City pay cuts?; Rick Steves' plan; wear those face masks | Letters to the Editor
Last updated 5/21/2020 at 10:33am
Mayor, staff should take pay cuts to be role models
I'm a 40-year Edmonds resident and currently serving on an Edmonds city board. After reading your last edition, I saw that the Edmonds mayor and his staff were not planning any pay cuts during this crisis ("Coronavirus: Phase 1 begins," May 7).
We should all be concerned when our businesses in Edmonds are forced to shut down, with many on the brink of closing for good.
Meanwhile, our mayor and city staff are not taking any pay cuts to reduce the significant budget deficit we are now facing. Mayor Mike Nelson and his employees should be role models in the community by taking necessary budget reductions in compensation during this crisis, just like many hard-working citizens of Edmonds have been forced to do.
Our property taxes have not been reduced during this crisis even though much of our income has been reduced. It appears that our mayor is more interested in media appearances than helping our local economy that supports the beautiful community of Edmonds.
It's time for our city government to step up to the plate.
How about a modified Rick Steves plan?
Yes – I truly can imagine this! ("Rick Steves: Imagine a walk-friendly Edmonds center," May 7.)
Rick took me there immediately in my mind with his usual great storytelling. And if full time is not an option, what about part time – perhaps two weekends a month to try it out?
It could be wonderfully delightful.
Face masks: We can do better, Edmonds
A little after 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, I went down to Demetris to pick up a to-go order. It was very busy on the sidewalks. Lots of people walking – not surprising, since it was sunny and Mother's Day.
But I was disappointed to see that over 90% of people were not wearing masks.
"The Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people wear cloth face coverings when they are in public settings where they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others" (https://bit.ly/2yPIWrT).
We can do better, Edmonds.
Resident likes Rick Steves' vision for Edmonds
I enjoyed reading Rick Steves' article May 7. It is a wonderful idea that would be a fantastic addition to the city, offering restaurants/patrons outdoor seating, enhancing local shops, and improving the safety for pedestrians crossing the street at the fountain.
As Edmonds becomes more popular, it is evident every day that the four way stop at the fountain is hazardous and a risk to pedestrians.
I have personally experienced this hazard by being hit by a car at 20 mph in the middle of the crosswalk while crossing the street at Starbucks.
Hopefully, Rick's envision will become a reality for the city of Edmonds.
Pedestrian-friendly zone would be perfect for Edmonds
I want to applaud and shout out approval for Rick Steve's suggestion to make the core of Edmonds by the fountain a pedestrian-friendly zone. During our two trips to Italy (full disclosure – one on a Rick Steves tour), our favorite part of the day was the evening stroll on pedestrian-only streets around the town plaza.
Families, teens, grandparents, and lots of dogs. Everyone smiling and friendly, even to us visitors.
If you think this is just for Europe, not the U.S., you are wrong. Just ask the merchants on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado, or on the Third Sreet Promenade in Santa Monica, California.
These are now the center of activity and the most desirable locations. Nothing brings a community together better than getting out of our cars and walking with our neighbors (post-COVID-19, of course).
Please support this initiative.
Coronavirus lesson: On becoming human beings vs. human doings
"Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing" – Arundhati Roy.
Arundhati's quote reminds me to slow down. To listen to the world breathing. Stay-at-home highlights for me our society's propensity for human-doing instead of human-being. Before the coronavirus, I often behaved like a cartoon character; my legs propelling me in circles achieving no forward motion.
Doing. Doing. Doing. Yet feeling unproductive. As if life depended on completing enough tasks to be valued.
I notice when we meet new people, we inevitably ask, "What do you do?" Doing seems to be the indicator of usefulness in American society. We judge our self-worth at the end of the day by how much we "got done."
"Hello, my name is Carol, and I do stuff." Once you've identified my doing-ness, I'm then categorized. Labeled. Boxed. Stacked. Shelved. Ready to be respected – or not.
The coronavirus has afforded me time to pause my doing and contemplate my being. Now, I respond to the question, "What do you do?" by saying, "I breathe."
Lately, I find myself holding my breath in response to the stress. My doctor explained the importance of breathing deeply because shallow breathing does not fully expel septic de-oxygenated air.
We are essentially rebreathing poisonous carbon dioxide. To function effectively, brain and body cells need copious amounts of healthy oxygen. When stressed, deep breathing nourishes our body.
The coronavirus has slowed my sense of time. One of many reasons I value other cultures is how time is celebrated differently. Early on working in Africa, it would take me days to slow down.
At first, I carried my time urgency around like precious baggage. When a meeting was delayed, I would fidget in frustration. I would tap my foot and watch the clock. "Time is money" would creep its insidious way into my psyche.
One Kenyan colleague finally tired of my foot tapping and said, "Polay-polay, Miss Carol" (slowly slowly), and began asking about my well-being: How did you sleep last night? How is your family? Have you heard from your parents? Would you like a cup of tea?
I deeply appreciate how Africans tell thoughtful stories to make their points. My colleague went on to explain that in the early days, white travelers exploring Kenya would rush to set up camp, explore, then break camp the next day and hurry on.
Set up camp. Explore. Move on. Set up camp. Explore. Move on. You get the picture.
One morning, the local guide refused to break camp. The explorers became impatient, telling the guide to hurry – they had places to investigate and things to discover.
The guide responded calmly, "You are moving too fast. I must stay in this camp, to allow my soul to catch up to my body."
Ndiaw Ndiaw is a village in the Senegal Sahel desert. At the end of each training day, plastic mats would appear on the warm courtyard sand. We would lie down and stare at the sky in companionable silence.
And we would breathe.
The night sky would slowly unveil the constellations. In the vast stillness, you could hear the stars glimmer. And the splendor of being would fill our souls.
Perhaps the coronavirus is teaching us to be human beings again.