October 12, 2013 at 7:35 AM
We must prepare now to avoid cost later
The recent water main break in Monroe should serve as a wake-up call. [“Broken water main fixed, Monroe schools to reopen,” online, Oct. 1].
If taxpayers and ratepayers want to avoid unaffordable utility bills and huge liabilities in the future, they must insist now on more competition in the way public officials manage the water systems.
According to a study released by the National Taxpayers Union, roughly half a trillion dollars in government expenditures could be saved over the next four decades by adopting techniques such as open procurement for pipe materials and better asset management. The Mayors Water Council of the U.S. Conference of Mayors has also voiced support for such processes.
It’s time for community leaders here and across the nation to be more proactive in embracing fiscally responsible approaches to water policy.
Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union
March 27, 2013 at 7:38 AM
Ducks should not infringe on tranquil neighborhood
It seems Seattle has kind of a reticent relationship with ducks [“Ducks stir Eastlake squawk,” page one, March 23].
But again, it’s not the quacking type. Now it’s World War II land/water gas-guzzling Ducks with loud tourists. Well, that’s fine but it is activity not suited to our neighborhoods, especially one as tranquil and unique to Seattle as the Lake Union houseboat neighborhood that includes the tiny pocket parks like the one these ducks want to use. This pocket park is one of the last public areas on the east side of the lake. It should remain for the people of Seattle and not the celebrating tourists.
The Ride the Ducks people are missing a great opportunity here. They should make a deal with the city to take over the huge slab of dull concrete next to the Museum of History & Industry to park their ducks and for lake access. The antique ducks would fit in the historical theme of the area, not to mention how the South Lake Union trolley will benefit with more riders.
Everybody wins. But the real winners will be the people of Seattle preserving one of our most unique neighborhoods, the Lake Union houseboat community.
I don’t get it with ducks. Every year the Oregon football team beat up on us, and now we got these goofy tin ducks to deal with!
–Michael Yaeger, Poulsbo
March 26, 2013 at 7:39 AM
Previous owner of vessel should bear some responsibility
It’s interesting to note that no mention is made of the previous owners of this vessel, in this case one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. [“Owner of derelict ship gets 4 months in prison,” page one, March 19].
I realize that large companies often register ownership of such vessels to an obscure second party in order to minimize liability, but should they not bear at least some responsibility to check that the scrap merchant to whom the vessel was sold (when no longer seaworthy or insurable) had the experience and financial wherewithal to dismantle and dispose of it in the proper manner?
With just a little due diligence it would have been apparent that Bret A. Simpson was not qualified and this debacle could have been avoided.
–Wayne Robinson, Roseburg, Ore.
August 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM
In energy bill, include funding to save pika, other species at risk
The pika is but one of many animals that may become endangered due to changes brought about by global warming ["High-country icon in peril?" page one, Aug. 21]. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall and disrupted snowfall patterns are also impacting the Northwest’s salmon and native birds.
The same issues driving pika to possible extinction are also threatening wildlife in national parks across the country. The National Parks Conservation Association recently issued a report suggesting management strategies to alleviate the stress on animals in parks.
Strategies include protecting critical habitat, developing corridors to allow wildlife access to new habitat as their current ranges become unsuitable and reducing additional stresses from pollution, invasive plants and disease.
We urge Congress to support setting aside modest funding in the energy bill for projects on our public lands that will help animals adapt to climate change. We need to preserve our national park heritage and animals, including the pika, so our children and grandchildren can also enjoy those “brave squeaks.”
– Sean Smith, National Parks Conservation Association policy director, Seattle
Boy’s big catch nothing to celebrate
I was disheartened to read the celebratory tone used in your story and accompanying “Good day, bad day” photographs about the 150-pound sixgill shark caught near Burien ["Boy's 150-pound fish tale is true," NWTuesday, Aug. 11].
Celebrating this catch does a huge disservice to the efforts to restore and recover a rapidly declining Puget Sound ecosystem, a nationally significant issue The Times has covered frequently.
It also does a disservice to shark-conservation efforts under way around the globe. Although the shark was released, and The Times included information about the decline of the sixgill shark in Puget Sound, the celebratory tone was unmistakable.
I am saddened to think this article will inspire young boys throughout the region to go shark hunting in hopes of getting a spread in your paper. It will be a very good day when the sixgill shark and other species in decline in Puget Sound are recovered.
But I remain highly skeptical about this outcome if the media remains steeped in outdated and harmful modes of thinking.
– Hilary Culverwell, Bellingham
August 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Seagulls, like the Needle, a Seattle landmark
I wonder what Ivar Haglund, founder of Ivar’s restaurant, would think about the new War on Seagulls ["The war on seagulls," front page, August 4].
Can’t speak for him, but I’m pretty sure if someone had called Ivar’s Acres of Clams while he was still alive and asked for comments on his “feed the seagulls” sign, they’d have gotten quite an earful.
Especially if they had told him people were gassing baby seagulls and others were trying to blame the “seagull problem” on his restaurant.
His sign has been there since the early ’70s; seagulls have been munching there for even longer than that without hurting anyone, and they’re every bit a Seattle landmark as the Space Needle.
– Andre Duval, Seattle
Aggressive seagulls only defending their young
All respectable parents, of any species, become aggressive if they have to defend their young ones.
I have seen crows divebomb our cats if they come too near a nest. If only we could see ourselves as the nuisance animals we are and learn to live in harmony with the wild critters who were here first, long before people were riding ferries and long before Ivar put his “Seagulls welcome here” sign up outside his restaurant.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife should be aggressive in educating people to not feed wildlife. Children love the ritual of feeding seabirds, but they are also the first, if appropriately explained at home and in school, to understand that it hurts the animals and, as in the case of the seagulls, may lead to their brutal death.
– Ruth Kildall, Seattle
Seagull problem? Eat it away
If an endangered, threatened or protected species becomes an inconvenience, well then get rid of it. That’s just human nature.
But don’t waste those seagulls. Eat them. Having feasted on leftover fries and such from Ivar’s, they should be fat and plump. If cooked properly they ought to taste pretty good — a little bit like bald eagle and a little bit like barred owl.
– Marshall Sanborn, Friday Harbor
July 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Removing dams, bringing back recreation
Editor, The Times:
I am a professional fly-fishing guide on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. I read Lance Dickie’s recent column on the Snake River dam removals ["Reservoirs of uncertainty behind the Snake River dams," Opinion, July 24] with great interest.
As the column pointed out, the promises of a great economic boon to the region, as a result of building the dams, never materialized. Much of the river traffic engaged in shipping and barging comes at an unrealistic cost. The dams themselves have done more to harm the environment and the economy than they have ever done to contribute anything positive to the domestic life of the region.
The benefits of removing these dams are virtually guaranteed; a free-flowing river would bring recreation, paddling, river trips, scenic adventures, birding, camping and fishing back to the region.
All of these activities have one great thing in common: They do not damage the quality of the water or the environment, and they take nothing away but memories. Though this may seem a small contribution, recreational angling alone counts as a multibillion-dollar contribution to our economy already.
Add to this the benefit of increased cash flow and social culture to the Lewiston and Clarkston communities and the potential for a vast improvement in the fishing life of the tribal stakeholders, and it is hard to understand why the politicians are dragging their feet. Dam fools!
– Bob Triggs, Port Townsend
Dam closure will be a win for both economy and environment
I liked everything about Lance Dickie’s column on the changing dynamics in the Inland Northwest concerning salmon recovery and the fate of the lower Snake River dams — except his characterization that this is another debate pitting the environment against jobs.
I am a fishing guide and a store manager at Creekside Angling Company in Issaquah. My livelihood depends on healthy fish populations. These fisheries depend on a healthy habitat.
Just like any other creature, salmon and steelhead exemplify the essential connection between environment and economy. It is most encouraging to see local leaders in Lewiston and Clarkston taking the initiative to push for the resolution of this dogged issue.
Whether the dams stay or go, our region needs to work together right now to restore healthy runs of salmon in a manner that benefits and serves any affected communities.
– Brett Wedeking, Kirkland
Follow example of neighbors in salmon recovery
After what I consider nearly two decades of failures, it is hard not to be discouraged about Columbia Basin salmon-recovery efforts. Lance Dickie’s column, however, gives me new hope at a time when change really does seem afoot — except perhaps here in Washington state.
Idaho’s senators have expressed support for convening stakeholders to tackle this issue. In Oregon, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Gov. Ted Kulongoski have said the same, and President Obama has recommitted the federal government to science-guided policymaking.
There is, however, a deafening silence coming from our congressional offices here at home. Pulling together the various competing stakeholders around a single table to work together to craft a lawful, effective and responsible recovery plan strikes me as something out of a Politics 101 course.
To Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell in particular: We need you on board and as part of the solution, not part of the problem.
– K. Robert Johnson, Renton
July 8, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Carbon rhetoric used to frighten public
What are “carbon tax” and “carbon emissions” in the piece by Bruce Flory and Todd Myers ["Replace property tax with a carbon tax," Opinion, guest column, June 29]? Are they concerned about soot emissions (i.e. structureless carbon, a pollutant), graphite or diamonds? These are examples of carbon. Maybe throwing a graphite pencil into the air should be part of Washington’s carbon tax?
What Flory and Myers mean are “carbon dioxide taxes” and “carbon dioxide emissions.”
This is not merely an academic point but is part of the way the language of the debate is distorted to bolster concerns about possible human-caused climate change. Ignoring oxygen atoms and calling carbon dioxide “carbon” is like ignoring the oxygen in water and calling it hydrogen.
Most of the public would regard such a communication trick as ridiculous. Imagine getting a hydrogen tax bill, only to be told later that it was a water tax.
Such deceptions do serve a purpose, however: to frighten the public into CO2 cuts. Using such phrases as “harmful carbon emissions” encourages people to think of the gas as dirty, like graphite or soot. Referring to CO2 by its proper name only would help people remember that it is an invisible gas essential to plant photosynthesis and all life as well.
– Tom Harris, International Climate Science Coalition executive director, Ottawa, Ontario
Private companies are better guardians of ocean
A recent guest column ["The great groundfish grab," Opinion, July 4] attacking the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s proposal to privatize the trawl sector of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery exemplifies the larger philosophical battle over whether government ownership or private ownership best protects natural resources.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, private ownership invariably does the better job. A resource that is owned by everyone is actually owned by no one, leading to the tragedy of the commons — when everyone tries to use as much of the resource as they can, even when it is clear that this is not in anyone’s long-term interest.
The result is that government lands are typically not as well-managed as private lands. Private owners are far and away the best stewards. Where a fishing industry owns the fishery, they have a strong incentive to sustain and restore it.
Granted, this runs contrary to the historic tradition of open access to the ocean’s resources, but where regulatory approaches are continually failing to preserve a fishery, privatization may well prove to be the only sustainable solution.
– Bob Benze, Silverdale
No wonder global warming is often regarded as myth
After reading the article, “Warming may impede eelgrass growth” [NWFriday, July 3], I can see why many people think global warming is questionable. After that eye-catching headline, the article states “The good news is that overall in Puget Sound, eelgrass isn’t declining year to year.”
Then Jeff Gaeckle is quoted saying, “It’s hard to pinpoint what’s causing the changes.” The article explains, “Scientists suspect development, polluted runoff, commercial fishing and now changes in climate as possible reasons.”
Give me a break — make up your minds!
– Bob Lalande, Tacoma
May 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Solution is artificial salt lakes
We’ve got lots of water, just that it is mostly salty ["Next global crisis: water?" Business, May 3]. Solution: Get rid of the salt.
Underneath Nevada are huge aquifers of alkaline/saltwater, which can be pumped to the surface via wind and solar energy. There are numerous dry lakes in Nevada that can be flooded to form evaporation ponds. The sun evaporates the artificial lakes, leaving behind the salt, forming clouds, fog and rain. In fact, this salt is mineral-laden with gold, iron, silver and other rare metals.
Creation of artificial salt lakes throughout Nevada would solve its water shortage problem, plus cool the place down, along with encouraging more desert plant life. Why is no one talking about this solution?
– Martin Nix, Seattle
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