Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for May 23

Statistics on Judeo-Christians misleading

I was brought up short when I started to read the letter from Karen Strand in The Olympian when she stated that “about a third of the people are devotees of the Judeo-Christian faith,” but when I proceeded to read the whole letter I think I see the source of her statistics. I apparently do not qualify under her definition of the Judeo-Christian faith, under which I would include humanitarians who go to any church or synagogue – or to none, but at least try to follow the concept. I hope there are fewer than a third of my fellow Americans who could buy many of the statements in her “Decalogue.”

Virginia Mattson


Procession of Species deserves city funds

I have been in business since 1973 in Olympia.

I received a notice from the PBIA (parking improvement association) of a meeting they had on May 14 for all members. PBIA is a group the City Council put together to improve downtown a few years ago. It’s mandatory for all businesses, and violators can be reported to credit collectors.

The organization has hired a “top flight marketing business” with roots in Olympia to put a “face on downtown.”

We have a gentleman in Olympia named Eli Sterling who has for 15 years brought thousands of people to our town during the spring Arts Walk by organizing the Procession of the Species to celebrate Earth Day. Citizens of all ages get involved.

This event puts a face on downtown that is recognized all over the country and beyond our shores.

He gets no funding at all from the City of Olympia. Tumwater gave him $1,000 through their hotel motel tax fund.

Olympia businesses benefit when the Procession occurs.

It makes me wonder what our values are.

I would like to hear from anyone who would like to see the Procession of the Species get help financially.

Jeff Kingsbury, a councilman and longtime friend of mine insists, the money go to the Gay Parade.

Both are worthy projects, but one is unique.

Please contact the Procession of the Species and the Olympia City Council if you are interested in solving this problem. Financial security for a most remarkable event is important.

Anne Buck


Medical expenses soar near end of life

The headline of the story in the Olympian was “Suicide not in ‘our values,’ ” and explained that local hospitals will not participate in the new “Death With Dignity” law.

I would hate to attribute part of these motives to profit however:

From the 1992-1996 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) data from about 10,000 elderly persons each year showed: Expenditures for persons aged 65 and older were $37,581 during the last year of life versus $7,365 for non-terminal years.

Mean total last-year-of-life expenditures did not differ greatly by age at death. Estimates show that about 27 percent of Medicare’s annual $327 billion budget goes to care for patients in their final year of life. However, non-Medicare last-year-of-life expenditures were higher.

Providence St. Peter further explained that they were a Catholic Hospital. A different study showed: “Terminally ill cancer patients who drew comfort from religion were far more likely to seek aggressive, life-prolonging care in the week before they died than were less religious patients and far more likely to want doctors to do everything possible to keep them alive. Religious patients were less likely than secular patients to sign do not resuscitate orders or to create living wills.” (Journal of American Medical Association)

In the hospital you will see doctors, mostly specialists, 46 times; spend more than six days in an intensive care unit and stand a 27 percent chance of dying in a hospital ICU. The tab for your doctor and hospital care will run just over $23,000.

Don Penders