True meaning of poverty; I-985 goes too far | Federal Way letters to the editor, Oct. 18

True meaning of poverty

When reading the Oct. 15 story “Schools tackle cultural divide,” I noticed that it states that 48.3 percent of Federal Way students come from families living in poverty.

My definition of poverty must be very different. These families and kids don’t know what poverty means in my opinion. I was raised in poverty. Oh! I didn’t realize it at the time. I knew my family didn’t have what a lot of other families did, but we got by.

Poverty in my opinion was being raised with no electricity, no running water or indoor plumbing and an outhouse. So far, I have not seen one outhouse in Federal Way. All these families have to do nowadays is run to the government for a handout, get on the free lunch program and they all live in houses with electricity, running water, indoor plumbing and a bathroom.

Delores Warner, Auburn

Mirror reporter Margo Hoffman responds: I was also corrected today by the principal at Federal Way Public Academy. He suggested that the number of students on free and reduced lunch, which I used to measure how many students live in poverty, does not indicate how many students actually live in poverty. He said the bar for free and reduced lunch is much higher than the bar for poverty, and so I had greatly overstated the number of students actually living in poverty. It would have been more accurate to say 48.3 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. He said a family of four earning $40,000 a year could qualify for free and reduced lunch, yet still be above the federal poverty level.

Eyman’s I-985 goes too far

I wish Tim Eyman would consult with me before he comes out with his initiatives. I could keep him from going too far. He tries to cover too much.

For instance, take Initiative 985. The good part of this initiative was to open HOV lanes for all traffic during off-peak hours. Tapping into revenues from traffic cameras was going too far.

I don’t like red light cameras, but I guess they are here to stay and we will learn to live with them. I-985 would place the state in charge of revenues from red light cameras. I don’t agree with that. Revenues from traffic violations should be treated the same whether the violation was observed by the eye of a camera or the eye of a patrolman.

I am opposed to I-985.

Leo J. Thoennes, Federal Way

Where’s the common sense?

Angie Vogt, thank you for your column Oct. 11 in The Mirror (“Tough times: Beware of geeks bearing gifts”).

What happened to common sense in the past two generations? My parents and grandparents must be turning over in their graves with the government involvement in our lives today.

As we read and listen to the various media, I try to digest what is the best “truth,” yet fear that many people absorb the words as gospel. As your column says: “So, we’re desperate, no we’re not; the good times are over, no, the worst is over. Lost in the mix is the headline that would have been the good news of the century a month ago: ‘Oil prices way down.’”

Yes...we, the general public, are stressed. Searching for some semblence of order. We read and hear the doom and gloom. Elderly whose life savings are gone. The maddening political malarky.

Then I read your column and find some written words describing how I feel, and not just me, but many of my friends and family — the conservative middle class who live our lives and generally don’t “rock the boat.” The silent ones searching for those like you and columnist Walter Backstrom. You two, who speak the common sense we remember and want to hear.

Thank you, and keep up the good word.

Floyd McCann, Federal Way

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