October 15, 2013 at 7:32 AM
City prioritizes stadiums over roads
I’m not surprised to read King County snowplows will be hard to find this winter [“King county snowplows to be scarce this winter,” page one, Oct. 14].
I mean really, is it all that necessary that roads be maintained in the county? Obviously not as the last 20 years have shown. When I worked for King County Public Works, it was our mission to keep roadways and even ditches cleaned and trimmed. Then it was decided it was more important for the county to become involved in stadiums and other Seattle projects and let the roads fail.
Back then the bridge to Duvall was painted every couple years, but the powers let it deteriorate for years until the railing needed a complete replacement at who knows what cost.
Larry Marty, Snohomish
October 14, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Mayor McGinn should add not decrease parking
Mayor Mike McGinn’s support of reducing street parking and reducing the requirement for new parking developments is making Seattle less livable.
For a while I lived in a condo in Belltown and my range hood stopped working. No repair company recommended by the manufacturer would come to Belltown because of the lack of parking. I noticed on their Web sites that several Seattle neighborhoods were in their no-repair zones.
Back in Mayor Norm Rice’s days, neighborhoods strongly supported the requirement that new developments needed at least one parking space for each apartment. Providing sufficient parking for customers of businesses was also a strong neighborhood goal. Businesses cannot attract customers outside the neighborhood if there is insufficient street parking.
Mayor McGinn’s narrow-minded support for bicycles neglects the need and accommodations for vehicle parking necessary for a healthy city. Where are Seattle citizens who own cars for recreation, business and other personal needs going to do? What are the businesses that depend on parking going to do? Limiting our choices is not the answer. The mayor needs more balance in this single-minded policy.
Terry Hoy, Bremerton
March 26, 2013 at 7:17 AM
Move will benefit environment, but recreation comes at a price
I am elated to read that King County is purchasing development rights to so much land in the White River area [“Scramble against sprawl saves 43,000 acres on White River,” page one, March 22]. This will undoubtedly be beneficial to the environment and the deer, elk, bear and (dare I say, in the not-so-distant future) gray wolf.
But The Times keep touting the recreational benefits that will come. I caution you and the rest of the reading public: Access fees are expensive. Annually, $45 for an individual or $80 for a family is a steep price to pay to simply walk behind a locked gate on a forest road.
I love to hunt and fish and have no problem paying a small fee (i.e.: $30 Northwest Forest pass) to enjoy the open space of our state. But I feel that full disclosure of applicable recreation-access fees is in order if mentioning seemingly increased recreation opportunities bought with our tax dollars.
Hoping to get “lost” again the woods real soon,
–Martin Stash Slabinski, Seattle
March 5, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Regressive taxes are not the solution
On Feb. 28, The Seattle Times reported on legislation proposed by King County officials allowing the county to raise the local sales tax without voter approval [“County seeks right to raise tax without vote,” NWThursday]. Extra revenue generated from a potential sales-tax increase would support public safety and human services.
King County has a problem. The cost of maintaining vital service levels goes up every year, yet voters reliably reject sales and property tax increases, and there is no state income tax. We are still in desperate need of more revenue, specifically to fund public safety. My concern is that raising the sales tax addresses the wrong component of a larger issue.
I begrudgingly supported an increase in sales tax in the past because I felt that my hands were tied. King County officials must be feeling the same way now, as bypassing the vote on a contentious topic is bound to ruffle some feathers.
I am disappointed that such a drastic measure is being taken not in the name of a long-term solution, but instead an action that perpetuates our notoriously regressive tax system that hurts the middle class and poor.
Ruffle feathers if you must, but make sure it’s worthwhile.
–Erin Prendergast, Seattle
September 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Furloughs undercut vital, dedicated county workers
Thank you to Tracey Thompson, principal officer at Teamsters Local 117, for speaking up on the King County furlough issue ["Stop scapegoating King County workers over budget woes," Opinion, guest column, Aug. 26].
It is too bad that Teamsters 174 has not acknowledged what King County is doing to its workers.
After working nearly 17 days straight, including Christmas Day, during the 2008 snowstorm in December, a furlough day was scheduled for Jan. 2. However, workers were requested to work on Jan. 3, for “storm cleanup.” If King County workers are so important to have to work overtime on Jan. 3, why not work on Jan. 2? It does not make any sense.
We all know how to fix the budget crisis. Cut the fat in the county, especially downtown. Our political candidates should take on jobs like utilities, laborers, truck drivers, flaggers and more and see how quickly they acknowledge the importance of the King County worker. Furthermore, try to hire this type of service during an emergency, and I guarantee that the costs will be exorbitant.
Remember the next time there is an emergency — flood, snow or wind storm — our King County workers are out taking care of business, away from their families and the comfort of their homes in order to make life safer for all of you.
– Lynette Johnson, Sammamish
Is county revenue really eroding?
I happened to glance through Tracey Thompson’s column about blaming King County workers for budget woes, and one sentence in particular really caught my eye: “Revenue flow has been eroding for the past decade ”
Any time I see someone making the claim that the government is getting less money I get suspicious.
A cursory search of the Metro King County budget seems to say that total revenues went from more than $3 billion in 2006 to $5 billion in 2008. I may not be a math major, but to the untrained eye that would appear to be a fairly substantial revenue increase.
If that is an example of revenue eroding, then I wish my revenue would start eroding!
– Philip Peterson, Puyallup
County workers shouldn’t be exempt from belt tightening
In her guest column in The Seattle Times, Tracey Thompson appears to feel government workers should be immune to the current financial crisis. She complains that revenues have declined “thanks to an uncooperative state Legislature and voter-approved initiatives that have reduced revenues while demand for services continues to increase.”
All over the country in the private sector, good workers have been laid off due to lack of revenue for their companies. For many of these companies, there is continued, though reduced, demand for their goods, forcing employee layoffs if the companies are to survive.
There is no reason why state employees are impervious to layoffs or reduced pay in order that the state can stay within its financial means.
As to the “uncooperative Legislature and voters,” who speaks for the public? The voters and legislators or the unions? Cuts must be made and that includes state, county and city workers, too.
Once again a union representative reveals the arrogance that helped bring down Chrysler and General Motors. Unions are not immune to the financial limitations of their employers, be they corporations or governments.
– Spencer M. Higley, Edmonds
August 25, 2009 at 4:00 PM
In shut parks, a lost connection to earth
Editor, The Times:
A great sadness filled me as I read of the possibility that 39 King County parks may be shut down due to recent economic woes ["39 King County parks may be shut down," page one, Aug. 18].
Alas, what a devastating picture of national economic and global policies over these past eight years coming home to roost in our local neighborhoods, where there is little money for the needs of ordinary citizens but billions of dollars still handily available nationally for wars and corporations.
What will become of us if our green spaces are inaccessible? What will become of our children, many of whom have little access as it is to experiencing the joys of running across an open field or lying on the sweet green grass to look up through leafy trees at clouds against a blue sky?
How will our young ones learn to love the Earth so they grow up to become citizens who will care for it?
– Jackie Leksen, Lynnwood
No sense in expensive light rail, closed parks
There are many, but rarely have I seen a better example of a dangerous malady that has been sweeping this state and country. A recent Seattle Times headline read, “39 King County parks may be shut down.”
At the same time, Seattle opened a $2.5 billion light-rail line. This is the most expensive light rail ever constructed, costing $180 million per mile or $10,000 per Seattle household. Now, the operations of the train must be subsidized by taxpayers with $10 per ride if the number of riders estimated by Sound Transit are realized, which is doubtful. Further, Sound Transit is planning to spend many billions more to expand this ineffective rail system.
This indicates an unconscionable disregard for community priorities and the placing of politics and ideology ahead of the community’s greater good. There are no winners but many victims.
Those who need transit and have no alternative will pay more and have less service, taxpayers will subsidize mostly people who have an alternative and the more than 90 percent of travelers who use the roads will continue to experience increasing congestion because money wasted on rail systems will not improve congestion or pollution.
When will we connect the dots between this stupidity and elected officials?
– Jim Skaggs, Gig Harbor
August 19, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Executive race was simply a popularity contest
Editor, The Times:
It’s official: Most voters in King County are morons.
We know this because Susan Hutchison came in first in the primary for King County executive ["Former TV anchor to face off against council veteran," page one, Aug. 19].
Here’s what most of her voters said to themselves: “Oh, I recognize her name and saw her on TV a lot. Therefore she should run our county government!”
Meanwhile, folks who are actually qualified got few votes by comparison. Pitiful.
– Matthew J. Barry, Issaquah
In most candidates, a dearth of relevant experience
In the end, I voted. But only for two candidates and the referendum. Why?
Because nearly all of the candidates failed to provide evidence that they were qualified for the job. We know they love Seattle, King County, Washington, the USA., Mother Earth and the Universe.
But did any of the candidates have relevant experience? Apparently not — otherwise, they would have said so, right? And why waste our time promising they’ll solve our economic woes or fulfill any other absurd claims all by themselves? If elected, they’ll work with others, negotiating and compromising, right? Isn’t that what politics is all about in a democracy?
Since the candidates didn’t provide qualifications, precious little relevant experience and nothing but empty promises, here’s my suggestion for future voter pamphlets: Let a special election committee draft a blanket statement that covers all the things you have in common — piety, patriotism, familial devotion and love of apple pie — together with critiques of how badly it’s going, overblown generalities about what candidates will accomplish and declarations that only candidates can save us from disaster.
That can go in the front of the pamphlet, where we can ignore it. Then tell us your actual qualifications.
– Paul J. Smith, Seattle
With long-term tunnel vision, easy to see it’s a poor choice
The Seattle Times’ tunnel vision regarding the anti-tunnel vote is extremely shortsighted.
According to The Times’ editorial, “A wounded mayor” [Opinion, Aug. 19]: “McGinn’s solution, surface transportation, will jam our streets and overwhelm the freeway.”
In addition to the short-term consequences of tunnel construction, the long-term global-warming consequences have been ignored. Hopefully our country will admit to the threat of global warming before it is too late for our children and grandchildren to correct the damage we have done.
If we decide to be responsible adults, the tunnel will be obsolete by the time it is finished or shortly thereafter. It is time we stop subsidizing single-occupant fossil-fueled traffic.
The money wasted on a tunnel would be better invested in a first-class bus-rapid-transit system.
– Bob Jeffers-Schroder, Seattle
Avoiding political storm with mail-in ballots
I would like to thank King County for instituting mail voting and giving me back so much time. I voted the day my ballot arrived, and therefore could hang up on robo-calls, fast-forward through campaign commercials, skip reading all The Seattle Times stories about the candidates and the election and change the subject when friends brought up the election.
And of course, walking to the mailbox is much faster than driving to my old polling place and actually engaging in a communal event of civic engagement.
– Silvia Ceravolo, Seattle
August 17, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Automated campaign calls just too ‘phony’
Automated phone calls to promote political candidates are doing just the opposite as far as this voter is concerned. It shows the candidate cares only about numbers, not individuals; has little if any initiative or imagination; has poor economic training; and possesses no sense in making more than one “robot call” while only multiplying the inconvenience.
In other words, such efforts are not only annoying and impersonal but “phony.”
– Bill Wippel, Normandy Park
An inconvenience, a lost vote
When will political candidates understand that for many of us, myself included, a phone call from a candidate’s campaign immediately puts that office-seeker on the do-not-vote-for list?
We get all the info we need from personal observations and from newspapers, mailings, the Internet and attending forums. A phone call is just a rude irritation that interrupts what I am doing and that takes up my time to either hang up from or to delete from my voice mail. The only exception is when the candidate is on the line live.
I’m on the do-not-call list, and my phone number is unlisted and unpublished.
Unfortunately, politicians are allowed to disrespect this choice. Their choice to do that will cost them a lot of votes.
– Carolyn Walden, Seattle
August 12, 2009 at 3:16 PM
Ross Hunter fair game for criticism
I have been working at Wal-Mart for nine years and they still don’t pay me enough to afford their health insurance. So I am glad that President Obama is showing strong leadership and pushing Democrats and Republicans to get on board with fixing our nation’s broken health-care system. I wish my local officials were showing the same leadership.
I want local leaders who understand me and who push to make the lives of working people better — not easy, but better. So earlier this year when the Legislature was coming up short — billions short — on balancing the state’s budget, I understand that they had to make some hard choices. Working people like me make hard budget choices every week.
What I cannot understand is why they failed to get rid of a bunch of tax breaks for big corporations. What I can’t understand is why they seemed to help out big business and not do much of anything for the little guy.
Now [King County executive candidate] Rep. Ross Hunter says it is unfair to criticize him because he was only doing what all the other Democrats did ["Attack ads are unfair," editorial, Aug. 7]. For starters, he is the one who wants to be in charge of this county, so that makes him different. And since when is “I was only doing what the other guy did” a good excuse? I don’t buy it for a minute. Do you?
I want the guy in charge of King County to be a leader, not a whiner.
– Mary Watkines, Kent
August 11, 2009 at 3:25 PM
Lawsuit reveals a candidate not up for the job
Since she decided to run for King County executive, Susan Hutchison has been remarkably quiet. She has not been proactive in getting her agenda before the voters. In fact, quite the opposite has been true. She continues to do well in the polls due to name recognition and her refusal to say for what she stands.
Hutchison did not want the records unsealed from her discrimination lawsuit. One can see why. The records show her to be mean-spirited. She lies about others. She is unable or unwilling to accept factual information and she sees herself as a perpetual victim.
When her ratings fell and she was demoted, she claimed discrimination. When she was not allowed time off over a holiday, she claimed she was sick. When she was caught on vacation with her family and was given days off without pay, she claimed to have made a remarkable recovery and complained about the consequence levied on her because of her behavior. She thought she was treated unfairly.
She lied about her manager, going so far as to call the mother of an intern to warn her about the man. She claimed he had drug problems and was a sexual predator. These were lies.
Is this woman really someone we want to lead our county?
The county deserves leadership that is transparent and effective. Hutchison would provide neither.
– Carol Barber, Kent
Why newspapers matter
The Seattle Times has shown why newspapers are immensely important to our society by suing for — and winning — the release of court documents related to King County executive candidate Susan Hutchison’s failed discrimination suit ["Judge unseals records, calls court openness vital," news, Aug. 8].
The release couldn’t have come at a better time for this voter, as I filled in my primary ballot this weekend. The records provided by the court have gone a long way toward shaping my mind on Hutchison, and there can be no doubt as to whether we’d have seen those documents without the Times: No blogger would have sued and been able to win the release of those records in such a timely manner.
– Andrew Smith, Seattle
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