After reading Randy Winn’s letter last week, I wanted to set the record straight on my support for veterans. Mr. Winn brought up an important vote that was cast in the House of Representatives on May 15. I agree with him that we need to support our veterans — that is one of my highest priorities in Congress. That is why I have now held three local Veterans’ Resource Fairs attended by over 800 veterans to help them learn about, and sign-up for, the benefits they can receive.
During World War II, which service lost the greatest percentage of personnel in combat? It was not the Army, the Marines or the Navy. It was the brave men of the American Merchant Marine. The price they paid was that every 26th man gave his life for the country. Over 1,500 ships were sunk, with one in eight mariners losing their ship. No other branch of the Armed Services can match that number. The United States Merchant Marine Academy cadets were the only federal academy men who were put in harm’s way and lost lives. After the war, every branch of the Armed Services received the G.I. Bill — that is, except the U.S. Merchant Marine.
Thanks to Rita Moore and fellow members of the Open Space Conservancy Trust for opposing the cutting of trees in Pioneer Park in order to provide room for more power lines. I am so glad that we have a group of citizens who are watchdogs for Pioneer Park. As a South end resident, I am willing to cope with another power outage to save our trees, which are irreplaceable. A week without power was a wake-up call for us to stack up on firewood, get battery-powered lamps and a portable butane camp stove. That’s not much to save a beautiful part of the park. At least we have not had any recent proposals to turn the park into a golf course, which has happened in the past.
The clergy actively involved in the Clergy Association are unanimous in our conviction that we need to host Tent City 4 on Mercer Island. And while one congregation will act as host, all Mercer Island congregations will be invited to participate in supporting Tent City’s presence. This joint effort is a unique opportunity to show the solidarity of the faith community in offering hospitality to a community of homeless people.
I gather that the First Hill parcel is roughly half an acre. Let’s say that its sale fetches $1.5 million. The tax benefit to each of the 7,500+ households on Mercer Island would thus be a lump sum of less than $200 and less than $4 a year thereafter (based on a 2 percent assessment rate).
Seven years ago, when President Bush took office, gasoline was $1.50 per gallon. Now, it is more than $4 per gallon — and prices are expected to keep rising through the summer. American middle-class families are spending well over $1,000 more per year now on gas than they were five years ago. Given that the average American household’s income has declined $1,000 a year during the Bush years, families across the 8th Congressional District are feeling the squeeze. Where is that money going to come from?
Few things are more annoying and customer-alienating than to experience one class of customer being treated preferentially above other customers.
Last week, the King County Executive, along with the Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney and judges from around the county, revealed that King County is facing a budget crisis of great magnitude. This year alone, we may have to cut $20 million from the $660 million general fund. An additional deficit between $40 million and $70 million is predicted in 2009.
How will services be affected by the budget crisis?
Who is to blame for high gas costs?
Take time to smell the flowers. We don’t mean to spend more time with your family and less time at work — although that’s a great idea. We want you to smell the flowers, literally.
I find it interesting that “city officials want to make it easier to find parking while grabbing a latte or lunch” (“Town Center parking: For whom the bell [might] toll”) at a time when climate change, sustainability and the rising cost of fuel are all referred to in the media and in public discussion on a regular basis — shouldn’t we be considering something other than our cars?
On behalf of the Mercer Island Arts Council, we would like to thank a long-time Mercer Island resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, for her very special gift to the people of Mercer Island. The donor, on her frequent walks through the Mercer Island Outdoor Sculpture Gallery, had admired the sculptures, Island Poles, by Seattle artist Steve Jensen, and decided to purchase and donate them to the city of Mercer Island. She wanted to ensure that future generations could enjoy the sculptures for many years to come.
I thought the weather got people riled up! Going from meteorology to the energy industry put me in stormy seas.