Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Oct. 21

School levy

We all want good schools

The bold red-and-black “Yes, it’s worth it” signs are out once again, this time asking you to renew the November technology and capital maintenance school levy.

The Vashon for Schools campaign created these bright and easy-to-read signs last year for the high-school bond campaign. Our intention is to reuse them for years to come as a symbol of our Island’s commitment to education.

Reusing them is also ecologically sound and fiscally responsible. You will see them again in February, when the district asks for a renewal of the four-year operations levy and potentially the revised high-school renovation bond.

The campaign team always asks for permission from property owners before posting the signs, and we make a point of taking them down immediately following an election. If you would like a sign for your yard, contact Shelley Dillon at 463-3256 or freshground@comcast.net, or pick one up on the front porch of her home, located at 19416 Beall Rd. S.W.

We all want great schools on this Island. With this levy renewal, the school district can use capital dollars (versus general-fund dollars, which pay for teachers and textbooks) to maintain buildings and provide technology to students and staff.

If we don’t pass it, the capital fund will be almost depleted by next year.

Please vote yes and mail in your ballot today. It’s worth it!

— Anne Atwell

Vashon for Schools campaign

It’s a step forward

The ballots in your mailbox ask you to help our schools and our children by approving a technology and maintenance levy for the Vashon Island School District. The leadership of VISD heard the community and created a technology and maintenance plan to address the basic needs at our schools. The levy provides the district with much-needed funding to operate and maintain our three-school campus. And it is something that must happen now.

This request seeks renewal of previous funding. The last technology and operations levy expired in 2007, so for the last two years, we have paid nothing to support this critical need of our schools. It is time for us all to once again step forward for our schools by voting yes.

To be clear, the money raised through this levy will fund instructional/operational technology, major repairs and preventive maintenance. It will not address the long-term capital infrastructure needs of our school system. The high school classrooms are still inadequate, the gym locker rooms still fail to meet basic life safety and ADA accessibility laws, and a number of the existing buildings are simply worn out. We will still need to deal with those challenges in the near future.

For now, though, the new levy will provide our public schools with resources necessary to keep functioning. The state of Washington is not adequately funding public education. Our community must take care of our school system by continuing to invest in our schools.

We ask you to vote “yes” on Nov. 3 for the school levy.

— Jon and Shannon Flora

Vashon Pool

Closure would not serve community well

We are saddened to read of the possible closure of the Vashon Pool. As siblings growing up on Vashon, summer meant one thing to us: the pool. Over the course of more than 20 years, the pool shaped our lives as much as any institution on the Island. We learned to swim, played, competed, lifeguarded, taught lessons and coached swim team at the pool. Because of the pool we know how to swim; because of the pool we know generations of Islanders.

The main purpose of a pool is safety, and the Vashon Pool excels at this. Everyone should know how to swim, and all children and adults should have the option to learn to swim in a safe environment, one which the county has provided on Vashon for decades through rigorous safety standards, maintenance, swimming lesson guidelines, training sessions and more. The community needs to provide this service to the public at large. It is a civic duty and a matter of public safety, especially on an Island.

The Vashon Pool goes beyond this central purpose, though, bringing together community members for exercise, health and recreation. It’s the only pool on the Island with the size for proper competitive swimming, and it also draws recreational swimmers for exercise and therapy. Water is important for those with injuries or disabilities; it allows your body to move in ways it can’t move on land, ways that help you heal both physically and emotionally. Finally, the pool is just plain fun. Water relaxes people; there is nothing like playing in the pool with your family and friends.

The pool fosters community on Vashon and keeps people safe. Please contact King County Executive Kurt Triplett at (206) 296-4040, and tell him to keep the Vashon Pool open.

— Philippa Koch, Chicago, and Dietrich Koch, Ann Arbor

Airport

Pilots should be polite

We wish good luck to each of the candidates for the two open airport commissioner positions and have read the statements submitted by all four candidates. However, it is clear none of the candidates seems to have much appreciation for the impact of certain private pilots who cruise Vashon skies, apparently without regard to those who live below their aerial maneuvers. We hope that whoever wins in the November contest will emphasize general rules of conduct for the pilots, including consideration for those of us on the ground who are frequently affected by “private flying” — a nonsense term, since flying in open airspace cannot be considered in any way “private.”

While we can appreciate having a local airport that could be valuable in an emergency and could save lives, we do not appreciate the behavior of some pilots who seem to think they own the sky and have no respect for the quietness of our rural environment.

A certain amount of air traffic in our skies is necessary and inevitable, and we have no objection to those who pass through on a journey from one place to another at a reasonably high altitude that minimizes their noise footprint and duration of their passage. However, there are others who do not conform to this use of our skies, and there are certain private airplanes that spend extended periods making noisy tight circles at low altitude over our neighborhood. We haven’t yet found any means of indicating the unhappiness of those of us who are subject to the excessively noisy and intrusive antics of such flyers.

The candidate who indicates a willingness to address these concerns will be the one this household will vote for. We hope that they each will address this issue in the next days before the November election.

— Roger & Emma Newby-Letestu

Road paving

Columnist got it wrong

Columnist Will North’s article about recent paving on the Island made some claims that, if true, should concern all taxpayers. So I did something he clearly did not — I talked to the people responsible. Here’s what I found out (preceded by his statements in quotation marks):

“The original asphalt was in fine condition and didn’t need covering in the first place,” Mr. North wrote.

Roads in unincorporated King County are inspected every two to three years (depending on the type of road), and scored according to a pavement rating system. Roads with a low score are repaved as funding becomes available. This prevents road failure, which requires expensive repairs. Roads that do not need to be repaved are not.

“I know how they’re going to pay for all that new asphalt ... the county will collect zillions in new speeding tickets,” he wrote.

Road maintenance and improvements are funded by the gas tax. Speeding tickets and other fines go to the current expense fund, which pays for things like law enforcement and public health.

“Pedestrian crosswalks will be painted again, weather permitting,” Mr. North wrote.

The crosswalks have temporary markings and are waiting for the hot plastic equipment to become available. This equipment is apparently on loan to cities.

“The county apparently decided this simple country road ... needed a shoulder. No one knows why,” Mr. North wrote.

The shoulder was paved in response to citizen requests. 

Perhaps Mr. North deemed that it would be amusing to poke fun at the people who work to keep our roads maintained and passable. It wasn’t.

— Henry Perrin

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