Topic: Jay Inslee
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June 6, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Schools rely on fees
Impact fees pay for a portion of the costs of schools needed to serve new residential development [“Editorial: Lawmakers should reverse impact-fee veto,” Opinion, May 27].
A goal of the Growth Management Act is to ensure that public facilities are available to support new houses. ESHB 1652, the impact-fee bill, would undermine this goal by changing the fee collection from the date of permit issuance until after closing. We appreciate Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to veto this bill.
It is challenging for Snoqualmie Valley, Issaquah and many other school districts to keep pace with the demand for classrooms in our growing school districts. We do not receive adequate state assistance grants for school construction. Impact fees have been our lifeline and have enabled us to plan and prepare for the influx of students.
Since we place orders for modular classrooms in February, the proposed delay in fee payment (of seven to nine months) could translate into an entire school year of overcrowded classrooms.
Until a better program is in place for funding school construction, we need developers to pay impact fees in a timely manner. Without classroom space, it is difficult to provide students with the educational experience they need and deserve.
Gov. Inslee made the right decision to veto the impact fee bill.
G. Joel Aune, superintendent, Snoqualmie Valley Public Schools; Steve Rasmussen, superintendent, Issaquah School District
April 26, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Concept of gender-neutral laws should be rethought
You must be kidding, right? Gov. Jay Inslee actually signed off on a six-year effort to make state laws since 1854 gender-neutral? Not with my tax money [“All state laws now gender-neutral,” NWTuesday, April 23].
Eliminating such words as freshman and penmanship is outrageous. They don’t even relate to gender.
I reserve my right to remain a “woman” and a “human.” Mankind must not be obliterated. We need humanitarians who support “Habitat for Humanity.”
Should we rename “Death of a Salesman?” “The Postman Always Rings Twice?” “Of Mice and Men?”
Will somebody please rethink this? Be reasonable!
June Foster Stinson, Lynnwood
April 22, 2013 at 7:31 AM
Sobriety checkpoints are effective
In their justified desire to do something to curtail drunken driving, it would be useful if the Gov. Inslee and legislators were guided more by science than emotions in determining which measures to consider [“Inslee, lawmakers plan DUI crackdown,” page one, April 17].
Sobriety checkpoints have been proven to be the single-most effective deterrent in keeping drunken drivers off the road. Punitive actions like more jail time and expensive sensors in cars do not work as well.
It is said that “the concerns of civil libertarians” have kept sobriety checkpoints from being instituted in Washington state. There are all kinds of trade-offs in a democratic society. Protecting innocent citizens from drunken drivers is worth the price.
Abraham Bergman, Vashon Island
March 31, 2013 at 6:31 AM
Medicaid expansion will aid Seattle’s art scene
You can’t walk more than a few blocks in Seattle without passing a coffee shop. Local art covers the walls, and sometimes you can hear neighborhood bands playing. Seattle is an art destination, with monthly art walks in neighborhoods across the city. Our artists and musicians are valuable culture providers that attract international attention and robust tourist dollars to the city.
As a 15-year member of the Seattle music community and a self-employed artist, I have had to find my own health insurance and trust that it will be adequate. Sometimes it has not been enough to help me with occasional medical bills, and most people in my community have had the same experience.
Seattle’s exports of music and coffee make up the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. But what about the health care of these life-changing songwriters, baristas pouring the perfect foam, or awe-inspiring artists? Many of them, while healthy, are uninsured. And when the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) kicks in next year, they might not be able to afford comprehensive coverage, especially with an uncertain income.
That’s where Medicaid expansion comes in [“Gov. Inslee proposes extension of temporary taxes,” seattletimes.com, March 28]. Expanding Medicaid will give health care to 250,000 low-income Washingtonians (like me), some of whom may not have previously had access to health insurance and quality health care. That means your favorite band will now have access to preventive care such as vaccines and cancer screenings as well as treatment for chronic conditions such as diabetes. And they probably won’t have to cancel a gig because the drummer couldn’t afford to go to the hospital after leaping off the stage at Neumos.
–Alicia Dara, Seattle
Medicaid expansion provides health care safety net
As a Washingtonian, I stand behind Medicaid expansion. I am eager and excited to purchase insurance coverage on the exchange. But I know there are many people who don’t have access to Medicaid now, who might not be able to afford a plan on the exchange. Some of these people are my friends and neighbors. With Medicaid expansion, they’ll have a health-care safety net. They will have access to preventive care such as vaccines and cancer screenings as well as treatment for chronic conditions such as diabetes.
Medicaid expansion makes sense for Washington. Not only will it cover an additional 250,000 low-income Washingtonians, but it will also create at least 10,000 new health-care jobs. Expansion of Medicaid in Washington state will actually save money since Medicaid expansion will be fully covered by the federal government for the first three years. After that, they’ll still pick up 90 percent of the bill. It will save $225 million in this biennium as we transition away from state health programs such as Disability Lifeline and State Basic Health.
Medicaid expansion will bring federal dollars to our state to create healthier people, quality jobs and billions in local business activity.
–Megan Pahl, Seattle
March 28, 2013 at 4:36 PM
Coal terminals will counteract environmental progress
On behalf of FRIENDS of the San Juans, I would like to thank Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for urging a thorough examination of the greenhouse-gas emissions and other air-quality effects of coal leasing and export in their March 25 letter to the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality [“2 governors wade into coal-export controversy,” NWTuesday, March 26].
Climate change is the most far-reaching impact of coal export for our global community. In San Juan County alone it could mean greater sea-level rise, more extreme weather events and increased ocean acidification that will impact our shellfisheries.
The Gateway Pacific Terminal north of Bellingham would ship 48 million metric tons (MMT) of coal every year. Burning this coal would create 96 MMT of carbon dioxide every year. Washington state’s 2010 carbon-dioxide emissions due to fossil-fuel combustion totaled 76.64 MMT every year (according to the Environmental Protection Agency). Just one of the proposed coal terminals would double our state’s greenhouse-gas emissions — counteracting all of Washington’s leadership in setting progressive policies intended to address our effect on climate change.
I am encouraged to see Govs. Inslee and Kitzhaber working together to take a stand on climate change that is associated with coal export. This is an important step toward making sure all environmental impacts are evaluated when permits are being considered for the coal-export terminals in Washington and Oregon.
–Katie Fleming, community engagement director, FRIENDS of the San Juans, Friday Harbor
Coal project proponents should welcome close scrutiny
This week Gov. Jay Inslee asked the federal government to undertake a “thorough examination” of Washington’s proposed coal-export facilities, as reported in The Seattle Times. I have noticed that each time an elected official, citizen group, tribal council, physicians group or other calls for close study of the proposed coal export terminals, the companies and individuals positioned to benefit financially from the projects issue dire warning: “It will cost us!” “This is a bad precedent for business!”
I think most Washingtonians see through this and are left wondering what coal-port cheerleaders have to hide. If the Gateway Pacific Terminal and other coal-export projects are such a good idea for our communities, then project proponents should welcome — rather than attempt to thwart — close scrutiny by the public and decision-makers.
–Shannon Wright, executive director, Communitywise, Bellingham
March 27, 2013 at 4:31 PM
Governors show commendable leadership
Reading the newspaper does not usually inspire spontaneous cheering, but reading “2 governors wade into coal-export controversy” [NWTuesday, March 26] did just that.
As one of countless citizens concerned about climate change, I agree that greenhouse-gas pollution connected with coal export needs a comprehensive evaluation. Other kinds of pollution, from burning coal and issues related to coal leasing, also deserve review.
The leadership shown by Govs. Jay Inslee and John Kitzhaber is commendable.
–Connie Voget, Seattle
Being a climate leader means saying no to coal
Way to go Gov. Jay Inslee and Gov. John Kitzhaber! With your joint letter to President Obama asking the federal government to review the climate-change consequences of leasing and exporting Western coal, you are bravely leading us all forward where we need to go.
The governors are absolutely right when they say that the U.S. can’t claim to be a world leader in climate-restoration policy, and then have a reckless and dangerous coal-export policy. It’s no great mystery how coal exports will be used. They won’t be used to build statues or grow crops; exported coal will be burned, to the great detriment of our whole planet. We should stay as far away from this dirty coal business as possible.
–Mike Shaw, Edmonds
March 26, 2013 at 4:28 PM
Olympia should prioritize prison reform
Thank you for the excellent, full opinion-page coverage suggesting alternatives to building a new state prison [“Consider alternatives to a new state prison,” Opinion, March 24]. I look forward to continuing coverage exploring further alternatives to expensive and largely ineffective long-term incarceration.
As suggested, there is mounting research-based evidence from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy and from others that education and re-entry programs not only serve to more successfully rehabilitate inmates back into society, but they are also more cost effective than longer prison terms in reducing recidivism.
After decades of increasing our prison population and the billions of dollars it has cost us, the time is ripe for legislators on both sides of the aisle — and perhaps most especially Gov. Jay Inslee — to establish a primary objective of accomplishing prison reform in our state. Thank you for your leadership toward this end.
–Tom Ewell, chairman, Criminal Justice Working Group
Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy, Clinton
March 22, 2013 at 6:39 AM
Debate about solutions, not reality
I am disappointed to see Sen. Doug Ericksen carrying water for Big Oil and Coal by promoting climate-science denial [“Inslee’s passion: climate change,” page one, March 18]. Ericksen said, “Whenever you speak about absolutes about the science being concluded, history is replete with people being proven wrong.”
As a business owner, I’m concerned about the economic implications of ignoring science. Our economy depends on knowledge, innovation and quality science. Our commitment to research and knowledge-based economic leadership is central to our state’s success.
There’s plenty of room for philosophical debate about policy approaches to this challenge. But there is no longer a legitimate debate about the basic science. If 97 doctors diagnosed a life-threatening condition that required immediate treatment and three doctors said nothing, should one ignore the other 97? Most of the confusing information is bought and paid for by industries and political groups that remain committed to creating doubt and inaction.
We can reduce our fossil-fuel dependence while building strong local economies. Our leaders should have a robust debate about which solutions will work best. But it’s not responsible for our leaders to argue about reality or about the need to act.
–Kurt Waldenberg, North Sound Energy & Remodel, Bellingham
March 16, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Problem will be more complex, costly if ignored
We greatly appreciate the editorial “Keep Hanford a priority” [Opinion, March 11], especially with regard to the tanks that are leaking radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation.
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility has several unique education programs aimed at keeping the spotlight on the Hanford cleanup. Hazardous nuclear waste studies raise concerns that contamination is flowing into the Columbia River, endangering human health as well as natural resources. About 70 square miles of groundwater beneath Hanford is contaminated above the Environmental Protection Agency drinking-water standards with uranium, which damages the kidneys; iodine-129, which damages the thyroid; and strontium-90, a radioactive contaminant that contributes to bone cancer, suppresses the immune system and bioconcentrates in fish tissues.
The Hanford cleanup is a complex and expensive task. However, we believe the damage to human health from improper cleanup will be vastly more complex and costly if this cleanup effort is ignored or stalled.
–Richard W. Grady, MD, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle
Steven G. Gilbert, Ph.D., DABT, Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders, Seattle
March 11, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Cleanup is urgent, should be fully funded
I am a current student at the University of Washington and after studying the effects of nuclear weapons and radioactive waste this quarter in my anthropology class I wanted to voice my opinion about the recent budget cuts at Hanford.
I find the recent budget cuts at Hanford disturbing [“How budget cuts could affect you,” seattletimes.com, March 7]. It’s nice of the government officials to assure us Hanford still gets a third of the federal budget for nuclear-waste cleanup, but I ask: How can we be so naive? A delay in the cleanup of Hanford due to budget cuts not only prolongs radioactive waste leaking into the Columbia River but also threatens the well-being of our entire state, both physically and monetarily.
When there are human lives on the line, our government cannot afford to make any cuts in the nuclear-cleanup process at Hanford, nor as Washingtonians can we simply sit back and watch without voicing our fears. This is an urgent issue that needs to be fully funded so it can be thoroughly and promptly dealt with before it is too late.
–Allison Barstow, Seattle
End nuclear dependence
Gov. Jay Inslee says that the proposal to move some of Hanford’s nuclear waste to New Mexico is a “good start in the process of getting rid of Hanford’s waste,” which is like moving the chairs around on the Titanic [“With Hanford tanks leaking, some waste may go to N.M.,” NWThursday, March 7].
The reason they haven’t after 60 years found a solution to the nuclear-waste problem is because there is no solution. Because of that and all the other problems inherent in nuclear energy (the danger, the cost, the health risks, etc.) — the only solution is to cut our losses and end our dependence on nuclear energy altogether.
–Christopher Anderson, Seattle
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