Letters to the Editor | May 9 edition

Readers write in about student protests, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, and the island school district.


Being a Chicago resident in 1968, I participated in the evening political demonstrations in Lincoln Park and outside the Hilton Hotel. Earlier, I had been maced in Lincoln Park by Chicago cops for sitting under a tree. In that moment, I realized that much of the civics I had learned in school was baloney. The cops don’t pay much attention to the constitution.

Unfortunately, cops haven’t changed much, but it is good to read the accounts of students currently protesting the genocide being committed by Israel. Over 32,000 Palestinians have died. Being Jewish, it’s hard to put down Israel, but the case is plain. The problems in the Middle East weren’t started by Hamas on October 7, 2023. They started in 1948, when the Israelis drove the Palestinians out.

So who are the worst villains in this mess? They are the demagogues who call those opposing the Israeli government antisemetic. When you hear those words, realize that you’re listening to a phony who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “genocide.” And you don’t have to look any further than the White House.

Shelley Simon


Dear Board Members,

Thank you for the work that you do.

As a career first responder for the State of Washington, I am respectfully asking the Board to please consider asking the Vashon Island Fire Department to do a fire safety assessment of the Gold Beach community.

We live in a lovely community, but will ultimately deal with a fire response on the island. There are many absentee homeowners who are reluctant to minimize the fuel build-up on their properties. Sadly, that puts us all at potential risk.

There is nothing worse than encountering a fire situation that was avoidable and preventable. This affects us all.


Thomas Chiswell, Gold Beach resident.


We are lucky to live in a community where local businesses give financial support to so many deserving charities and causes. Given the financial crisis facing our school district, now is a time for all businesses to again step up and help.

This time they won’t even have to write a check. They just need to employ a common practice I have witnessed at small and large businesses while traveling off-island — rounding up. I have seen it on Whidbey Island, Bainbridge Island and even Orcas Island. Why not on Vashon Island?

If every retailer on Vashon were to have their checkers ask each customer “Would you like to round-up your charge to support the Vashon Schools Foundation,” the thousands of transactions each week could make a difference.

Given the technology in most cash registers today, tracking these donations should not be a significant burden for the businesses.

While I hope this situation can be permanently addressed soon, I am not optimistic. Therefore, this arrangement could provide a somewhat painless source of ongoing income to cover some of the need.

Just a thought…

Scott Harvey