Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for March 25

Lawmakers failed to meet deadline

Sometime before our republic came to be, in fact many years prior, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, ruffled the togas of Rome’s senators by demanding reform. They challenged the Senate’s staid and self-preserving ways, and dared to call for equity and fairness.

Both were eventually shouted down and done in, so to speak, by street thugs it is said, hired out by self-reserving senators.

At this time, our legislators, asked by we the voters to act on our behalf, have once again failed to do their job on time. They called themselves (actually the governor did, but I’m sure they didn’t quibble) back to work, and I suspect will pay themselves handsomely for their overtime. This is the same group that has attempted to balance our budget by freezing wages, withholding a cost of living to thousands within our state.

I suspect that Tiberius and Gaius would have railed against this action (though senators in their day were not paid) by pointing out the again, self-serving purpose.

Patrician greed, avarice, and self-preservation swept the Gracchi aside. Do our legislators have a grasp on the same broom handle?


Tolmie park is a state asset

Transferring ownership of Tolmie State Park to Thurston County and the Nisqually tribe would be a mistake. Washington State Parks bought and developed this park more than 50 years ago because it met their vision for a system of state parks.

The agency doesn’t have statistics that say it is a local park. In fact, if local use was a factor, they would close Lake Sammamish and St. Edward’s state parks as both are metropolitan (Seattle) day-use parks that eat up considerably more of our state resources than Tolmie, with its one full-time equivalent employee.

If our county does not take ownership of Tolmie State Park, the park does not need to close, it will not move, it will not come under other ownership and it will not cost us anything. It will stay open and operating with other state parks to serve everyone in the state. We need to concentrate our efforts on the county parks we do own. When the move to pursue a transfer started last spring we were closing county parks (Burfoot and Frye Cove).

The Olympian reports Deschutes Falls County Park has been closed for at least 15 years. Does this make sense? There are many ways our dedicated county staff can help state parks without the total expense of owning Tolmie State Park.

Let’s concentrate our efforts on what we already own. Tolmie State Park is a state asset and a state responsibility.


Transit cuts have consequences

I found the editorial on Intercity Transit narrowly focused. It was limited to suggesting a couple of cuts Intercity Transit might make to avoid a tax increase. No attention was given to the consequences of the suggested cuts.

The Dash shuttle has demonstrably increased patronage of shops and restaurants downtown. Its frequency and convenience are the attractions. The regular bus is too infrequent to go downtown from the Capitol Campus during a lunch hour. Using a car is not convenient during lunch, also, especially in finding a place to park — a situation that would be exacerbated by discontinuation of the Dash.

It would be interesting to compare lost downtown patronage with the Dash operating cost.

Cutting frequency and hours of service (and routes) could result in persons unable to own cars being unable to get to work. More generally, ridership would drop, and car traffic would increase.

Building ridership on public transit is a slow process built on frequency, convenience, and reliability of service. It is a slow process, and the service has to be there to generate an increase in ridership. It would be hard to regain what we would lose if the suggested cuts were made.

The editorial, in three places, used offensive scare tactics — 50 percent tax increase is trumpeted. We’re talking about a three-tenths of one cent increase in a tax structure that would fall less on low-income folks than the rest of us who can well afford it to preserve good and increasing public transit ridership.


Time to move forward on NorthPoint

I have seen several letters to the editor regarding the development of NorthPoint, which is located in the general vicinity of KGY and the Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill restaurant on Port of Olympia property.

Much of this area was the former Cascade Pole site and has gone through immense environmental cleanup over the last 25-plus years.

After six years of input, it is now time to move forward with the conceptual design of what is best for that property.

In October, the port held three public open houses to obtain input on two conceptual layouts presented by MJR Development. That public open house process was held in Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, was widely advertised in the newspaper, on radio and via various other means of communications.

Only 69 people showed up to hear and provide input. That input was received, evaluated and a third conceptual design evolved. Now there is a push by an 11th-hour group for more process to slow down or even halt the project.

I would encourage readers to read the NorthPoint Web site at www.portolympia.com. With the economy as it is, now is the time to start planning for development that creates jobs, creates further tax opportunities (business and occupation, leasehold and lodging taxes) for cities and at the same time provide cleanup of a brown field and turn it into an economic development asset.

Parks and open spaces cost money to operate, but provide no revenue.

Georgia Roy, Lacey