Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 20

Soldier watched birth via Internet

Thanks to the dedicated staff of Capital Medical Center and the cooperation of the U.S. Army, an army sergeant stationed in Iraq was able experience the birth of his second child via the Internet using Skype, a real-time video and audio program.

The sergeant was able to communicate with his wife throughout labor and delivery with the use of a laptop computer at the woman’s bedside. He watched as his new daughter got assessed and bathed; got to see her long eyelashes, and know that everyone was healthy.

Special kudos to Laurinda Elgin, the hospital’s neonatal nurse practitioner and military wife who has expertise in computers. She spent many hours talking with Army staff and Capital’s information technology staff to arrange this feat.

As a registered nurse in this department, I feel it is an honor to be involved with the administration and staff that supported this event and enabled it to happen.

Our troops deserve it.


Baird failed his constituents

I am a small business owner with no health insurance. I, like more than 55 percent of Americans, want a public option.

I am very, very disappointed in Rep. Brian Baird’s “no” vote on health insurance reform.

I’m glad it passed anyway, even without the vote of my representative. I think it is high time Congressman Baird just quit the charade and join the GOP.

He obviously does not care to represent the interests of his constituents, a majority of whom wanted a “yes” vote on this bill.

On his own Web site he cites how he is disappointed the bill was not watered down enough for the Republican side of the aisle — also known as the party representing the insurance industry.

I cannot wait for his re-election so I can actively support another Democratic candidate in the next primary. I hope that my fellow Democrats will do the same.

Brian Baird must go.


Port is on the wrong cleanup course

On Oct. 26, the Port of Olympia Commission granted $158,000 to address “defects” and “non-comformatives” at East Bay.

The port also granted $60,000 to assess the log yard. Heavy machinery depresses the pavement and material emerges through cracks. The port peninsula is built on wood debris now decomposing and compacting.

The soil also is contaminated with dioxin and other persistent bioaccumulative toxins. Ideally, when we encounter a site such as East Bay, we’d analyze many samples down to and including the water table. We’d do fate and transport modeling. We’d develop a plan based on what we’ve learned and then pursue remediation. Then and only then would we begin development.

But we have a different plan for East Bay. We’re going to sample soil from the ditches we dig in the process of burying utilities and leave the majority of soil unsampled and in place.

Contrary to irrepressible verbalism from all concerned parties, this is not a cleanup. We’re relying on a hodgepodge of sidewalks, buildings, streets and plazas to act as a defacto cap to protect the public.

Now put these two pictures together. You’ve got a plan based on various structures staying put, and you’ve got soil all around that seems to periodically turn into mush.

The port should abandon this sample-as-you-go experiment and follow established methods proven to provide the most cost effective and permanent solutions. To continue on the current pathway will cost the community dearly.


Legislature showed lack of imagination

Several weeks ago in an editorial The Olympian expressed disappointment over the 2009 legislative session and lawmakers’ inability to be creative in addressing the significant budget shortfall.

I am also frustrated and disappointed in the lack of imagination and courage shown by the Legislature.

Not to downplay the pain of the recession for many, if there was any silver lining to the recession it was that it presented an opportunity to not concede to business as usual. Just as many families had to sit around the kitchen table and make financial decisions that ran from the mundane to the traumatic. The Legislature should have followed suit and made more of the opportunity.

Instead, among many other shortsighted moves, lawmakers savaged the higher education system placing a “tax” on the public by forcing colleges to raise tuition by 28 percent over the next two years. More should have been on the table, such as a review of the 400-plus special interest tax cuts some of which have outlived their usefulness.

They should have consolidated school districts to reduce administrative overhead, and pursued other ideas too numerous to list here.

One last message to the Legislature for 2010: Courage, please.