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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 23, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Rainier Club earmark

Club member: We don’t need taxpayer dollars

Editor, The Times:

The Rainier Club doesn’t need a $250,000 congressional earmark to fix its windows [“Seattle elite private club in line for $250,000 federal earmark,” page one, June 22]. Let the money be spent on something more important to the economic recovery of the region.

While this private downtown club is no longer our grandfather’s club, it remains a vibrant civic treasure. Today’s members are a wonderfully diverse cross section of successful women and men that share a common value of generosity when it comes to the needs of the Puget Sound region and for the clubhouse itself.

As a former chair of the club’s internal fundraising and a current donor to its Rainier Club Historic Foundation, I believe most rank-and-file members would rather see scarce federal dollars used for getting people back to work, propping up local businesses or seeing that our children receive a better education.

Whether it was a bad idea or just bad timing, it really doesn’t matter. Rep. Jim McDermott should put this particular earmark in the trash can, as our members are capable of caring for the restoration of this historic clubhouse.

— John Carmack, Seattle

Obama not following through on earmark promise

I find it somewhat interesting that we elected a president who faithfully promised he would not support any earmarks in budgets he signed. President Obama promised a “transparent government.” While he has already signed one budget containing more than 9,000 earmarks, he and his staff blamed this on the previous administration.

Now we find that members of his own party, who supported all he stood for in last year’s election, are requesting earmarks in the current budget. According to The Times, Congressman Jim McDermott has requested more than 100 such earmarks.

So I guess the question will be whether this president keeps a promise he made to the American people by vetoing any budget presented to him that contains earmarks put in by a representative or senator. Or will he be just another politician who promises one thing but does just the opposite when he his in office?

— Don Wlazlak, Marysville

Has McDermott lost his mind?

I am disgusted by Congressman Jim McDermott’s decision to earmark $250,000 in taxpayer dollars to fix the private property of The Rainier Club.

At a time of unprecedented and prolonged strain on our public treasury and the concomitantly disastrous cutbacks in major safety-net issues like children’s health-care coverage, I am aghast that McDermott could be so out of touch with the financial realities of surviving in today’s economy to make this proposal. To further add insult to injury, he seeks to subsidize an institution whose members are among the most elite and wealthy citizens in our state –they could well afford to fix their own property.

There are disabled people losing access to health care and living expenses, and he wants us to fix leaky windows on private property? Has he lost his mind? Has he no sense of what is happening in the real Washington?

This proposal so offends my sense of public service and common sense I wonder if McDermott ought to reconsider his plans for running for another term in office. These are serious times and they demand serious answers to critical questions.

McDermott has failed that test miserably with this earmark and should be called to question by all King County Democrats as they consider their endorsement decisions as to what he really stands for — the usual political favor-swapping or taking a new look at the way government does the people’s business.

— Joseph F. Lane, Redmond

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