March 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Increase in pay will widen gap between commission and public
Earlier this week Port of Seattle commissioners rammed through a resolution to increase their own pay [“Seattle Port Commission approves big pay increase,” NWWednesday, March 13]. As was noted by The Times on Feb. 26, the plan was announced two weeks before the final vote, and was timed such that only two of the four commissioners up for election this year would be available to vote.
As a legislative body, commissioners should spend most of their time in public meetings. They are responsible for executive decisions, not the day-to-day operations of the port. I reviewed their meeting minutes, and found the total meeting time in 2012 to be around 128 hours. That comes out to under 3 hours a week.
At their previous pay rate, the commissioners were making $47/hour if they attended all the meetings. They will now make $328/hour. Assuming each commissioner works a full day every week, they will still be making more than $100/hour.
The Seattle Port Commission was never intended to be a full-time job. It should, like any good legislative body, be a group of informed citizens making decisions on behalf of the voting public. By increasing their pay, the commissioners have only widened the gap between themselves and the public.
–Andrew Pilloud, Seattle
February 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Tolling may affect trade
Will Washington become the only state with a toll on Interstate 90 [“I-90 tolls: Islanders incensed,” page one, Jan. 31]? Will some shippers move from the Port of Seattle?
Who knows, but for sure the “introductory” toll presented by the Department of Transportation will not be adequate, and will be raised. Look to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge for a model.
–Archer Wirth, Kingston
February 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Times demonstrates watchdog capability
When the Seattle P-I stopped print circulation, I worried that the city wouldn’t have sufficient watchdog capability, but The Seattle Times has reassured me on more than one occasion.
I was appalled to see so-called public servants slam The Times and Danny Westneat for telling the truth about one of their number, Port Commissioner Rob Holland [“Holland’s blame game well-liked,” NWWednesday, Feb. 20]. Perhaps they’re all tarred with the same brush. They are probably the kind of people who, given the chance to be a dictator, would immediately shut down the press.
I’m outraged by their response. It’s a sad reflection on the character of those who aspire to elected office these days.
Thank heaven for the First Amendment and a free press, without which we would not be a free people.
–Walter Marquardt, Seattle
February 22, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Supporters of Holland show low standards
I read the Danny Westneat column and could not believe the low standards of our elected officials [“Holland’s blame game well-liked,” NWWednesday, Feb. 20]. The fact that Port Commissioner John Creighton and Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien blame The Times for Holland’s resignation is appalling.
Holland should have been fired. If these people see no problems with Holland’s behavior then they must have similar standards. Maybe their expense reports and other actions should be audited. At the very least, we should not re-elect them in the future.
–Larry Vanselow, Seattle
July 16, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Murray shows her priorities
Editor, The Times:
Sen. Patty Murray barely raised an eyebrow while for eight years the Bush administration shredded the Constitution. Now we see what makes her furious: money ["Ferries get funds after all," page one, July 16].
– Tom Ballard, Seattle
Whining for ferry funds has everything to do with recession
When I first heard about our governor whining about not getting enough of President Obama’s bailout money for our ferry system, it took me back to my childhood, remembering the wining of children when they didn’t get as many Christmas presents that “Johnny” did.
“Why did Johnny get more presents than I got?” was the cry of many children back then. Everyone looks at this money spread around the states as presents, but these presents are not free, my friends.
The money will have to be paid back, and when the states cannot find the revenue to pay back this loan, John Q. Public will be hit up for more taxes and business will suffer the same fate. Chaos will result, and the real recession will be on us. The cap-and-trade bill and health-care reform, if passed, will further damage our economy and raise prices.
Had Obama — and George W. Bush — allowed the recession to happen normally rather than trying to fix it by throwing money at it, we would now be on our way to recovery.
These downturns have happened many times before because that is the way of capitalism, but as in all past instances, the nation has risen to new heights of employment and prosperity. I’m convinced it is too late to turn things around now, but we must try by contacting our representatives in Congress and letting them know all this free money is not really free, and ask them to defeat what the Obama administration has put before them.
It’s our only chance to stop this nonsense.
– Ed Anderson, Kirkland
Where is the change in ferry finances?
In light of the fact that the people of Washington were shafted regarding the ferry money handout, I wonder what our good governor thinks about that “hope and change” thingy now.
– Richard King, Seattle
Really, a ferry terminal? Let’s keep idiocy to a minimum
When my son was a teenager he had a phrase we often got a kick out of, and it went like this: “Let’s keep the idiocity level to a minimum.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire is “extremely disappointed and asking questions” as to why we were denied $56 million in federal allocations for the state and county ferry systems ["Feds snub biggest ferry fleet," page one, July 15]. Of that $56 million, $26 million was to be used on a brand new, state-of-the-art ferry terminal in Anacortes. The ferries are in constant need of repair and maintenance, our fares go higher and higher and they want to spend that kind of money on a new building?
Equally disappointed and “furious” to learn that we were ignored, Patty Murray managed to get the feds to fork over $7.6 million. Out of that, $3 million will be spent on a design of a replacement ferry terminal in Anacortes — $3 million will be wasted on a stack of paperwork that amounts to nearly half of our precious allocation.
What we actually need help with is boats that run, not a place to wait for them.
You can’t even imagine how angry people traveling to the San Juans will be to see that kind of money going into a terminal — or a terminal proposal. Perhaps when the feds snubbed the governor they were keeping the “idiocity level to a minimum.”
– C.K. Nichols, Lopez Island
The folly of bridges outweighs that of ferries
I enjoy Danny Westneat’s column usually, but I found his column “The folly of foot ferries” [NWWednesday, July 15] to be missing quite a few pieces of the puzzle.
If Westneat is going to poke holes in the plan for an alternative for crossing Lake Washington (or any other body of water around here), he should at least seriously investigate the alternatives. Let’s start with the hundreds of millions of dollars it costs to construct a bridge across Lake Washington — and that’s just for one bridge, also of a limited life-span and subject to periodic maintenance, as we are now enjoying on Interstate 90.
Add to that: the cost of each individual vehicle that will cross that bridge; the cost to the environment for producing all those vehicles; the real cost of the fuel that would fuel those vehicles, meaning billions in military spending to secure our oil; the environmental cost of everything spewed into the atmosphere from those vehicles; the thousands of hours of productivity lost by commuters spent sitting in those vehicles while waiting to cross that bridge.
Before long, we are talking about some real money. Westneat enjoyed quoting Fred Jarrett on “that old-time romance of boats on water.” I’ll take a cheap romance over an expensive reality any time. Talk about an “unstoppable mystique!”
– Mike Joines, Seattle
January 29, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Strangling a historical cornerstone
I’ve been a resident of Ballard for only seven years, which isn’t long if you consider the history of the neighborhood, specifically with regard to Fishermen’s Terminal.
One thing I have never understood is the Port of Seattle’s not-so-subtle hostility toward the fishermen who have given the terminal its name and who continue to be an integral part of the Ballard and Seattle communities, both culturally and economically.
The latest scheme to effectively evict fishermen from the terminal is just another act in a 50-year string of economic piracy, which has clearly shown the Port to be toadies of the high-priced, luxury-boating and real-estate industries. It’s one of many short-term schemes that make a lot of money quickly for a tiny handful at the expense of the public good and the livelihoods of a great many hardworking people.
The Port has repeatedly and consistently broken promises, violated public agreements with the fishermen and willfully engaged in a concerted campaign to strangle this historical cornerstone of the Seattle economy. It increased its pressure in hopes that the fishermen will break and resistance to their policy of de-facto gentrification will go belly-up.
At a time when increasing suspicion is directed toward foreign health standards governing imported food products, fuel prices that are on the rise again and a global economy increasingly in shambles, it seems just plain shoot-yourself-in-the-foot stupid to kick out a local source of food and jobs, especially considering the Port’s motto, “Where a sustainable world is headed.”
It’s clear to me that the Port continues to willfully engage in more of the same theft-economics in order to enrich a few developers and investors with public handouts and backroom deals.
It’s long since time that the Port commissioners do what their constituents pay them for and elected them for, instead of dancing to the tune of private capital and trying to convince us with shady, circular logic that it’s somehow good for the community to degrade ourselves to a plutocracy.
– Seth Goodkind, Seattle
December 18, 2008 at 11:25 AM
How will the Port of Seattle and the city of Seattle respond to the placement of the Matson container ship, blocking the views from Anthony’s Pier 66 and the Seattle Marriot waterfront ["Big ship eats into the view, restaurant business at pier," News, Dec. 17]?
How many private homes/condos lost their valuable view due to blocking construction? With what compensation? One I know of lost a magnificent Sound/mountain view to the brick back wall of a larger condo.
The owners of Anthony’s and the Marriot possess sufficient clout to have some local agency accommodate them.
Will this boat be the next example of the “trust” foisted upon us by elected and/or appointed pawns of the powerful?
– Dean Allard, Lynnwood
December 14, 2008 at 4:46 PM
Snohomish County, beware
The “war zone” created by planes landing on the new third runway at Sea-Tac Airport was not what the citizens living around it were promised ["Neighbors feel duped over 3rd-runway noise," Times, page one, Dec. 11]. Now they must yell to be heard over the noise, soothe crying babies awakened by jet-engine roars and live with the realization that they were duped by Port of Seattle representatives.
And let’s not forget the plummeting value of their homes. People of Southern Snohomish County, be warned: The economic-development groups pushing for commercial flights at Paine Field are using the same tactics. They promise low noise levels, new job opportunities and a minimal number of flights per day. Don’t believe them.
If you allow one airline in, others will surely follow, and the insignificant noise levels they quote, along with their charts and graphs, are deceptive. Remember the sad story of the people living under Sea-Tac’s third runway, and work with your community leaders to keep commercial flights out of Paine Field.
– Chris Salditt, Mukilteo
What a joy to read all of the critics’ comments — especially the ones that appear to be from out of state and/or out of the area.
People are focusing on the fact that if we live by the airport we should expect noise. I rented my place for nine years before purchasing it. I was used to the noise of the first and second runways; they were far enough away not to be a constant irritation.
What I didn’t count on was being outright lied to by the Port of Seattle. When I was offered a chance to purchase the rental three years ago, the Port assured me it would install a sound-reduction package when the home was in my name. When I called back, they say “no” because it was a mobile home.
The point of this community’s outrage is not that we expected no noise, it is that the facts laid out by the Port were untruthful to the extent that people could not make an informed decision: Should we have sold before the runway was complete? And if we were purchasing, which area would be the best?
It was my hope to build on my property one day or gain a good investment if I should want to move upon retiring.
My living situation is now unbearable, and I’m sure property values have been severely affected by this.
To all of you who are laughing, I am so sorry that I cannot afford to buy a $500,000 to $1 million house. Instead I must live in a neighborhood that is deemed not worthy of the same considerations of high-class areas.
– Kate Anderson, Burien
Insulted and duped
Thank you for your front-page story about all of us in the neighborhood feeling duped by the third runway at Sea-Tac Airport.
I live on 140th Street South, half a block west of Des Moines Memorial Drive.
Not only is the increase in noise ridiculous and harmful, but also to stand in front of my house, look up and see how close the planes are as they approach is not a pleasant experience.
We might not be in the “official” FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] crash zone, but we feel like we are.
To learn about all of the corruption and fraud that occurred during that long process is sickening and an insult to us.
– Cheryl Zappala, Burien
December 12, 2008 at 1:58 PM
Chris Joseph Taylor/The Seattle Times
Port leadership displays zero accountability on third runway
Editor, The Times:
The Port of Seattle spends years, $1 billion and many salaried positions planning Sea-Tac Airport’s third runway while trying to get along with its neighboring residents and communities ["Neighbors feel duped over 3rd-runway noise," Times, page one, Dec. 11].
The Port promises the new perimeter runway will be used as a backup during bad weather. Then it allows the Federal Aviation Administration to train air traffic controllers to direct as many planes as they want to this perimeter runway.
When the perimeter runway opens, it suddenly starts receiving 41 percent of the airport’s arriving flights. How could we rate the Port’s credibility higher than zero?
The Port of Seattle is way overdue for a new governance structure to provide accountability.
– Susan Wineke, Bellevue
Dig deeper into the fraud uncovered at the port
Missing in the coverage about the Port of Seattle is what was happening on the contractor’s side.
Here you have a sole-source bid where the contractor is using questionable tactics to extract as much money from the taxpayers as possible. Is this illegal? I don’t know. Is it greedy and dishonorable? Absolutely.
TTI [Constructors] should be investigated in the same fashion the Port was.
Combining this story along with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the Count Me In Corporation, please tell me that there is still some integrity left out there.
Or perhaps greed has permanently taken over.
– Joe Cook, Seattle
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