has the most liberal voting record in Congress, so no one can be more liberal. Kerry is not a moderate. Kerry is a liberal.

Kerry's record of flip-flopping on the major issues is not one of leadership. Leading this republic and tackling the tough national and international issues demand a decisive, firm and committed response. Sen. Kerry's record of flip-flopping proves he is not capable of handling the job of president.

The only candidate with proven leadership experience is President Bush.
— Howard Palmer Jr., Olympia

Playing backwards

George Bush has been ranting again about frivolous lawsuits lately, but isn't it ironic that he would not be president if it weren't for lawyers?

He blames the high cost of insurance on lawsuits, but even tort-reform proponents admit that medical lawsuits account for less than 3 percent of insurance costs.

I learned Bush hired a lawyer in 1998 to sue (a rental car agency) over a minor fender-bender involving his daughter, even though no one was injured and insurance would have covered it.

Who is the flip-flopper now?
— John Holtz, Bellingham

Know parking

Leniency out the window

"Pay stations perplex parkers" (page one, Aug. 10) includes a sub-heading, "Parking enforcers are being patient." Not true.

I was ticketed on July 27. I was perplexed at getting the ticket because I had purchased parking and left the receipt in plain view on the dash. To my surprise, I was ticketed for failing to have affixed the receipt to the passenger-side window.

The time stamp on the ticket indicated I was ticketed even though I had ample time left.

I had no idea I was to affix the receipt on the passenger window. I then noticed that all the other cars but one on (the same) block had been ticketed for the same "offense."

Being patient indeed! I had seen no notice on the pay station or my receipt telling me where to put the receipt.

Ticketing vehicles that have paid, while the parking enforcer can clearly see this, is malicious.
— Eric Olanie, Seattle

Curb your hyperbole

"Pay stations perplex parkers" makes it sound as if the machines are terribly complicated and that there exists rampant confusion, frustration and misuse among parkers. Yet the article's "informal survey" indicates nearly 80 percent of parkers fully understand the new system (48 out of 61).

And if you include those who purchased a sticker but merely affixed it improperly, the compliance rate soars to over 90 percent.

I wonder what the typical noncompliance rate with standard parking meters is? My own "informal survey" of red "Violation" flags near parked cars downtown indicates that it's pretty near 10 percent.

Perhaps the article should have been titled "Only 10 percent of parkers fail to understand new parking stations."
— Jim Loter, Seattle

Road to recovery

Streetcar numbed despair

After hearing of Edgar Martinez' resignation, I felt so low I thought something has to be done for the Mariners.

Then I heard about a miracle cure that will fix everything. All we have to do is build a streetcar to Safeco! Yeah, that should do it. I don't know how, but the guy said they just work like magic!
— Thomas Anson, Seattle

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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