Letters to the Editor

Vashon Beachcomber Letters to the Editor | July 30

Primary election

Several positions determined then

I have been asked, “Why should I bother to vote in the primary? None of our legislators have opposition.”

We all need to take the time and effort to vote in the Aug. 12 primary election for several reasons.

First, we on Vashon and Maury islands have a real stake in who will be elected to be the State Lands Commissioner. Peter Goldmark is committed to seeing that Maury Island remains intact. Incumbent Commissioner Doug Southerland is not.

Also, state Supreme Court judges are generally elected in the primary since if they get 60 percent of the vote, they are automatically in. Picking judges is difficult, since they generally campaign below the radar. Read the Voter’s Pamphlet and newspapers and ask your lawyer friends for their opinions.

There are three seats on the court up for election. The Supreme Court is the highest court in our state and can play an important part in our lives.

Finally, even though our state legislators are unopposed, they need our affirmation in order to establish a standing that will serve them in future contests. Let’s show them by an overwhelming vote that we appreciate the great job they are doing for us.

— Jennie Hodgson

Preschool P-2 class

District’s decision was ‘knee-jerk’

We were saddened when we heard that due to dire budget concerns at Vashon Island School District, the Development Preschool P-2 class was cut for 2008-09.

The district says there are no 2-year-olds as yet identified for next year, although the program historically does fill by fall. Yet, we wondered how many Island residents even know the program is available. We sure didn’t.

Our son Shea was identified with a severe speech delay at 18 months and referred to Child Find at Chautauqua by our on-Island doctor. The P-2 class, Lynn Tilland and the other specialists were a literal lifeline for our family as we learned how to help our son. That is what “early intervention” is all about, and it has made all the difference.

But for some reason, this program has not been actively promoted by the school district. In fact, there is concern that an intentional decision not to promote the program may have been in place for some time.

You see, it costs money to help these kids and the school district does not get paid back by the state.

Budget times are tough. Yet where was the creative thinking, problem-solving and option gathering that was done for all our other beloved programs? Where was the connecting with parents, specialists and the community at large in a timely manner to warn us that it was on the chopping block?

Now, apparently it’s too late; P-2 is gone. Yet again, the district made an unpopular, controversial, knee-jerk decision without connecting with the community for broader consensus.

How disappointing.

— Shelley and Jake Dillon

Fourth of July

It’s time to write a new anthem

Do we need a new national anthem? Our dear, old 1814 “Star-Spangled Banner” vaunts “the perilous fight,” “the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air” — the glory of war.

But today, do most Americans believe in the glory of war?

I don’t think so. Many of us at long last know our government waged war in Central America, Southeast Asia and now in Iraq to protect corporate access to cheap labor and/or natural resources. Most of us truly believe only negotiation, dialogue, rsearch and understanding will stabilize our anxious world.

Perhaps Nel, our dog, our way-shower for forgiveness and love, is telling us something when on the Fourth of July she cowers and trembles as the skies fill with “bombs bursting in air.”

Those unearthly sounds tell our Nel and our horses before her one thing: The world is coming to a noisy, unstoppable end. And if we too believed this, wouldn’t we too be shaking in our boots?

But most of us hang on to a belief in a world without end, in a world that one day can find understanding and compassion among all its people.

Maybe some nifty English teacher can inspire kids to come up with a new anthem, one that would encourage peace and love and leave the glory of war to the history books.

Then those “bombaceous” fireworks would at last be irrelevant.

— Bee Bonow

Strawberry Festival

Why was Bank Road closed?

Another wonderful “Festival!” I’ve probably enjoyed about 60 of them, and I am always awed by and thankful for the amazing job done by so many volunteers and participants every year.

Never me, I must admit, so to complain at all does seem ungrateful, and for that I’m sorry.

Still, I’d like to know why west Bank Road was closed from 107th into town on Saturday with nary a mention in my twice-read Beachcomber and no activities that would seem to require safety precautions in that area.

Did that information just slip through the cracks? Or was it some emergency situation, peculiar to parade day? If so, a sign with some short explanation would have saved some unpleasantness.

Yes, we need extra-polite police presence at this time. But when I carefully pulled over to ask the King County representative why the road was unexpectedly closed, he accused me of trying to run him down, threatened to impound my car and take me to jail in handcuffs.

I’m afraid this did not scare me; it only made me mad. And when I asked his name, he just told me to get out of there, or else.

Yes, it can be a thankless job at times, and I was possibly the 75th person to question him. But I think there were lots of other folks who had planned to drive into town to the store, bank, post office or just to get closer to the action, who don’t walk long distances easily and don’t want to waste their pricey fuel driving way around.

I was just hoping that someone had a reasonable explanation. And if that’s the way it’s going to be at festival from now on, maybe we could be apprised of it before it’s too late, as it was this time for many of us.

Anyway, thanks again for a terrific job on the festival. I still enjoyed it as much as ever.

— Sharon Schoeppel

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