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Seattle Times letters to the editor

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Nikolaj Lasbo. Nikolaj (you can call him Niko if the j throws you off) assists in editing the editorial pages and online content. He produces the Editorials/Opinion section online and manages the Northwest Voices blog, culling and curating opinions from some of The Times' most engaged and thoughtful readers. He worked a stint at Microsoft helping produce news apps for Windows 8 and prior to that worked for The Seattle Times as a news producer. Nikolaj's alma mater is the University of Washington, he's a fifth-generation Seattleite (but grew up on Lopez Island), and he spends his winters skiing and his summers on the water. Email: Telephone: 206/464-2326 Follow on Twitter: @nikolajlasbo

October 16, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Education voices: Readers’ opinions, concerns on expanded pre-K

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Donna Grethen / Op Art

As part of a three-part series on early learning, the Education Lab blog recently asked readers to share their thoughts on the idea of expanded pre-kindergarten and whether a city-sponsored program would meet the needs of their families.

The blog received dozens of thoughtful responses to the call out. Below is a selection of reader answers. Head over to the Education Lab blog for additional reader responses, and an additional question asking whether readers would send a child to such a pre-K program.

Also, The Seattle Times recently published its endorsement on the two competing pre-K ballot measures on the Nov. 4 ballot. The Times supports Proposition 1B over 1A, writing that it’s the one measure that “actually creates, and funds, this promising idea.”

Q: Do you agree preschool should be a universal offering, available to all families regardless of income? Why or why not?

Yes, as long as it is actually universal. I do not believe in the middle class subsidizing the poor while still having to pay full or marginally reduced price for my own children. I have 3-year-old twins, and this is of great interest and importance to me. I will most likely vote against the subsidized pre-K initiative.

 Scott Jeffries, Seattle

No. I think we should spend our taxpayer money on boosting the quality of our elementary through high-school education instead. We need smaller classrooms and more individual help for students who need it  too many are falling through the cracks. We should still keep Head Start for the under-privileged.

 Lisa Stultz, Anacortes


Comments | More in Education | Topics: education, Kevin Bergsrud, Lisa Stultz

October 14, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Middle East: Nothing to be gained by continued involvement in conflict

A recent editorial stated the need to debate further military action in the Middle East [“Middle East flareup requires diplomacy, humility,” Opinion, Sept. 18]. I agree. The result of the debate should be the refusal by the U.S. House to support such action. The U.S. cannot win a war in the Middle East because war there…


Comments | More in Middle East | Topics: Campbell Kintz, iraq, Islamic State

October 2, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Sports obsession: Players raise awareness through actions, good or bad

Guest columnist Alex Alben makes some valid points but fails to realize that sports players bring a sense of community [“We have an unhealthy obsession with sports,” Opinion, Sept. 26]. Alben states that we need to “engage in a reality check on our priorities.” I don’t think its sports organizations’ job to teach “priorities.”…


Comments | More in Sports | Topics: Alex Alben, Lindsay Abila, Ray Rice

September 26, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Conversation starter: Responses from readers on what to ask state candidates

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Last week, The Seattle Times editorial board published its own questions for candidates before the November election. Northwest Voices readers were asked to submit their own questions and issues that need addressing by politicians.

Here are selected submissions:

How do you plan to solve the problem of money in politics?

Spending during elections has skyrocketed ever since the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision. A few wealthy individuals and corporations use money to amplify their speech, drowning out ordinary Americans. In our democracy, the size of your wallet should not determine the strength of your voice. This issue is important to the vast majority of Americans, both conservative and liberal.

There is a national solution to this problem (a constitutional amendment), but there are numerous measures that can be taken on the state and local level to help solve this problem. For example, cities and counties can have small donor incentive programs for local elections. We should ask our candidates what they would do if elected to help solve the problem of big money in politics, so that in the future, elections are more fair and representative of the people.

Faith Deis, Seattle

What will you do about climate change?

It is the most dire issue facing us today and we are running out of time to act. No political leader — local, state or federal — should be given a pass on this urgent question. And as Paul Krugman makes clear, we need informed candidates who understand not only the science but the economics of climate change.

Our state is already paying the price in human suffering, and financially through the destruction of shellfish due to ocean acidification, wildfires and landslides, loss of snow pack, and more. Whether with a carbon tax, stopping coal and oil trains or funding mass transit, state and local candidates have a job to do.


Comments | More in Conversation starter, Election | Topics: 2014, Citizens United, climate change

September 20, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Conversation starter: What would you ask state candidates?

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Get ready for the barrage of candidates and campaign information heading toward your doorstep.

Since May, throughout the state, legislative candidates have been doorbelling, speaking at rallies, riding in parades, glad-handing at fairs, meeting with newspaper editorial boards. The Seattle Times editorial board continues to publish its recommendations for voters to consider when they cast their ballots.

But voters themselves can find plenty of opportunity to ask candidates about important topics. The Times editorial board has published its suggestions voters can ask, along with explanations of why they are important.

What would you ask candidates, given the chance? What would you say they need to focus on? Why? Leave your comment in the form below and it might be featured in print and online in the next week.


Comments | More in Conversation starter, Legislature | Topics: candidates, Conversation Starter, Legislature

July 21, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Airline fees: Just tell me what the bottom-line price is

Nancy Ohanian / Op Art

With regard to guest columnist Lee Moak’s opinion piece [“The hidden fees in an airline ticket,” Opinion, July 16], there is way too much spin and disinformation contained.

For instance: “In 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation made a little known rule change that requires airlines to hide government taxes and fees within the advertised price of a ticket.” Or is it true that what they did was to inform the paying public what the true cost of that flight was going to be? Moak tries to compare buying a ticket to


Comments | More in aviation | Topics: airlines, Alan Zelt, FAA

July 1, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Capitol Statuary: Responses support keeping current state representatives

I received a number of written responses over the weekend to a callout by editorial writer Jonathan Martin in an editorial and in the Opinion Northwest blog asking, “Who should stand in Statuary Hall in D.C.?” All supported keeping the current statues in place. Martin is collecting further suggestions on who should replace the current statues if you have additional ideas. Add your voice in the form at the bottom of this post.

Keep Mother Joseph memorialized in Statuary Hall

Why does Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart belong in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol? [“Whom to memorialize in Statuary Hall from Washington state?” Opinion, June 25].

She came to the West in 1856 with four other sisters to fill the unmet needs of God’s people on the frontier. In 46 years she led the opening of more than 30 hospitals, schools and homes for the sick, children, orphans, the elderly and the mentally ill in Vancouver, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Walla Walla, Port Townsend, Yakima, Tulalip, Colville, Sprague, Colfax, Cowlitz and Steilacoom. She is considered one of the Northwest’s first architects for the structures she built and helped pay for through begging tours in mines and lumber camps. The pioneer corporation she established in 1859 is now Providence Health & Services, serving health care, education and social-service needs in five states.

Gov. Dixy Lee Ray’s signing of the bill authorizing the honor was initiated by community individuals and supported by luminaries like Warren Magnuson and Henry Jackson. Young people embrace her story, like the students in Vancouver, Wash., who successfully lobbied in 1999 to make her birthday, April 16, a state holiday.

Mother Joseph’s legacy has touched millions and will remain forever in the annals of Washington state history.

Judith Desmarais, provincial superior at Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph province, Renton

The importance of keeping names to teach history

Haven’t we all had enough of change for the sake of change?

My wife and I visited Statuary Hall a few years ago, so we knew that Marcus Whitman and Mother Joseph were memorialized there. Seeing them there inspired us to reacquaint ourselves with a bit of state history.

I, for one, am tired of the current trend of renaming everything that’s old with something new and its disastrous effect on our memories and our history. Who, for example, had greater impact of the development of Seattle as a great city, railroad executive James J. Hill or Martin Luther King Jr.? No doubt it was Hill, but we replaced the one small reminder of his contribution when we renamed Empire Way to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Why didn’t we rename, for example, 23rd Avenue South instead of erasing Hill’s name from our local geography?

Local place names give teachers and parents an opening to discuss our history and those who worked and sometimes fought for what we are and have today. The people in Statuary Hall do the same. Tossing out their legacy for some current hero just because someone feels “it’s time to hit refresh” is simply wrong.

Alan Brockmeier, Mercer Island

Current political climate would make choices hard

Leave the statues alone. In this age of total political war, choosing new statues would only divide us further.

Whomever was chosen would have their name and legacy dragged through the mud in order to further the mudslingers opposite choice for this honor. No matter whom was chosen, this would happen.

The current honorees are well-known humanitarians who don’t have a lot of political baggage hanging off of them. They are good choices. Leave them where they are.

Jerry Johnson, Seattle


Comments | More in Historical figures | Topics: Alan Brockmeier, Jerry Johnson, Judith Desmarais

June 23, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Replay: Video hangout on survival after college

Are you a recent college graduate? Wondering how you’re going to find a job and support yourself? From the changing nature of internships and job advancement, to crushing student debt and moving back in with parents, this generation of graduates faces many hurdles.

Join our on-air video hangout on Google+ on Tuesday at noon to discuss the challenges facing this generation of graduates and possible solutions.

This is an open hangout, which means anyone can join as a participant with a Web cam. Please keep in mind that this is an on-air hangout and your comments and images will be broadcast on The Seattle Times website, Youtube and Google+. The Seattle Times Terms of Service apply to this hangout.


Comments | Topics: Google, video chat

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