A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.
Editor, The Times:
Ron Sims’ executive order toward limiting greenhouse-gas emissions [“Sims takes step to limit emissions,” Times, Local News, June 28] would be sound if it applied to incorporated King County where most of it comes from. However, he mandates this on unincorporated King County.
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The unincorporated areas are woefully underrepresented on the County Council, basically having no say. One can only conclude that Ron Sims and others are portraying themselves as concerned citizens at the expense of hardworking, longtime stewards of the land and owners in unincorporated King County. Their dreams of building or conserving are no different than those who live in the city but they do not seem to have a right to do it.
— John Armitage, Auburn
Culture of individualism
If we are to contain health-care costs, we need to look into the cultural causes for the unaffordable spiral, one of which is the social philosophy of individualism. Individualism is based on a belief that people are innately aggressive, predatory and irrational. Therefore, all persons must be separated from each other, and their consequently adversarial relations must be regulated by contract.
Individualism defines human relations as inherently competitive and conflicted; the conflict is a source of loneliness and stress, and the stress is a source of illness. And it has been said that so many of our doctor visits are for solace and reassurance for lonely and stressed individuals.
We need to realize that before a person can be independent he/she is a social being, interrelated and interdependent with all others. There never has been a person without society as there never has been a person without gravity.
Since individualism has been a force for the advance of American society, the problem in the health-care system may be a message that we recover what we have neglected. A solution may be in balancing and harmonizing the two forces — separateness and relatedness.
— Suk C. Chang, M.D., Everett
Union bill blockage
Middle class the loser
Republican senators blocked a vote on the “Employee Free Choice Act,” which would enable workers to unite for higher wages and better benefits [“Republican senators block union bill,” Times, News, June 27].
Once again, the right-wing-controlled Republican Party stands for the rich minority over the middle-class majority.
When will the middle class wake up to the fact that the current Republican Party doesn’t represent them or their interests?
— Jacob Clark, Vashon
Enforce existing laws
What does border security have to do with immigration? As Mark Twain would say, “That’s like comparing a lightning bug to lightning.” I hear all this rhetoric about immigration and 12 million people here illegally, what are we going to do with them.
All this woe-is-me stuff is just a smoke screen to hide the fact that the government can’t or won’t secure our borders. If they had a clue, they would put a plan into action and it would be basic and simple. Secure the border, curtail illegal entry into the U.S. by a specific date and a specific percentage, and give the people some confidence that we can do it! The people who are here now are a whole different situation. We are big enough and rich enough to handle just about anything except unregulated entry into the U.S.
The government has enough laws and regulations and plans in place and financing to solve most of this issue right now. They just need to enforce them. A fence will not solve all problems, of course. It’s there to show a demarcation. Locks don’t keep crooks honest; they just keep honest people honest.
— Robert Alan Wright, Yakima
Dog still registered
Voting in Wonderland
The director of King County’s election service freely concedes that all you have to do to get an absentee ballot is to falsify the information you provide to prove your “legality” [“Dog still registered to vote,” Times, Local News, June 29]. Now isn’t that a big revelation! It seem that even presenting your phone bill will do the trick.
I wonder how many of those who are using false Social Security numbers, phony drivers licenses, etc., are already aware of that little chink in the electoral system’s armor? I’d also wager that if more-stringent requirements were put in place, certain groups would scream “profiling” or “racism” or “discrimination.”
Jane Balogh successfully registered her dog to vote, just to dramatically illustrate how rife the current system is with fraud and abuse. She obviously didn’t intend, or try, to let Duncan the pooch cast a vote. But she did mightily embarrass the bureaucrats, who are now trying to sanctimoniously cover their fannies by bringing the law down in her.
It seems to me that they could better serve the public interest by giving Balogh a public-service award, and then make a concerted effort to find and prosecute those who deliberately undermine and distort the electoral process with illegal votes.
Local governments can sometimes make Alice’s Wonderland seem like a model of sanity and common sense.
— Lee Fowble, Edmonds
More won’t work
Friday’s commentary regarding a perceived need for expanding the prison system [“Corrections-system reform means putting public safety first again,” Times, Opinion, June 29] reveals how vested interests can’t be trusted to think creatively.
As with so many issues today — oil, automobiles, roads, electronic gadgetry, sustainable agriculture, efficient family homes — Americans are knee-jerk conditioned to demand more. This consumerist mindset has driven our culture into crisis.
If our society valued planning, education and treatment more than building, incarceration and punishment, the prison system might not be in such a mess. If we provided meaningful jobs training, improved emotional and medical support, and enhanced transition programs, I’d be willing to bet the prison system would see declining recidivism.
Recalibrating the punitive, preventive nature of the “war on drugs” with legalization of some substances and an emphasis on treatment would, in a single stroke, free the space necessary to confine the truly incorrigible. Mandatory sentences? We’ve taken discretion out of the hands of the judges and lawyers we entrust to enforce the justice system. And, with the technological expertise available in this society and this state, there is little excuse for the lack of effective, coordinated identification and monitoring systems.
When Friday’s complainants detail the lack of commitment to maintain existing facilities, as well as the need to reward law-enforcement personnel fairly for their difficult work, they step on firmer ground.
— Charlie Ernst, Kent
Win-win still possible
Folke Nyberg’s commentary [“Redeeming the Viaduct,” Times, Opinion, June 28] was so correct on so many levels. It was a very sound reality check on an approach that would be a win-win situation for all. Why haven’t the city leaders and Department of Transportation come to the same conclusion? Can you spell “hidden agendas”?
— Randy Fillingim, Seattle