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November 24, 2013 at 8:04 AM
Protest stunt at Bellevue only heightened tension
Guest columnists Pramila Jayapal and LeeAnn Hall grossly misrepresented the “GOP’s response to the Bellevue protest” [“Why immigration is a major issue for women,” Opinion, Nov. 16].
In fact, my response was swift and oft-quoted by news sources throughout the state: “We are happy to have dialogue with anyone on the important issue of immigration reform … anyone who wants to talk with me can call to schedule an appointment.”
Instead, the writers claimed the “GOP response” was a tweet from the former state party chair, Kirby Wilbur, who no longer lives in Washington state. Simply put, Wilbur’s tweet was a disgrace. While insulting his political enemies, he also insulted Republicans over an issue where there is common ground on both sides of the aisle.
September 9, 2013 at 4:24 PM
Protesters not losers
I was in that group of folks who rallied to protest Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s presence at an annual fundraiser intended to champion his divisive strategies in Wisconsin. [“Conservatives can ‘reclaim’ nation, Wisconsin governor says,” NW Friday, Sept. 6.]
Sen. Slade Gorton, the people at that rally were actually what one would call “salt of the Earth.” They were carpenters, union members, retired teachers and at least one clinical social worker who spent a career working with veterans. Losers? I should think not — be careful who you call bitter.
We were there as a spirited representation on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin, who are now being arrested for singing in the capitol of Wisconsin.
The last time I checked, the Constitution allows the peaceful assembly of citizens without interference from the government. Remember the U.S. Constitution, Gov. Walker?
My impression is that the Republican Party is trying to win back America. Win it back for whom? The wealthy folks at that dinner? The Koch brothers? What are you reclaiming, and why?
Christine Wheeler, Edmonds
Put aside partisanship
The elephant is an endangered species in the Seattle area, but Gov. Walker brought some life to the Washington state GOP.
In contrast, former Sen. Slade Gordon identified the 300 or so demonstrators as losers. Walker focused his speech on his accomplishments during his term, like turning a budget deficit into a surplus.
He may be branded as conservative, but political races are not about winners or losers, they are about ideas and results. It is a time for leadership, not partisanship.
If you see the ship sinking, react: Cross party lines and rebuild to a better future.
Karen Gonzalez, Redmond
August 12, 2013 at 6:36 AM
Both parties are at fault in Congress
In response to Spencer Higley’s letter regarding the federal deficit, in which he says that the reckless spending by our government is due to the Republicans, I’d like to point out that the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to submit a national budget for three years. [“Northwest Voices: Federal deficit shrinking,” Opinion, Aug. 9.]
That includes our president. The Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, probably could not put one together if he had to.
Before making those statements about the Republicans, one should reexamine their own party.
I will agree that the Congress, as a whole, is doing a lousy job dealing with the deficit. Most of them could use a lesson in economics, or they should pay the household bills for a few months. Then they would realize our money, which they spend so freely, doesn’t grow on trees.
Joe Harrison, Maple Valley
July 21, 2013 at 7:59 AM
Welfare for the rich
Thank you for printing the article about what has happened with food stamps and the farm bill. [“A food-stamp fight over values,” page one, July 18.]
It is important for the American people to understand that many Republicans in our government, and our country, do not think that poor people have the right to food. This is shocking, and shameful, given their eagerness to hand generous farm subsidies to mostly rich agribusinesses.
This says to me that poor people should just starve, while the rich should get even more for doing less. Apparently, while welfare for the poor is bad and wrong, welfare for the rich is just fine.
I hope Americans will remember this awful injustice in the next election.
Diane Bowers, Shoreline
The wealthy prosper
The recession’s job losses disproportionately affected the economically disadvantaged. The wealthy have done well, with the stock market now at record highs. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this food stamp kerfuffle happens when we note that Congress is full of wealthy people.
If our legislators looked for ways to enable the less wealthy to support themselves, rather than enacting legislation to benefit the wealthy, the need for food stamps would fall.
Part of the problem is the way that we fund our elections for Congress, which makes it more likely that the wealthy are elected, and that those elected are more beholden to their donors than to the people they represent.
If we don’t speak up to our elected representatives, nothing will change, and the gap between the wealthy and the rest of us will further widen, endangering our democracy.
Larry Donohue, Seattle
July 16, 2013 at 6:18 AM
Republican opposition is shameful
Syndicated columnist Froma Harrop asks in her first paragraph why, “other than crude political posturing,” would congressional Republicans want President Obama’s Affordable Care Act to fail? [“Column: Keep the health-reform train rolling past the naysayers,” Opinion, July 13.]
She follows with 14 paragraphs of commentary. All she needed was her first sentence after the question: “Our health-care system has been milking the taxpayers, the government and individuals for decades.”
Continuing such shameful profiteering from human illness is exactly why the Republicans oppose reform. Nothing more need be said.
David Behrendt, Edmonds
June 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM
Legislature should fund smaller classes
Two important things are happening this week. Most of Washington’s school children begin the first full week of their summer vacations, and the Washington Legislature enters the first full week of yet another special session without fulfilling its paramount duty. [“Special session: 30 days, 0 bills, $77,000 in costs,” NW Saturday, June 15.]
Many kids with working parents will spend part of the summer in child care, where they will get something fewer and fewer kids have during the school year: reasonable class sizes.
Washington state law caps the number of kids in child care at 15 children per adult. It is a ratio that guarantees one-on-one time for each child, allows instructors to focus on curriculum, and ensures that students are safe.
So why won’t our leaders in Olympia give our kids the same smaller classes in school that they get all summer?
Washington has the fourth-most crowded classrooms in America.
Smaller classes are clearly right for Washington kids, and our legislators should do their paramount duty before the summer is over and fund smaller classes now.
Matt Loschen, Redmond
Health care should not be cut
I agree that it is critical for the Washington Legislature to finalize the budget by the end of the month to avoid a government shutdown. [“Editorial: Time to compromise on state budget,” Opinion, June 12.]
As a community health-care provider, I know that not meeting the July 1 budget deadline would have real impacts on our patients and clinics. People’s needs for lifesaving care cannot be put on hold until the Legislature gets its work done. Not only would many people who rely on these programs not have access to coverage, but our clinics would also lose desperately needed resources.
I hope that any compromise to reach a budget agreement does not sacrifice the state’s reasonable investments in health-care services or the commitment to expand Medicaid. These have been prioritized so far in the budgeting process and should remain secure.
Marcus Rempel, MD, medical director, Neighborcare Health, Seattle
Legislators are not serving constituents
I am appalled that our legislators have the nerve to collect per diems at $90 per day during extended sessions of the Legislature.
If they cannot do their job during the session it seems to me that they should not be rewarded by being paid for additional sessions. Meanwhile, their constituents are being laid off, losing money for schools, etc. They are causing all kinds of hardships on the individuals who elected them.
I certainly hope the voters will remember the individuals who are causing these problems. They are not passing legislation for their constituents. They are passing self-serving issues and raising their own pay. We need legislation passed to prevent this; however, I doubt they will have the backbone to support it.
Barbara Dunton, Renton
Legislators should not be paid to do nothing
If someone in the private sector is hired to do a job and they do nothing, they are fired.
Until the next election, our legislators can’t be “fired,” but in the meantime, they should not get paid or receive per diem allowances. They have not done what they were elected to do, which might result in budget cuts and layoffs. They should not be rewarded while the public pays a price for their inaction.
Anne Corley, Mercer Island
Don’t pay for special sessions
Compared with the overall budget for the state, the $77,000 cost of the special session for the Legislature is not very much money, but it sure is irritating to pay our elected officials for accomplishing nothing.
Here is an idea: Tim Eyman should fund an initiative that would ban pay for the state representatives and senators during special sessions. This would probably be the first time that Eyman ever did something reasonable.
Gary Maxwell, Lynnwood
April 2, 2013 at 4:08 PM
McKenna proposes worthwhile changes, but leaves one out
As a longtime voter, I was pleased to see Rob McKenna’s statement of changes needed by the GOP [“A reset button for Washington state’s GOP,” Opinion, March 31]. I first voted in November 1952, casting votes for Dwight Eisenhower and other Republicans. I’ve voted in every election since, but with much less support for Republican candidates in recent years. The changes he recommended, plus one more, could earn my votes again.
McKenna omitted one important change that needs to be made if the GOP hopes to get popular respect and support: Its congressional members need to stop being influenced by big business and big-money interests.
Oregon’s former senator and maverick Wayne Morse, referring to congressional members, said something like, “Once they get bought and paid for, they stay bought and paid for. They think that’s integrity.” When we see the GOP senators’ reluctance to correctly tax those interests, that statement seems as pertinent now as it did some 40 years ago.
– H.W. Petersen, Bellevue
Republican Party fails to separate itself from extremists, loses votes
The problem with Republicans is not the delivery system, going to minority neighborhoods, or getting out the message. It is the message itself. Here is the real problem, Rob McKenna: Your political party makes no effort to separate itself from the cranks and extremists within the Republican Party that garner the most local and national attention for their “out of the mainstream” points of view. These are the people whose views came to represent the Republican Party because Republicans allowed them to do so, and in doing so, Republicans gave control of the U.S. Senate to the Democrats.
You and I can both name five states in the last two years that should have elected a Republican, but didn’t due in large part to the extreme views of the Republican senatorial nominees themselves. Until the Republican Party quits catering to the extreme points of view of these people, you and your fellow Republicans will continue to lose the votes of people like myself. If you don’t believe me, just ask Karl Rove.
– David C. Sherbrooke, Bellevue
March 6, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Outrage is present
I am responding to one sentence in Lance Dickie’s March 1 column, “Our fiscal Doomsday Machine” [Opinion]: “Outrage at the contagion of tax avoidance in this country would be welcome.”
Well, I am outraged. I am outraged that tax policies, and tax avoidance (and evasion) by corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent continue to rob America of the capacity to tackle our fiscal problems and fund the nation most of us want, the one most of us voted for when we re-elected Barack Obama.
I am outraged at a far-right Republican minority that gleefully refuses to raise the revenues that would fund Obama’s efforts to put people back to work and improve our aging infrastructure, even though that’s what the majority of us expected to happen. I am outraged that what enables them to do so is not the strength of their ideas, but longstanding machinations (gerrymandering, filibustering) that are nowhere to be found in our Constitution. I am outraged that people blame the president and both parties equally, when it’s obvious the problem is with the Republicans and those who vote for them.
We had a choice and we made it. Did you ever think that the losing party would get its way every time by stamping its feet and refusing to play? Well, I didn’t. And for that, I am outraged.
–Penny L. Miller, Issaquah
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