Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for March 13

Youngsters deserve accurate sex education

House Bill 1297 and Senate Bill 5297 outline a new sex education curriculum, yet it's not designed to strip away local or parental controls as a previous letter writer stated. In fact, the bill will not remove the abstinence component, but will make sex education more comprehensive by providing medically accurate and age-appropriate information to students.

The youth of our communities are engaging in risky sexual behaviors right now. They live in a sexualized world, and I believe it is our job as citizens and constituents to arm our youth with the accurate and comprehensive information.

Parents and guardians will still have the right to opt their child out of any sex education curriculum, as the bill states.

I disagree that sex education is only about human behavior and social science. What makes it so complicated is that it is a combination of medical and social sciences. People use their bodies and minds when making sexual choices. This bill is not about reducing the information down to simple science, but in fact, is to make the information more realistic and functional than just teaching abstinence only.

This bill won't promote early teen sex and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Teen sex is being promoted by our malignant entertainment industries, not by furthering knowledge and education.

Knowledge is power, and I believe the youth of our state, our nation, and the world deserve accurate information that will help them making healthy choices for the rest of their lives and future generations.

Vanessa Wasman, Olympia

City about to seize vehicles

The city of Olympia's Parking Services Department mailed me and hundreds of other local citizens a courtesy letter informing me that as of April 2, given the opportunity, they will boot or impound my vehicle due to a number of outstanding parking tickets.

What the city of Olympia is about to do is deny use of and even take private property without judicial review. Now, I am not a constitutional lawyer, but this strikes me as pretty blatant example of illegal taking.

The raison d' ê tre for parking (dis)services is that it has become a cash cow for the city of Olympia.

It is a bovine of plenty from which the Olympia Downtown Association, its misnamed Parking and Business Improvement Area spawn, and other city sponsored pro-business, anti-

labor, anti-working class organizations suckle freely.

If it is about parking availability, and not money as I've been disingenuously told by those in the know, then why have parking meters sprung up a dozen blocks away from the nearest businesses? Why do parking fines double after 30 days and, most curiously, why are parking regulations not enforced on the weekends when parking demand is greatest?

Parking fines, soon to be joined by outright auto theft, is nothing more than a steep tax unequally paid by people who have the audacity to live, work and even try to spend money downtown.

It is time to bring this dirty little injustice to an end.

Laurian Weisser, Olympia

Port protesters are not going to change minds

I went to Evergreen. I was taught that to win an argument you had to use sound logic and reason and, ultimately, try and get people to understand you.

The people who want to protest - AGAIN - at the port, which does not affect the war in any way, are just going to do the same thing I watched them do last year as I observed their tactics - party a lot, and then decide to be martyrs and get arrested.

This is not a truly effective way to protest. Does it shake people out of their apathy? Sure, but in the wrong way.

I believe the First Amendment is not just a shield, but also a sharp sword, and the use of protest should only be in serious instances, in serious method, with a serious attitude. Protesting at this place, this way, TRYING to get arrested by obviously breaking the law - this anarchist method - is not effective.

It is not giving off the right message (simply, "end the war" or "impeach Bush"). It is a confusing, jumbled, mess of people trying to get attention, with the message being lost by the physical doings of the protesters.

The number of people in a more serious protest would grow exponentially if it were done more effectively.

Jonathan Ammons, Olympia

School system fails to meet needs of minorities

Most people don't know that 61 percent of the Asian students and 58 percent of the white students passed all three tests of the WASL last spring. All the public and the Legislature hear is that overall passage rate of those meeting the standards was 42 percent. They are concerned, of course, but only in terms of the aggregate rate of passage. When you take out the top two groups mentioned above, the passage rates falls to less than 30 percent if you are black, Indian or Hispanic. In fact, only 26 percent of the black students tested passed.

These facts are stunning. Meanwhile, leaders are arguing that the school system is failing our students, particularly in math. The failure is bigger than that. It is a failure of the system to meet the needs of many minority students. Yet any mention of this is too subtle for coverage.

The Legislature and the public can debate delaying the WASL, but no one is addressing the systemic failure to meet the needs of minorities. Is it a lack of dollars or resources in the system? Is it a poor test?

Is it a lack of commitment to close this achievement gap? Is it a lack of vision to design a system that meets all needs? I think all of the above. Who is speaking up for the 70 percent? It's about time we all did.

Fred Yancey, Olympia

What are parents thinking?

Do those folks who don't want their daughters to be vaccinated against cervical cancer also oppose seat belts and motorcycle helmets for their kids in order to discourage reckless driving?

I wonder.

Is this really about preventing reckless behavior? Or is it about wanting to make sure people suffer for lapses in judgment we may not approve of?

Steven Meacham, Shelton

Don't destroy environment in the name of progress

Progress - they say we need it?

We residents in the Salmon Creek flood basin are supposed to want Prologis and other companies running huge numbers of noisy, smelly trucks on Kimmie Street and additional pavement their warehouses require instead of the water-

absorbing trees there.

We who have lived here many years before Kimmie Street was extended beyond 83rd Avenue have beauty, quiet, good air and wildlife everywhere.

We walk and bike in our area.

Why should all this be destroyed?

Tracy Johnson, Olympia

Legislature has a positive effect

I thank The Olympian for its recent coverage of the efforts by the Economic Development Council of Thurston County to measure the financial impact of the Legislature on our community. It was refreshing to see an article pointing to the positive effect that legislators, staff and lobbyists have on our local economy.

In recent years, the newspaper has covered the South Capitol Neighborhood Association's negative impression of the session, and how living in the shadow of the dome has presented a series of bad experiences.

As a resident of the South Capitol Neighborhood, and as a person who works around the Capitol, I have strongly disagreed with the association's clamor and claims. I am able to see the educational and financial benefits that our community derives from legislative activities.

I believe that it is wiser to step back and view an issue from a broad perspective than from a narrow focus. I look forward to learning the results of the council's study.

Linda K. Dennis, Olympia

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