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Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Letters to the editor

Two-way street

Olympia steamroller: Put an obstacle in its path

Editor, The Times:

While "I-912 is backward policy on roads" [Times editorial, June 16] presents the purported improvements Washington taxpayers will see after the 9.5-cent gas-tax increase is imposed, I think you misread the reasons this initiative is being so well-received.

Our current governor, and a considerable number of the current crop of politicians in Olympia, claimed during their most recent campaigns there'd be no tax increases.

Most of my friends [will] sign this initiative because they are disgusted with politicians whose campaign promises are worthless. This initiative serves to help politicians keep their promises.

The system is weighted in favor of politicians and editors who consider themselves the only ones capable of deciding how we will be taxed and governed. Politicians will do what they must, but our state constitution allows citizens to, likewise, do what they must

We should ever be grateful that our constitution allows us the initiative process.

— Richard Hartley, Ferndale

Stand on the power brakes

I-912 is not merely a question of transportation improvements, but public trust. Citizens passed I-695 years ago but various legal challenges and legislation managed to negate it. Two more initiatives were required until [legislators] got the message.

Citizens passed an initiative to require a two-thirds vote on tax increases, also circumvented through legislation and ubiquitous "emergency clauses" used to prevent a referendum. Gov. Christine Gregoire made promises not to raise taxes, yet one of her first pieces of legislation did just that.

This transportation package is government requesting a blank check and asking us to "trust them" with it. There is no identified source of revenue for finishing the viaduct or Highway 520. Improvements to I-405 include only $150 million allocated to the project to add lanes in either direction in the worst stretch from Highway 167 to Interstate 90, also without a revenue source to finish.

Politicians should re-examine the role of government and reallocate budgets accordingly to make transportation a higher priority. Until such time, it is the people of this state who are the check and balance of power of a renegade Legislature that passes a gas-tax increase of 5 cents shortly after an increase was overwhelmingly rejected by the public, and then passes another 9.5-cent increase and tries to circumvent a referendum on it.

The people of Washington deserve a voice on this.

— Bill Greenstein, Renton

We're almost there

Bravo to The Times for standing up against I-912. This initiative is a misguided and dishonest hatchet job on the recently passed landmark transportation bill.

This isn't just about the Alaskan Way Viaduct. More than 270 important projects statewide will be affected, such as a $10 million bridge replacement project in Chelan County on U.S. 2 over the Wenatchee River, or a $25 million project in Yakima County to relieve congestion and improve traffic flow and safety at I-92 and Valley Mall Boulevard.

Over the past 100 years, our [predecessors] have rejected one transportation plan after another, leaving us with some of the worst congestion in the nation, and some of the least-adequate transportation infrastructure.

This year, with bipartisan support, we finally have a fairly funded plan that meets the needs of an aging system and growing economy and population. Please don't throw that all away. Please don't support I-912.

— Daniel Kirkdorffer, Redmond

Like a wreck

I highly encourage The Times to leave the friendly confines of elitist Seattle for a field trip to East King County or even to the wilds of the land beyond the mountains.

I wonder who you polled for your statement, "Leaders of business large and small support the tax increase because they want safer roads and enhanced mobility."

Did you venture out to Tacoma where family-owned small businesses with a few trucks will be devastated by yet another tax to fund projects in Seattle that nobody can truly explain? The thousands of small businesses that will be negatively impacted by this tax will have to decide between keeping their trucks rolling or laying off a middle-class wage-earner.

I guess you will have to decide to take the new tunnel or the monorail to the opera.

— Josh Lingerfelt, Duvall

Stops on a dime

Remember when sales tax was less than 7.8 percent? Remember when gas was less than 75 cents? I do and I also know Washington is one of the highest-taxed states in the nation and does have the highest gas tax, period.

So what exactly have we been getting back with all that money? A replaced floating bridge, some potholes filled, some repaving here and there which was of shoddy quality at best, and some new on-ramps in downtown to support the stadiums.

Yeah, there was work done on I-405, with more to come, but where was the fix to I-5 between Lynnwood and Marysville? Yeah, a little more fixing in Lynnwood, but I-5 in Everett never got a dime; and now with the Tulalips' casino and shopping center, we are strangled up here.

Every time there is a tax increase to pay for something, the tax never ends. If you vote for this increase, it will also never end.

I'm tired of lining Olympia's wallet with money and not getting repaid. It's time to repeal all taxes and start over. We need someone accountable to ensure funds are spent wisely and taxes retired once the funding goal is met.

Get us off the highest-taxed-state list, sign the petition and vote out those who ask for higher taxes that have no clear end result.

— Joel James, Marysville

Regrettable past

Sorry excuse for solution

Regarding "Never too late for lynching's victims" [editorial, June 20], I am one of the critics The Times refers to who sees the Senate apology as empty words. Apologies are meaningless unless offered in sincerity, by those who actually had a hand in committing the offense, to the victims of the offense.

While the signing senators' hearts may have been in the right place, Senate Resolution 39 is tepid and mechanical at best.

The resolution might have more meaning were it to deplore and express revulsion for the act of lynching, which it does not; and been more emphatic in its expression of regret.

The third point of the resolution, "remembers the history of lynching, to ensure that these tragedies will be neither forgotten nor repeated," is weak because while essential, simply "remembering" is not enough to safeguard against reoccurrence.

— James Paden, Blaine

Strictly Seattle

Nothing to see here

Thank God for an open-minded city like Seattle ["Celebrating the season at free-spirited Fremont festival," Arts & Entertainment, June 19].

If bike riders rode nude in a Los Angeles summer solstice celebration, the LAPD would shoot them dead, after a "slow speed" chase televised on all 28 local channels.

— Barney Neeley, Los Angeles, Calif.

Stripping all pretension

Yep, just your ordinary, everyday folks celebrating the arrival of summer.

— Robert Mullins, Virginia Beach, Va.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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