December 6, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Why is begging legal and selling is not?
I think the mistletoe debate is very thought-provoking [“Oregon girl gets top row of braces after mistletoe snag hits the news,” NWWednesday, Dec. 4].
It presents an issue of morals versus extremely finite legal issues: a question that is truly hard to answer.
It is clear from a moral perspective that she should be able to be able to receive medical treatment. But should she be able to harmlessly bend the rules? The article would suggest yes by implying that the guard is in the wrong here by denying her the chance for dental care.
November 20, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Where’s the accountability?
The Times seems to blindly advocate for the proposed statewide gas tax increase. If passed, it would give our transportation departments more money “to play with,” and that’s what they’re doing [“Big issues remain, but Senate GOP open to gas-tax hike,” Online, Nov. 12].
November 6, 2013 at 11:21 AM
American workers lead to a bright American future
All of the conservative, Republican, tea party people feel that poor people, who might need some help getting their lives together, just want to bury their snouts in the trough of free benefits forever.
I don’t believe that for a moment. Yes, there are times when people, through no fault of their own, get laid off from their jobs and are destined to lose everything without some “temporary” government aid. I feel the vast majority of Americans want to have a decent job that they can work hard at and be able to support themselves and their families. It’s a matter of pride and necessity.
In America, having a job is about the most important thing a person can have outside of family. It’s a matter of great pride to be seen as someone contributing to the greater good. Sure, there is a small minority of people who have little trouble accepting government aid for as long as they can. These people are few in numbers. Decent jobs in America for those who want them and the concept that when everybody is doing better mean we have a good American future.
Richard B. Ellenberger, Normandy Park
November 5, 2013 at 4:31 PM
More volume equals more money
I’ve given a lot of thought to the subject of tolls on our bridges throughout the Puget Sound area.
Now there is talk about tolling I-90 because so many people have abandoned using the 520 bridge due to the very high tolls. And the state isn’t collecting enough money to support the new construction.
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll keeps increasing every year — probably because people from Kitsap County are avoiding using that bridge because of the nagging toll.
Personally, I would shop a lot more in Tacoma but hesitate because of the high toll I would have to pay. I would like someone to explain to me: Why can’t the state establish a moderate toll on all the bridges that is the same for all people? Instead of having various tolling amounts at different times of the day, why not charge $2 for all the bridges (one way) per round trip. That way, I am sure people would go back to their old routes and stop avoiding bridges, the traffic patterns would even out and more money would be collected because people wouldn’t be so concerned about the number of trips they make around the Sound.
More volume equals more money. I’m sure the state would have more than enough money to support its projects. In addition, people on Mercer Island wouldn’t be so anxious about paying a toll if it only cost them $2 to get off their island. People feel trapped by tolls and feel like the state is gouging them for everything it can get. Maybe people would feel better about the idea of paying tolls if the state would just be more fair.
Lynne Read, Kitsap County
October 27, 2013 at 8:29 AM
2008 recession continues to affect those who had nothing to do with it
There is a lot of pressure for the state Supreme Court to overrule lower court rulings on state employee pensions [“Supreme Court: rule against pension lawsuits, Opinion, Oct. 24].
A recent editorial pressures the court to rule against state employees because the state needs the money. What is at issue is a maximum 3 percent cost-of-living raise that starts at ages 67 and 68 and is only granted if there is inflation. This involves an older pension plan where nearly all employees are already retired.
State employees and the state were supposed to equally share in paying into this pension fund. The employees always did, but when times were lean, the state neglected to pay their share, promising to do it later. Of course, they never did. Now it insists on changing the rules after people have already retired. This UCOLA was negotiated instead of pay increases. The economic disaster of 2008 keeps punishing people who had nothing to do with causing it.
Wanda Granquist, Auburn
October 26, 2013 at 8:35 AM
Call on multinational companies to pay fair share of taxes
Sen. Patty Murray is brave to be taking on the task of trying to negotiate with Republicans to find a solution to our pending budget crisis [“Patty Murray’s latest task: Craft budget peace,” page one, Oct. 24].
From shutting down Mount Rainier National Park to threatening benefits of veterans and families of the fallen, the recent closing of our government made the middle class the victim of right-wing Republican ideology.
I hope she will fight for a sustainable solution that focuses on growing our economy through responsible revenue options, rather than cutting Americans’ earned benefits like Social Security, or taking food from hungry children. Big corporations like Microsoft and GE continue to make record profits while avoiding taxes. Many corporations still get a tax break for sending good American jobs overseas. Closing these corporate-tax loopholes is a more responsible approach toward balancing the budget.
Shutdowns, sequesters and other budget crises could be avoided if members of Congress demand that huge multinational companies pay their fair share of taxes. It’s time to change the law, stop the overseas corporate tax dodging, open our government and invest in the U.S. again.
Joelle Craft, Seattle
October 17, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Has anyone taken the time to consider what rapidly rising wages will do to seniors on fixed incomes? [“Minimum-wage boost: Would it pay off? page one, Oct. 14].
While many are trying to nearly double the minimum wage, The Seattle Times headline stated, “Social Security raise for 2014 to be among lowest” [news, Oct. 14]. This is a continuation of very low Social Security increases for several years and baby boomers are retiring in droves.
A local grocery manager indicated that her top nonmanagement pay scale is about $16 per hour. If the minimum wage is raised, the store will have to raise virtually all of its employee pay rates. It will be inevitable that food prices and many other products will rise sharply again, hurting the most vulnerable among us.
Kenneth Kerr, Normandy Park
October 15, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Trans-Pacific Partnership will help state’s job market
Jon Talton’s column highlights the critical need for a high-standard trade agreement that will benefit Washington state and the national economy [“Pivot toward Asia comes with potholes,” business, Oct 13].
Washington state has much to gain from a well-crafted agreement due to our strong economic ties with Asia. In fact, Asian countries are some of Washington’s top trading partners and Trans-Pacific Partnership countries account for one-third of Washington’s goods exports, as well as a significant portion of service exports.
With 40 percent of Washington jobs tied to international trade, TPP would be especially beneficial to our state — breaking down barriers to goods and service exports, creating jobs and generating economic growth. It would also help Washington’s manufacturing, retail and apparel companies to leverage more efficiently global supply chains in TPP countries, lower costs for Washington consumers and create more jobs at local companies.
While the negotiations for this agreement are complex, we must remain steadfast in advocating for a high-standard agreement that can generate significant economic growth here in Washington.
Ashley Dutta, Seattle
October 14, 2013 at 7:05 AM
Who has the courage to step up?
There is a way to resolve the current impasse in Congress. One member of Congress needs to have the courage to introduce a bill that would cut off congressional paychecks until an agreement is reached, which pulls our country away from the latest financial abyss. [“What the fight over the federal debt limit is all about,” page one, Oct. 9].
As members of Congress appear to have no problem denying paychecks to many federal employees and others dependent on their actions, there should be no reason that they would regard this as unfair.
As they approach their own personal financial abyss, surely they will be motivated to do their jobs and protect their employers — the taxpayers — from their incompetence and bickering. We would be interested to see not only who has the courage to propose such a measure, but who has the courage to vote against it.
Aurora King-Hedinger, Shoreline
October 8, 2013 at 7:05 PM
Causes are well known
Republican House Speaker John Boehner wants to know the cause of the requirement for a debt-ceiling increase. The causes are well known: outsourcing of American jobs and manufacturing, accumulation of wealth with the top 1 percent, tax cuts for the wealthy so that the wealth at the top is not fairly taxed, fighting two unfunded wars after 9-11, offshore sheltering of corporate wealth, increasing veteran pensions, financial meltdown from the housing bubble, the result in large part from poorly regulated banks, and failure to tax stock market transactions.
Please share these with U.S. Rep. Boehner so that he can get on with running the government in a responsible fashion.
G.A. Beitel, Port Orchard
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