Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for April 4

McKenna is wrong on lawsuit

The majority of this blue state clearly supports health care reform. The governor representing state agencies supports health care reform. Who is Attorney General Rob McKenna representing by his new grandstand play for media attention?

McKenna’s chief complaint seems to be that the bill “unconstitutionally imposes new requirements on our state and on its citizens.” Did he oppose sending our National Guard troops to Iraq and Afghanistan? Does he oppose collecting taxes for roads, hospitals, schools, forest service and police?

He certainly does not represent the uninsured of Washington, nor those who struggle keep up with their 35-plus percent raise in insurance premiums and co-pays.

Perhaps he represents the insurance people who are outraged by the requirement that they actually must cover everyone. Surely the greedy insurers feel the heat when they can no longer penalize people or strip them of coverage once they have a condition requiring actual payment for care.

A man so concerned with ethics and principles should recognize the duplicity of his posturing. He needs to fire his political advisers and resign from the attorney general’s office if he wants to campaign for governor. If he wants to keep his job, then he needs to withdraw this politically motivated lawsuit.


McKenna listening, Gregoire isn’t

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s quote upon hearing that Attorney General Rob McKenna has joined 12 other states to challenge the constitutionality of the health care bill that was passed. She said, “I don’t know who he represents. He doesn’t represent me.”

Well, governor, how does it feel when the shoe is on the other foot?

She said exactly what I and many of my family, friends and neighbors said when the governor was elected, but unfortunately we’re stuck with Gregoire and the rest of the Democratic majority that won’t listen to the people that they supposedly represent.

It seems that McKenna is the only one in the current administration who is paying attention to his constituents on this issue and I applaud him.


Federal education policy is flawed

The “No Child Left Behind, law, I think, should be listed as “Another Child Left to Live Off the Taxpayers.”

No matter what the present ruling governmental body does to change the federal policy the damage by the Bush years cannot be undone. If a child, and we include their parents, fails to understand the need to follow the rules, put forth the work necessary in order to make it to the next grade and beyond then that child should be failed and made to repeat that grade.

I am not saying that the majority of children fall into this category, but you know who you are. The federal policy has done nothing but provide a fast track to a nowhere existence.

It’s little wonder that we are now falling fast down the scale of educational items among the industrialized nations.


Catholics are taught to love one another

As Catholics, graduates of local Catholic schools, and now as the parents of a kindergartner in Catholic school, we were deeply saddened and troubled to read about the Denver Archdiocese’s decision to decline re-enrollment to two children of a lesbian couple at the Sacred Heart of Jesus parochial school in Boulder, Colorado.

The Denver Archdiocese’s decision conflicts with the basic tenants of the Catholic education we received, where, first and foremost, we were taught to love one another.

The Denver Archdiocese’s decision is directed at two children, ages three and five. We, the people of the church, called upon to be the living body of Christ, must ask how Jesus would want us to proceed. We cannot fathom that he would turn his back on these children. Jesus admonished his own disciples who sought to turn away children, saying, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

We commend the bravery of the staff and families of Sacred Heart of Jesus who have spoken out against this injustice. Our hope is that these acts in Colorado will lead to increased dialogue among Catholics nationally, and ultimately be a catalyst for change. While the Seattle Archdiocese has not publicly responded to the expulsion of these children, we hope and pray that children in our community, and their families, continue to be welcomed into the church and our Catholic schools in the true spirit of Catholicism and love.


Cost is not a constitutional question

The first words out of Attorney General Rob McKenna’s mouth at a recent rally were, “How are we going to pay for health care reform?”

When did paying for something become a constitutional issue?

If the Republicans are so concerned about the cost of the health care reform law why don’t they repeal the Bush tax cuts for the rich? Two years worth of those tax cuts would almost pay for the $900 billion health care law.


McKenna doesn’t represent Washingtonians

So our attorney general, Rob McKenna, has decided to join forces with other mostly Republican state attorneys general to mount a legal challenge to the new health care law passed by Congress.

They filed the lawsuit in federal court, alleging that the law is unconstitutional.

What a mistake this is for Washington.

The roll of the state attorney general is to protect the citizens of the state from unfair business practices, and to represent the state’s interest in litigation. The lawsuit as filed does not represent the interests of the citizens of Washington.

In the 2008 general election Washingtonians voted by a substantial margin for President Barack Obama and most of the Democratic congressional candidates. In that election, candidate Obama made it clear that one of his high priorities was the implementation of universal health care for the country. The voters of Washington approved the president with full knowledge of this vital goal.

How can our attorney general now maintain that a challenge to this law somehow lies within the state’s general interest? If he wants to bring such an appeal, he should do so in his private capacity, and not as a representative of the citizens of Washington.


Health care reform for greater good of the nation

Thanks to courageous leaders who, in the face of personal attacks from their colleagues and violent behavior from citizens, nevertheless voted for the greater good, we finally have health care for all Americans.

There is no more important issue.

My husband and I are blessed in having good coverage ourselves. However, just last year, my own brother died due to lack of health care coverage.

I have watched the lies and discourtesies promoted by the minority during the debate with disgust. It should not have been so hard. But it was. And I want to thank my own representative, Congressman Adam Smith, for his courage and competence in doing his homework and taking this important step.


Why isn’t professor prosecuted?

Once again, The Evergreen State College is appearing to hold itself and its employees above the rules and laws that apply to common folk living in the area.

According to a recent Olympian article, Jorge Gilbert was unable to account for over $50,000 he personally collected in student fees between 2003 and 2008. Jorge was still a professor at TESC when the unaccounted for funds were discovered.

For most businesses, and most government agencies, if you lost $500 or $5,000 it would be grounds for dismissal followed by full prosecution under the law, let alone $50,000.

Not so for Gilbert.

He negotiated a settlement under which TESC dropped all lawsuits and any disciplinary action, and he agreed to retire. He did repay $23,579 that TESC had paid out to students to reimburse some of their expenses for a trip to Chile.

Not surprisingly, Gilbert paid the money with a cashier’s check. If that was part of the missing $50,000, he only has a little over $26,000 left to account for as he draws his retirement.

An ethics probe is being undertaken. However, any violations found will not be considered criminal violations.

As TESC is state property, I understand why the county sheriff cannot take action unless requested by the college.

However, I don’t understand why the State Patrol, auditor, or attorney general haven’t taken action. Isn’t there somebody with jurisdiction to charge and prosecute what allegedly could be considered embezzlement without having to get TESC’s permission?


Republicans support big corporations’ campaign donations

When court decisions protect civil rights and the environment, Republican leaders object to activist judges who legislate from the bench.

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court majority — appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — overturned a century of settled law and made the radically extreme ruling that businesses can spend unlimited amounts of money on election campaigns.

People watching the Supreme Court testimony recognized that instead of merely considering the case before them, the Republican justices raised new issues that led the testimony into new areas. The justices did this so they could impose the radically sweeping ruling they intended to make. These right-wing activist judges truly were legislating from the bench.

Decent Americans who support fair elections are still outraged two months later, but I have never heard a peep from any Republican Party leader.

Likewise, many conservatives want to deny loving, committed gays and lesbians from marrying, but they allow big businesses to merge into giant corporations that are too big to fail. These conservatives make the taxpayers bail them out instead of enforcing anti-trust laws that were passed a century ago to make sure businesses really compete instead of forming monopolies.

The Republican Party denounces court decisions that protect human rights and the environment as judicial activism and legislating from the bench, but they are eerily silent when its own U.S. Supreme Court justices do this to give big business even more power.

Apparently, the Republican Party thinks big business does not have enough influence over Congress.


Support fire district annexation

We have a great opportunity in our community to expand democracy.

I am referring to the upcoming annexation election of our Fire District 3.

By passing this annexation, voters in Lacey will be able to vote on future fire district issues. This is not the case now.

This election is not about land annexation. It is simply a melding of two fire jurisdictional boundaries.

These districts are better together. Please vote yes for annexation on April 27.

SANDRA ROMERO, Thurston County commissioner

Pay attention to details, context

Leonard Pitts made his contribution to the growing volume of anti-Glenn Beck vitriol with his column entitled “Flee the church that doesn’t preach social and economic justice” published in The Olympian on March 23rd.

In the midst of venting his overdeveloped spleen, Pitts makes some of the same mistakes Beck does — over-generalizing and under-explaining. By the end of his diatribe, Pitts and his entourage of quotables accuse Beck of being against everything from the poor, the vulnerable, and education reform, to Martin Luther King and other various preachers involved in the anti-abortion movement.

Yet Pitts completely flouts his responsibility as a listener.

The fact is, just like any expression, social justice has a variety of meanings — some of which, just like Beck suggests, are at odds with orthodox Christianity.

The reason I and many others don’t flee from our respective churches when our pastors speak of social justice is because we’ve taken the time to understand what the speakers mean, not because it would never be appropriate to do so.

Granted, Beck’s general argument proceeding — because Nazis and Communists used the words “social justice,” we should then attribute the beliefs of Nazism and communism to anyone else who uses those words — can come off sounding a little like Adolf Hitler likes black coffee — you like black coffee, therefore you’re a little Hitler.

But a little patience, a little attention to detail, and a lot less demagoguery would probably yield a more sophisticated, nay, congenial response.


Throw out the Democrats

The president of the United States is not the second coming of Christ, and the Democrat majority in Congress is not the host of angels who will accompany him when he comes.

However, they apparently believe they are, and, in the process, they’re bringing us heaven here on Earth.

It’s a sad state of affairs when our elected officials, who obviously think they know what’s best for us, lose sight of the fact that our Constitution actually provides for a government of “We the people.”

Many Democrats are now coming out of the closet to identify themselves as progressives (read socialists). They believe only a certain elite (themselves) have the intelligence, and the competence, to determine what’s best for us. Everything from the fat in our restaurant French fries, to the food our children eat at school, and soon, how much heat we can have on in our house, and when we can have it on, must be determined by a committee of highly-trained, government employed, specialists. Next on their agenda — amnesty. Social justice is their byword.

Well, a substantial majority of the American people our fed up with the Obama administration, and the Democrat majority, after less than two years. We need to elect people to office who are not looking for a lifetime sinecure, regardless of political affiliation — Democrat (doubtful, they’re all progressives), independents, Libertarians, Republicans — to replace the current crop of Democrats and those Republicans who are nothing more than Democrat-lites.


Silence is not the answer

Nightly news has been following the most recent sexual abuse scandal facing the Catholic church — this time reaching all the way to the pope.

It seems that Pope Benedict XVI, when presiding over the Archdiocese of Munich, was involved in moving a criminal priest back into ministry, thus allowing additional children to be abused. The pope claims he was not involved in the decision to move the priest back into ministry, even though he was in charge.

Either Pope Benedict is hiding the truth, or he is incompetent. Since this is basically the same scenario played over and over again by at least two thirds of our current bishops, some have suggested that there is a systemic problem with our current church leadership.

It has been suggested that the problem is directly related to the quality and quantity of men seeking and being selected for ordained ministry. A good friend of mine who left the priesthood to marry after 15 years of service put it this way, regarding those coming to the seminary: “The great ones never come and most of the good ones leave.” Could celibacy be the problem?

Our church needs the best possible candidates for ordained leadership. Until we are ready to include married men and women in the selection process, we will continue to have second rate leadership and ever growing scandals.

Remaining silent will not solve this problem!

TOM HILL, Olympia