Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: March 11

Middle East

If attacked, we’d try to find out why

In his letter regarding Israel’s assault on Gaza, Mr. Schwarz asks us what we would do if Gig Harbor were lobbing missiles onto Vashon Island.

Fair enough. First we would find out why someone over there is doing it. (Notice we don’t assume everyone over there supports this missile firing).

If our inquiries informed us that actually, all the people living in Gig Harbor used to live on Vashon; that our father’s generation had run them off at gunpoint; that they had been kept in Gig Harbor for 60 years surrounded by fences, denied political voice, denied freedom of movement, access to health care, food and water through Vashon’s enormous political influence, we’d see about making a deal.

What can we do to get the rockets to stop? Some Gig Harborites might say, “Nothing! We’ll keep fighting until Vashon is ours again.” But we guess we could find a majority open to negotiation and with them we’d fashion a workable deal with the radical missile lobbers.

We would lobby our government to break the blockade of Gig Harbor, work for their human rights and pay reparations for the land my father’s generation had stolen.

What we would not do is simply order Fort Lewis, Bangor and McCord Air Force Base to bomb and strafe Gig Harbor back to the stone ages.

Vashon, with our Big Brother, would “win.” But then we wouldn’t sleep at night.

— Kate Hunter and Jim Hauser

Library

K2 site provides parking, space

The Vashon-Maury Island Community Council will be surveying Islanders to choose a location for the library.

Moving the library to K2 Commons makes sense. It has enough space for expansion and plenty of parking. 

Keeping the library at Ober Park would likely mean paving over the wonderful bermed area we use for concerts, fairs and protected play space. Ober Park is beautifully designed for use, but it’s a small park and losing any of it is unacceptable. Building at Ober would be noisy and dirty during construction and would end up with less green space for all of us.

The main argument against K2 Commons seems to be convenience for errand runners. But let’s face it, Islanders are scattered all over, and almost all of us drive to errands in every corner of the island right now. We drive to ferries, to town, to Granny’s, the Country Club, the Sportsmen’s Club, Point Robinson, KVI, Agren Park and Center Forest, Dockton Park, Lisabuela, the dump, the Country Store, the Cemetery and on and on. The Commons is just as convenient and easy to get to as Mom’s or Dig across the street, and there’s ample parking. It’s on the main bus line, too.

New construction is wasteful of the resource we already have. Leaving the Commons empty and unused but instead building in the cramped space of Ober Park just doesn’t make sense. New building is more expensive; it’s noisy and dirty; it’s intrusive on green space and uses tons of energy-expensive and polluting concrete. We’re better off avoiding it. 

Wise use of resources favors the Commons over the library, and I urge my fellow Islanders to make that choice in the coming survey.

— Carla Kiiskila

Library should remain in town

I am writing in opposition to the proposed relocation of the Vashon public library. As relative newcomers to the Island, my partner Beverly Naidus and I were not part of the process that created the 1996 town plan. However, as previous residents of rural western Massachusetts, we appreciated the prominent placement of the town library at the core of the mountain villages in that area.

The library is a key site of the long-imperiled democratic public realm. Here on Vashon, it is also currently located so as to provide convenient access and thereby support for the many wonderful small businesses in the town core as well, particularly important now given the contracted state of the economy.

I very much agree with Dan Carlson’s comments concerning the wider implications of this decision about location. Several prominent economists have written recently about a shift away from suburbanizing trends toward the revitalization of urban and town centers, with an emphasis on enhancing pedestrian accessibility and efficient and ecological mass transit systems. The broad array of ominous conditions summarized by the phrases “global warming” and “peak oil” stand behind this shift as ecological imperatives.

I would argue that we also have a social imperative to support a concept of community development that encourages democratic and thoughtful citizen participation, as evidently went into the 1996 town plan, over a process controlled primarily by wealthy private developers on the one hand, and/or bureaucratic entities on the other.

I hope that if the upcoming poll of Vashon citizens demonstrates a majority opposed to the library relocation, that as many of as possible can work together with the King County Library System board, through the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council and its land use committee or in other ways, to craft development options that are truly in the general interest.

— Bob Spivey

Economy

Put kids to work pulling ivy

While our president is targeting to increase employment by four million, there is a much smaller plan I propose for Vashon Island.

Because of tight money, a number of youth will not be vacationing this summer but, rather, will be looking for a way to earn some money. Maybe they can stay here and earn a few bucks.

I propose that we employ some of these youth to improve our entire two Islands. We have two noxious weeds that scar our beautiful Islands. One is Scotch broom; the other is English ivy. Neither is useful. We could be the only place in King County able to brag about destroying these two noxious weeds while aiding our youth by providing them with a team effort of employment. The team concept would provide a means of leadership and discipline that is needed for this problem. Anyone having these weeds would contact a central source, and a team consisting of a leader and six or eight individuals would come to seek and destroy. Some equipment would be needed for Scotch broom, but most could be cut or pulled and treated with a weed killer, possibly. Ivy can be pulled, but it spreads over a large area as a ground cover. I am told that it blooms only on upright stems.

King County is now paying some individuals to remove ivy but has ignored our Islands. Perhaps there is money available from King County to fund our efforts. A team effort requires that all do their share and show up every scheduled day. It would be good training, good exercise and provide a great benefit to both Maury and Vashon islands.

— Bob Dixon

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