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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 22, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Rainier Club earmark

Subsidizing the wealthy’s windows? Not in this era of change

Editor, The Times:

President Obama’s call for change in earmark spending found $7.7 billion in earmarks in the first round. But it appears our state’s representatives have still not heard the president’s message.

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott is seeking funding that will help pay for replacement windows at the elite and posh Rainier Club [“Seattle elite private club in line for $250,000 federal earmark,” page one, June 22]. It is bad enough that in our present economy, our government is literally printing money to cover reckless spending. But our elected officials have no problem dipping deeper into our pockets and adding to our country’s financial woes for personal pet projects that serve very few of us.

To be sure, the Rainier Club is a beautiful building in downtown Seattle that is a historic landmark. It should be protected. And if it were a building that we all get to use, I could see making a case for using taxpayer money to help fund needed renovations.

But this building is not for public use. The 1,200 exclusive and prominent members who enjoy their private club could easily dish out the extra $208 it would take to finish the job.

It is about the same as one month’s dues. They could spread the payment out over 12 months, similar to how responsible Washington homeowners can spread out the expenses of window replacement. That boils down to under $20 per month. That is less than some of these members pay for lunch.

Get real, McDermott, and the rest of Congress. The American public voted for “change.”

And, at the rate you are spending, that is all we will have left!

— Derek Mitchell, Seattle

Rainier Club can’t afford repairs, taxpayers can’t either

So the Rainier Club is requesting an earmark from us, the taxpayers, for $250,000 to repair its lovely building. The wealthy members of this club can’t afford that pittance to make their private building presentable enough for them to use and enjoy. Well, I can’t afford it, either.

Shame on you, Rep. Jim McDermott.

— Mary Ann Douglas, Shoreline

Values of leaders evident in trivial earmarks

The Seattle Times provides a valuable public service when it exposes the intolerable situation that Seattle’s finest must endure while attending the Rainier Club with its pitted window sills. No man should be required to endure such squalor!

Fortunately, we have a congressman who is ever alert to this type of threat to our status as a world-class city. He has stepped forward, federal check in hand, to rectify this terrible injustice.

SORROW (Society for the Rehabilitation and Renovation of Windowsills) will also be sponsoring a fundraising drive, and I urge everyone to contribute generously.

But seriously, the real tragedy of this ridiculous fiasco is that it trivializes the importance of the stimulus program and undermines our confidence in the new administration.

It also gives us valuable insight into the (lack of) values of our leaders.

— Merle Hanley, Seattle

A compromise: Both parties cease complaining

Let’s stop complaining about the $250,000 proposed subsidy to the poor members of The Rainier Club. Don’t you know that executive compensation went down last year [“Northwest CEOs’ paychecks shrank last year,” page one, June 21]?

In the interests of political compromise, I suggest we all agree to stop complaining about taxpayer support for repair of the private Rainier Club’s windows and in turn all the club’s members agree to stop complaining about “socialistic” subsidies like government-aided health insurance for the poor, unemployment compensation, food stamps and state and federal aid to families with dependent children.

— Bill Laughlin, Seattle

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