Don’t disrespect South Africa’s tradition
The world’s response to the use of vuvuzelas at the 2010 World Cup is shameful.
South Africa is graciously hosting this enormous tournament this year, and has invested more than $7 billion into building 10 state-of-the-art stadiums and updating airports, roads and rail systems.
And how do the visiting countries repay their hospitality? By demanding they put away their vuvuzelas and quiet one of the longest standing traditions of South Africa soccer.
No visiting team comes to Seattle and requests fans to put away their Sounder’s scarves because it distracts them from the game on the field. No team tells the Mariners to play a song other than “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch.
South Africa has earned the respect of the countries benefiting from their hospitality, and being able to practice their culture clearly falls under respect.
BRYNN SEBRING; Olympia
It’s time for tax fairness in this state
Nobody loves to pay taxes, and most people have a particular one to hate. Curbing wasteful government is a continuing civic duty, but general beefing about taxes and/or spending is pointless.
Recent initiatives concerning taxes have been piecemeal protests of particular taxes, but Bill Gates, Sr., who led the tax study commission, has come up with a measure that has been aptly referred to as an initiative for middle-class tax relief. Initiative 1098 has a lot of merit.
It imposes an excise tax of up to 5 percent against taxable income over $400,000 for a family ($200,000 for a single) increasing to 9 percent for anything over $1 million, and uses the money to reduce the state’s part of property taxes by 20 percent. It brings the credit against B&O taxes for small businesses to $4,800 a year, thus eliminating it for about 85 percent and putting the remainder in trust — 70 percent for education and 30 percent for health needs.
Furthermore, it provides that the only way to change the rates is by a majority of the Legislature and the electorate.
It will certainly produce some needed middle-class tax relief. Washington has the reputation of imposing the highest proportion of its state tax burden on the people with the least income and the B&O tax applies to gross receipts, which can certainly hurt when it is profits that are cut in bad times. I hope people will get the initiative on the ballot and vote for it.
VIRGINIA MATTSON; Olympia
Use common sense while driving, walking
It appears we could all use a reminder of (at least one) good driving habit.
One recent morning, the power was out downtown so all the traffic lights were off. At three intersections I saw people shoot through the intersection without even a glance. In fact at one intersection a car coming through on Capital Way — going about 30 mph — had to swerve to miss a car creeping through on Union Avenue.
Remember, when signals are not working, the intersection is a four-way stop.
While I’m at it, how about some pedestrian reminders. At signalized intersections — yes, it’s a law — pedestrians must obey the traffic signals.
You do not stop at a green light to allow a pedestrian to cross the street against a light. That sounds obvious, but I’ve come very close to rear-ending quite a few cars doing exactly that.
If you are a pedestrian and at a nonsignalized crossing, be assertive, make it obvious you want to cross the street. There’s nothing more frustrating for a driver than stopping for someone who ends up not crossing.
With that said, make eye contact with all drivers you are crossing in front of, especially when crossing multilane roadways. You may be hidden behind a vehicle and not seen by someone in the other lane.
Summer is almost here. School is out for most. Let’s all take a little extra time, slow down, and enjoy life. Common sense is a great tool when driving or walking.
JAY CHRISTIANSON; Olympia