To The Editor

May 19, 2009

By Contributor

Rules of the road

Mountain-bike prejudice should ceaseThe Issaquah Parks Department recently posted a sign at the entrance to the Old Mine Hill Road on Squak Mountain reading “No Mountain Bikes.” This half-mile, unpaved remnant of the old haul road to the mine heads has been in continuous use by the public, on bicycles and afoot, for nearly 100 years. 

Motor vehicle use ceased when barriers were erected in about 1980, equestrian use ceased with the decline of Kelly Ranch in about 1990, but hikers and mountain bikers, especially those from nearby Squak Mountain neighborhoods, continue to enjoy this resource on a daily basis.

Why, then, is the city trying to ban mountain bikes on this stretch of city property? Why does the parks department reject the principle of multiple use? In my correspondence with parks employees and the City Council president, the motivation appears to be simple prejudice against mountain bikes. 

They are hikers, not mountain bikers, and they want exclusive use of the resource. In my many years of hiking and biking on the Old Mine Hill Road, I have not witnessed any conflicts there between hikers and mountain bikers. 

Mountain bikes don’t make noise, they don’t damage trails and they don’t pose an inherent threat to hikers. With this letter, I appeal to my fellow residents, the mayor and the rest of the City Council — tell parks to take down that sign. 

And while we’re at it, let’s look at other unpaved roads and trails within city limits that can be designated for multiple use. Let’s think green and put an end to this blind prejudice against mountain bikes in our beautiful city. Thank you.

Charles Winters


Sign encourages drivers to break the law

How many have noticed the sign westbound about a mile west from the state Route 900 interchange that advises a driver to call 511 for traffic info? 

Is not it against the law to talk on your cell, while driving?

Ken Sessler


Education funding

Someone should try to find    a solution to teacher layoffs

My son found out a few weeks ago that his incredible teacher was being let go due to budget issues. I am feeling very small, and am hoping that other families will also write to convey the tremendous loss felt when something this wrong occurs. 

Our teacher is young, energetic, kind and so hardworking. Her husband is a firefighter. These are two young people who have dedicated their lives to making a positive contribution to the community. 

The community they have chosen to protect and serve has laid her off and will not even meet to discuss it. There will be no special session in Olympia to try to come up with a solution.

I am frustrated and feel so removed from the powers that be. I can barely bring myself to look my son’s teacher in the eye. I am so embarrassed at my lack of ability to do anything more than bring her flowers and contribute to the end-of-the-year gift basket. 

I am even more appalled at the lack of effort on the part of those with the power to make a difference to even meet! Someone needs to meet and get this very important issue sorted out. 

Darcie Kardong


Church & state

Crosses on veteran’s graves are each individual’s business

This is in response to Irv Levin’s published attempts to remove Christian crosses from the graves at national cemeteries.

I am a veteran and a taxpayer. I’ve already “paid” to have my grave memorialized with a Christian cross, and my grave is none of Levin’s business. The graves of my veteran brothers and sisters are also none of his business. He has no standing to object, and his attack smacks of anti-Christian archetypal warfare.

If Levin wants to play this out, let’s also stop any defense and support of the state of Israel, because that constitutes the financing of a purely religious entity. We don’t support and defend the Catholic Vatican; why support the Jewish Israel? 

Let’s go a little further down the Levin path. If his name is offensive because it sounds Jewish, does anyone have standing to object and demand he change it to a number?

Mike Huber


Crosses, ceremonies for veterans  were never meant to offend

To Irv Levin: I appreciate your dedication to write a letter to the editor and I applaud your courage to stand for your convictions. However, I want to make sure you understand that our Veterans of Foreign Wars post never intended to offend anyone with our Memorial Day Service. 

As I told you last year, this Memorial Day service that we “voluntarily” provide for our honored, deceased veterans and the community is a tradition and we use the crosses to mark the graves of those who have served to show the community the number of veterans who have served. 

We will, however, starting this year, provide the marker of the veteran or family’s choice. This could be a Star of David (Jewish), crescent and star (Muslim) or cross (Christian). Whatever the veteran or family chooses will be our goal. 

Just a couple of small corrections to your letter: Our VFW post does know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. On Memorial Day, we honor the deceased veteran, especially the veteran who lost his or her life as a result of war or conflict. We hold that service at the cemetery. On Veterans Day, we honor all veterans, living and deceased, and hold that service at Veterans Memorial Field.

Your comment about dog tags is not accurate; today, just like years past, the service member (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine or Coast Guard) has the privilege of adding to his or her dog tag a religious preference. My dog tag says Protestant.

Lastly, if you look at Veterans Administration headstones or headstones at a national cemetery, like Arlington, you will see religious markers in the headstones, like crosses. That is the veteran’s choice. Some headstones have no symbol. That is also the veteran’s choice. 

Our VFW post, along with our sponsored Boy Scout troop, will put out flags at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 23. We would be delighted to have you, as a veteran yourself, help us in this honored tradition.

David S. Waggoner

Senior vice commander, VFW Post No. 3436

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One Response to “To The Editor”

  1. Mike Vandeman on May 20th, 2009 9:03 pm

    Charles Winters’ “Rules of the road” is full of deliberate misinformation. “The motivation appears to be simple prejudice against mountain bikes” Bike bans are based on solid evidence and science. See “They are hikers, not mountain bikers, and they want exclusive use of the resource”. Nonsense. Banning bikes doesn’t ban mountain bikers. Yoiu ARE capable of walking, you know! “Mountain bikes don’t make noise, they don’t damage trails and they don’t pose an inherent threat to hikers”. There are three obvious lies. If mountain bikes don’t make any noise, why is it that I can hear them coming from a long way off? They obviously damage trails. Even research by a mountain biker admitted that tey create V-shaped ruts in the trail. And they are also a threat to the safety of other trail users, as many reports of collisions and near misses have attested. That is why a federal court declared that theyr is no right to mountain bike: Tell the truth. You will get farther, in the long run.

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