Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 3

Police, hospital staff were stellar

In the early morning hours of Aug. 15 I was in the St. Peter Hospital’s emergency room where my 82-year-old mother, who has cardiac problems and severe dementia, was being treated.

We were in an E.R. exam room a few doors down from where the fatal shooting occurred.

In this tragic and frightening situation the E.R. staff’s care and professionalism was exceptional. Throughout the entire time we were there, they were attentive to our needs and fears despite the fact they, themselves, were undoubtedly frightened as well.

I would like to thank the St. Peter emergency room staff, as well as the police officers that morning who kept a bad situation from becoming even worse, and for the stellar treatment we received.

It is very comforting to know that we have such dedicated and well-trained people caring for us in emergency situations.



Climate bill is pivotal

Bravo to Congressmen Brian Baird, Norm Dicks, Jay Inslee, Rick Larsen, Jim McDermott, Dave Reichert and Adam Smith for managing, just barely, to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act through the House of Representatives by a slim margin of 219-212.

Our nation is now closer than it has ever been to passing a bill that will address our dependence on foreign, climate-altering fuels, while strengthening our nation’s economic sovereignty and creating jobs all at the same time.

However, the deal is far from being sealed. This bill faces tough opposition in the Senate based on the short-term interests of big coal and oil.

Furthermore, a mistrust of climate science has allowed many of the staunch opponents of this bill to downplay just how crucial it is that we act quickly and decisively to avoid catastrophic (yes, even for Americans) climate disruption.

This bill is our last chance before international climate talks in Copenhagen to show the world that the United States is ready to lead the world in addressing the greatest challenge of our time.

Let’s please take a moment this week to call or write Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to stand up for a strong federal climate bill this year.



Peeler will wean port from tax subsidy

The Port of Olympia continues to depend on tax subsidies to stay afloat.

The 2008 audit, from the state auditor, shows that the port had total operating revenues of $6.8 million, and operating expenses of $9.9 million, for a loss of $3.1 million.

In addition to the operating loss, the port incurred $1.3 million in interest expense, and $2.3 million in environmental costs, cleaning up mistakes from the past.

It stayed afloat financially only with the help of $1.5 million in grants (taxpayer subsidies), plus $4.4 million in local property taxes (more taxpayer subsidies).

The biggest money pit is the marine terminal, used by Weyerhaeuser to ship raw logs (and the jobs they could create) overseas. The marine terminal also gets subsidies from the federal government, which pays for dredging with our federal tax dollars.

One port candidate, Dave Peeler, has said he will make the port report its finances honestly, and will work to wean the port off of property taxes.

Peeler is a retired state agency manager with the time and expertise to help put our port on a sound financial path.

The other candidate, Jefferson Davis, is a longshoreman. As such, he could be voting for taxpayer subsidies for the money-losing marine terminal. In effect, he might be voting to subsidize his own job. I think that should be illegal.

At a minimum, it would be improper.

I will vote for Dave Peeler for port commissioner in the November election.



Residents ready to move downtown

Financial times are tough for the city of Olympia and downtown businesses. In the 23 years that my wife and I have lived here, we’ve never known the city to have more revenue than it needs or the downtown merchants to have excessive profit, even in good times.

So it’s puzzling to us when the city makes it difficult for us to pay more taxes.

We represent a sizable and growing number of people throughout Thurston County whose kids have left the nest. We are willing and able RIGHT NOW to sell our houses and move downtown. The problem is there are no handicapped accessible, market-rate condos for us to buy, and there are people within government and without who want to make building them difficult.

If several hundred of us were to move downtown, we would be paying more property and sales taxes and buying more merchandise from downtown businesses. This would have a substantial positive impact on city revenues and merchant viability, in good times and tough.

In addition, Olympia taxpayers who don’t want to live downtown would find their tax burden lightened by us. We represent a solution, not a problem.

So, to the Olympia City Council and candidates we say: Let us help you create a more vibrant downtown economy. Let us help pay for more parking and other capital projects. Let us move downtown. Please.