Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Aug. 9

Fighting fires outside the wire

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the month of July, Washington state saw below-average precipitation and also saw temperatures several degrees above normal. The combination of low precipitation and increased temperatures is the perfect storm for any spark to ignite combustible vegetation.

Federal and state agencies charged with tackling our wildfires routinely use incarcerated individuals to fight, suppress, and prevent such catastrophes. Incarcerated individuals are sent to the front lines not only to fight fires, they also clean up flood damage, or shovel snow from railroad tracks.

The minimum wage for an incarcerated individual to perform such dangerous and back-breaking tasks is $1.50 an hour, and the state set to increase the size of these captive crews.

States respond to disasters with extraordinary measures to send professionals being paid upwards of thirty times the rate of an incarcerated person in order to save large amounts of money from their strapped coffers. In 2014, over half of California’s wildfire fighters were incarcerated, saving the state $1 billion by using underpaid labor.

Is it because we consider the caged as expendable tools to use with little to no regard of their value as human beings?

Will the ultimate irony be that as the climate changes and we experience more extreme weather events, ultimately the captive will save the free just long enough until we are all enslaved in the fight for the planet?

Trudy Wordzahr, Olympia

Voter pamphlet too skimpy

I find the voter pamphlet that is sent to every household in advance of our Thurston County elections severely lacking in useful information about the candidates.

The current pamphlet shows a picture of the candidate and a brief personal description. As I remember, we used to be informed of each candidate’s education and experience and a list of their local endorsements. This information is helpful in selecting a candidate, especially for those who are not very familiar with the candidates. The current pamphlet was a total waste of paper, to me.

Moreover, every household also received a very colorful, expensive and glossy card telling us not to only complain but to vote!

I have heard people say they will not vote because they do not know anything about the candidates. Our auditor needs to publish information about the candidates that is more informative and helpful. Our democracy is in danger now and we need every vote!

Jean Garwood, Lacey