Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Nov. 18

Green jobs

Pass acts that support green-collar positions

We’ve heard a lot of talk lately about green jobs — that they’re coming any day now, that they offer new hope for the future, that they’ll simultaneously turn the economy around and save the planet. Collective reaction is often one of callous cynicism.

Sure, we’ve heard this all before, in the ’60s, in the ’80s. But what if what they were saying back then were doubly true today? If we followed this path not taken — the work of doing well by doing good — what possibilities might unfold for our fractured nation? What if green really is the new black?

It gives one hope, in a time fraught with hopelessness. Imagine having a job that not only pays you to do something positive for the planet, but almost certainly holds the key to turning around an ecosystem on the brink of collapse. I know folks would certainly embrace that opportunity here on Vashon, and likely throughout the Northwest.

Hats off to Congressman Jay Inslee, who has been amongst the more outspoken advocates for retooling our minds and industries around a clean, green future. Let’s urge Senators Cantwell and Murray to be equally bold leaders in ensuring that we pass the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act immediately.

— Kyle Cruver

Veteran’s Day

Patriotism is more than loving nation

As we honor our nation’s veterans, especially in our present times of two wars, we should also anchor our sights toward our highest ideals.

I was invited to the Island’s Veterans of Foreign Wars to celebrate this Veterans Day. Since my arrival to Vashon 15 months ago, I’ve met many veterans and have gotten to know a few personally.

I was sent a moving Marine Corps video, and, being a Marine, I was touched and moved to tears. I love the Corps. I love my country. Unfortunately, our valiant warriors are often misused by our politicians as unleashed pit bulls to fight illegal and immoral slaughter on other nations; in my time it was “the commies are coming”; now it’s under the guise of “the fight against terrorism.”

What Marines and Americans need to focus on is how slowly we are losing our precious rights and country. When the real enemies are in our government and corporations, it is patriotic to challenge them.

Patriotism is more complicated that merely “loving one’s country.” It also means defending it from the cancer from within.

Brothers and sister Marines, and other services folks coming home in black bags in vain, again, just like they did from Vietnam. When, oh God, will we learn?

War is not theater; it is destruction on both sides. No one wins. Were enemy boats out in Puget harbor, give me my weapon, a radio and a squad of Marines — and we‘d know what to do. But what we’re doing in Iraq and Iran is wrong!

I pray we live long enough to see the error in this mess.

— Eppie Wilson

Tourism

We don’t need branding

The gathering to discuss making Vashon a winter tourist destination was nicely done and seemed to present both sides quite well. It wasn’t until someone suggested that perhaps the residents of Vashon should have a vote on whether we wanted to proceed with the idea that the crux of the discussion appeared. 

One business owner, quite hotly, pointed out that the general residency had no business telling businesses how to advertise.

In reality, we are not trying to restrict how Island businesses advertise. We are objecting to Island businesses “branding” our Vashon as a tourist trap, even for the slow winter months. And there is really no such thing as a seasonal “brand.” Brands are year-round and forever, whatever your intentions. 

— Dana Hofman

Mentor-referee program

Thanks to all the youths

This is in response to last week’s Beachcomber article about the mentor-referee program.

This is my first year of coaching in the boys Under-10 mod league for Vashon Island Soccer Club. I wanted to write and express my appreciation to all the youths who took the time on Sunday afternoons to officiate our games and go through this wonderful training program.

I appreciated the professionalism and enthusiasm that these referees in training brought to each and every game. I also liked that the actual games became their learning environment as they often worked with an experienced adult who would meet with them during halftime and provide feedback. Just as a player would develop their skills with playing time, these young refs had the opportunity to do the same thing, and they grew in confidence as the season went along.

As a coach or a very involved parent, it is easy to get caught up in the emotions of an intense game situation and test our skills in the art of persuasion. However, we must all remember that this is a learning environment for everyone involved, including the referee. Part of this is accepting the final decision and supporting a ref who is in sixth-, seventh- or eighth-grade so they will want to come back next season and keep doing something they love.

It is obvious to me that these student-refs have a lot of respect for what they do in the first place.

— Kevin Ross

Pickup attempt

Kids shouldn’t take rides

I’d like to respond to Michael Kleer’s letter of Oct. 28, suggesting adults should be able to give kids they don’t know rides. I’m 53 years old, and when I was about 5 my mother taught me not to talk to strangers and never, never get into a stranger’s car. My mom is now 85. When I was a few years older, she also told me of an experience she had when she was about 16. That’s 1940.

She was walking home from school. It was cold and snow was falling. A man whose car she recognized and had seen around her neighborhood stopped and offered her a ride. She said no but he was kind and convinced her to get in. Stopping short of her home, he put his arm on the seat behind her and said, “I have a gun pointed at you.” Well, my mom’s scrappy, so she clocked him and got out of the car. Most young girls wouldn’t do that.

My point is simple. This subject is nothing new. Parents have been teaching kids this lesson for many, many years and will continue to do so for many, many more. Vashon is not exempt. You can be as sad as you want about it, but if this makes you sad how would you feel if the person we’re speaking of did abduct the girl? You can also quote all the stats you like, but there is no parent I know (as a child or as a parent myself) who is willing to risk his or her child being the “one in a million.” How about you? Are you a parent, and if so, do you tell your kids that it’s fine to take rides from strangers?

Think about it.

— Brian Dougher

Dancing

Photo was inappropriate

I have never been to a school dance and seen the hip hop dance of grinding, but my teen insists that it’s just dancing and is a misunderstood perception by adults.

I’ll have to say, the picture in The Beachcomber above the dancing article is an interesting choice. Isn’t it all about perception? This is what the kids are arguing about. They feel they are doing nothing wrong; adults say, “I don’t care what you think,” (otherwise they would have given the teens a chance to talk) and then we turn right around and throw it back in their faces.

When it comes to articles on sensitive subjects for any parties, please be aware of other pictures and/or articles printed around it.

— Shannon Shinn

Teens, be rational

I’d like to share some thoughts with Island teens, in light of the dance decision process.

I was in your shoes 20 years ago, and I remember it well. I felt endlessly irritated by the top-down power structure. But, do you imagine that this will change when you become an adult? Sorry...not really.

Honestly, complaining that “your voice wasn’t heard” is something I hear from adults in political or work-related conversations all the time. This is the real world — the natural world. The power you can exercise is choosing how to respond to an unequal power situation.

For example, you can cling to the “this is all we like — nothing’s wrong with it — you’re all crazy — we won’t go to dances anymore” approach. If so, you’ll have plenty of company in the adult world. Or you can gracefully accept the situation and figure out how to have fun within the limits that are placed upon you.

Eli Hoyt mentions that the dances are major fundraisers for the student leadership cabinet. He’s predicting low turnout at “grindless” dances, less income and loss of programs. Guess what? You see a reason to whine; I see an opportunity to practice the skills of campaigning. Figure out what you can give to your target audience!

You want a fun dance: Pass out a survey and get folks to tell you what they’d enjoy. It’s easy to complain and criticize someone else’s efforts; the adult world does that ad nauseum. However, are you flexible and free enough to move on and figure out a solution that your peers appreciate?  Now, that takes ingenuity.  Please consider making the most of your social gatherings that involve music and dance rather than sacrificing them just to make a point.

— March Twisdale

VHS made good decision

I commend Eli Hoyt for his “grinding” article and can understand his being troubled by the recent decision, particularly not being part of the process.

I also somewhat understand the opinion expressed by Chris Ott in his letter — any type of dancing is going to be potentially erotic, and that’s normal. Why get hot and bothered?

After all, I recall very vividly my disgust when Sister Patricia Marie informed me with ruler in hand that, based on her calculations, I was way too close to my date during a slow dance and needed to split apart.

I have to say, however, Mr. Ott’s comparison of the grinding of today with the slow dance experience in his day is like comparing the iPod to a Victrola. It’s frankly quite difficult, even with an open mind, to consider grinding merely a harmless way of “expressing ourselves.”

As to whether grinding is or isn’t for the most part an inappropriate simulation of a sex act, at least at the high school level (and middle-school level, as I have heard), I have to invoke once again Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s response when attempting to define porn — “You know it when you see it.”

 I applaud Vashon High School and the district for making such a courageous decision, one that’s bound to bring about a considerable amount of angst.

— Tim McTighe

Choose your battles

We are fortunate to live in a community where people like Lisa Betz and Leslie Brown are not only concerned for the well-being of their own teenagers, but for that of all Vashon teens. However, since middle-school students have “rainbow” parties today (ask your kids what they are) and “grinding” is only slightly different than a dance we were doing 40 years ago, at a Catholic high school no less, I would contend that “grinding” is not news or newsworthy.

And didn’t we just have this same issue come up a few years ago? Every generation comes up with dancing that seems to stimulate the ire and indignation of their parents. Remember dirty dancing, the tango, even ballroom dancing with pelvic contact?

If our kids’ “moral compasses” have not been set by the time they enter high school, “grinding” is not going to change who they are or what they will do. Brown makes light of a key point — “at least they’re safe.” To that end, the Island should sponsor “grinding” dances every week. Parents could not ask for a safer environment than being under the watchful eyes of Principal Susan Hanson.

That brings me to the 25 Islanders who gathered as a result of this “issue.”

First, thank you for your concern. Next, get together with parents who are working to address the issue of drugs and alcohol, which is far more serious. Not only are these substances dangerous, but unlike grinding, they are illegal.

The job of teens is to test their boundaries just as that of parents is to guide and set limits. Since all of the battles can never be won, which one is really worth the effort, or likely to succeed? If you do not believe me, ask your teens. They probably will thank you for asking.

— Scott Harvey

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