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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 21, 2008 at 3:54 PM

Seattle Times endorsement of Dino Rossi for governor

Jim Bates/The Seattle Times

Dino Rossi speaks during the final gubernatorial debate at Seattle’s KING 5 studio Oct. 15.

Thanks, but no thanks

Editor, The Times:

Perhaps your conservative philosophy influences your candidate endorsements [“Rossi for governor,” Times, editorial, Oct. 19].

During the recent gubernatorial debate I was impressed with Gov. Christine Gregoire’s accomplishments. The Pew Center ranked Washington in the top three states for managing public resources, and Forbes magazine states that Washington is in the top five states for business.

During the debate, gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi repeatedly stated that he had developed the 2003 state budget. The Seattle Times echoes his claim and suggests that, “The Rossi-Locke budget saved the people from increases in major taxes and helped unleash a strong economic rebound.”

I might remind you that “no new taxes” is also the philosophy of President George W. Bush’s administration which has created the worst recession in the history of our nation. Perhaps the relationship between no-new-taxes and economic rebound is tenuous at best.

Change has been the campaign slogan for both Sen. Barack Obama and Rossi. Obama would like to change the conservative Bush philosophy, and an ever-increasing majority of the country’s electorate seems to agree. But Washington state is top-ranked when it comes to management and business. Yet Rossi and The Seattle Times claim “he would bring change to … Olympia.”

Thanks, but no thanks.

— Bill Taylor, Renton

Who is vulnerable?

The 2003 Washington state budget that you praise gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi for balancing, cut thousands of low-income children off Children’s Health Insurance. Rossi has yet to tell us which “vulnerable populations” he would protect.

Rossi supports allowing pharmacists not to fill prescriptions they disagree with. While Plan B [emergency contraception] may be the most obvious casualty, what happens if a pharmacist disagrees with the way I manage my pain from advanced cancer and will not give me the pain meds I need to function?

Rossi’s transportation plan would be a disaster, especially for anyone who lives near the Highway 520 bridge.

As I understand it, Rossi’s supporters want to get rid of building regulations, which would mean dirtier streams and probably more loss of natural marsh and swamplands.

While I don’t always agree with Gov. Christine Gregoire, she has been and will be a better governor than Rossi will ever be.

— Jean Colman, Seattle

Unpleasant morning

I received an unpleasant jolt when I opened Sunday’s Opinion section and discovered that The Times endorsed Dino Rossi for governor. Apparently the editorial board has bought into his TV commercials offering “change.”

If Rossi can be relied on to cut spending by “about 10 percent,” as The Times claims is necessary, where will these cuts be made? History shows that when Republicans cut spending, social programs usually fall victim (think Ronald Reagan.) Cutting social programs during terrible economic times will lead to greater problems in the long run.

The Times complained about Gov. Christine Gregoire’s increased spending. Where did she spend more? On teachers and home-care workers. This is not a waste of money; it is money well spent.

As a 17-year-old public-school student, I believe my teachers deserve higher pay. The Times said people can believe Rossi. Until he offers specific solutions rather than smarmy attacks, I can’t.

— Cassandra Baker, Seattle

Move forward

Only one day after The Seattle Times reported on the BIAW’s [Building Industry Association of Washington’s] scandalous multimillion dollar expenditures on his behalf, the newspaper endorsed gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi for governor. BIAW’s efforts are blatantly aimed at eliminating regulations protecting the environment.

Gov. Christine Gregoire has shown remarkable leadership and vision on many issues, including investing in our economy and environment for future generations.

Gregoire strongly supports the creation of green jobs and industry in this state, a position that Sen. Barack Obama has made a cornerstone of his economic platform.

Gregoire created the Puget Sound Partnership to save our life-sustaining inland sea, which is beginning to die from the impact of unregulated development.

Gregoire began a program to fight climate change. Washington state’s hundreds of miles of coastline and glacier-fed water sources will be especially hard hit.

Rossi shows little interest in addressing these issues. Like many politicians, he professes to care about the environment. However, his platform calls for the weakening of environmental rules and road building in preference to mass transit.

Washingtonians should expect Gregoire’s vital and innovative “green” programs to wither under his administration.

The Times recently endorsed Obama saying, “He can get America moving forward again.” The re-election of Gregoire is essential to making that a reality for Washington state.

— E. L. Johnson, Olympia

Remove your head from the sand

The Seattle Times decided to endorse gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi for governor this week, partially based on the fact that the Democrats have been in power for 24 years. It is unfortunate that The Seattle Times is endorsing a candidate who has lied about his stance on education. His children attend private school despite living in a district that has excellent public schooling. As state senator, he wanted to lower state spending despite the clear funding criteria set out in the state constitution to fully fund education.

Rossi refuses to testify in a case that he claims is politically motivated. This sounds vaguely familiar to a case in another state, Alaska, where Gov. Sarah Palin refused to testify in her abuse-of-power investigation. Sticking your head in the sand does not make you guilty, nor does it absolve you.

Can we truly trust Rossi to cut spending when he has his own personal agenda that caters to questionable businesses? No thanks.

— Chris Santos, Seattle

No divisive baggage, please

Your endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi places too much emphasis on the possibility of Rossi achieving a balanced state budget and not enough thought to the divisive baggage Rossi brings with him.

We do not need the division politics that Rossi has endorsed, nor do we need to enhance the power of his friends in the building industry.

Washington state, just like the nation, needs leadership that is pragmatic and unifying — that is not Rossi.

— Bob Doyle, Seattle

Go back to your McMansions

I was shocked to pick up my newspaper [Sunday] morning to see that The Times has endorsed Dino Rossi for governor.

Your thinking behind the endorsement reflects a surprising 1980s-like quality.

The assumption is that all government spending is “bad” and all taxes are “bad,” and that our state can be run efficiently without that bad ol’ government spending.

Government deficits are the ultimate sin.

But here we sit in the 21st century. And I challenge you: Please tell me exactly how Rossi should cut the state budget by 10 percent. Gov. Christine Gregoire has made some very courageous, very overdue investments in schools, transportation and health care.

A state without adequately funded schools will fail. A state with crumbling roads and bridges will fail. A state where health care can’t be afforded will fail. A state under Rossi will be all these things — and will fail.

Rossi and his BIAW [Building Industry Association of Washington] buddies will use their exorbitant tax cuts to continue to rape Washington’s natural resources at the expense of us all.

Forget about Washington state joining with other Western states to fight climate change. And just like President George W. Bush and his investment bank/oil company cronies, after Rossi’s term is up, they will laugh and retreat to their McMansions while the rest of us are left with a vastly impoverished state.

I am so disappointed that you would endorse this.

— Isabel D’Ambrosia, Seattle

What planet am I on?

Why on Earth would The Times endorse this deceptive BIAW [Building Industry Association of Washington] mouthpiece for our governor? I am shocked and disappointed that your organization has such low regard for this state’s environmental and economic future.

We need Gov. Christine Gregoire’s progressive leadership to tackle the serious problems we are facing now, such as education, jobs, global warming and growth management.

— Melessa Rogers, Burien

You have been duped again

I was disappointed to read your endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi for governor. I was even more disturbed as I followed your rationale. You advance a single reason for your support: He has proved he can cut spending. Is that all that counts?

Does his abysmal record on the environment mean nothing to you? Or his undercutting of Washington state education? Or the vicious campaign of half-truths financed by his cronies in the building-trades industry? Or the fact that he is anti-choice to the core?

As an aside, didn’t the spending-cutting budget you are referring to have as much to do with the statesmanship of former Gov. Gary Locke as it did the political maneuvering of Rossi? Locke was, after all, the Democratic governor at the time, with a Democratic majority in the Legislature.

I fear you have been seduced by a warm and responsive demeanor, an expressive and well-modulated vocal tone, and the overall sense of reasonableness that oozes from Rossi’s pores.

In short, you have been duped. He is a right-wing extremist on the order of another man who duped you in the past, President George W. Bush.

— Josiah Erickson, Seattle

A fetid global mess

My community and my family have never had a better friend than Gov. Christine Gregoire in the governor’s mansion, and are disappointed in The Seattle Times endorsement of her opponent [gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi].

Her office has demonstrated her commitment to protecting our precious water resources twice in my neighborhood. Why? Because we asked, she listened and she connected with our concerns. As a result, a vulnerable aquifer was spared damage from poorly regulated septic systems. Now the water supply will not be ravaged by too many wells abusing water-rights laws.

She recognized that piecemeal issues had big-picture significance for our state. I don’t remember any previous governor acting so quickly and effectively over their signature land-use issues, and I can’t imagine her current opponent taking the community’s side.

This is just one example of Gregoire’s path to improve state health and well-being. She has proved her commitment to Washington state’s most important assets: its beauty, natural wonders and its healthy and well-educated work force.

After Gov. Hillary Rodham Clinton, it would be Greek tragedy to watch the rest of the country elect good governors on Obama’s coattails while we throw out Gregoire, one of the highest regarded women politicians in the country.

After so many years of economic success, why would Washington want to put itself into the hands of Rossi, a candidate who espouses the failed policies of the GOP that have accomplished nothing but a fetid mess on a global scale.

— Laura Hartman, Snohomish

Just a chimera

Four years ago, The Times endorsed gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi for governor as a game-changer who would “clean out” Olympia and change its “administrative culture” that was supposedly a drag on Washington state’s economy.

It was all nonsense.

At the time, we had actually been ranked as the nation’s fourth-friendliest business environment. Moreover, Rossi was well-identified with an assortment of right-wing positions disfavored by the majority of Washingtonians your editorial board chose to overlook.

In Gov. Christine Gregoire’s first term, Washington managed to make the top five in’s “Top States for Business” report (2007) largely based on reduction of red tape, a culture of innovation and a highly educated work force.

In June of 2008, Washington ranked third on the Pew Center [on global climate change] on the states report, just behind Utah and Virginia, for having the best-run state government.

Four years later, The Times’ only rationale for changing horses is the presumptive tough stance Rossi would take in dealing with a projected deficit for 2009 and beyond — a deficit not of Gregoire’s making.

And the one example given by your editorial board as to how “tough” Rossi might be? Making state employees (of the third-best-run state) pay the private-sector average of one-third of their health-care insurance instead of the current 12 percent.

In the words of Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is?”

It’s clear your board doesn’t have Warren Buffett advising them on economic policy matters.

Rossi has not changed at all, and has proved nothing concerning his ability to govern during the past four years that merits your endorsement.

Your recycled fantasy is, as you state, “he would bring change to the culture of Olympia.”

Rossi is nothing more than your chimera, and as the saying goes, “that’s not change we can believe in.”

— Jay Causey, Mercer Island

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