Letters to the Editor: Dec. 3


Seek reprieve from payment

The Beachcomber article regarding the effects of the recession on Vashon (Nov. 12) was a stark reminder of how close we all are to a personal financial crisis.

I empathize with many of my neighbors who are facing such challenges for the first time, since this occurred to me many years ago when I lost my job.

I am writing for those neighbors who always have had good credit, never have been late on a mortgage payment and are at a point when they cannot pay all their bills today, but genuinely expect to have a solution in two or three months.

Go to your mortgage holder and ask for a three-month moratorium on payments, before you are even 10 days late. Remind the lender that you have never been late and that you have good credit. You also need to explain why you will have no problem resuming your payments in three months. When they agree to the arrangement, get it in writing.

Now is the perfect time for such action. With foreclosures way up, lenders want to deal with as few troubled loans as possible.

Under this arrangement, your loan is not delinquent, there are no late fees and your credit will not be adversely affected.

When I did this, I was able to use the money that would have gone for my mortgage to keep my other bills current, thereby keeping the rest of my credit good.

During the year after I began making payments, I had no principle reduction, since the regular payments did not cover the accrued interest, but the lender did not mind, since I was “current.”

The key to success is contacting the lender in person before the lender contacts you.

— Scott Harvey


Board will vote Dec. 15

On Nov. 17, at the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council (VMICC) meeting, Tom Bangasser exercised his prerogative of reading a motion into the record. The subject of the motion is, for the purpose of my comment, immaterial.

Under VMICC rules of procedure, his motion would be up for a vote at the next month’s community council meeting. Tom, however, went one step further. He asked the VMICC board to designate his motion “urgent” so it could be voted upon right then and there. In order for a motion to be deemed “urgent” the VMICC board must determine by a two-thirds vote that this is the case. The motion failed by one vote (mine?) to achieve the two-thirds necessary to attain “urgent” status.

The purpose of distancing by one month the timing of a motion and subsequent vote is specifically designed to provide a forum for debate and the transparency everyone claims to value. It encourages a month of discussion, consideration and evaluation of such a motion. It distinguishes genuine passion from fleeting interest and provides a real forum for evaluating the merits of a motion.

A motion does not become “urgent” just because there is an uncommonly large attendance. If it did, nothing would prevent someone from stacking the crowd with like-minded individuals, introducing a motion at a meeting, having it declared “urgent” and voting on the spot. This would result in a real “stifling of debate” that the Beachcomber editor and Hilary Emmer have mistakenly implied occurred in this case. The agenda item immediately following the reading of Tom’s motion was a call for general public comment. None was forthcoming.

In a Nov. 19 editorial, the Beachcomber editor concedes that I may have been “legislatively and procedurally” correct. The motion is, by its very nature, procedural, and I would argue that there is no other way to vote. Hilary Emmer, whose letter appears in The Beachcomber of Nov. 26, views this vote in terms of good and evil. In her comments before the vote, speaking in favor of the “urgent” motion, she spoke only about the merits of the motion, not a single word about its urgency.

A vote against the urgency of Tom’s motion was not a vote against the motion itself. Tom was not able to convince me that his motion could not or should not follow the regular motion consideration process.

Thankfully, Tom proceeded to read his motion into the record and it will be voted on at the Dec. 15 meeting.

— Dan Asher

School bond

Overhaul is poorly timed

Rebuilding the high school as planned would be a misconceived step at any time. At this time, with abrupt climate change less than 10 years off, it is rash.

It is misconception to think that youth can be educated better by improving the schoolhouse. There’s a number of contributions to that view, all of which have to do with understanding the goal. I hope the following two will illustrate.

Computers impede learning because a kid can’t learn if his or her butt is fastened to the chair in front of a monitor.

Second, artificial turf is a bad investment because it deprives kids of the opportunity to learn hard physical work by caring for the fields. Kids learn by doing, not by being done for. If the roof doesn’t leak and it’s warm, then good teachers unimpeded by adults with a guilty conscience can teach.

This “four years of planning” to improve the high school may have begun in innocence, but innocence in the fall of 2008 is gross negligence.

War, financial meltdown, recession, and burgeoning social unrest are proceeding to the ticking of a ten-year clock within which period the ocean currents will change and survival will be the only concern for mankind.

The school board’s first priority should be to enlist the high schoolers in an Island-wide project to plan for the inevitable. That would be education.

— Tom Herring


Columnist insensitive

I find Elizabeth Shepherd’s article in the Nov. 26 Beachcomber disturbing.

Are we so wrapped up in our own agendas and candidates that “the economy crumbled, and I didn’t care, because it was good for Obama”?

What about the suffering of all the people who are affected by this economic crash? This is comparable to the other side saying they wished a terrorist attack would happen against the United States because it would help McCain.

Please, support whomever you wish, but must it be in the “end justifies the means” approach? If this is the prevailing attitude, I can definitely understand the divisiveness in the country.

— Robert Kajca


Less lights on in west side

Hello, I’ve been in Olalla for 30 years looking out on the west side of Vashon and its growth. One thing that appears to be a recent happening is: less lights!

Is Vashon going “dark sky” — being the first place in Washington to do so? I know it saves energy, means less carbon output and reduces breast cancer (the last is actually real).

We live near three other homes on acreage and nobody uses outdoor lights at night (except for a party, of course!). It is so pleasant and nice looking at the stars (plus, it lowers our electric bill and carbon footprint).

Hey, did you know that burglars are more likely to “hit” a house with lights since it’s easier to see and a better getaway? Lack of lights freaks them out.

Thanks, Vashon, for going dark sky.

— John Vaccaro