Waterfront Connector, Rick Steves | Letters

May 25, 2018

Fire Authority unprepared for City Council presentation

My wife and I attended the May 15 City Council meeting and were greatly disappointed in the Regional Fire Authority Presentation on the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector.

Council members asked for specific historical evidence that having a bridge would significantly impact the health and well-being of our community. The answers to these questions were pathetic at best.

The lack of clear evidence led us to question why the Council would even consider spending tens of millions of dollars on a project with this poor of a justification. It was unfathomable to me that the presenters had no specific responses to questions like the frequency and severity of past incidents involving the train crossings and harbor access.

How can we justify potentially having a negative impact on parts of our community, adversely impacting the shoreline, and spending huge tax dollars on such weak data?

Often various proponents of large government projects justify spending millions of dollars on the fact that the city will receive state and federal grants. Please, let’s not forget that state and federal grant monies come from us, the taxpayers.

Finally, let’s also be aware of what is happening repeatedly in Seattle, where projects are repeatedly going significantly over budget. What may today be a $30 million project is likely to be a $40 million to $50 million project when all is said and done.

I am a senior citizen who visits the waterfront almost on a daily basis. It could easily be me who has a medical emergency someday.

Based on what I heard at this council meeting, I think the risk of my not receiving emergency service at a critical moment due to a train stopped on both tracks is significantly low at best (even with projected increases in train frequency).

I do not support this project. This money could be much better spent.

Chris Walton


Whose country is it?

Re: “Get out of my country: Woman arrested after racial tirade at McDonald’s,” May 10).

To my knowledge, if this continent belonged to anybody, it was Native Americans. It’s believed they may have established cultures here 30,000 years ago.

Were your relatives here? Were mine? Most of us would have to acknowledge that we are latecomers, and this continent was their country.

We latecomers are descendants of immigrants. Were those early immigrants welcomed with open arms? History doesn’t support that; instead, it indicates that from the beginning, every wave of immigrants was cause for alarm.

Why? Attitudes, then as now, remain the same. The country they came from might have been suspect. They dressed funny. They spoke a different language, they were poor, they may have been from an unfamiliar nationality. Or their culture was strange.

The attitude, at one point, was that we were not a melting pot – we were a dumping ground.

But these are the people who brought new ideas, knowledge and skills that spurred the development of our country. They shared aspects of their culture, traditions, food, music and holidays for the enjoyment of all.

Every nationality living here has contributed to the whole.

In 1900, the residents of Edmonds came from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Sweden and about 10 different states.

Just imagine how many places are represented now.

Kathe G. Hall


Nothing educates like travel

Glenn Steinberg (“Rick Steves should stick to travel,” Letters to the Editor, May 17) has visited many countries since 1974.

So have I, though I’ve lost track how many, and I certainly agree that there’s no place like home – especially when that home is in Edmonds! Still, wherever I have gone in the last two years, I have constantly been asked, “What is American thinking with Trump?”

Steinberg seems to be unaware that very many people, both at home and abroad, and not just Rick Steves, are alarmed and convinced that our country is going in some very troubling, even dangerous directions.

But that is not really why I write.

I have never had the pleasure of meeting Rick Steves, but I’d like to suggest that his travels give his opinions the very great benefit of having been out of the country – nothing educates like travel.

Steinberg seems to suggest that Steves somehow has less right to express his opinions than the rest of us, and goes so far as to say, “He is simply trying to support his travel business with his political views.”

It is very foolish to assume one comprehends other people’s inner motivations. That Steves’ views trouble Steinberg is clear. But Steinberg’s views trouble me. Let him express them – by all means – but not by denying Steves the right to speak out, or by denigrating his reasons for doing so.

It is the right of every American to speak out when he/she perceives a reason to do so. That is not “stirring up dislike for our president, and ultimately, our country.”

It is democracy at work, and to speak against it is to undermine the liberty all Americans should honor. To discourage someone from speaking against the president seems like the first step toward dictatorship and totalitarianism.

It is deeply un-American.

Nathaniel Brown


Steves does good in the neighborhood

Glenn Steinberg’s letter on Rick Steves’ lack of contribution to small-town American culture misses the following facts: Rick’s $1 million donation to the Edmonds Center for the Arts, his financial support of YWCA Pathways for Women – which provides support for women and children in abusive relationships – and his employment of local people to work in his business.

I would characterize Rick as more than supportive of the city of Edmonds.

Rick’s signature life goal is to teach people to use travel has a way to open their minds and learn from the cultures of other countries. Clearly, his goal is not to shortchange his native Edmonds fellow citizens or any other small town citizens, as Steinberg suggests.

Steinberg does not agree with Rick’s politics. He is entitled to his opinions. He is not entitled to his omissions and mischaracterization of facts.

Michael Thompkins


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