Letters to the editor for Jan. 27

City of Olympia forcing out seniors

I no longer have a reason to visit downtown Olympia. No free parking?

Why should I pay for parking to shop in Olympia, when all the good shopping centers in the outskirts provide free parking? Why should I go to downtown Olympia to eat? All the good restaurants have free parking. I am thinking of the eateries on the waterfront.

I belong to the Golden Age Bridge Club. We recently moved our venue from the Olympia Center to the Elks. Why? The Olympia Center insisted on raising the rent for a small room to $2,000 per year, for two days a week. With our dwindling membership, we cannot support that kind of rent. We used to have a very large group (18 tables) and one could play all day for 25 cents. As our membership dropped, due to deaths and illnesses, the rent kept being raised.

And why should we senior citizens have to pay ANYTHING for using the space? The city of Olympia sold our old Senior Citizens Center out from under us, and forced us to move to The Olympia Center. When I go to Ventura County, I see brand new senior centers there and in Thousand Oaks. Senior citizens can come and go as they please, play cards, pool, or whatever AND THERE IS NO CHARGE. Is the city of Olympia so strapped for cash that they could not accommodate us?

By the same tokenm we have free activities in Lacey, and soon Tumwater.

David N. Allen, Olympia

Time to pull troops out of Iraq

The people have spoken. Get us out of Iraq!

Certainly the election results, the numerous polls, and the disastrous results of "Just One More Time Bush" are clear.

Now before our elected officials get on the campaign trail again let's do something about Iraq! It is obvious that all the resolutions in the world are not going to change Bush's mind. He bullies Congress with the threat that if you cut funding for Iraq you will be accused of non-support of our troops. Try to get re-elected with that in your voting record!

I suggest we turn this thing around. Tell Bush we are going to cut funding, and tell him how much and when. Then suggest to him that if he insists on keeping troops over there, in light of the planned reduction in spending, it is he who is being careless with the welfare of our troops. Keeping any of them over there in the midst of a civil/religious war reflects anything but a concern for our brave men and women in the service.

How about trying diplomacy? Promise a pull-out and base it on the militant groups coming together to make Iraq whole again - without outside intervention! If that isn't effective, stop digging a hole and get the heck out!

Lloyd L. Hogden, Lacey

Conscience is not dead in this community

Martin Luther King Day was celebrated in a lively and reflective round of activities in Olympia: an anti-poverty march to the Capitol, the traditional Washington Center celebration, and a unique new focus by area high school students hosted at SPSCC titled: "More Than One Dream."

This was sponsored by Village to Village and Unity in the Community. It included speeches, and songs, and video segments on King. Some students even dared to criticize Dr. King for sometimes not going far enough, for not connecting the dots to speak up for gay people (this critique from Stonewall Youth) among the marginalized.

The most powerful segment for me was on King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech, available to readers online.

Lisa Foster and Juan Diaz from Avanti High School drew the connection between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. When King said, decades ago, "I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted," he could easily have been saying what we now truly need to hear.

We are blessed to live in a community where conscience is not dead, where our young people are informed and, as the youth in the King program I attended, spiritually alive.

Don Foran, Olympia