Letters to the editor for Feb. 4

Dioxin removal from Budd Inlet questioned

The Olympian's Jan. 5th article about the planned dredging of Budd Inlet indicates that a total of 458,000 cubic yards of sediment will be removed because of traces of dioxin, and that more than half of the sediment to be removed contains dioxin amounts of 3.8 to 52.7 parts per trillion.

Based on the above figures, it could be assumed that 229,000 cubic yards contain an average of 28.25 ppt. Assuming that the dredging and disposal cost is $75 per cubic yard, the total cost for 229,000 cubic yards would be $17.175 million, and the cost per one fluid ounce of dioxin would exceed $102 million!

According to The New Encyclopedia Britannica, a conclusion that dioxin concentrations of one part per billion are harmful was found to be mistaken, and most of the dangers from dioxin have been discontinued. Note that 1 ppb is more than 35 times greater than 28.25 ppt.

In view of the above, it appears that the plan to remove dioxin from Budd Inlet is either insane or a scheme to benefit others at the expense of the taxpayer.

Franklin Price, Olympia

A little kindness goes a long way

On Jan. 21st my wife and I, returning from Seattle, stopped at a drive-up Starbucks near Dash Point. About three cars were in front of us. The one just in front was driven by a gray-haired driver who kept looking at me in his side rear view mirror. After we finally placed our orders, the Starbucks person said, "OK, that'll be $7.76 at the window." As we inched forward, finally the Explorer reached the window to get drinks and I heard a young lady in the window say "$7.76."

That's, weird I thought.

They must've ordered the same thing we did.

When we reached the window, the young lady said that the gentleman ahead of us paid for our drinks.

The gentleman pulled into a parking space. We approached the man (and now a woman, too). I waved my hands and rolled down windows. We pulled alongside and thanked the couple.

The gentlemen said for us just to enjoy and have a nice day.

The lady said something like, "enjoy the moment ... God bless!" They smiled and walked on.

My wife and I just looked at each other smiling and said what a wonderful thing to do, even though it's only $7.76. It goes to show a little bit of kindness can go a long way. We said when we get the opportunity we'll do the same thing. Let's hope other people who read this will also do the same.

Ed Boselly, Olympia

Where's the case to create a Children's agency?

As a diversionary tactic, the proposal to sever the umbilical between Children's Administration and DSHS is a spectacular ploy. If the goal is good governance, it must be viewed as reactionary.

Sen. Val Stevens' bottom-line reason for this split is "a culture in Children's that does not further the well-being of children." If that's true, there's cause for alarm. Is it true? Or is it alarmist? If true, how will creating an agency address cultural failure?

No instance of damage to a child is acceptable. Nevertheless, we mustn't assume the worst about the effectiveness - and cultural values - of an entire long-armed, under-muscled department because of relatively few serious, undesirable outcomes.

Before drastic change, let's thoroughly air performance reports, including any bias that might inspire those creating them. Investigation will surely reveal shortcomings. Children's has been plagued with failure under various names and agency structures. There's the rub: no restructuring has provided a verifiable, sustainable fix.

Other state agency splits have brought little gain in effective service. Performance as compared to prediction for such splits should be charted before initiating sea-change at Children's.

Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered targeted change. Targeted change is more effective. A rain of arrows is better than a few well-aimed shots only when it doesn't matter who gets slaughtered.

Creating a new agency will engender confusion, negatively impact service, and burn great piles of money. Then, in a year or three, we'll do it again. Stop this thing. I want to get off.

Loretta Sylvestre, Lacey