Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 16

University’s billing policy is wrong

I was sorry to see the story about the local teen who found she could not afford to attend the University of Washington.

I would like to commend the Lutz family for raising a mature and thoughtful young woman who has already figured out another path to success. I believe there are many in Olympia who will cheer when they see her name on film credits in a few years.

At the same time I am appalled that the University of Washington would bill Lauren Lutz $400 to withdraw from school.

For shame!

Surely their football program could slim down by $400 and not feel a pinch!

The University of Washington should have a policy of not billing students that have to withdraw for financial reasons. Students don’t need deluxe dorms, gourmet eating plans, glorious gyms or even rated football teams. Students need affordable education.

A big thumbs down to UW for their current billing policy.


Investigate alternative education options

I appreciate the situation parents face when providing for a child’s higher education. We all want to provide the best possible education, but the cost can exceed five figures annually. I could not send a child to the University of Washington at this time.

I take pride in being able to say that I earned my degree through scholarships and part-time work. This still would not have been possible without my parents’ sacrifices and my living at home.

To those in Lauren Lutz’s situation, I suggest modifying plans without giving up dreams.

Schools such as South Puget Sound Community College, The Evergreen State College or University of Washington-Tacoma, along with online courses, possibly from the University of Washington, would provide flexibility and reduce costs.

Lutz could still graduate from the University of Washington by attending her junior and senior years on campus.

A quality education is well worth the cost. We need not go broke in the process, however.


Start a cash for polyester program

In light of the relative success of the government Cash for Clunkers program, people are quite naturally brainstorming other innovative ways to stimulate a sagging economy.

Thinking outside the box, we suggest a cash for polyester program.

Individuals would be given $500 and families $1,000 in return for their polyester clothing. Families and individuals could then use the money to purchase clothes that breathe — clothes made with natural fibers such as cotton and cotton blends. The polyester clothing could then be disposed of in an environmentally sensitive way.

This would benefit clothing makers who would in turn hire additional workers, increasing employment and furthering economic growth.

Granted such a program would entail some risks. There is the ever-present danger of unintended consequences.

For example, as individuals go through their closets searching for their old polyester wardrobe they may inexplicably be tempted to engage in disco dancing. Homogeneous risks, such as the music industry electing to reissue “Duets” performed by Andy Gibb and Barbra Streisand could not entirely be ruled out.

These and related hazards are certainly a possibility, but they are amorphous and uncertain. Moreover, while such potential perils would only occur after the fact, at some unspecified time in the unknown distant future, while the benefits would be real and instantaneous.

A cash for polyester program would certainly jump-start the economy, benefiting everyone without delay; the only certain danger would be to do nothing at all.


Initiative will harm public safety

With the daily barrage of national economic indicators, are we paying attention to what is happening in Washington state?

The results of this economic recession have taken its toll on public safety. The Department of Corrections recently implemented Senate Bill 5288 which calls for the removal 7,000 offenders statewide from community supervision. This bill would make us believe that offenders cut from supervision are low and moderate risk.

Prisoners are getting released early while police and probation positions are eliminated. Professionals in the criminal justice system are asked to work harder with fewer resources but still improve and maintain community safety.

To add fuel to the fire, Tim Eyman has put forth Initiative 1033. As rhetoric, it sounds good to reduce property taxes.

However, what does this initiative really mean to the citizens of Washington?

Initiative 1033 is designed to limit the growth of state, county and city revenues.

The initiative uses the calendar year 2009 for its base calculation, plus any change in population or inflation. It will worsen the economic and fiscal downturns.

Do we really want to establish 2009 as the baseline for success in serving and protecting our citizens?

This initiative reads like a sound bite and does little to inform the public. Washington needs to prioritize community safety — and we cannot do so on shoestring budgets. Vote no on I-1033.

Eyman continues to present these initiatives to a public plagued by economic distress but fails to present any real solutions.