Letters to the Editor | May 30 edition

Readers write in about the island school district, Israel and Palestine, and more.


I could write a letter explaining how important the library was to me and the students of McMurray Middle School, when in 2007, a tragedy occurred at the school and I was there to substitute in a class for the rest of the year.

I was an experienced teacher and knew, through 30 years of teaching, that the library was the one place where students would feel safe, and where we as a group (teachers, support staff, etc.) could make it through to the end of the year.

Yes, I could also explain that McMurray happened to have the best librarian, library location (in the middle of the school), and library that I had ever experienced in my career. If students are the reason we have schools, then the library is the one place that impacts the students the most — not the superintendent’s office, not the principal’s office.

But if a person sees schools as a way to achieve a high salary and be “the decider,” well, I guess I understand.

Now, when asked to rethink his “financial” position, superintendent Slade McSheehy has to make some “careful consideration,” and use a “methodical approach” to solve the situation. Which, in double-speak, means ain’t gonna do nothin’.

Interesting. I am glad the fire chief is a different kind of leader. Imagine taking the same approach to a house fire: “There’s a fire. Hmm, before I can actually do anything, I need careful considerations and a thorough analysis — is it really a fire? — and a methodical approach to the situation. Hmm.”

And the house burns down.

I have a solution: Save and continue the library program at McMurray, and send the superintendent to the high school to teach.

Chris Anderson


Once again, Israel is being accused of genocide in a letter to The Beachcomber.

Genocide is certain “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group,” according to the United Nations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated goal is “straightforward: to bring home hostages, and defeat Hamas.” Hamas’ charter lays out that Israel has no right to exist, and many declarations from current Hamas leadership affirm that their goals align with the charter. No more Israel.

Israel notifies every cell phone within a blast zone to warn citizens to get out, even though it diminishes the element of surprise. Israel, not Hamas, moves innocent people out of active war zones into shelters.

Israel executes surgical strikes at military targets and delivers aid. Hamas builds tunnels under civilian populations, stores weapons, and shelters terrorist fighters in hospitals and schools, and targets Israeli civilian populations.

It is still disputed how many German civilians died in WWII, but the estimates range from 500,000 to over two million. War is hideous, and there are always civilian casualties. But no one thinks that because German civilian casualty numbers were so high, that the Allied forces committed genocide against Germany. Yes, in hindsight those numbers should have been lower, but everyone knew that if we lost to Germany, the consequences would be far worse, and the number of dead much higher.

The same is true for Israel. It is Hamas that Israel has vowed to defeat, not the people of Gaza, just as we eliminated Hitler’s Nazi regime, but not Germany. It is a form of blood libel to accuse Israel of genocide and killing innocent children. To do so is to risk the safety of Jews everywhere, and jeopardize Israel’s right to exist. Despite the fact that there are many well-meaning students horrified by the brutality of war, the campus protests are not part of a peace movement. This is a war movement to eliminate Israel.

Joe Yarkin


First of all, I want to thank the commissioners for their service. It hasn’t been an easy volunteer job bringing health care to the island.

Vashon Health Care District (HCD) is looking at bringing MultiCare/DispatchHealth onto the island as a mobile urgent care program. The problem I see is that a similar service already exists on the island, at a much lower cost to the Island. Vashon Island Fire & Rescue’s (VIFR) Mobile Integrated Health already provides its own care service without bringing in a confusing third party to the island.

The HCD needs to share more information with the public about this program so we can better understand it. We don’t want it to be competing with VIFR, Basic Life Support Services, and Medic One all performed through VIFR. Competing with VIFR is not the reason why the island voted for the Health Care District levy. Bringing better health care to the island and a primary care clinic was. That was thankfully accomplished.

Over a year ago, I believe, our clinic (SeaMar) ended its financial relationship with the HCD, and SeaMar no longer receives a subsidy from the district. That was a lot of money. Why not partner with VIFR to expand the VIFR’s successful Mobile Integrated Health care program for islanders and not rely on a volume-based, subsidized service from MultiCare. Keep it on the island.

It would be less expensive for the district, would not be confusing to islanders, and would be a better way to spend taxpayer money.

Ron Smothermon