Letters to the editor | Oct. 14 edition

Islanders write about the departure of Bob Hennessey, local paramedics, and more.

SCHOOL BOARD

Kudos to Bob Hennessey

Thank you, Bob Hennessey, for all you have done for the campuses, students and staff at Vashon Island School District as a school board member.

I am disheartened that Bob Hennessey is no longer on the Vashon Island School Board. I understand his reasons for resigning and commend him highly for speaking publicly as to why he made that decision.

I worked at VISD for 16 years as a custodian and as an SEIU Shop Steward. The only board member I ever saw on campus was Bob Hennessey. He would periodically tour the buildings on all three campuses to assess if there were any issues that needed to be addressed. He spoke with the staff and inquired as to what we were experiencing on the job and any concerns we had about the buildings. We were heard.

He did more than simply show up for board meetings. Bob genuinely cared about the school facilities, staff and students. Bob promoted studying the history of racism as part of the curriculum. He supported reducing fees for low-income families. He advocated for more funding for mental health issues. He promoted recycling plastic waste.

In my opinion, Bob’s resignation is an enormous loss to the district. He was and is someone who genuinely cares for our schools and our community.

Again, thank you, Bob Hennessey.

— Tania Kinnear

FIRE DEPARTMENT

Thankful for Vashon’s paramedics

Our paramedics are the best! Unexpectedly, I had a life-threatening medical emergency recently and had to call 911. I thought they would tell me I was having an anxiety attack and be on their way. Ahhh, but no, they suggested I go to the hospital immediately. I was so shocked I almost didn’t go and the paramedic gently convinced me it would be a good idea. They saved my life.

The doctor in the emergency room thanked me numerous times for coming in and said had I waited, the outcome would not have been good. By the way, they were all vaccinated!

We all need to be extremely grateful for our fire department. A gazillion thank you’s to you all!

— Caroline Sias

STATE REP’S SILENCE

Still waiting to hear from state rep

I was sardonically amused last week to read Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon quoted as saying “I enjoy representing Vashon islanders,” in a recent article. I have contacted Fitzgibbon several times over the past few months on the issue of property taxes, and he has yet to give even the courtesy of a form letter reply.

— Phil Clapham

TAXATION

Long term health care tax is a rip-off

Hold on to your wallet, they are at it again. Gov. Jay (“I have never seen a tax increase I don’t love”) Inslee is celebrating. The majority party in the legislature has passed a long-term health care bill that they hope the workers in the state won’t pay attention to. Starting Jan. 1, this bill will cost every worker in the state that receives a W-2 statement 58 cents for every $100 they earn. A worker who earns $50,000 per year will pay $290 per year into the plan. The only way a worker can opt-out of the state’s plan is if they have an existing long-term health care plan. It turns out the companies that were selling those plans have pulled out of the state of Washington. They are no longer available to purchase.

Every worker on this island, no matter what party they belong to, should be absolutely furious at our three legislators that represent the island and voted for it. The workers have to pay into the plan for at least three of the last six years to be eligible to collect on it. The plan has a maximum payout of $100 per day and a maximum payout of $ 36,500. The several health care plan sellers I talked to called this a joke of a plan. You have to stay in the state of Washington to collect any benefits. If you retire out of state, you lose all that you have paid into the plan. If you plan on retiring out of state, that alone should be a reason to be able to opt out of the plan, but it isn’t.

Luckily, some responsible legislators have come up with an initiative that would allow any worker to opt-out of this ill-conceived plan if they get enough signatures. Please look for Initiative 1436 in different businesses on the Island or call Ed Palmer at (206) 571-4446 if you would like a petition. This absolute insanity by our state legislators has to stop.

— Ed Palmer


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