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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 7, 2008 at 4:52 PM

Battle over reservist’s Kennewick yard

What’s wrong with America

Editor, The Times:

To Mr. Chick Edwards,

Are you kidding me? You are demanding that Lt. Burke Jensen landscape his new property despite the fact he is serving in Kuwait. [“Battle at home over reservist’s yard,” Times, Local News, Oct. 6] Your quote, “I really don’t give a [expletive] where he is or what his problem is” makes me ashamed of you as an American.

Where Lt. Jensen is happens to be is where his, and your, government sent him. Instead of understanding what this man is going through — having to leave his pregnant wife and go to the dangerous Middle East, you are adding to his problems.

Do you really think he would rather be in Kuwait instead of at home taking care of his family and property?

You, Mr. Edwards, are what is wrong with this country right now. You are only interested in your own selfish needs and wants instead of the needs of America and its military.

Try to think of the hardships that Lt. Jensen is going through right now while you sit in your comfortable house complaining about how his lawn looks. I hope everyone who can bring pressure to you does so, as well as the military and government.

Being a retired reservist who was called to serve in Iraq in 2003, I know how hard it was to leave my two daughters and the hardship it caused. You, Mr. Edwards, are the kind of person who has me shaking my head and wondering what the [expletive] is happening to our country and it’s citizens.

You are an embarrassment.

–Joseph Berlin, Ocean Shores

Soldiers aren’t clowns

It was very upsetting to read the story in Monday’s paper about the property owner and developer [Chick Edwards] in Kennewick.

It was difficult to believe that anyone could say that they did not give [an expletive] about where a soldier had been deployed and then to read later that he called that soldier a “clown.”

I would like to know if there is any place to send money for a lawyer for this soldier and his family or to help the friends in Kennewick finish the landscaping project.

The property-management person should be ashamed of himself.

— Nancy Kelleher, Lynwood

Misplaced wrath

I was appalled by the statements by the homeowners association president [Chick Edwards] about the reservist who was called to active duty before he got his yard landscaped.

I hope anybody who had thought about buying in that planned community reads about the president’s treatment of this reservist and stays far away. This is one more reason that homeowners associations in single-family-developments should be disbanded. The only time a homeowners association should be allowed is if there is a multiple-unit building involved and there must be some separate group to take care of the structure and common areas.

As far as I can tell, the only thing that most homeowners associations do is impose one person’s idea about what “looks good” and is “right and proper use” onto every one else in the area.

I hope Edwards ends up on the wrong end of another homeowners association’s wrath.

— Tom Kesterson, Seattle

Kuwait is not a vacation spot

Kennewick developer Chick Edwards manifests the worst of a homeowners association. Deplorable is his threatened lawsuit to make involuntarily mobilized reservist, Burke Jensen, landscape his new lot according to contract.

Edwards was unrelenting — even when a company Jensen hired to do the work abandoned the job and his fellow employees at Energy Northwest mowed and cleared weeds from the property.

Also disturbing and petty is Edwards citing homeowner covenants to thwart attempts to put the house up for rent, which was Burke’s solution for taking care of the property while his pregnant wife and young son live with relatives on the East Coast until the family can be reunited.

Though a neighbor said the yard does not bother him, Edwards (who is the sole member of the homeowners association until he sells enough properties in the development) says he wants the contract enforced no matter what the circumstances are. He calls Jensen a “clown” who “gets to do what he wants.”

We know who the real buffoon is here — the one who harassed a military man.

Jensen made all good-faith attempts to take care of his family and property during his deployment. The federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects men and women serving their country from circumstances such as this, but unfortunately, Burke Jensen has had to hire a lawyer to enforce these rights.

— Kathy Ward, Tacoma

Don’t defend Chick

As a retired veteran, I was absolutely appalled at reading of the plight of Lt. Burke Jensen.

Shuffled off to duty in the Middle East, with a wife and son who have understandably chosen to stay with family during his absence, and he now has to deal with this garbage?

“I really don’t give a [expletive]…”?

“… doesn’t have the right to walk away…”?

“… gets to do what he wants…”???

And to think, Lt. Jensen puts his life on the line to defend the rights and freedoms of people like Chick Edwards.

— Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle

Protest the creep

In these days of bad news, few stories have been more despicable than that of Chick Edwards, the developer of Oak Hill Country Estates in Kennewick.

Chick doesn’t “give a [expletive]” that Lt Burke Jensen was involuntarily mobilized to fight for our country. What really has Chick riled is that Lt. Jensen did not get his lawn planted before he left.

In addition to conducting lawful, peaceful demonstrations in the subdivision, veterans should avoid buying property from this pathetic creep.

— Steven Sewell, Burien

Kudos to the co-workers

I hope that readers take time to contact Chick Edwards about his incredibly insensitive comments regarding reservist Burke Jensen’s property.

Perhaps Edwards spoke to the reporter at a particularly frustrating moment, but I would urge him to moderate his characterization of Lt. Jensen as a “clown.” It’s clear that Edwards is behaving like a clown, if he is more concerned about the appearance of a piece of property than about the livelihood and family of a man serving in Kuwait.

Kudos to Lt. Jensen’s co-workers for trying to mitigate the situation.

— Monica Nixon, Seattle

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