Starbucks and race: Starting a conversation

When traveling in Ireland a few years back, I was surprised to learn that many of the Irish who first resisted English rule and sparked the revolution to be a free country were wealthy protestants — not the poor Catholic masses. I was reminded of this fact when reading about Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz’s...

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Trans-Pacific Partnernship negotiations are an undemocratic process

The recent editorial concerning the City Council’s proposed resolution on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is misguided . Given the TPP’s proposed provisions allowing multinational corporations the ability to challenge local laws, such as those protecting the environment and workers, the City Council has a clear interest in this critical issue. In defending Obama’s push for...

Grizzly bears in the North Cascades would discourage recreation

I have been active in the preservation of old-growth forests and in the restoration of salmon habitats. I have camped hundreds of nights in black and brown bear country and have practiced the intelligent camping precautions one should follow in bear country. I am opposed, however, to the restoration of grizzlies into the Cascades ....

Parks smoking ban: There’s nowhere left to smoke

Please do not ban smoking tobacco in Seattle parks . As renters, we cannot smoke in our own homes. There is no public building where smoking is allowed. Smoking has been banned even in bars. A bill that would have permitted a few cigar lounges in the state was killed in the Legislature this year....

Israeli elections: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is flip-flopping and fear mongering

The Israeli Prime Minister has, postelection, changed his mind — again — (at least publicly) about the two-state solution to peace between Israel and the Palestinians . He strongly opposed that solution in his successful re-election run. Then throw in his fear-mongering congressional speech (stunt?) that got worldwide attention just before that election, in hopes...

Trade negotiations: We’ve been burned before by fast-track authority

I am disappointed by the shortsighted, narrow focus of the editorial “Council need not worry about far-off issues” . Talk about contradictions: On the one hand, The Times notes correctly that our city and region depend on trade. On the other hand, we shouldn’t worry about the details and should leave decision-making to our betters....

Mayor wouldn’t need a levy if Legislature spent more wisely on transportation

The article “$900M levy: Seattle mayor asks homeowners to pay more for transportation” states that Mayor Murray is raising taxes in order to fund both multimodal transportation improvements and much needed road maintenance and repair. Many comments on the article criticized the mayor for increasing taxes. However, one pointed to the actual reason for the...

Reduced driving speeds: Speed bumps ahead?

Scott Kubly’s guest column, “Slow down to save lives” has many good ideas, but he leaves out one that is inexpensive, durable and can be ubiquitous: speed bumps. I returned recently from a visit to Cancún, Mexico. I found speed bumps every few hundred yards on roads inside and outside the city, even in little...

What is the best option for the zoo's elephants?

Last week, The Seattle Times Opinion section asked online readers, “What do you think is the best option for the Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants?” We received nearly 300 responses, 92 percent of which preferred sending the elephants, Chai and Bamboo, to a sanctuary over sending them to the Oklahoma City Zoo or keeping them in...

There is a disconnect on school boards

I am pleased to learn that an effort to train school-board members is to be made . School boards generally are failing in their responsibilities to ensure well-performing K-12 systems. Any board-member training course must be comprehensive, beginning with the needs for and methods of monitoring the entire education system and individual school performance. My...

Worried about smoking in parks? Take a hike

Smokers pay taxes and, as taxpaying citizens, should indeed be allowed at least restricted areas in which to smoke . I am not a smoker, but do not support a ban on smoking in parks. Urban air is already significantly polluted. If one desires a pristine breathing environment, might I suggest a trip to a...