Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Jan. 16, 2008

With war, nobody wins

This is in response to Don Payne’s Jan. 5 letter “Not for the faint of heart.”

I have stood on a street corner here in Federal Way protesting the war in Iraq and for the impeachment of President Bush.

I have also walked the rice paddies and climbed the hills and mountains of Vietnam as an Army infantry rifleman and RTO. How much peace did we accomplish there? What danger did the United States face from Vietnam other than losing access to the rubber they produce? Was it to stop the domino theory?

Well, 58,000-plus American military personnel died there, hundreds of thousands were wounded there, and hundreds of thousands more still are suffering the effects of being there, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the effects of Agent Orange, which ended my best friend’s life late last year. South Vietnam still fell to the North, and the dominoes are still standing.

What threat did we, the United States, face from Saddam Hussein and Iraq? Did we think one of his scud missiles was going to hit one of our cities, or were we concerned about how much oil was under all that sand and how much power that gave him?

War accomplishes nothing except to show who was tougher, had more resources or was luckier on that particular day, week, month or year. War does not fix the problems. War only kills. I have seen what war does to the bodies of the men and women that fight it. I have also seen what it does to the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters of the men who fight these wars. There are only losers in war.

I will continue to stand on a street corner and protest war until, as in the words of Maj. Michael O’Donnell, listed killed in action Feb. 7, 1978, “in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane.”

I will continue to protest the war and I will continue to support our troops.

Ron Vandenberg, Federal Way

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Praise for TBHS drama

The Todd Beamer Drama Department lost its beloved drama teacher, Scott Shoemaker, when he decided to resign at the end of last year.

This meant, in addition to no more classes devoted to drama, we lost a wealth of experience and knowledge. I replaced Scott this year, acting as drama advisor. While enthusiastic about the need to maintain programs like drama as an artistic outlet for our kids (not to mention a space where they can learn life skills like public speaking), I unfortunately do not know much about how to put on a play.

That is why I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the folks who really made this current production of “Twelfth Night” happen: The students. We’ve had our share of troubles — people not showing up for rehearsal, others not knowing their lines, sharing our space with other clubs and classes. But through it all, the kids have been an inspiration of hard work, dedication and generally positive attitudes. This play certainly would not have occurred without their effort and resolve.

I would like to thank all of the members of the cast and crew who put in a lot of hours learning lines (and in the process learning to understand Shakespeare, no easy feat for most), and putting together the sets, props and all of the other miscellany that

goes into making it all look good. This has certainly been a positive growth experience for me, and I hope for them as well. If you see one of the kids outside of the performance hall, please make sure to take a second and tell them what a wonderful job they have done putting on a play with minimal help (though lots of support) from me.

I would also like to take a moment to thank the other people who made this happen, and without whose support Todd Beamer High School drama could not have continued in the face of such a devastating blow: Cathy Officer, Jane Yates, Rachel Dimakis, Erwin Rosin, Jordan Rosin, J.C. Hedberg, Jane Rusten, Holly Barlow, Nich Anderson, Tim Fraychineaud, Dave Abrahamson, Ralf Westenhofer and the custodial staff, Tiffany Oxner’s leadership class, the Federal Way Mirror, the Associated Students of Todd Beamer campus, the administration of Todd Beamer, the staff and students of the Todd Beamer campus, all of our family and friends who have put forth so much time and effort to support us in our endeavors, and last but not least, anyone I have forgotten in my attempt to put together a comprehensive list. Please know that we appreciate you all.

I look forward to continuing to work with such a talented and dedicated group of students as we put together our spring show for this year.

Chris Gall, Drama advisor at Todd Beamer High School

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Mother Nature vs. North Shore

As the controversy over the development of high density housing on the North Shore Golf Course heats up, Mother Nature served a warning.

A 2.24-inch deluge of rain fell on the golf course in a 24-hour period on Dec. 3. The existing storm water retention system was overwhelmed and flooding occurred in a number of areas throughout the course ranging from 6 inches to 3 feet in depth.

The real wake-up call was delivered to the nearby Kitsap Peninsula. There, preceded by a foot of snow, more than 15 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. This precipitation was at record levels, but still may not have been the dreaded “100 years” storm.

What would happen if a deluge of this level finds the North Shore Golf Course in the future? The result could be wall-to-wall flooding. Course level apartments in the On the Green complex would be engulfed. The levee to the north provided by the Northshore Parkway fill probably would overflow and the Joe’s Creek corridor would be inundated. Maybe massive flows to the south over 33rd Avenue NE would reach low level housing in that area.

How does the developer propose to dodge this potential disaster? They plan to level and fill the course. This will not alleviate the flooding situation. Leveling and filling was accomplished when the golf course was constructed and it only served to raise the flooding level. Ground water will still seek low spots at the peril of adjacent properties.

“The more stuff you put in a flood plain, the higher the water will rise,” said David Montgomery, a scientist at the University of Washington.

The developer could attempt to provide sufficient on-site storage for transient storm waters, allowing for a controlled release. What would the required size of the storage ponds be? Fifteen inches of rain over the course’s area of 115 acres plus a 10 percent runoff from the surrounding hills would result in around 160 acre-feet of standing water. So a single pond of 8 feet in depth would need to be 20 acres in area. Not a pretty picture and encompassing some 18 percent of the total course area an economic killer.

The bottom line is that the golf course is just too wet and flood-prone to be a viable building site. We should pay heed to the lessons just learned in Lewis County; don’t build in areas subject to flooding. If scientists studying climate change are right, the region can expect more winter rainstorms in decades ahead.

“More frequent downpours, fueled by global warning, would leave Washington even more vulnerable to dangerous flooding in years to come,” said Bill Laborde, program director for Environment Washington.

It is unlikely that Mother Nature will be amenable to mitigation and Soggy Bottom will remain so.

Gene B. Foster, Northeast Tacoma

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