September 19, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Use cloth diapers
Nuts! For little more than the cost of a box of the disposable ones, a family could buy a dozen cloth diapers that would last through the child’s entire toilet training period. [“Lack of diapers creates problems for families,” News, Sept. 16.]
We raised seven happy, healthy kids in Seattle without ever using a disposable diaper. The diaper pail was like one of the family; it went everywhere with us — to friends’ houses for dinner, out to the ocean on vacation, wherever.
Now, 40 years after our youngest stopped needing them, we’re still using the last diapers as window-washing cloths.
Moreover, is there any other household item that has the horrendous impact on our solid waste landfills that millions of those disposable things do?
David Harris, Wenatchee
September 17, 2013 at 6:59 AM
My heart is aching for those people who don’t have diapers for their little ones. [“Lack of diapers creates problems for families,” News, Sept. 16.]
I know it is problematic to not be able to change babies’ diapers. But tell me this. Has anyone ever heard of cloth diapers that you use, wash and reuse continually?
Some cloth diapers could be distributed to these people with instructions on how to fold and wash the diapers, if anyone can still remember the procedure.
My husband and I raised three boys, and never used disposable diapers.
Isn’t it so much better for the environment to use the old-fashioned, regular cloth diapers?
Mary Hickey, Oak Harbor
August 29, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Family court dropped the ball
How in the world did the sadistic Brandon and Viviana Gunn of Kitsap County get guardianship of his 13-year-old brother? [“Around the Northwest: Couple charged with child assault,” NW Wednesday, Aug. 28.]
Their arrest for brutally torturing the boy sickens me. I just recently jumped through numerous legal hoops here to be given guardianship of my disabled younger brother after our mother died, even though I had lovingly overseen his care for most of his life. I had a criminal-background check and had to be vetted by a court-appointed family attorney, at Thurston County’s expense. This was after decades of working with my brother’s case manager.
With such scrutiny and expense made over a dependent individual in my family’s situation, where did Kitsap County’s family court drop the ball? Surely there must have been warning signs of this couple’s outrageously cruel behavior.
They should never have been awarded guardianship of this child, and need to go to prison for a long, long time.
Carolyn LaFond, Olympia
April 18, 2013 at 5:14 PM
Give all mothers support
All new moms need support for their feeding choices, not stigmatization from health-care providers, family, friends and society at large [“Breast-feeding is not always everyone’s best available option,” Opinion, April 13].
Beth’s story poignantly demonstrates just how much support all new parents need while caring for newborns.
She reminds us that regardless of a woman’s determination, sometimes there are reasons why breast-feeding is not an option. There are many crucial factors involved in breast-feeding an infant, some outside a woman’s control.
In recent generations, formula feeding had become the norm. Today, health professionals are working to normalize breast-feeding.
Medical evidence demonstrates that breast-feeding has short- and long-term health benefits. For this reason, we believe that breast-feeding advocates have a responsibility to work toward policies to increase awareness and support for breast-feeding moms.
We also believe that health experts have the responsibility to offer accurate information and adequate support for parents of newborns. It is clear that we are still working as a community toward this effort to support all families with babies.
Gwyn Jones, breast-feeding promotion coordinator, Public Health — Seattle & King County, Seattle
March 7, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Model for recreational use of weapons
As a gun-control advocate, I must say I enjoyed the article on 9-year-old Chanse and his family interaction with guns [“Guns offer gauge of growing up,” News, March 4]. His father and grandfather are obviously great role models and teachers for the recreational use of weapons.
Absent from the article was any mention of assault rifles, armor-piercing ammunition or high-capacity magazines. These are the concerns of many of us advocating gun control.
Chanse’s story is heartwarming and we are not after the family heritage. The NRA and its leaders know this. They prefer to speak otherwise and to be inflammatory. They prefer to perpetuate a billion-dollar industry, built in part on the blood of innocent victims.
–Jeffrey Camm, University Place
September 13, 2009 at 4:00 PM
A signature, like a vote, is private
I want to thank Judge Benjamin Settle for the courage to stop the release of names of people who signed Referendum 71 ["R-71 signatures kept private," page one, Sept. 11].
Even though I did not sign this one, as a private citizen I think of these petitions as a vote. In signing them, people are essentially voting for or against an issue.
In this country we keep our votes anonymous. If these names are released, everyone will be averse to ever signing a petition again for fear of retribution by the opponents of it.
I hope Settle has the intelligence to make this temporary injunction permanent.
– John Hed, Covington
Retribution is not free speech; signatures shouldn’t be disclosed
The threat of publicly releasing Referndum 71 signatures defines what’s wrong with today’s political discourse: self-interest.
I signed the petition not because I am against anybody, but because I believe in equality of opportunity rather than equality of result. I am 41, never married and sexually abstinent — not for lack of interest or desire but because of belief and conviction.
That said, I get no break on my health care for living a sexually risk-free life, nor do I enjoy the benefits of married couples or those living in domestic partnership. Equality of result would have me fight for those “rights.” Equality of opportunity informs me I will have those benefits, too, someday, should I marry the woman of my dreams.
I signed knowing someone might use my signature against me without knowing me or asking why. Disappointing for sure, but this is still America where we are free to take sides, free to speak up and free to love our neighbors when the dust clears.
I disagree with releasing R-71 names and making them public. Not because I am afraid, but because hatred, anger, retribution and political expediency should never be masked under the guise of free speech.
– Justin Kawabori, Redmond
Signing a referendum also supports direct democracy
As a teacher of Washington-state history I want to explain that not all the people who signed the petition to put Referendum 71 on the ballot oppose extending domestic-partnership rights.
I teach my students about the initiative and referendum process in my class, and we discuss what they will need to consider when they are asked to sign one.
What a citizen is agreeing to is that they want to have that issue come to a statewide vote. In this case, we may have people who signed it because they like direct democracy and believe citizens should be able to vote on as many laws as possible. Or people may have signed it because they believe a statewide vote will get rid of the law, or people may have signed it because they believe a statewide vote will keep the law.
My point is the assumption that all the people who signed it did so for the same reason is not true.
– Todd Beuke, Sequim
September 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Cabin owners are stewards of federal land
As described in The Times’ article, families on Reclamation land who have had simple cabins 50 or more years now stand to lose them due to the new fee increase ["Families getting pushed out of cherished cabins," page one, Sept. 9]. Our experience with the Bureau of Reclamation is that of dealing with a heavy-handed bureaucracy whose hidden agenda is to remove all cabins from federal lands.
You will find cabin owners wonderful stewards of the land, and furthermore public access is not limited, as the general public has the right to use the waterfront on those leases. We have been working with the National Forest Homeowners and our congressional representatives to create a new method of valuation and fee establishment that would apply to all federal lands.
Hopefully this will become law in time to save those who cannot afford the new fee increases.
– Bob McIntosh, Conconully Lakes Cabin Owners Association president, Renton
Cabins no sweetheart deal without renter’s rights
I have talked to one of the people interviewed by Jonathan Martin for The Times article about families losing their Forest Service cabins, and the source assures me he emphasized several times that cabins on Forest Service land are there under special-use permits, not leases.
That is not a trivial distinction. Lease holders have rights Forest Service cabin owners can only dream of. We Forest Service cabin owners understood going in that the federal government would be our landlord, but the relationship is very one-sided. When they say, “jump,” you have to ask, “How far?”
Regarding calling the cabins a sweetheart deal: If you project $1,400 for the life of the 20-year permit, that is $28,000 in fees to rent the land. Not exactly chump change, where you may or may not have power, phone, TV, paved roads, winter access, law enforcement or fire protection, to name just a few of the amenities city folk assume exist everywhere.
My cabin is in Northern California at Bucks Lake in the Plumas National Forest. Our fee increase is set to be 400 percent. There is something very wrong with an appraisal system that achieves a 400 percent increase in the middle of the most severe real-estate collapse since the Great Depression.
This is a real problem, affecting real families.
– Mike Hoover, Reno, Nev.
September 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM
To protect teachers’ rights and public interest, introduce binding arbitration
No matter which side you believe is right in the labor dispute between Kent’s teachers and their district’s management, we can all agree teachers should receive fair contracts and a teachers strike is never in the public interest. So when negotiations reach an impasse, how can they be resolved without teachers applying the pressure of a strike?
The answer is simple: Give both sides the right to request binding arbitration when contract negotiations on a particular issue have stalled.
State law does not guarantee or prohibit a right to strike for teachers, but state courts have always granted injunctions against teachers that choose to strike because of the “irreparable harm” a long strike would potentially cause.
State law specifically bars police and firemen from striking, but the law gives them the right to binding arbitration when they hit an impasse in bargaining to preserve some semblance of a level playing field during bargaining. If teachers can be forced to work by the courts even when they do not have a labor agreement, they absolutely need the ability to bring in a fair and neutral arbitrator during bargaining to help them ensure disputes over contract provisions can be resolved quickly and fairly.
This simple reform would dramatically streamline negotiations, thereby saving taxpayers and unions a lot of money and completely eliminating the annual ritual of looming strikes in Washington schools every September.
The Washington Education Association should organize a ballot initiative to change the law in Washington state to specifically provide the right for arbitration wherever state law will not provide the right to strike.
– Pat Mead, Maple Valley
Fine striking teachers, cut administrators’ positions, salaries
Each and every one of Kent School District’s striking teachers should be fired or at the very least fined at least $500 per day retroactive to the first day of the strike. In addition, they should work the full 180 days but receive no pay for the days on strike.
If class size is the issue, then teachers should give up any pay raise and give money back so the district can hire new teachers.
However, on the other side, the district needs to rid itself of half the administrators and reduce salaries. What they make for what they do is downright obscene.
– Lynn Folsom, Issaquah
Think the strike is bad? Try being a teacher
As a former high-school English teacher and football coach, I understand the Kent Teachers’ Association’s position and support their strike. The attitude of some members of the public and the Kent administrators needs adjustment.
They want and expect teachers to go into classrooms with 30-plus kids, and within a 55-minute period, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages and instill in them a love for learning. They want and expect teachers to check the kids’ backpacks for weapons, counsel them on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases and raise their sense of self-esteem and personal pride. They want and expect teachers to teach kids patriotism and good citizenship; sportsmanship and fair play; and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook and apply for a job.
They want and expect teachers to recognize signs of anti-social behavior, and make sure the kids all pass the final exams. They want and expect teachers to provide an equal education regardless of the kids’ disabilities while communicating regularly with parents in English, Spanish or any other language by letter, telephone, e-mail, newsletter and report card. And they want and expect teachers to do all that and more with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books and a big smile.
All that and more is expected of teachers on a salary that qualifies most of them for food stamps. Yet teachers are castigated for striking for smaller classroom sizes, more time with their students and a pittance of a raise in salary.
– Patrick Watson, Federal Way
Teachers are fighting for the quality of education
My wife and I have wisely decided to have only one child. The reason is not because we don’t like children, but because it is much easier for us to manage if we only have one rascal than to have more than one.
My heart goes out to Kent School District teachers on strike, and I give them 100 percent of my support for their sad plight.
If I whine because it is tough to manage one child in my household, how much worse would it be if your job is to manage around 30 students in a single class by yourself at least six hours a day everyday? That is a mountainous job.
I don’t blame teachers for their courage to go against the court injunction to go back to school to teach. Disobeying the court order doesn’t mean teachers don’t have regard for our court of law. It does mean that if they decide to go back to work against their consciences, the quality of education will certainly be affected.
Picture yourself as a teacher with 32 students of different ethnicities, traits, characters, idiosyncrasies, likes and dislikes. Do you think it’s easy to manage that big of a class? I bet it would drive you nuts!
– Warlie Villasencio, Kent
Teachers need time in detention
While I’m sympathetic to the goals of Kent School District’s striking teachers and value the bargaining process, the teachers’ decision to defy a court order is not OK.
They are teaching now in a very dramatic and visible way, as all adults do by their actions, that the judicial system doesn’t apply to them — only everyone else, I guess.
Will students respect guidance from teachers expecting rules to mean something when those expecting to be respected have publicly violated what a judge says? Will students feel respect for teachers who ignore the law, and instead of doing their job while continuing to negotiate, as professionals, have treated a court order the same way a hoodlum would?
This isn’t OK. Kent teachers need to go to detention.
– Kevin Grossman, Shoreline
September 7, 2009 at 4:00 PM
A loving home, a life among discrimination
I will be voting to approve Referendum 71 to provide legal protections for couples and families like mine.
My same-sex wife — we were married in Canada — and I are raising two children. Our son is a special-needs child, and our daughter is an honor student who will be a high-school junior this year.
My wife and I co-own our home, have combined bank accounts and live as a married couple in every way. Our household of two kids, two cats, two fish and a yellow lab is a busy one, filled with love and laughter, joy and tears and is deserving of all of the protections and respect of any other.
I am a Metro transit operator, and my wife is an administrative registered nurse with a company providing assisted-living services. We abide by all of the laws of this state and country, pay our taxes and are responsible members of our community.
Despite this, when I was injured at work recently and opened a Labor and Industries claim, I was told my claim would be filed as single with no dependents and that I would be receiving a reduced benefit.
Not only are my wife and I being discriminated against in this instance but our children are as well. Please join me in making Washington a state that protects and respects all of its citizens.
– Nancy Suppe, Bothell
Let couples that stand a chance be married
I have managed to be married and divorced three times before turning 45. Thankfully, I knew I wasn’t good parent material so I avoided advancing that defective gene set. I’ve also managed to stay unmarried for 20 years and counting.
I am completely offended with the notion that extended rights for domestic partnerships is in any way a threat to me, any marriage I ever had or any marriage anyone else has had or may have.
I want to support and defend any couple that has the courage, commitment and optimism to get married. If their church doesn’t have an issue marrying same-sex partners, why should I? As for the state, it’s a civil-rights issue. Nothing more, nothing less!
My marriages should not be defended. They failed. I favor marriages that stand a chance.
Can we wake up with civility, humanity and basic human rights and see Referendum 71 for what it is?
– Sandy Person, Redmond
For the love of families, support extended partnership rights
Thanks for your editorial in support of all Washington families ["Basic fairness, equality for Washington families," editorial, Sept. 2].
To voters who would deny me and my family equal rights, I’m not afraid to let you know who I am.
My partner and I met when we were Peace Corps volunteers 23 years ago. We’ve traveled the world together. We’ve cared for each other in illness, in job loss, in moves across the country. We’ve stood by each other when each of our fathers passed away. Our lives are about love, joy, laughing, dark chocolate and being good stewards of this world.
In our child-raising years, we’ve become part of communities that include gay and straight parents. We sit side by side at our kids’ talent shows — beaming with equal pride. We share advice and tips on the latest phase in our kids’ development. We go to our jobs or are looking for work. As a community we’ve come together to support each other in our greatest losses and unite for our shared concerns. What is gained by discriminating against any family?
For the love of all families, support equality. Now that it appears destined for the ballot, vote yes on Referendum 71.
– Cathie Bachy, Seattle
September 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Washington is a place of equality
Editor, The Times:
I was elated to read your editorial ["Basic fairness, equality for Washington families," Opinion, Sept. 2] encouraging voters to approve Referendum 71, upholding the domestic-partnership law, when it comes to the ballot this fall.
The Washington I know is a place where people of all different races, backgrounds, creeds and, yes, sexual orientations can live together in respect, tolerance and equality. It is on those values I hope voters will base their decision on Ref. 71.
This November, voters will face one question: Should this law be approved? I hope voters will also ask themselves another question: Should someone be allowed to commit themselves to someone they love? Truly, that’s all this issue asks, and there’s only one, simple answer.
Yes, I am a gay man. But I reject the notion that I am intrinsically inferior to others because of this. I hope voters will, too, by turning out to approve Referendum 71.
– Tucker Cholvin, Snohomish
Keep the conversation in the realm of executive responsibilities
King County executive candidates Dow Constantine and Susan Hutchison have weighed in on marriage benefits for same-sex partners. Now what?
This illustrates how far off base we have drifted in how we choose our elected officials and why they seem so incompetent when in office. Voters and the press continue to ask questions and probe positions that, while interesting, are irrelevant to officials’ jobs.
The current example of Referendum 71 and King County executive shows how we drift in how we choose our executive. What does Ref. 71 have to do with overseeing Metro transit and managing the aspects of the county that person is responsible for? Nothing.
Why don’t we get back to basics, and see how they are qualified for the job, not how they feel about social and political issues that are out of the scope of their jobs? While it may satisfy our curiosity to know how they feel about same-sex marriage, health-care reform or other popular debates, it obfuscates how competent they will be at the everyday tasks of their jobs.
That suitability will affect us directly. Valuing how they feel about Ref. 71 and other issues is exactly why Mayor Greg Nickels is being booted: He expended more effort toward posturing on global climate change and provided incompetent direct response to the snowfall in Seattle when that was the climate change he should have focused on.
King County executive hopefuls should be focusing on their executive skills, not political skills. Otherwise it’s just another snow job.
– Bob Johnson, Mercer Island
For referendum signers, no special protection
The attempts to block the release of petition-signer information by the backers of Referendum 71 ["Foes sue to block Referendum 71; backers can't hide donors' names," NWFriday, Aug. 28] reminds me of a sketch from 1977′s crude “The Kentucky Fried Movie.”
The sketch has a daredevil wearing a fire suit, helmet and gloves walk up to a group of black men, yell the “n-word” at the top of his lungs and then run for his life.
The difference is that Ref. 71′s heroes want to replace the protective suit with blindfolds for the rest of us. The notion that the despicable and malicious nature of their speech entitles the signers’ to special protections from public censure is an absurd and disturbing perversion of the First Amendment.
– Jonathan Kallay, Seattle
Ref. 71 could be an infectious change
I predict Referendum 71 is going to become a big deal and a defining moment in the history of gay rights.
People have been choked by Proposition 8 in California passing. People have learned. This won’t happen again. It will be the beginning of a “Yes, we can” movement that is much bigger than the gay movement, a movement of “Yes, we can take care of our society and our people, no matter who they are.”
It will go well beyond Washington state.
– Emma Le Du, Seattle
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