To the Editor
October 30, 2012
I-1240 — an initiative the people can’t afford
The charter school initiative in my voter’s pamphlet states the financial hit to Washington taxpayers is at least $3 million over five years. The Supreme Court has given the Legislature until 2018 to fully fund public education as the paramount duty of the state. That is no small task and will require compromise unseen in recent history.
Charter schools are an added financial hit, not a solution to our problem. In at least six paragraphs regarding six areas of school funding, the fiscal impact to the state and school districts is further described as “indeterminate, but nonzero.” To me, that says, “we have no idea how much charter schools might cost!” Voters shouldn’t sign a blank check.
The word “transportation” appears once in a list of requirements offered by public school districts. If charter schools are an option for struggling students in our schools, how do these students get to school? The struggling students I encountered as an Issaquah teacher did not have access to private transportation to a non-neighborhood school on a daily basis.
Could this initiative be a vehicle for parents of private school students to have taxpayers foot the bill for their child’s private education?
Why are billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and others spending millions on charter school TV ads? These CEOs, who clamor for a highly educated work force, need to call off their lobbyists and pay their fair share to help fully fund Washington’s public schools.
Stanford University research shows that, overall, charter schools do not perform better than public schools, and nearly 40 percent do worse.
Washington’s savvy voters have rejected charter schools three times. Let’s not spend precious dollars on a system that will serve 1 percent of students when 100 percent of Washington’s students deserve our best.
Vote no on I-1240.
Mark Mullet has right values
I am writing this letter in support of Mark Mullet, the Democratic candidate for state senate in the 5th Legislative District. After months of partisanship on the national level, I finally found a moderate candidate who I could fully support.
I tend to be one of those “policy wonks.” I sat down with Mark for the first time this summer and was very impressed. Because of his experience, he intelligently articulates his points of view on complex issues.
Mark owns Zeeks Pizza and Ben & Jerry’s in the Issaquah Highlands. With his business experience and degree in international finance, he knows how to create a thriving business environment. At the same time, he cares deeply about fixing the education system because he knows that’s how we compete in the long-term global economy.
Because of these values, Mark has been endorsed by the great retiring Republican state senator, Cheryl Pflug. If we want a candidate who will bring Republicans and Democrats together to fix tough issues like education and the state deficit (unlike the current governor), then Mark is the right guy.
After a great conversation, I can say Mark shares the right values to represent me and the 5th District in Olympia.
Mark Mullet raising taxes is simply not true
I have worked with Mark Mullet since he was elected to the Issaquah City Council in 2009. It really bothers me to see the stuff coming from independent groups saying that Mark Mullet supports raising taxes. That is simply not true and is far from the truth.
During my time on the Issaquah council, I have been impressed that Mark looks for efficiencies in government to balance the budget, not extra tax revenue. Mark has voted against increasing the property tax on Issaquah residents every year since he was elected.
Mark will bring the same fiscal responsibility he has shown on the council to Olympia to balance our state budget. I encourage you to vote for Mark Mullet for State Senate.
Issaquah City Council
Pledge of Allegiance
Think about how atheists feel
I noticed that the Issaquah candidate forum started with the Pledge of Allegiance. That’s certainly legal, but it’s also rude. Would you ask a Jew or Hindu to stand and declare that they’re “under Jesus”? Of course not. But no one thinks twice about asking atheists to stand and proclaim that they’re “under God.”
That might be because they think there’s only one or two atheists in town, and who cares what they think anyway? However, this year the Pew Research Center found that 5.7 percent of Americans are atheist or agnostic (an all-time high). That’s 13 million across the country.
Issaquah has more than 31,000 residents, so at 5.7 percent, that’s roughly 1,750 atheist and agnostic folks in Issaquah. (And that estimate doesn’t even take into account the fact that Washington is significantly less religious than the nation.) Those 1,750 folks are your neighbors. Why be rude to your neighbors?
Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the person who welcomed the audience and led the crowd in the pledge intentionally left out the words “under God.” She was using the microphone, so it’s quite easy to notice on the video, which is being repeated on the city’s TV channel and also available on its website.
I don’t know which of the forum organizers required that the pledge be included, but I bet it’s someone who likes to show others how patriotic they are. And I bet they’re not too pleased that a godless pledge is being repeated on TV.
But the organizers shouldn’t feel too bad. School children recited a godless pledge every day in class before 1954, including during both world wars. Kind of refreshing to hear the traditional, nonoffensive pledge for a change of pace, isn’t it?