Letters to the editor

Vandalism

VoV’s new signs lasted 27 days

Last month, Voice of Vashon volunteers dipped into their own pockets to fund a set of professionally designed Burma Shave-type signs that would remind motorists to tune in to Voice of Vashon Standing By at 1650 AM. The bright red signs were to serve as a whimsical “tap on the shoulder” to remind folks to get in the habit of tuning in to their local Island Information Station.

Just before installing the signs, I cynically asked for predictions on whether they would last a full month (but no wagering please!). Perhaps I was naïve to believe they’d make it, but Island vandals lived down to their expectations last week, destroying two of the five signs on Day 27.

Given last month’s damage at the airstrip helipad, I considered a personal appeal to the vandals to at least respect the organizations that are working toward providing emergency services on the Island. Such an appeal, however, would make the rather broad assumption that the perpetrators actually read.

The defiant response would be to make new signs and put them back up in the very same spot, but VoV simply doesn’t have that kind of disposable income. Instead, we’ll hope that the other set of signs that VashonBePrepared so graciously donated to our cause somehow continues to stand along Vashon Highway for at least a little while longer.

In the meantime, nothing changes on VoV Standing By. Our primary mission is still and always to be there for Islanders should disaster strike. That means going on the air with live, critical information that you and your neighbors will need to navigate your way through a crisis. The rest of the time, we’re there 24/7 with traveler’s information. A new show appears each week on 1650 AM that’ll keep you posted on all things Vashon. More importantly, when a ferry fails or something happens that you need to know about at that very moment, we’ll interrupt programming with an announcement that will repeat continuously until the situation either changes or gets resolved.

Jeff Hoyt

Emergency Broadcasting Coordinator, Voice of Vashon Standing By

The community has to step up

My thanks to the editor for publishing my remarks in the April 9 issue about the recent spate of vandalism on Vashon. However, I have one minor criticism of two words that were edited into my piece. Maybe it’s not actually such a minor point.

I had written the first sentence of the fourth paragraph to read as follows: “I would like to add, that the most effective way to stop this activity, which I understand is a perennially recurring event, is to make some arrests.” Two words were added to the last phrase, so that it then read, “… is for authorities to make some arrests.”

This two-word addition changes an aspect of my intention. Yes, arrests would ultimately be made by “authorities.” But it is my sense that the community of Vashon citizens, not just the delegated authorities, must make it clear that such vandalism is not to be tolerated.

Bill Carr

Ambulance fees

New charges could hurt some

The Vashon Island firefighters would like to thank the members of the community who have expressed their concerns about charging patients for Basic Life Support services with the fire department’s board of commissioners.

We share those concerns because, as the providers of those services, we know firsthand that there are many patients who will wait to call 911 when they need help in an effort to avoid a bill. In some instances, they will not call at all.

Furthermore, many of our patients are not in a position to pay for our services because they are on a fixed income but would try anyway, thus adding to their financial burden.

We are pleased that the fire commission has decided to postpone the implementation of this fee-for-service program in an effort to further study its effects on the people of this community and the financial costs and potential benefits to the department. We applaud this action.

We encourage the people of Vashon to communicate with their fire commissioners about this issue and thank all of the Vashon residents for their support of Vashon Island Fire & Rescue.

Steve Palmer, president

Vashon Island Professional Firefighters

Middle East

Label of anti-Semitism rankles

As an American Jew involved in the peace movement, I found the letter by Gene Lipitz to be offensive. Five times he repeated the phrase “anti-Semitic or anti-Semitism.” His letter and this purposeful repetition following so soon after the Israeli-Palestinian U.S. speaking tour event is not a coincidence.

Having converted to Judaism in 1986, having supported my husband’s work for the San Francisco Jewish Federation for four years, the Seattle Jewish Federation for 10 more years and myself having been involved in New Jewish Agenda, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Jewish Professional Women’s Forum, I cannot let this subtle accusation go unchallenged.

In addition, I have traveled to Israel and came away from one of those visits, hosted, by the way, by the San Francisco Jewish Federation, encouraged by those I met in Israel to take up the subject of how best to achieve peace for Israel with its neighbors.

It will be clear one day that the strength of Israel is not founded on its military might but in the righteousness of its actions day in and out.

As with all moral issues, the day will come when we will need to account for the stand we took — or failed to take. We must realize, as well, that to stand idly by is not to be neutral, but sends a message of approval, a message that confirms the status quo.

Lipitz implies that the peace movement treats Israel differently. This proves how little he is involved in the peace movement, or he would know that we take a consistent stand for international law and human rights worldwide. If there is an exception being made, it is by those in the American-Jewish community who turn a blind eye to what the government of Israel is doing in order to maintain a Jewish state.

Maryrose Asher

Let’s debate the issue

My Jewish father became an avowed atheist in college. What he taught me to love about Jewish tradition was the importance of debate. Anyone who knows me will attest to the debate gene in my inheritance. It was therefore with sadness that I read Gene Lipitz’ letter to the editor “Singling out Jews is anti-Semitism.” I reread it looking for a rebuttal of any points made by myself or the other two opinion pieces last week. There was not one.

What he chose to do, instead, was to call us anti-Semitic. No discussion of content. I invite Lipitz, in true Judaic spirit, to respond to the understandably emotional issue of the human right of Palestinians, forcibly removed from their homes, to return to them. If we can’t have this discussion on Vashon, with the goal of seeking understanding, then what hope is there for those living in the midst of unrelenting terror?

Kate Hunter

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