December 25, 2012
Thanks to our many letter writers
We’d like to take a moment to salute those people who took the time to write a letter to the editor in 2012. Their written voice provokes, challenges, encourages and thereby builds a stronger community for us all. We aren’t able to publish every letter we receive, but here’s a list of the 122 authors, in alphabetical order, who did get ink this year.
December 18, 2012
Make Christmas about giving to those in need
The excitement of Christmas is here … the reindeer at Cougar Mountain Zoo are being harnessed to guide Santa’s sleigh, the last-minute stocking stuffers and eggnog have been bought, the silver has been polished for the dinner table, and the church choir is ready for the candlelight service.
But here and there — in apartments, homes and homeless campsites — if you look closely, you’ll see some families with furrowed brows.
Forget Christmas. This single mom, widowed senior and unemployed dad are too busy worrying about next month’s rent. A decorated tree, presents tied with bows and a festive dinner are not going to happen.
December 11, 2012
Our state park needs passionate ‘friends’
Lake Sammamish State Park needs a group of passionate people to come together as Friends of Our State Park. Both leaders and roll-up-your-sleeves volunteers are wanted.
The state park has had a plan in place for five years. That plan would add an esplanade between the picnic and beach areas for walkers to access a new bathhouse, a boathouse for kayaks and rowing shells, a lakefront café, improved group sites, environmental educational components throughout, an RV and tent park, a lodge to host youth or adult groups for overnights or meetings, and much cleaner beach and grassy areas.
A citizen group met for three years to come up with the plan, and design work was completed for the esplanade and bathhouse. It was to have been done by 2013, in time for the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks.
December 4, 2012
Athletes’ triumphs create community pride
Skyline High School’s football and soccer teams just keep bringing home honors to the Issaquah School District. The Issaquah and Liberty high school teams have also added many awards to the virtual district trophy case.
Skyline girls soccer took first in state for the fourth time in five years. And the Dec. 1 state playoff football game gave Skyline the gridiron title again for the fifth time in eight years. Skyline’s 200-medley relay team won the state swim title last month.
Issaquah is a known winner among 4A KingCo teams. The Eagles came in second, to Skyline, for the state girls soccer championship. This year’s football team reached the playoffs. The school’s wrestlers won the district title in 2011 and sent six wrestlers to state.
November 27, 2012
Eastside Fire & Rescue funding change will impact taxpayers
Eastside Fire & Rescue partners — including the city of Issaquah and Fire District 10 serving areas outside the Issaquah city limits — are getting creative in their hopes of finding a more equitable funding model before the partnership contract expires in 2014.
The city of Sammamish is driving the push. Leaders there contend that city taxes are too high for the number of emergency response calls in Sammamish. Without some relief, the city will look to other providers for fire service, namely Redmond.
November 20, 2012
Issaquah School Board’s tiny step may imply big change
There is something big going on at the Issaquah School Board, and we’re watching with interest.
For years now, the school board has been working under a governance policy that puts the superintendent and his administration in the driver’s seat. The board sets the goals, but leaves the method to the educators to figure out how to achieve those goals.
The governance policy model is effective, provided that the board members are asking a lot of questions and offering oversight. The administration lets the board know what new directions are in the works and the board nods its collective head.
November 13, 2012
Voters’ Pamphlet needs rethinking
The expense of the mass-mailed Voters’ Pamphlet surely outweighs the service it provides, especially in this day and age.
For one, most of the candidates who submit statements for the guides have nothing substantive to say; their messages have been sanitized to the point of being little more than feel-good pablum.
November 13, 2012
Change ballot deadline
As the 2012 election winds down, there is a chorus calling for mail-in ballots to be due on Election Day, not sent on Election Day. The chorus is right.
Ballots are already sent with ample time for voters to return them by the election. Procrastinators will simply need to get their votes in the mail a couple of days earlier, or take them to the nearest ballot drop box.
The water-torture drip of results in the week or more after the election needlessly prolongs the results. Florida actually finished counting its ballots before Washington state. We can do better.
November 13, 2012
Campaign tests candidates’ — and voters’ — mettle
Throughout campaign season, as the insults zinged back and forth across screens and in mailboxes, I often hoped for Election Day to arrive as soon as possible.
But now, as the election recedes into memory I feel wistful, maybe even a little nostalgic.
Though the process often degraded the candidates and, in the process, voters, I found the contenders dedicated and focused on the task at hand.
Candidates knock on thousands of doors in the run-up to Election Day, a process referred to in candidate-speak as doorbelling. The exercise tests the candidates’ mettle and offers voters a grassroots introduction to the person behind the political sign.
Besides the usual pitfalls — unfriendly dogs, voters pretending not to be home — everybody on the doorbelling circuit, state Sen. Steve Litzow told me in a pre-election interview, encountered at least one naked voter at the door.
November 6, 2012
Shoppers deserve traffic solutions
There are two messy traffic jams that occur in Issaquah, primarily on busy weekend shopping days. With the arrival of the holiday shopping season, these locations will only get worse. While you may have others in mind, we think you’d agree these two are tops for driver annoyance.
Both spots are in the heart of shopping centers.
No. 1 honors go to the ingress/egress to Lake Sammamish Center near The Home Depot. The traffic signal and Interstate 90 Undercrossing help drivers move in and out of the area, but getting out of the parking lot from the south side is a lesson in frustration. Often the only option is to circle away from the exit and try again from a new angle. The only saving grace is that there are no pedestrians in the midst of this tangle of cars.
The intersection on Northwest Maple Street in the heart of the Issaquah Commons is the second-most hazardous traffic jam in town.