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September 23, 2013 at 6:29 PM
We must do more
Regarding Katherine Long’s article on in-state students and top faculty at the University of Washington, and The Times editorial on improving the UW, we absolutely agree! [“Report wants UW to step up role as ‘engine for economic growth,’” NW Thursday, Sept. 12, and “Editorial: Good ideas to make the UW a stronger powerhouse,” Opinion, Sept. 18.]
Higher education is the key to Washington’s future. We applaud this broad plan addressing research, state funding to sustain education quality, financial aid, family contributions and philanthropy.
We agree Washington must do more. Clearly the UW is central to that, but it does not do this work alone. Higher education in our state is a system, and must be dealt with as one.
For Washington to have the future we all want, we also need strong community and technical colleges, other quality public baccalaureates and independent colleges. We need every college in the state fully recognized, supported and empowered.
We need to provide incentives for innovation and enrollment growth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and fund programs in critical thinking and communication.
We must fully fund financial aid to make sure the doors to a higher education remain open for all Washingtonians. The Independent Colleges of Washington stands ready as a partner in this endeavor.
Tom Fitzsimmons, board member of the Independent Colleges of Washington, Tumwater
September 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Time is of the essence
It’s time we “double down” on our effort to get an I-5 Columbia River bridge funding agreement in place right now. [“Oregon looks at building span across Columbia on its own,” NW Sunday, Sept. 8.]
If we can’t get a Coast Guard bridge permit this fall, as well as negotiate a working agreement between our two states and the federal government to salvage this bridge in some form, an economic death spiral for this region is assured.
Local high-tech companies, as well as outside companies looking to locate here, watch in disbelief as we purposefully neglect the needs of our decaying local transportation infrastructure.
As commuter wait-times and product delivery schedules lengthen, local companies will have to seek more favorable locations for their operations. Our skilled local workforce will follow the work, as good family-wage jobs disappear from southwest Washington.
That we need a new bridge is obvious, but who believes we could really start over with another ten-year planning and permitting process?
Public projects in other states are already in line to take our earmarked federal funding. After another decade of funding projects in other states, what will be left? We need to support efforts to build a bridge now.
Edward Barnes, Vancouver
September 13, 2013 at 6:26 AM
What about lottery money?
We’re hearing about how the state has no money for road repair and bridges.
Now we hear that we can’t pay our teachers more money to teach our children. We’re always hearing about not enough money to take care of our schools and roads. When we voted for the state lottery, we were told that all proceeds would go to the state’s general fund, for our roads and schools, so we wouldn’t have tax increases for these things.
Where is the money from the lottery going?
Audrey Reasy, Seattle
September 11, 2013 at 5:57 AM
Fund health care, not war
I’m sickened to learn the state of Seattle’s Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital. [“Puget Sound VA health system gets poor reviews for quality,” page one, Sept. 9.]
At a time when the U.S. government is beating the drums for war in Syria, health care for American veterans falls far below acceptable levels. Compared to other VA health systems, Puget Sound VA has a high number of deaths for hospitalized patients and people who contract pneumonia while there, according to this article.
The government’s priorities are way off base. It’s insanity to start another war before our country is out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is critical to defund the war-makers, and fund universal-health care for veterans and everyone else.
Chris Smith, Seattle
September 5, 2013 at 4:27 PM
Do the math
The city of Seattle has been corrupted in such a way that it has allowed hedge-fund guy Chris Hansen to pay for an economic-impact evaluation of his arena proposal, thereby assuring the sort of objective research expected of paid advocates like lawyers or public relations people. [“Editorial: Make Hansen fund arena vote in Seattle,” Opinion, Aug. 20.]
Owners of professional-sports franchises claim the economic impact of a professional-sports team is equal to the sum of all the money spent by a fan of that team; not only tickets, but T-shirts and ball caps and refreshments, both at the game and before and after the game.
That seems like a lot of money, until you realize that it’s mostly money being spent in different places within the same local economy and to accurately calculate the contribution of a professional-sports team to a local economy it is necessary to calculate the losses of other businesses in the same economy.
You’re not adding anything to Seattle’s economy by having people drinking in a bar in Lower Queen Anne when they would otherwise be drinking in Ballard or Capitol Hill, you’re merely shifting the places where money is spent.
I hope that Seattle will insist on a traffic study as part of economic- and environmental-impact reports. Such research could use traffic-flow simulators, which could be used to estimate the effects of adding thousands vehicles to and from a new arena. Calculate how much time people would spend in traffic, turning fossil fuels into pollution, each time there would be a game.
I’d bet that when you consider the costs in other people’s time and environmental costs, the economic costs of an arena in Sodo would be greater than the supposed benefits of Chris Hansen’s proposal.
Tony Formo, Seattle
September 3, 2013 at 7:33 PM
Grotesque state of affairs
Jerry Brewer stated the simple fact of the matter in his latest column: “The University of Washington spent $280 million to rejuvenate a decaying stadium …” [“Huskies rise up to equal their surroundings,” Sports, Sept. 1.]
I have to ask myself who will rejuvenate a public university that, decade after decade, has been abandoned by the state Legislature; a university that has priced working-class kids out of the best public higher education, that is now pricing middle-class kids out of the same higher education, that furiously hustles out-of-state students?
Public higher education is going down the tubes, but we have the classiest football stadium in the uncivilized world.
If we accept that grotesque state of affairs, we deserve everything we do not get from our elected officials.
Edward Baker, Seattle
August 29, 2013 at 6:32 PM
More education funding needed
So now Seattle is moving to provide more preschool education for all its 3- and 4-year-old residents. [“Editorial: Preschool investment,” Opinion, Aug. 26.]
Bravo! Apparently, older kids will arrive at school with backpacks filled. Bravo again!
Will great programs will greet them? Perhaps not so much. When will we accept the need for a dependable source of revenue so all children in this great, wealthy state have a fair chance?
Anyone out there for a progressive state income tax? Or are we satisfied with educational Balkanization?
Rachael Levine, Burien
August 9, 2013 at 5:51 AM
Infrastructure not to blame for Skagit River bridge collapse
I am getting tired of people blaming the collapse of the Skagit River bridge on poor infrastructure maintenance. Times editorial page editor Kate Riley seemed to imply this in her recent commentary about the effectiveness of city vs. state and federal governments. [“Column: The economy’s future lies in cities, not the state or Congress,” Opinion, Aug. 4.]
I have seen several statements from the Washington State Department of Transportation that the bridge was old, but it was in pretty good condition and easily able to carry its design load.
The cause of the collapse was extremely inept driving by two truckers, one carrying an oversized load and another who passed the overloaded truck while they were on the bridge.
It is an indisputable fact that there is a huge backlog of bridge maintenance throughout the state and nation, but I think it is well documented that there is no need to distort the facts of the Skagit collision to emphasize this need.
Pete Beaupain, Auburn
August 6, 2013 at 6:52 PM
Cutting down workers’ benefits is not the answer
In her guest column, Erin Shannon claims “the most effective way to encourage job growth is to reduce the cost of doing business,” which means “regulatory and tax relief” for businesses. [“How everyone jumped off the ‘I’m for jobs’ bandwagon,” Opinion, Aug 5.]
Some of the policies she advocates, like repealing paid family leave and reducing workers’ compensation costs, show she’s not there for workers, just profits.
In times of recession, which we’re still in, we have a demand problem, with not enough people out buying more things or paying for services, due to being unemployed or fearing unemployment. Hence, the most effective way to create jobs is actually for government to fund projects that need doing and will underpin the economy, like maintaining and building new infrastructure.
Some unemployed people will find work on these projects, which will provide them with money to spend, thus increasing demand, which will result in more hiring by those who provide the goods and services demanded. If Shannon really wants to hop on the jobs bandwagon herself, she’d be advocating for an increase in government spending.
Timothy Walsh, Seattle
July 26, 2013 at 11:38 AM
Community Psychiatric Clinic needs state funding
The recent article on mental health was a shocker for most of us at Cascade Hall, a Community Psychiatric Clinic (CPC) group home. [“Feds put state on notice over mental-health care,” NW Saturday, July 20.]
May I suggest that the laws change, not the system? CPC is doing a competent job here. The problem of privatized care is escalating costs. None of our clients, that I know of, can find appropriate suitable private care. We need government subsidies as well as private donations.
I have spent 23 years as a client at CPC in King County.
Marian Mallett, Seattle
Mental-health care is a necessity
As a former director of a community mental-health center, I strongly agree with The Times’ editorial on mental health. [“Feds muck up state’s mental-health system,” Opinion, July 23.]
We must realize the state’s community centers are charged with dealing with our most difficult mental-health population, those with chronic and acute disturbances. These patients demand and need extensive and specialized care, including medication management and daily living skills.
Seriously underfunded community centers are already stretching their service programs, and this additional administrative burden will dilute resources for necessary care.
It is bewildering to think our federal representatives can come up with such a boneheaded directive. Competitive bidding may work for construction projects, but it surely will lead to a “race to the bottom,” as states and counties are encouraged to focus on a financial bottom line, which de-emphasizes quality of care.
Even now, there is a tendency under such conditions to hire less-experienced clinicians, sometimes with no more than a bachelor’s degree, to treat these most-troubled patients.
Mental-health funding has been chronically underfunded, and it seems only when there is a tragedy or a shooting do we realize the necessity of stable and adequate mental-health-care funding.
I hope the state appeals this blockheaded federal directive, and finds a more humane and workable compromise.
David Celio, Seattle
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