To the Editor

March 5, 2013

By Contributor

Interstate 90

Tolling may not be allowed

My understanding of interstate highways is that tolling is generally not allowed. Why is this? It’s because the system was built to further the efficient and speedy movement of people and goods for the entire U.S. Tolling does not further this goal.

There have been exceptions, mostly toll roads built prior to the advent of the interstate highway system, subsequently incorporated into the system. But mostly, like Interstate 90, these roads were built primarily with federal dollars. The state is not allowed to make money on roads they did not pay for.

Again, my understanding of the federal Department of Transportation process is that their staff can make recommendations, but tolling of interstates requires congressional approval. So, this will necessarily involve your congressional representatives.

I’ll throw in another idea: Since tolls restrict movement, this may also be an anti-trust issue, courtesy of the state of Washington.

If the precedent of tolling I-90 across Lake Washington proceeds, you can bet I-5, I-405 and I-90 further east won’t be far behind. In fact, that idea has already been floated. This is not just a Mercer Island issue.

George Dial


Plastic bag ban

‘What happened to our democracy?’

Today (Feb. 28), as I was checking out at the grocery store and my stuff was put into a paper bag by the clerk, the clerk said, “Tomorrow I have to charge you 5 cents for the bag.”

“Right,” I said. “I know that the Issaquah City Council has told the grocery stores what they can give away, sell and what to charge. Prior to this date the stores gave the plastic and paper bags away.”

The clerk said, “What happened to our democracy?”

Ken Sessler



School board

Alison Meryweather would be an asset

I write this letter in support of Alison Meryweather to fill the spot vacated by Chad Magendanz.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Alison for 10 years and feel absolute in her qualifications for this job. It was my pleasure to serve with her at Clark Elementary School as she led our PTA there, and was humbled to be her co-president for one year.

She is extremely bright and passionate about education and cares deeply about the Issaquah School District. She is knowledgeable in all areas, from finance to special needs, to legislative issues. She is respectful to all whom she comes in contact with and truly has an open mind to opinions that may differ from her own.

Her energy amazes me, and I have always felt so fortunate that our district has her energy and passion as its focus.

I have been fortunate to have seen her energies serving the Issaquah Schools Foundation as well. Again, her articulate ways and goodness to all are inspirational. In addition, she is an amazing wife to her husband and mother to her high school daughters.

We are so fortunate to have people like Alison in our community and to be recipients of her knowledge, passion and caring in the education of all of our children. She is nonpartisan in her approach and would truly be an asset to our school board.

Gretchen Dowling



Klahanie annexation

Will study give us the real answers to questions?

There are a number of questions I hope the Nesbitt Study can clarify. First, can Issaquah in its current financial situation adequately serve the citizens of the Klahanie area?

The last Nesbitt Study only considered two of the four annexation alternatives, the primary alternative not addressed were comparisons to annexation to the city of Sammamish. Why not consider Sammamish, which has a stronger fiscal position to address our needs.

I want to remind Mr. Foss that the added tax liabilities were in comparison to annexation to Sammamish, which has no bonded indebtedness. Why do we have to pay additional property taxes for facilities that do not serve or benefit Klahanie?

The issue of increased water and sewer rates and an imposition of a utility tax is more pronounced. Will the Nesbitt Study consider the impact of Issaquah providing water and sewer service to the Klahanie area and the capital costs involved.

My question would be will increases in rates offset any decrease in property taxes? My decision will be based on facts and whether Issaquah will be able to address our needs. We don’t want to be disappointed five years from now based on current expectations and broken promises.

Like Mr. Foss and other citizens, I am waiting to see if the Nesbitt Study will also consider the various alternatives or just be a “fluff” piece for the city of Issaquah who is paying for it.

Tom Harman



Firearms ownership

Legislators need to help mentally ill, not ban guns

The terrible tragedies of Arizona, Aurora and Sandy Hook have been used by legislators to drive their social agendas in the name of ending violence in our society. If they want to use these terrible events, then let them acknowledge the blood they see from these happenings is on their hands, on the legislators that for too long have turned their back on the mentally ill in our country.

In the name of protecting individual rights for the past 50 years, our legislators have lost focus of the need to help court-adjudicated mentally ill individuals and people who are affected by illnesses such as schizophrenia and who, because of their condition, refuse to accept medication or confinement if the best alternative.

We aren’t talking about mild depression. These people need help and are often individually struggling so hard with reality that they feel a need to destroy others as we so recently have experienced.

Once again, rather then address these problems brought to everyone’s attention by a media circus, these same legislators seem driven to attack the NRA and those citizens who own firearms. Even when legislators acknowledge the 1994 assault weapon ban had no effect in reducing crime, when they admit they understand criminals will never submit to a universal background check, when they admit criminals will still have large-capacity magazines, the politicians still want to go after the lawful citizens who own firearms.

What would restrictions and confiscation accomplish? One thing should be apparent. Rather than just leaving one group of victims not receiving the care they need, you would now have a second group. The unarmed citizens would become the victims of the very criminals and legally insane people our legislators seem afraid to confront. Isn’t that what we already have in Chicago?

Butch Wright



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