Legislators must repay ORV funds
Our state parks have recently been the focus of attention for the donations they have received in just the month of September.
With the $1.4 million raised for the parks, they seem to be on track to meet their budget goals. I wonder if they intend to repay the $10 million from the Off Road Vehicle fund they were awarded in the last budget cycle?
Our legislators decided to take all of the $10 million in the ORV fund and give it to the state park budget, with no provision to repay it.
You see, in the early 1980s ORV users came together and agreed on a self taxation tab on all ATV’s and off road motorcycles. The funds are supposed to be protected under our state constitution and only be used for motorized projects.
The money is used in grants and a percentage goes to the Department of Natural Resources directly to help with the maintenance or construction of ORV areas. Now we are experiencing closures of some riding area campgrounds and no money for maintenance projects.
Our state parks are a great place to visit and enjoy and I support the optional $5 fee for the state park budget.
I have only two questions for our legislators: When will they repay the $10 million they took from the ORV fund? And, will they protect the $5 donation fee proceeds from being raided in the future for other budget shortfalls?
VICKI GRAY, Olympia
Drivers aren’t choosing to pay fee
The Olympian’s claim that many drivers are choosing to pay $5 a year to state parks is incredibly misleading. The evidence does not support that.
The donation program went from a 1.4 percent participation rate to over 50 percent. Did all of those people magically choose to be more generous to the state in one month’s time?
Not even the most optimistic could believe that.
The Department of Licensing collected more than double the donations in one month under the opt out system as it did during an entire year under opt in. Drivers aren’t choosing anything. They are being duped.
The majority of these donations are pure oversight. To characterize them as anything other than that is simply untrue.
This is the equivalent of your local grocery store adding $5 to your bill for whatever cause it deems worthy and hoping you don’t notice it on your receipt. Let’s just call this policy what it is: dishonest.
Duped drivers can apply for a refund. It’s the principle, not the amount.
The Olympian should consider presenting its readers with all of the facts, rather than relying on state agency spokespersons and press releases in its reporting.
AMBER GUNN, Olympia
Library fines are nothing new
An overdue book penalty is not new in this area. When I was a little girl some 60 years ago I got my books from the Olympia library in the beautiful Carnegie Building.
I could get four books at a time and if they were late being returned, there was a fine of one or 2 cents per day.
There was also a bookmobile that made stops in the county and families could meet it and exchange books the same way.
It was a good system even if not so large as the Timberland Regional Library system.
SHARON MATHEWS, Olympia
Socialism, fascism are different
In a recent Olympian, a John Robbins took exception to previous letter writer Michael Muntz comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Apparently Muntz had the audacity to point out similarities in their socialist approach to governing.
Rather than attempting to defend socialism (difficult) or directly deny any similarities (more difficult), Roberts employs misdirection and informs us that “Socialism was anathema to Hitler, who was a fascist.” Implying that fascism and socialism are totally different, Robbins then points out that the Socialist party was banned under Hitler.
If referring to the Democratic Socialist Party, they were indeed banned as hostile to the nation and state in June of 1933. It is disingenuous, however, to suggest this was due to anything other than the elimination of political opposition.
Subsequent banning of all remaining political parties and the ban on formation of new parties in July 1933 finalized that goal.
Consider the name Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party) of the Nazi party, chosen by Hitler circa 1920.
It is hard to argue the name has no significance when even a cursory review of Nazi doctrine reveals strong socialistic foundations.
There are, of course, structural differences between socialism and fascism. Yet most references agree the two are simply socialistic variants, not distinctly different systems.
Amusingly, Robbins also urges The Olympian to only print letters that advance the public dialog and censor error-ridden rants from uneducated extremists.
Hitler would be proud.
STEVE MAY, Olympia