Sea lettuce still stinks

In response to Sara Slater’s sea lettuce opinion (April 19), we were one of the neighbors who complained about the stench of the sea lettuce. Dumas Bay is a shallow, protected bay and we’ve lived here for 21 years (hardly new citizens). The beautiful summer (2006) was one of the worst for the smell. Maybe Sara could sit out on her deck without any smell, but we couldn’t. Perhaps her location is different, upwind/downwind or farther away. How many of our citizens farm and eat the Dumas Bay seaweed anyway? It just rots in the sun.

In response to Sara Slater’s sea lettuce opinion (April 19), we were one of the neighbors who complained about the stench of the sea lettuce. Dumas Bay is a shallow, protected bay and we’ve lived here for 21 years (hardly new citizens). The beautiful summer (2006) was one of the worst for the smell. Maybe Sara could sit out on her deck without any smell, but we couldn’t. Perhaps her location is different, upwind/downwind or farther away. How many of our citizens farm and eat the Dumas Bay seaweed anyway? It just rots in the sun.

Needless to say, we appreciate the money going into removal of the seaweed that smelled like bad sewer.

Kip and Wanda Esterby,

Federal Way

Dumas Bay must stay healthy

I was dismayed to read the letter from Sara Slater (April 19) that ignores the Dumas Bay sea lettuce problem.

She is right that sea lettuce has its benefits; in fact, in Scotland they make salad from it. However, the problem is when it accumulates in large quantities and decays; it then gives off hydrogen sulfide gas (which has a sewage-like smell) that is a health hazard.

In November 2000, the Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team of the Office of the Governor issued a report on citing the noxious odors and gases such as hydrogen sulfide that occur when ulvoids anaerobically decompose. The report stated “these gases can, in some instances, be strong enough to sicken human populations and peel paint from buildings nearby” (see “Blooms of Ulvoids in Puget Sound”).

I am not one of Ms. Slater’s “new citizens,” but have lived in the area for 23 years and have watched the massive accumulation of seaweed increase to the point that it was intolerable, leading to a stench not only in my neighborhood, but also detectable from Dash Point Road. That condition led the City of Federal Way and the State of Washington to investigate and address the health hazard problem.

The result of citizen and government investigation and research is legislation from the state and a commitment by Federal Way to maintain Dumas Bay (on which two city park/facilities are located) in a healthy condition. The governor has signed Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 3186 (spearheaded by our State Senator Tracey Eide), which will address the seaweed problem in Dumas Bay and the other areas of the state (such as Fauntleroy) currently experiencing this problem.

Ms. Slater’s conclusion that the health hazard “ain’t so bad” is a definite minority position and at odds with the wealth of research and study that has taken place in the interest of public safety.

The causes of the massive accumulation of sea lettuce that is left to deteriorate are many, but I agree with Ms. Slater that sewers are needed and that the homes on the water that still have septic systems may well be contributing to the growing problem.

Mike McKasy,

Federal Way

Let’s raise

gas taxes

In Angie Vogt’s column (“Governor prefers ultimatums and negativity,” April 19) in the third to last paragraph, she put some comments in quotes: “Pay us now, we’ll explain later” and “We don’t have to explain ourselves to the peon taxpayer.”

Whose quotes are these? Vogt makes it appear Gov. Christine Gregoire said those things. Did she? When?

Personally, I approve of higher gas taxes and am sick of so many crybaby whiners complaining about them and other taxes. When I see big late model cars on the roads, I think it’s safe to assume you can afford it. If not, trade in that SUV, truck or luxury car for something smaller and more economical. President Bush and his cronies are padding their oil portfolios with sky-rocketing gas prices, but you don’t hear these same people gripe about that. Please.

Stephen Flavin,

Federal Way

Free lunches and a hungry government

Having read Pat Gee’s letter to the editor (April 16), I must comment that I couldn’t agree more. And I find Debbie Willis’ April 19 response irrelevant. Everything in Pat Gee’s letter is absolutely true.

My parents raised five children during the Depression. My father was disabled, so it was my mother who worked and supported the family. Women’s wages weren’t much in those days. They never once considered applying for welfare. They were too proud.

Regarding the entitlement programs Pat Gee speaks of, there is one that really irritates me. It is the federal free lunch program. Once on the program, it has a ripple effect where more entitlements are accessible. So it doesn’t stop at a free lunch. Many people apply for this who are not entitled to it. The taxpayers are paying for it.

No one seems to be doing anything about auditing this system. The reason no one seems to do anything about it is because the school districts get their federal money based on how many children are signed up for that benefit. It doesn’t only happen in our area; go on the Internet and type in “federal free lunches” and you will see it is nationwide. Some states are really cracking down on the abuse and fraud of that system.

People are so quick to jump on the bandwagon to get something free, at the expense of others. People nowadays want instant gratification, and are not willing to struggle to get what they want.

My mother purchased an old house that hadn’t been lived in for years. It had no electricity and no running water. There was a creek that ran through the property and we hauled water from a spring beside the creek. The power lines went past our home, but we had no money to hook up to the electricity. We were the only home that had no electricity in the area. We lived on that piece of property until the second half of my high school junior year. People would not be willing to do that today.

Many times I went to bed hungry, or to school without any breakfast, and took a sandwich of peanut butter to school. I’m not proposing that you do that. My point is that we did it and survived without asking for a government handout. My oldest brother quit school at age 17, joined the U.S. Navy, and I’m assuming he sent his military pay home to mom. (I was 7 at the time and not sure about that.)

My next oldest brother was in his senior year in high school when my mother had an illness and had to quit work. He quit school and supported the family until my next oldest brother graduated from high school and got a job in construction and took over the support of the family. He was the first of the family to graduate from high school. My sister got married before she graduated from high school. Fortunately, I went on to graduate from high school thanks to my brother.

That’s what you do when you have to.

As far as the illegal immigrants go, I think if they want to come to the United States, they should do it legally. Previously, I have suggested that companies, hotels and restaurants offer the homeless jobs that the illegal immigrants have (or had). The hotels and restaurants could do background checks on the homeless then train them, give them a uniform, clean them up and give them the jobs if they want them. And send the illegal immigrants back to where they came from. Florida has done this and it has proven very successful.

Today, I’m fortunate to live comfortably because I have a husband who worked hard to support his family and we lived within our means in order to be able to do this. I worked until I had our fist child. Then I was a stay-at-home mother. Once the kids were raised, I went back to work for a few years.

But, as Pat Gee says, the illegal immigrants and the government keep reaching deeper and deeper into our pockets trying their best to take it all away. Who knows how long we will live comfortably after all the struggling we have done. Something needs to be done about the fraud in government programs that rip us all off.

Delores Warner,


We love our blood donors

Mirror editor Andy Hobbs’ column “High schools offer fertile grounds for blood donors” (April 16) hopefully impresses upon your readers just how important each able individual is to maintaining a safe and adequate blood supply to local hospitals.

Blood usage in South King and Pierce counties has increased 20 percent over the past four years, while the overall eligible donor pool has shrunk from 60 percent of the population (in the U.S.) to 37 percent. Of the 37 percent who could donate, regardless of their age, only 5 percent actually do. That means just a few people are disproportionately taking care of a very large number of patients.

Cascade Regional Blood Services does everything possible to educate, attract and nurture young, eligible blood donors. We are proud to work with all 38 high schools and colleges in South King and Pierce counties and they are fantastic volunteers and donors. Coordinating a blood drive, making a blood donation and volunteering teach the importance of community service and show how good it feels to actually save someone’s life. Federal Way, Puyallup and Tacoma area high schools are some of the best community-minded supporters anyone could ask for.

Our donors also like to know that their donations will stay in this community, helping their own classmates, grandparents and neighbors. Four blood centers in Washington state provide blood to hospitals within their service areas: Cascade Regional Blood Services, Inland Northwest Blood Center, Puget Sound Blood Center and the Red Cross. Cascade Regional Blood Services is the sole source of blood to both the Franciscan Health System and MultiCare Health System including St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way (with the third busiest emergency department in the state) and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital (a Level 2 pediatric trauma center).

Andy, while you may not be up to the task of donating again, know that we’re here for you in case you or a loved one ever needs blood. And thank you for reminding your neighbors just how important it is to keep blood available to those who need it.

Summer is an especially slow time for donations, so watch for our extra efforts to convince you to donate — like free T-shirts or a chance to win an iPod. And to all you students, I can hardly think of a better use of a lazy summer day — save a life, and the cookies and chocolate milk are on us.

We’re all busy people who like to make a difference, and there are few better ways to save a life in your spare time. Please visit us at our Federal Way donation center at 33505 13th Place S., off of 336th and Pacific Highway. (We’re located near the Federal Way Chamber office.) Or call us at (253) 945-7974 to find out how you can organize a blood drive at your school, church or work.

Thank you for giving someone the gift of life.

Christine Swinehart,

President and CEO, Cascade Regional Blood Services

Thank your volunteers

One of the nation’s most valuable resources is its volunteers.

During National Volunteer Week, April 27 through May 3, millions of these dedicated men, women and young people will be honored in communities throughout the nation for their efforts and their commitment to serve.

National Volunteer Week began in 1974, when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteerism. Every president since has signed a proclamation in support of the week.

On behalf of the Franciscan Health System, which includes St. Anthony Hospital, St. Clare Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, St. Joseph Medical Center, Enumclaw Regional Hospital, Franciscan Hospice and Franciscan Medical Group, we want to say a special thank you to the many volunteers who make a difference every day in our community and in the lives of many of our patients and their loved ones. These vital members of our team will be honored with special appreciation activities and ceremonies honoring their years of service.

Approximately 1,100 adult and teen volunteers contributed more than 100,000 hours of service throughout the Franciscan Health System during 2007. Volunteers make our country a better place. We urge those of you who are not yet part of this special group to join. There are volunteer opportunities for everyone, whether you want to give your time every week, once a month or once a year. Volunteer with your family or with colleagues where you work.

If you know someone who volunteers, please take time to thank him or her for their many contributions not just during National Volunteer Week, but also throughout the year.

Pamela Brewer, Kathy Schmidt and Sharon Wilhelm,

Managers, Volunteer Services/Community Health, Franciscan Health System

Elected mayor and verbal stroking in FW

That didn’t take long, did it? Remember our recent election where a great many of us had hoped to be able to elect a strong mayor, to respond to the electorate’s views, as opposed to the little autocratic council oligarchy (such a perfect word) that rules Federal Way, preferring their own decisions to that of the uninformed citizenry?

The threatened loss of their puffery of power so jarred them that they, with great eagerness, started the bimonthly community meetings where we would all get to flood them with our views. Well, I went to that management school too and learned all about verbal stroking. You grin and wave at the people a lot and let them voice their input to their hearts’ content, and then you do exactly as you please and had planned to do all along. Which is, incidentally, why I haven’t bothered to attend.

No matter the topic, it’s already written in stone, with the possible exception of some little giver tossed in to make us think it’s working. As important as it seemed, I also didn’t attend the verbal stroking meeting to give input on where to shunt the horrendous traffic into our city. One choice was 312th Street. I figured anyone, or group, dumb enough to even contemplate shooting that freeway mess right through the middle of our deeply loved and used city center’s Steel Lake Park must have already selected it. It’s used year-round, but summer sees throngs of bathing-suited, innertube-carrying children of all sizes walking or biking all over 312th Street all day, every day. I feel if they hadn’t already chosen this route they wouldn’t embarrass themselves by making it a public choice. Just clip the letter and call me if I’m wrong.

But the clincher was the article in the April 17 edition of the Tacoma News Tribune: Federal Way wants whole Sound Transit package voters already nixed; Federal Way city leaders are pressing Sound Transit to move forward with the $10.8 billion mass transit plan voters rejected last fall…

It’s simply outrageous how little public opinion is worth. That transit package didn’t just lose — it was trounced! See how deeply ingrained is their determination to do exactly as they please and now apparently, they don’t even give a damn what anyone thinks about it.

I personally have an idea, strictly my own opinion, about what’s going on here. I have a hunch our oligarchy lured our Symphony project builder, with the questionable history of filing for protection, building leaky buildings, filing for bankruptcy, etc., by painting a rosy picture about how it would be where they are to build. You know, with light rail, that hadn’t failed at the polls yet. All this while the whole world is suffering financial setbacks from our collapsing building industry. Builders in Seattle and Tacoma and elsewhere are dropping condos from their building plans and just sticking with retail and rentals. Yep. I suspect our lofty Symphony project is threatening to become a comic opera (if it gets done at all) which means it’s CYB time for a group whose lack of discretion is speaking volumes.

I think they’re desperately trying to forestall the same fate here as the pitiful, 10-year-old Tacoma Town Center mess. Get ready for a whole bunch more taxes, folks! My, my — wouldn’t it be nice to be able to vote on that mayor issue again?

Clara McArthur,

Federal Way

Rossi vs. Gregoire for WA governor

Recently, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi annouced his transportation plan.

Here is my response to Gov. Christine Gregoire’s critiques of Rossi’s transportation plan.

Claim: Aaron Ostrom of Fuse said Dino Rossi’s plan is a recycled 1950s-style freeway construction bonanza with a twist. (Vancouver Columbian, April 16).

Response: There isn’t one single mile of road from Dino’s plan that Christine Gregoire has not supported. Seven out of the nine transportation projects are RTID projects that were included in Proposition 1, which Gregoire supported. Gregoire is for the North-Spokane Corridor project. She also supports the bridge project across the Columbia River. Rossi’s plan to fund promised projects draws its list of projects from those that were promised through the 9.5 cent gas tax, which Gregoire spearheaded. She wants to build a 520 bridge replacement that she says, depending on her audience, can be easily expandable to eight lanes. Gregoire supports every project listed in Dino’s plan. The difference between them is that he has a plan to finance the projects and she doesn’t.

Claim: Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, said funding and carrying out such a plan would be difficult. “I’ve never seen it happen in my political career and I’ve been here for 26 years.” (Vancouver Columbian, April 16).

Response: This is also the same time frame that Olympia has had one party in the governor’s office and exactly why Dino Rossi needs to be governor. Like this transportation plan, he’ll bring new ideas to a city that ran out of them years ago.

Claim: When Dino Rossi released his plan to find 2 percent efficiency in the state’s $33 billion budget in order to fund these projects, Christine Gregoire said “in order to make that up, you’d have to take huge cuts or raise taxes.” (King 5 news, April 15).

Response: Christine Gregoire’s 33 percent increase in spending has the state facing a $2.5 billion deficit next year. What’s her plan for huge cuts or raising taxes to fill this hole she created?

Claim: Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington, said Rossi’s numbers are completely divorced from reality. He lowballs almost all the estimates and never says where all the funds are going to come from. (Seattle Times, April 16).

Response: Absolutely false. The project costs for Rossi’s plan come directly from RTID and WSDOT, and are adjusted to reflect 2007 dollars. Likewise, the plan is very specific regarding its revenue sources, and relies on numbers that come directly from state government and Sound Transit. If Hallenbeck questions the accuracy of these numbers, he needs to address his issues directly with the government agencies that produced the numbers.

We need Dino Rossi as our governor. Seems to me he does know how to balance a budget. It seems to me if we rely on Christine Gregiore another four years, she may just tax us out of house and home. Is that what you want, higher taxes?

Greg DeLapp,


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