Letters to the Editor: Jan. 7

Schools, ferries

It’s time to ask hard questions

This week there are two big opportunities for Islanders to urge decision-makers to act with foresight: the Washington State Ferries’ feedback meeting tonight and the school board meeting tomorrow (Thursday). The relevant question for each meeting is not the same but is related.

Consider the description: “We are a community in a beautiful setting which recently had our primary economic engine leave town.”

This could be Vashon in 2009, Forks in the mid 1980s or Monte Cristo in the early 20th century. Two of these did not have very desirable outcomes.

As a community, we need to consider the most pessimistic scenarios and act to ensure a more desirable future materializes. For the ferries, the question is, “Is the net saving to WSF substantially greater than the negative economic impact to the island?” An honest, thorough economic impact study is warranted. For the schools, the question is, “At a time when we have repeatedly reduced programs to achieve a balanced budget and expect further revenue challenges, how can we afford to maintain the programs we expect and operate what we have or a newer, more expensive facility? Is it conceivable that we would build a second gym and immediately mothball it because we cannot afford to operate it?” A multi-year budget forecast is needed.

The point is not to question a proposal but to understand the trade-offs and be confident that it is the best course. With a dearth of information, we cannot have this confidence. Please attend the meetings and demand the information necessary to make sound decisions.

— Steve Ellison


Gregoire insults us with rhetoric

In response to the story about Gov. Gregoire’s lack of leadership and silence in the Glacier mine expansion, her aide is quoted as saying the state permits are “as tight as the law today allows. … The agencies have applied the law; they’ve applied it to the full extent. … As a former attorney general, she respects the role of the agencies and the role of the courts to oversee those agencies.”

Then I have to ask: If the agencies are doing their jobs properly and The System is not broken, as she’s claiming, then why do we have a need for the Puget Sound Partnership?

And if she’s been following this issue so closely as her aides claim, then why would she fail to even mention it at her on-Island fundraising party?

Please, Gov. Gregoire, don’t insult us with this kind of rhetoric.

— Kristine Dahms

Murray played a role, too

In your fine story on the brave public servants who have stepped up to try to solve the Glacier Northwest problem, you overlooked the important contribution of Sen. Patty Murray. The senator offered federal funds to purchase the mine site at fair market value — an offer that Glacier refused. That makes it even stranger that Governor Gregoire didn’t try to negotiate a purchase or exchange, knowing that she had the backing of Washington’s senior senator.

­— Tom Dean, executive director, Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust

Protesters are sore losers

I am an owner at Sandy Shores and I am thankful that Glacier is finally being allowed to exercise their rights to develop their property in a responsible manner. I believe that the people blocking their access to their property lack respect for the rights of others and are using force to try to deny Glacier the rights that the courts have clearly shown them to have.

These unrelenting protesters are poor losers and need to come to grips with the facts. They lost because they do not have a case, and they are wrong to not play by the rules of civilized society.

— Thomas Anderson