Letters to the editor | February 9 edition

Islanders write in about the environment, arsenic, dogs and more.


Join local eco-activists

Kevin Jones will be proposing passage of a motion at the upcoming Vashon-Maury Community Council meeting on Thursday, Feb.16, that deals with our community’s support for environmental legislative policies, based on an extensive survey of Vashon-Maury’s environmental organizations.

Will you join me in voting yes for this motion to show our elected officials the Vashon community supports these and other much-needed environmental initiatives?

Ten local environmental organizations have included their preferred legislative outcomes in the motion. You can read the motion and potential solutions which would meet these legislative outcomes at bit.ly/VMClimateAgenda. The Resources section contains links to relevant websites and to episodes of the Brown Briefly show, on Voice of Vashon, featuring these organization leaders.

The Washington State Legislative session is now in session and several priority environmental bills are being discussed:

Washington Recycling And Packaging Act (WRAP Act) — improving Washington’s solid waste management outcomes (SB5154/HB1131); Right to Repair — promoting the fair servicing and repair of digital electronic equipment (SB 5464/HB 1392); a battery recycling bill, providing for responsible environmental management of batteries (SB 5144/HB 1553), a bill for reducing plastic pollution (HB 1085); and a bill evaluating compostable product usage in Washington (HB 1033).

A more extensive list of environmental bills can be found at zerowastewashington.org/legislative-work.

Find out more about the Feb. 16 community council meeting, including a Zoom link to attend, at v-mcc.org.

Steve Bergman


Arsenic poses threat

In the Jan.19 Beachcomber article concerning Water District 19, regarding the lifting of the moratorium on new water shares, Commissioner Zuckerman stated that in the event of a peak use day and a large fire “…we’d be running the Beall well. But because its water is diluted with treated water from Beall Creek, arsenic levels would be below the legal maximum.”

The district’s customer confidence report states that the arsenic level in the Beall well is 36 parts per billion. The EPA standard is 10 parts per billion.

The State of California bases its public health goal for arsenic in drinking water on a California Office of Environmental Health hazard assessment study in 2004 that concluded that the maximum safe level for arsenic in drinking water is 4 parts per trillion (an almost undetectable amount). The same study also states that at the EPA standard of 10 parts per billion, an alarming excess of 2.5 cancer cases per thousand people could be expected over a 70-year span. To read the study, visit tinyurl.com/2vsf39dm.

In The Beachcomber story, there was no talk of a limit of water shares that may be allotted in the future.

If that is true, situations that require the use of the arsenic-tainted Beall well may inevitably arise. Climate change makes predictions of future weather conditions uncertain. Prolonged drought is not a far-fetched notion — which would affect the use of Beall Creek water to dilute Beall well arsenic to the EPA standard.

Our concern is that the pressure to expand the system will eventually make it necessary to introduce arsenic into our water to satisfy the demands of developers and that the burden of those consequences will be borne by an unfortunate group of customers.

We hope the commissioners will take the health threat posed by arsenic more seriously.

Mark Graham and Susan Lewis


Please leash your pets

I enjoy going for walks along the miles of trails in parks on Vashon Island.

However, as happens every time I go for such walks, I am confronted by unleashed dogs. While the owners of those dogs may think that their dogs are “sweet” and “cute,” I do not know that, nor do horses or other dogs.

When a dog runs up to me, whether barking or not, my calm is broken by very unpleasant emotions, having been attacked by dogs as a child. For those dog owners who allow their dogs to run free in any parks in King County (Vashon is located entirely within King County), I suggest and remind them to read King County Title 11, Section 08.

Nowhere does it state that the law applies to “all dogs but yours.”

So, please, leashes on, and enjoy your walk, while I enjoy mine.

Gregg Rocheford


Zamfir’s, at VALISE

Personally, I was pretty upset by this so-called new business, Zamfir’s, that’s moved into the location where that nice gallery VALISE used to be. Last Friday, I took a box of only slightly used origami in there, and they refused to take it for pawn. They actually told me they are not accepting any more items; only hoping what they already have will be taken out. What kind of a pawn shop is that? Their cigs are pretty cheap though, only $2/pack.

This reminds me of years ago when a “Burger King Coming Soon” sign suddenly appeared on the empty lot next to Mom’s gas station.

I can’t remember what year it was, but I do recall it was around the beginning of April. Islanders went ballistic; they were so irate.

There were letters protesting this mega-franchise about to move onto our pristine island and talk about a demonstration. I think someone even took the sign down.

We put a stop to that pretty quickly.

Don’t lose heart, islanders. I’ll bet this new pawn/fast cash/cigarettes-of-the-world place won’t last more than a month.

Alice Larson