Glad to help keep parks open
The Legislature is looking for ways to maintain services for Washington residents. Trying to solve the budget problems for our more than 100 state parks, rather than closures, temporary or permanent, is a big challenge.
In the days of surplus, the parks agency operated with a $100 million annual allotment, a smaller state entity. Recent reductions to $52 million sent the agency scrambling.
Two auto license renewal methods have brought in cash for parks. It is estimated that $1.1 million was generated between January 2008 and June of 2009 when auto owners could voluntarily add $5 to their renewal fee. Requiring auto owners to opt out rather than contribute an additional $5, a shift beginning in July of this year, produced a dramatic and much needed boost: September alone raised $1.17 million. (The federal Cash for Clunkers program caused higher than normal new car licensing.)
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One month under the current program surpassed the income from 18 months of the “opt in” trial.
Income will vary per month as a different number of renewal notices are mailed. Car owners can renew as soon as the notice is received, producing a small, early boost to parks. Individuals, of course, can still check the box opting out of the parks contribution.
Me? I’m glad to contribute to keep all our parks open. And when I visit the newest, Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island, or Schafer State Park near Aberdeen, I’ll stick another $10 in the donation box. It’s a good investment.
SANDRA WORTHINGTON, Olympia
Where would discrimination stop?
I recently read Alec Beal’s letter on why gays cannot redefine marriage. After reading his opinion on Referendum 71, I was bothered.
In his letter, Beal talked of how gays shouldn’t be allowed to redefine marriage, citing the Bible which specifically says marriage is between man and woman. Even with this being true, the fact is most gays do not follow the Bible, so why should they be forced to live by its rules?
What it got down to was Beal stating he believes gays should be forced to live under the rules of his God and that he opposes anything that conflicts with his Christian views.
In response to this I ask, “Why only gays?” The Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist religions all hold views contradicting Christianity, however I’m sure Beal is not so disgusted people are allowed to practice these faiths. Saying gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry is no different than saying Jews should be forced to recognize Jesus as the Messiah; it’s forcing Christian views upon another group of people.
I’m a junior at Capital High School, and let me tell you I am not gay, nor is anyone I know.
Plain and simple, my views aren’t biased. I don’t know any gay people. However, this injustice continues to anger me.
If Beal lived in an area where he was a minority as a Christian, how would he feel if someone opposed a law allowing him to practice his faith?
CAMERON SEIB, Olympia
Voters made a mistake in electing Obama
I cringe now when I see the president approach the podium.
The lofty rhetoric that once lifted my hopes now rings hollow as campaign promises fall broken along the path to same old stuff.
Trillions of dollars given to corporate welfare, transparency opaquing behind closed doors, endless deficit war spending sucking the life out of the American dream and deficit neutral faux health care reform selling us out to the private insurance companies makes “change” just another word for nothing left to lose.
I gave money for the first time ever to the spirit and tenor of Barack Obama’s “change campaign” in concert with Michelle’s (say it like it is) backbone. The pair represented a clarion call to recover the American values lost to the extremist smash and grab capitalism of the Bush years. I donated my $100 before I learned that Wall Street was filling Obama’s Cabinet positions.
The people have access to the White House once every four years. Wall Street, war machine CEOs, generals, health care CEOs, pharmacy and insurance CEOs, have access to the president’s ear whenever they want. The people spoke loud and clear at the 2008 presidential election. Their next opportunity to access the White House will be in 2012.
If Obama loses track of the people’s message during that period, then to paraphrase Bill Cosby, we the voters brought you into this job and we the voters can take you out.
Incidentally, I want my money back.
ALLEN ZIMMERMAN, Olympia