Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor

Community council

It’s your local government; use it

At the last Vashon-Maury Island Community Council (VMICC) board meeting, a couple came to ask for help dealing with people shooting rifles and setting off fireworks in Island Center Forest.

They talked about what steps they had taken to end this behavior and their frustration that these activities still continue. Kyle Cruver of the public safety committee is going to look into this. We have King County Fire Chief LaVielle coming to our June 16 general meeting to talk about fireworks, the legal and illegal ones. We have King County Sheriff Rahr also coming to talk about how the King County budget affects public safety on our Island. This is a perfect time to come and ask your questions directly to the people in charge of public safety for Vashon.

I was glad to see this couple come to the board meeting. The VMICC is our only form of local government. Let’s use it.

Come to the general meetings and/or the board meetings. Tell us what is happening — the good, the bad and the ugly. We may not be able to solve the problem, but we certainly have enough resources to get the situation looked into by the right group of people. Whatever is bothering you is also a problem for other Islanders. Let your voices be heard. Let’s start a community discussion on any topic of interest.

Board meetings are the first Monday of the month at 7:15 p.m. General meetings are the third Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Both are held at Courthouse Square.

— Hilary Emmer

Vashon-Maury Island Community Council board member

Initiative 1000

Pass the law for me, if not for you

What is wrong with planning in advance to end your life when all communication is gone and you are not able to dress, eat or clean yourself? To me, ending my life at that time is a loving and compassionate act. That choice would save my family from the grief of observing, yes, and paying too, for a loved one’s unhappy situation.

It is my opinion that the proposed law, patterned after a successful law in Oregon, does not go far enough. In Oregon’s law, as in Washington’s proposed measure, two physicians must certify that the patient is within six months of death, the patient must be rational at that time and declare a desire to end his or her life and state that desire at two separate times. Six months before death is an arbitrary time, nearly impossible to guess with accuracy. I want my condition to be the deciding factor.

Death after a long and full life is not to be dreaded. It is just the next step into whatever you believe in. This bill does not ask that you agree with its terms, just that you allow me to follow my end-of-life desires. I have a personal experience to relate.

My father was a strong, independent man. He made it clear to his family that he wanted death rather than to live dependently without hope of ever getting better. He eventually suffered a stroke that was debilitating physically and left him unable to speak.

While enduring 18 months of nursing home care, he tried to kill himself by slashing his throat with a common table knife. No one could lawfully help him. He finally died of kidney failure.

I am rational now and want to plan ahead for when I may not be rational or in control. Please help pass this law for me, if not for you, even though I do not think it goes as far as it should. It is better than nothing, and you are not required to use it.

— Dorothy Johnson

Aquaculture

More questions must be answered

Regarding the letter to the editor in the May 28 Beachcomber entitled “Local seafood” describing “aquaculture as a win-win situation” — more information is needed before decisions are made about shellfish aquaculture. Let’s not make the same mistakes as were made back in the 1980s regarding floating fish pen aquaculture, which was encouraged by Washington State Department of Agriculture but resulted in many problems in marine ecosystems.

What are the effects of shellfish farming on the intertidal and subtidal communities of animals and plants? Will shellfish aquaculture alter the composition of eelgrass beds and other important nearshore habitats? What will be the effect on the food chain: the orca that depend on the salmon that depend on the forage fish that depend on the intertidal areas? What are the impacts of harvesting farmed shellfish?

What are the implications of shellfish farming for the health of wild existing shellfish populations? Could hatchery broodstock for seeding aquaculture reduce genetic diversity among the wild populations? Might this make the wild populations less resistant to shellfish diseases? Less adaptable to the range of conditions in Puget Sound? Less adaptable to climate change? What shellfish parasites and diseases might be introduced into the wild populations?

Possible problems of shellfish farming should be carefully examined to reduce the potential for unwanted consequences to the Puget Sound ecosystem.

— Pat Collier

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