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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 13, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Economic musings

A Husky jobs bill

The specter of the loss of thousands of construction jobs in the Puget Sound area is looming while the state Legislature balks at giving the “OK” for a King County tax to be extended to partially fund renovation of Husky Stadium. The tax would continue, in effect, after the principal on loans for two professional, “private” stadiums are paid off. This isn’t a new tax to be added on at this time of economic downturn, but an extension of an existing tax that mainly effects visitors to the area in a few years time.

The addition of 7,000 to 10,000 jobs here, right now, would allow contractors to maintain work crews that would otherwise be laid off. This is a huge impact on the state. Either the state assists these people via the jobs provided through the stadium project, or the state pays these people unemployment benefits. The 10,000 families on unemployment would produce no discretionary spending to stimulate the economy. Everyone in the state loses.

Families that have jobs retain the ability to spend on items other than necessities. This allows retail businesses to maintain employment levels and would retard the downward economic spiral we are in.

It is unconscionable and extremely shortsighted of the politicians in this state to ignore what up to 10,000 construction jobs will do for the economy. Funny, the state seems to be turning its back on the common Joe and Jane who live here at a time help is needed the most.

— John Downing, Auburn

Ignore geologic hazards at your peril

We’ll be out of luck during the next quake, tsunami or flood.

Washington is likely to stop paying for work that identifies geologic hazards and marks escape routes for people who are trying to make it to safety. Right now, the funding for dealing with geologic hazards is in danger of elimination. For a state that has been hit by tsunamis, seen floods close the interstate highways, had the sides of mountains collapse from forest clearing in landslide hazard areas – and, by the way, also had a volcano blow up and cause a right mess for a long time, not to mention killing a few people — this is a remarkably dumb move and a cavalier approach to public safety.

Geology is underfoot everywhere, it’s where we live and what we build on. We need to know what is there, how it works, and when it is dangerous. The danger and risk we face each day is made less because of the people who find and track geologic hazards and do something to make using these area less risky.

Ignoring geologic hazards is as silly as not fixing the hole in the roof because the sun is shining.

— Holly Glaser, Mercer Island

Consider the total costs

The modern market economy has driven the current crisis in which we find ourselves because it continually fails to take in to account the total costs of any given product, whether it be energy or apples. The total costs of a product include the long-term costs of the damage done to the environment.

As we can now see, feel and smell, the long-term damages of burning fossil fuels and damming rivers for electric power literally suck the air from our lungs and take the fish from our streams.

Everyone agrees that we have reached a critical tipping point. And yet, vested interests continue to try and undermine the already decided upon outcomes of the majority.

When are we going to grow into our humanity and become the true people that we are? We have not inherited the Earth from our forbearers. We have borrowed the Earth from our children.

— Tai Lahans, Shoreline

The earmark gophers

I see where our state’s D.C. gophers are going for an earmark for $476,000 for an institute founded by Paul Allen [“Earmarks: Cantwell sends mixed signals,” Local News, March 12]. Allen must have really been hit by the downturn. But kudos to Sen. Maria Cantwell for voting to strip earmarks. (That may have been the closest thing to good news in today’s paper.)

Sen. Patty Murray doesn’t want “bureaucrats who had never been to Walla Walla, Blaine, or Tacoma decide on federal spending for the state.”

I don’t suppose anyone has considered letting the voters in Walla Walla, Blaine or Tacoma decide what they really want and then pay for it themselves; or let the people in Seattle decide if they want a tunnel and pay for it. That way, they might get out of paying for the pork packages from Pocatello, Palm Beach or Punxsutawney, not to mention the huge D.C. handling fee. But that’s probably too constitutional for today’s politicians.

On the other hand, what other reason would there be to elect representatives to Congress if not to “gopher” the biggest share of the handouts in order to get re-elected?

— Gary T. McGavran, Bellevue

Comments | More in Economy

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