Opinion

Voting for public safety will make the public safer | Humor

It is time for people on this island to take a moment and ask themselves, “Would I kill for public safety?” If your answer is “yes,” then I urge you to support Initiative 0 this November. Initiative 0, if enacted, would direct revenues toward the elimination of public hazards.

Consider how many times you have been walking along, texting, when all of a sudden — blam! — you walk into a swing or a slide. Those things are made out of metal, which is very, very hard. Initiative 0 has enough money earmarked to remove all the playground equipment at Ober Park before anybody else gets sent to the hospital.

It is time we raised our voices together to say, “We demand safety.” We cannot stand by as more and more children cripple themselves on that angled, circle, spinny thing.

As soon as the bulldozers are done there, they can head right over to the library. That particular building, stacked tall with subversive books wanting to burst into flame, is a deathtrap waiting to happen. Can you imagine the carnage if someone were to drop his or her torch or accidentally knock over a bucket of coals? No, in the name of safety, the library must be razed.

There will also be money available for construction. In the first year, Initiative 0 would provide $62 million to build a 10-foot-tall chain-link fence along the beach all the way around the Island, keeping people from touching the water. Soon we will be able to go to the beach and enjoy a nice gray day without worrying about friends and loved ones being swept out to sea. Nobody goes swimming anyway, and those who do die instantly.

It is also time to put to rest the bitter contest between those who propose to lower the speed limit downtown and those who promote building pedestrian tunnels under Vashon Highway. If passed, Initiative 0 would fund construction of safe, heated tunnels under the road, an elevated roadway for highway-speed traffic (25 mph) and a surface-level roadway with a sensible speed limit. With the increasing numbers of distracted drivers talking on cell phones, texting, shaving and making soup while driving, I think 3 mph is a sensible number.

So where does all this money come from? Revenues from fines on unsafe activities and taxes on unsafe items will go directly toward enhancing our public safety. Thinking about buying fireworks for the Fourth? The taxes on one box of sparklers will pay for the fire department’s new helicopter. Is your headlight out? That’s a $2,900 fine, enough to pay a SWAT team to patrol the Farmers Market for a day.

What can we do for public safety that doesn’t cost so much money? We can look to the Vashon Park District as a leader in this department. By refusing to finish the athletic fields at the old elementary school, they are precluding countless broken bones and head injuries. Do you know how many children are killed each year playing soccer? Me either, but it is probably a lot.

Public safety begins at home. I personally realized this idea the other night when I was soaking in the bath, drinking wine and listening to the radio perched on the edge of the tub. When the phone rang, I jumped out of the tub and slipped on the tile floor, knocking over my bathroom barbecue. That was dumb; I should have moved the phone closer to the tub. The point is, there are probably many things we can all do to make our homes safer, whether it means moving livestock outside, making sure you have enough vodka to get through an earthquake or exiling teenagers.

I hope you seriously consider supporting Initiative 0 this November. The public you make safe just may be your own.

 

— Jim Farrell is a humorist and a former member of The Church of Great Rain.

 

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