Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 18

Lt. Watada got a pass from the brass

I see Lt. Ehren Watada at Fort Lewis is getting an other-than-honorable discharge for missing movement. What a shame.

Missing movement is very serious in peace, let alone wartime. I served 22 years in the infantry and always felt pride in my service. But this travesty makes me feel ashamed and violated.

To begin with, Watada should have — at the minimum — been restricted to Fort Lewis or he could have been sent to Iraq and given a noncombat related job (like he had at Fort Lewis) while his trial was hashed out. I’m sure then his slick lawyer would have pushed for a speedy trial.

Instead, the lieutenant stayed in a fancy apartment with pool awaiting his fate. The commander should have made this trial a priority. Instead, they hot-potatoed it from one new commanding officer to the next.

Realizing this could have possibly rocked the boat and been detrimental to a successful career, the lieutenant got a pass. The brass should have had the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing. That’s why they wear the stars.

I have had poor privates get sterner punishments for missing movement to the Yakima Firing Center than this educated officer did. The all-volunteer Army is not and should not be a cafeteria where soldiers can pick and choose where and under what circumstances they want to fight.

JOHN SHEEHAN, Lacey

Land-use regulations are burdensome

SHEREE MAE BALANGUE, Olympia

As we approach another election, I am distressed that the current county commissioners are further limiting how landowners can use their land, even if a family has lived there for generations.

People will now have to develop a report about prairie and oak if they want to use their land when it’s as small as one acre. In some cases, even areas on less than an acre will be affected.

This new requirement piles another burden on local property owners who will have to hire a consultant to try to comply with vaguely written regulations. And there is no guarantee the county will let people use their land, even though someone just wants a small building for personal use or to grow a few crops for their family.

I’m voting for Pat Beehler for commissioner because he understands that the county can work for reasonable land preservation that is not needlessly burdensome to families. It’s time we had commissioners who recognize that people should be able to put up a building on their own land if they do so in a careful and safe way.

Please join me in voting for Beehler this election.

Republicans are all about spite

Paul Krugman’s recent column in The New York Times contained a comment that really struck home with me. Krugman wrote, “… at this point, the guiding principle of one of our nation’s two great political parties is spite pure and simple. If Republicans think something might be good for the president, they’re against it – whether or not it’s good for America.”

That comment took me back 20 years, to Kay Bailey Hutchison’s first election to the Senate. It was election night, Hutchison had won and was being interviewed by a TV reporter. Hutchison was euphoric, as she had every right to be. She had just been elected to the U.S. Senate.

The reporter asked what her agenda was going to be when she got to Washington. Hutchison clenched her fists and said, “I’m going to Washington, and I’m going to oppose everything Bill Clinton proposes.”

Not that she had an agenda of her own, only that she was going to oppose anything the president tried to do. If Clinton favored something, anything, she was going to oppose it.

I was disgusted then and I am disgusted now.

TERRELL CRAWFORD, Tumwater

Kingsbury helps city reach potential

For a University of Washington Tacoma policy class, I had the recent opportunity to shadow Olympia City Council Member Jeff Kingsbury. His interest in working with youth through Kids at Play, one of the programs at Capital Playhouse, made him a likable candidate to me for years. My stepdaughter, Lauren, would come home from play practice with a huge grin on her face and talk nonstop about him. He gets kids excited about theater and their own potential. Fast-forward nine years. Lauren is a drama major at WWU.

Kingsbury sits on the City Council and seeks re-election. He had all along been envisioning Olympia’s own potential. Safeway downtown has morphed into a skeleton of better things to come, including parking. Kingsbury has been diligently working alongside officials from Lacey, Tumwater and the county to provide opportunity, security and safety to individuals and families in our area. This is no easy task in tough economic times. It takes experience, fiscal responsibility and a passion to move forward. But what about this isthmus thing? I was on the fence to tell you. Having lived in Olympia for the last 25 years, I’ve gotten nostalgic about how things look and work around here. Yet, it could be better within reason. Council Member Jeff Kingsbury is for the isthmus, and he wants to keep Capitol Lake.

Make things happen by voting for Kingsbury, a candidate who sees the potential and is not indecisive in his vision to step forward.

KATIE COOK, Olympia

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