Letters to the Editor
Last updated 2/9/2012 at Noon
This letter is for Joanne Peterson who recently lost her cat Benjamin.
Joanne, I am so sorry for the loss of Benjamin and the emptiness that it can leave in your heart and soul.
I also have a Benjamin kitty I adopted from the Everett Animal Shelter.
Ben kept running up to the window of his kitty condo meowing at me during my volunteer shift.
When I went in to visit him, it was instant love, and he became a member of our family soon after.
Benjamin must have been a wonderful cat and I enjoyed your stories about him throughout the years, especially the one about 911.
As I read your tribute to “Ben”, I had tears in my eyes and a great sadness in my heart.
Please know that I am thinking of you in your time of sorrow, but I know that the wonderful memories of Benjamin will live on forever.
Sandii Lee Berkshire
Beacon employee and Mukilteo resident
More than streets and lights
It is with deep disappointment that Mayor Earling chose not to sign the Council resolution to support the Same Sex Legislation, which the Senate voted for and which the House will also approve.
City government is more than infrastructure, land use issues and public safety.
Apparently, Mayor Earling has forgotten that City government is there to guarantee basic Civil Rights of its citizens.
If he says he has a history of supporting domestic partnership legislation, the Mayor ducked and ran from this basic civil right need expressed in the legislation for same sex marriage.
The state government is there to legislate and support this basic civil right.
City government is there to stand by and support those basic civil rights established by the state.
The majority of the Edmonds constituents also support this legislation.
This was not a good decision on Mayor Earling's part.
I hope the Mayor rethinks his position and publicly stands up for the civil rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation.
Maynard Atik, retired ELCA pastor
EMS fees a good idea
Kudos to the Edmond's EDC to propose a nominal charge (user fee) for those EMS 911 visits which are, in fact, a self- determined “ medical emergency".
Edmonds taxpayers now subsidize what essentially has become a high priced "house call."
And... much easier and convenient to dial 911 than to transport oneself to the local doctor's office or hospital ER, right?
Should not the City Council seek to determine how many EMS 911 visits are not acute or serious medical emergencies as defined by the City's very own website:http://www.ci.edmonds.wa.us/CityDepartments/FireDeptPDF/FD-FAQ.pdf.
What is meant by “medical emergency?”
“The emergent and acute onset of a symptom or symptoms, including severe pain, that would lead a prudent lay person, acting responsibly, to believe that a health condition exists that requires immediate medical attention, if failure to provide medical attention would result in serious impairment to bodily functions and serious dysfunction to a bodily organ or part, or would place the person’s health in serious jeopardy."
Any charge for non-emergent medical care would be a user fee. What a fabulous idea.
City shouldn’t allow it
Please permit me this opportunity to vent my anger and frustration at the city's issuance of a permit to build a "utility shed" on the property at the southeast corner of 7th Avenue North and Edmonds Street in Edmonds Bowl.
I live in one of the few remaining small older homes in Edmonds.
I was hoping to enjoy this house and location for the rest of my life but now I am having serious second thoughts.
However, this huge, enormous 25 ft. building is being built five ft. from the edge of my property.
It will block much of the westerly skies, and views of the mountains which I used to be able to see from my back deck.
It is well known that the small house on that property will shortly be replaced by a large family house.
That is something that I was expecting, and that will not upset me too much... but I want to scream out loud and tell everyone how disappointed and sad I am that the construction of this enormous 25 ft. utility shed is being permitted by the city.
I also believe that this development has devalued my property, adding insult to injury.
And, by the way, several of my neighbors are also affected by this, and I invite anyone to drive by and see if you agree with me.
Shame on the city for allowing this without giving the neighbors to speak their thoughts.
Coal train issue needs discussion
Another diatribe from Mr. Keeler blasting away at the “eco fascists,” the “global warming scam” and the “thousands of supporters in Edmonds” who didn’t turn up to protest coal trains!
Putting aside for a moment all questions of when the last time “thousands” of Edmonds residents turned up for anything (where would we put them all?), it is interesting to find Mr. Keller is close agreement with Captain Smith, of Titanic fame.
When warned that there might be icebergs ahead, Captain Smith ordered another boiler to be brought on line so the Titanic could increase its speed. Possibly he also said something about “iceberg fascists”, “warning scams” and noted the thousands who weren’t protesting.
But Captain Smith’s decision proved to be an unhappy one, because when responsible people – in this case a very large body of scientists world-wide – issue warnings, some both dire and immediate – it is wise to slow down, take precautions, and listen.
Quite aside from “global warming” (now generally referred to as “climate change” as we learn more and see more and more bizarre and unusual weather), Mr. Keeler seems to ignore simple pollution, which we see everywhere around us. Or don’t see: it is estimated that something like 10 percent of the atmospheric pollution on the west coast originates in China, and it seems counter-productive to send China more coal so they can increase atmospheric contaminants.
And as for Edmonds: do we really want all those long, slow trains rolling through, stopping traffic, sealing off the beach and waterfront, adding to the noise, and stopping traffic?
It needs discussion.
Rational, informed, mutually respectful discussion.
Name-calling and hurling abuse and suppositions about others’ motivations does not forward this, though it may relieve one’s feelings.
Oddly, calling people names is often a poor way to convince them of the value of your point of view.
Oh, and by the way, “fascism” is generally defined either as an Italian anti-Bolshevist movement, or as an unholy alliance between big business (oil, coal, atomic energy) and government – which suggest that any fascism in this case might lie on the other side of the issue from those concerned about the environment.
Condo’s benefit Edmonds economy
At last week’s city council retreat, council member Petso reiterated her opposition to view condominiums, in particular the Point Edwards Development, as a form of economic development. Actually she expanded her opposition to include all residential housing.
Some months ago I did an analysis of Point Edwards.
I determined that there are 261 condos there having a 2012 tax value of $133 million.
Imagine the very significant amount of construction sales tax they have yielded, as well as the real estate excise tax (reet) our city gets every time one of those condos is sold.
Much of the 2005/2006/2007 bubble in reet was surely attributable to Point Edwards.
Additionally, there’s the property tax our city collects every year - $274,757 in 2011.
It would take retail sales of $32.3 million to generate that amount of revenue for us.
And, of course, the 500 or so residents of Point Edwards are potential customers for our merchants.
In addition to the Edmonds property taxes, in 2011 Point Edwards owners paid $1.033 million in property taxes to the other taxing authorities.
With the biggest chunk of that going to schools, their payments help to reduce the amount of school taxes paid by the rest of us. Ms. Petso, you can call those condos on the hill whatever you’d like to.
To me there is no doubt that they have benefited the Edmonds economy.
Now council member Plunkett thinks a lot like Ms. Petso – at least about this topic.
Back in July he wrote that “taller buildings do not equal economic development.
If downtown doubled the number of condos it would bring in an additional $360,000 in property tax revenue.”
The amount of property taxes from downtown condos is not a sum that’s readily available.
Suspecting that $360,000 was too low a figure, I decided to determine the real number.
So I walked the streets and collected the addresses of all of the condo buildings in the downtown.
Then I went home and analyzed the tax records of 97 buildings containing 902 condos. A very time-consuming process!
The assessed value for 2012 taxes is $326 million.
In 2011 the owners of those condos paid Edmonds property taxes of $685,427 – almost double Mr. Plunkett’s figure.
And my figure still understates reality, because many of the 97 buildings are mixed-use buildings and I did not factor in the revenue received from the commercial portions of those buildings.
One final important point, if your position is that residential development is not a form of economic development then that means that you probably view mixed-use projects similarly.
Without the residential component of mixed use there will be few if any such projects, because we have learned that it’s the residences that make the mixed-use projects financially viable.
Once again, the facts clearly show that condominiums, and apartments, benefit the Edmonds economy.
Save Robin Hood Lanes
Many in our community are just becoming aware of plans to raze our 50+ year old landmark, Robin Hood Lanes, and are now in an uproar against Walgreens coming to Edmonds.
This last week our support numbers increased to almost 2,500.
While signs were posted at the bowling alley and the building plans were posted for everyone to see, the permit has not yet been approved and we understand there are still huge obstacles ahead with regards to traffic and storm drainage issues.
We believe that Walgreens is just starting to become aware of this community issue and the President and CEO, as well as the President of Community Management and the Real Estate Vice President of Walgreens, as well as the developer, will be receiving letters from us this week.
This bowling alley is popular, successful and is one of the last remaining in our area. Bowling tournaments are held at this location bringing professional bowlers from all over the United States to compete here.
This recreational facility is used by thousands of league bowlers, families, high schools, seniors as old as 90 and children as young as five years old.
Over 1,700 kids bowled free this last summer.
Birthday parties are booked every weekend and local churches use it for gatherings.
We can only assume that Walgreens was unaware of how important Robin Hood Lanes is to our community when they submitted permits to demolish it.
In addition, we feel they were not aware there are already two drug stores located on the corner of 100th and Edmonds Way.
Bartell Drugs and QFC Pharmacy have always been sufficient for the prescriptions needed in the Westgate area.
Maybe a mini, small community Walgreens would better fit in Edmonds where we support small businesses, maybe a pharmacy where the seniors living downtown can go that are unable to drive to the Westgate area.
Please know that our community efforts to save Robin Hood Lanes have only just begun.
Supporters are growing rapidly since our local paper reported this issue on the front page.
We are asking the land owner, for the opportunity to match the price for this land, and ask that she reconsider the proposal to build where Robin Hood Lanes has successfully operated for more than 50 years.
Needless to say, if this bowling alley should be torn down it will decimate yet another place for kids to gather, have fun, and be active in a safe atmosphere.
This is not a matter of a failing establishment that is close to going out of business. This is purely a matter of a huge national company who finds this location appealing for potential profit.
Please help us save something that has been so good for our community!
Razing Robin Hood Lanes and replacing it with a Walgreens will add nothing to our small community and only steal away its history and charm.
Robin Hood Lanes against Walgreens,
More parking key to Sounder success
I am responding to Bruce Ramsey’s column in a recent Seattle Times edition, entitled “Sounding off on Sounder North.”
Ramsey suggests that the Sounder North route is not cost-effective and riders should instead take the many available buses.
Ramsey’s analysis is flawed.
It assumes that a) the number of Sounder North riders is static, b) there is extra capacity on the bus routes, and c) there are no other impacts, positive or negative, of the choices riders make.
Those are all false premises.
The issue is that the Sounder North is under-utilized, not because there is insufficient potential ridership but because Sound Transit provides inadequate parking for Sounder riders, and they are turned away.
I began riding North Sounder when I moved to Edmonds about 1 year ago.
Yes, it is a beautiful and serene way to get to Seattle. Who wouldn’t want to use it?
However, the ability to ride Sounder North is restricted by timing (four trains per morning, with the last one leaving Everett at 7:15 am) and by access to parking.
The parking situation at Edmonds Station has become absurd and counter-productive.
After construction over the summer converted some parking to bus turnaround space, the Edmonds parking lot has become completely inadequate to meet Sounder riders’ needs.
The lot is completely full before the last train each morning even gets to Edmonds.
For example, I arrived early yesterday for the 7:10am train from Edmonds to Seattle.
I found the lot full, so I had to drive 30 minutes to a bus park-and-ride lot in Lynnwood and take a 45 minute bus ride to Seattle.
How do you think that encourages train ridership?
It forces riders to beat the rush and take earlier trains just to be sure of getting parking, the parking lot fills up even earlier, and there are fewer riders on the last train.
The point is that there is no space to grow Sounder ridership, and devoted riders are forced to either drive to their jobs, or take the buses.
This adds to congestion on the roads and on the buses, which is already severe.
Furthermore, Edmonds merchants should be concerned about turning away North Sounder riders.
Every person that goes instead to park in Lynwood or Mountlake Terrace is not going through Edmonds twice a day, and therefore not spending their money in town.
As an example, when I was able to return home on the Sounder two days ago, I met my family there, I used a local bank, we had a nice dinner at a local restaurant, and we walked through downtown seeing shops we would come back to shop at.
Every frustrated rider turned away from the Sounder is at least two fewer trips through downtown Edmonds and probably many more lost commercial visits over time.
The Edmonds downtown community and Sound Transit needs to find a solution to this parking shortage: either finding a way to utilize the empty strip mall lot next to the station (where commuter cars are currently ticketed and towed) or the yacht club lot (empty during the day and used during the Sounder lot construction last summer with no adverse effects), or something besides $16/day paid parking.
Ramsey has it wrong.
Trains entail high fixed costs, but low operational costs. Adding riders costs next to nothing – just a space to park.
Each additional rider brings in revenue without adding to congestion.
Increasing bus ridership crowds buses, eventually requiring more vehicles, and fills up express lanes.
At worst, it forces cars onto the roadways all the way to Seattle.
For the benefit of the would-be train riders, the current highway drivers and bus riders, and the local business-people, Sound Transit should ensure that Sounders are used more, not less.
Coal exports will destroy jobs
Steven Keeler’s letter (Letter to the Editor of Edmonds Beacon - 4 Feb. 2012) titled “Coal exports mean jobs” makes many false claims.
The export of coal through the northwest creates maybe 100 construction jobs for a few years; but consider the likely reduction in jobs, for years to come, due to the loss of the iconic beauty of Puget Sound, and the destruction of the special charm of our city, Edmonds.
We will see reduction in property values, fewer homes sold as Edmonds becomes less desirable for families, fewer visitors and tourists as they realize that their views of the Sound are blocked by noisy and ugly coal trans, the wait for ferries are increased, the ability for emergency vehicles to reach the sick and older residents are impeded, and not to mention the health hazards.
If you are interested in an economic plan for Edmonds, you do not build it on 1.5 mile long coal trains pulling 120 cars through our city, almost hourly.
And that is just Edmonds, what about all the cities from Portland to the Canadian boarder; when you add up all the losses of jobs and the loss of the natural beauty of our northwest; would you really trade that all away for 100 jobs, and feeding profits to the coal companies in Montana shipping coal to China; their next big financial windfall at the expense of all the cities along their route to the sea ports.
The number of people interested in Coal Free Edmonds is growing as they understand how it will affect our beautiful city.
Groups are forming in towns all along the Columbia and Puget Sound to fight the building of big terminals to ship the coal.
Even groups in the San Juan’s are worried about the biggest ships built that will carry coal through their beautiful islands.
For our groups to be called socialists and fascists, who pose as environmentalists, is hateful and fear mongering writing that is so distasteful in today’s political discourse.
We are people who care about our climate, air quality, water and health.
We are worried about coal train emissions and coal dust in the air, on the beach, in the water.
There are people who have asthma and lung disease we care about who go to the Senior Center and who live above the train tracks.
There is a path to winning against these powerful companies.
While you cannot control what happens on the railroad right-of-way, you can stop construction of the proposed coal terminals.
As Edmonds citizens see the path to winning, the number of supporters will grow.
So, join us and other residents in Edmonds who want to stop this rip-off of our iconic environment and write to PETER GOLDMARKWashington State Commissioner Of Public Lands at [email protected] or better yet his re-election site and email at [email protected] or phone 509.322.0440 and tell him you do not want him to support the building of coal terminals in Washington State along the Columbia and Puget Sound.
In the latest edition of the Beacon, even The Constant Curmudgeon took delight in the natural beauty of Edmonds after supporting the coal trains in his previous column; but perhaps, over the next few months, we can turn him around on this issue.
Steve Keeler is a denier of Global Warming, but Global Warming is outside of the normal flow of temperature changes and is a scientific fact.
For the deniers; take a look at the NASA Goddard web page: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2011-temps.html that plays a short movie showing the global temperatures rising since 1884, and the last 10 years being the warmest in contrast to Steve’s assertion.
Sure in Edmonds we may not feel it, but taken over the whole earth, global warming is happening.
Eliminating the world’s use of coal will take 50-100 years, will require a carefully planned transition to other forms of non-polluting energy; is a worthy goal; but we can keep it out of Edmonds now.
Please, join us by attending our monthly meetings to organize against coal trains through Edmonds, and through the rest of the northwest.
Visit our web page for information and meeting times. www.sierraclub.org/coal/wa/resources/COALFREEEDMONDS.aspx.
Dennis and Lorna Lowenthal