Stop building in floodplain
Residents in the Chehalis River Basin have lived through major floods for more than 10,000 years.
Business owners and homeowners expect permanent, government-funded solutions to Chehalis River flooding issues. This is too much to expect given that Chehalis Basin business owners and homeowners freely choose to develop within the Chehalis River floodplain knowing the area’s history of seasonal flooding.
Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority members once again demonstrated their incompetency and lack of fiscal responsibility by ordering a second round of studies to determine the viability of dams on the upper Chehalis River. Authority members are proceeding with these studies knowing that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not contribute to funding them.
As more residential and commercial development occurs in the Chehalis River floodplain, more new and existing structures will be damaged by flooding. In addition, the aging levees that were constructed for 50-year flood events provide a false sense of security, because they have never been maintained and will continue to fail.
Homeowners and the business owners in the Chehalis River Basin have suffered greatly from recent floods due in large part to their ill-advised construction in a floodplain, and to very poor land use policies by elected representatives for their personal and political gain.
To expect that government can and will “control” natural Chehalis River processes with engineered solutions and that local taxpayers will continue to fund these ineffective, costly high-maintenance projects is way beyond reality.
JAMES WILCOX, Olympia
Don’t let the minority rule
I voted against Initiative 960 because it allows far less than a majority to run our government. You can disagree with what the majority wants, but we are a majority rule form of government.
Those who suggest legislators overruled the will of the people ignore a few critical points. Washington law allows a Legislature to amend an initiative after two years. Our Legislature followed the law. I-960 changed Washington’s constitution when it allowed 34 percent of the Legislature to impose policies on the majority. Constitutional changes must be done by referendum.
The Supreme Court didn’t rule, they punted. Not one letter writer has addressed why they said nothing when our legislators amended initiatives on classroom size, teacher pay or home care training. Are you OK with overturning the “will of the people” only some of the time?
Why was it done? We are in difficult economic times with revenues falling sharply when demands are increasing.
Asking taxpayers to shoulder some of the huge shortfall is far more fair than a limited number shouldering the entire shortfall.
Blaming those who use services claiming they are on drugs is just a lack of compassion. Fifteen percent of the shortfall will be closed by taxes. Sounds like more cutting was the majority action as the voters expected.
Everyone who voted for I-960 should ask if they want to have a government that is ruled by 34 percent of voters or legislators.
You know that’s not the democracy you heard about in civics class.
DENNIS MAHAR, Olympia
Precharge diversion is a solid program
A number of articles have been written recently regarding precharge diversion program of the county prosecutor’s office alleging the following:
• There is no due process for the clients.
• It’s a way for client to buy their way out of court — get out of jail for a fee.
• It’s a cash cow for Friendship Diversion Services, and the only function they provide is collecting money.
• That the fees range from $750 to $1,200, and with no treatment or program components.
First and foremost, many if not most of the clients referred to Friendship have limited resources. In other words, not much money and little leverage within the criminal justice system. Each client is advised at the initial contact they can seek legal advice before deciding to enter into a diversion contract. They are given a reasonable amount of time to do so.
The actual cost for the program is $250, along with a sliding scale component given the client’s resources. They are required to perform community service, pay fines and restitution, complete various programs, and are referred to drug/alcohol counseling. If they complete the requirements, the charge is usually dismissed.
To me, this appears to be a cost-efficient and due process driven approach to a system that is overburdened with felony cases, and extremely expensive to operate.
Our prosecutor and Friendship deserve our thanks as opposed to the lack of factual statements in the past couple of letters to the editor.
R. GARY HERNESS, Olympia
Corporations are not citizens
The founding fathers of our nation wrote laws to benefit individuals, not companies or corporations. Common sense should show that Wal-Mart is not a person. How can the majority of our Supreme Court justices be so wrong? Is their job to interpret laws based on right and principle or to interpret laws based on the wishes of those who appointed them?
WILLIAM CURTIS, Lacey