Roundabout crosswalks should have lights
I have read recently of two fatal accidents involving bicyclists. It should be legally required that a bicyclist wear reflective clothing and a light after dark.
The other issue that continues to confuse me is the habit of city/county placing crosswalks that are not lighted or have flashing lights on roundabouts. Please tell me how drivers looking to merge into and out of roundabouts are able to also make sure there is not a pedestrian in the crosswalk? Does this make any sense?
I have on more than one occasion had to slam on my brakes due to a car suddenly stopping for a pedestrian who has every right to be in the crosswalk at a roundabout. It would seem to make more sense, however, to put the crosswalks before or after the roundabout or install lighting or flashing lights to advise when in use.
Paul A. Benson, Lacey
Quality of life for vulnerable neglected
Given the wealth of our nation it is an atrocity that so many people are suffering.
Recently, the United Nations Children's Fund reported that the well-being of children in the United States ranked 20th among the richest 21 nations. The report cited aspects such as child poverty, inequalities in income, health and safety.
Meanwhile, two months after the minimum wage bill passed in the Congress, the Senate has yet to agree on its final content. Hearing news like this is sad because it demonstrates that politicians still don't see the urgency in improving the lives of vulnerable populations such as the poor and children. It is also instructive because it shows how insane and full of propaganda comments like "the U.S. is number one" are.
The bottom line seems to be that improving the lives of poor people is unimportant because it does not stimulate the economy or improve the gross domestic product. In a world where success needs to be measured and quantified by something like the GDP, the quality of life for the most vulnerable is always going to lose out to things that stimulate the economy.
Having said that, it's important not to displace responsibility. We are all responsible. Until we can collectively recognize that we are all connected and that everyone is important, life for vulnerable populations like the poor and children will worsen and the quality of life for everyone will deteriorate.
Cal Durant, Olympia
I am truly heartened to know that Washington state in general and our elected officials in particular have effectively addressed and resolved some of our state's most pressing issues - issues, albeit, still challenging our envious sister states in the union. Among the issues apparently resolved are the following: adequate and affordable health care for all our residents, a clean Puget Sound and a healthy environment, a modern transportation system, full-day kindergarten for all with universal access to a world class K-16 education, appropriate salaries for teachers and public employees, affordable housing and food for our unhoused, unemployed and underemployed, and property tax relief for seniors and retirees on fixed incomes.
I conclude these issues have been effectively addressed and resolved because our Legislature is currently considering the appropriation of more than one-half billion public tax dollars to subsidize wealthy private, and in many cases, nonresident entrepreneurs who seek risk-free investments in a basketball stadium, an auto race track, an equestrian facility and various hockey and minor league sports arenas. And this figure does not include the ongoing tax subsidy for existing football and baseball facilities - one which no longer exists.
Happy days are here again!
Gordon Ensign, Olympia
We are told love happens on its own
I want to thank Sara Beth Dull for her recent Perspectives column. In today's culture, we are taught that love happens completely on its own, that we have no choice in the matter and thus no responsibility. This view is completely pervasive in today's world, forcing especially our youth to dress provocatively and flirt ruthlessly, so they can enjoy love while it lasts.
This leaves only broken hearts and broken dignity, swept through the dirt hoping to find romance.
So thank Dull for reminding all of us of the source of true love, Jesus the Christ.
Samantha Ordos, Olympia
As a year-round bike commuter, I am alarmed at the recent increase in cyclists hit by cars. Even a minor interaction with a car bumper can dramatically change, if not end, a cyclist's life. I think that we all need to help reverse this trend.
When I see a cyclist hurtling down the west-side hill at night with dark clothes and no lights or helmet, I feel concern for them but also some anger because they're affecting the reputation of cyclists that the great majority of riders have worked hard to develop.
I have generally found most drivers in Olympia to be quite alert and accommodating to cyclists, and I encourage them to continue to do so. I encourage cyclists to get back to safety basics: signal turns, dress in high-visibility clothing, use bright lights at night, wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road - for their sake as well as to not give cyclists a bad name. Those who ride regularly should invest in high-quality equipment - it's only a fraction of what can be saved by not driving - especially if cycling allows a family to own one less car, as mine has.
My powerful TurboCat helmet-mounted light cost twice as much as my used commuter bike, but on a misty, dark evening coming through the roundabout, I'm convinced it's worth every penny. Finally, I encourage the city to continue its development of cycling facilities; it's a great investment in a livable community.
Rob Penney, Olympia
George Bush should be impeached
People! George Bush cannot deliver us from worldly evils or grant our American dream. We must get a grip on reason, and quickly detour from this perilous Yellow Brick Road of unreality.
If we continue to deny the unmistakable evidence and the devastating results and further trust that blindly following a leader or political party are the qualifying traits of an all-American patriot, then our predicament is indeed dire. Our homage to this presidential Wizard of Oz will surely result in further losses of our children's lives, national sovereignty, liberty, human rights, and dignity.
This illegal war with Iraq must now end.
The unconstitutional "USA Patriot Act" must now be repealed.
George Bush must now be impeached for his betrayal of the sovereign American people and crimes against humanity.
Sergei Hoff, Olympia
Hundreds of thousands
of Iraqis have died
Cliff Hutchins, Rochester