Opponents Not Right -- There are a number of inaccuracies regarding Proposition 1 (preservation of public transportation) being stated as fact. Opponents of the proposition have no responsibility to be accurate. Several themes must be addressed.
For years, Dave Hamer complained that STA had a reserve. Now he complains that STA spent it. Rather than implement immediate, severe, punitive service reductions after the loss of the MVET, the Board of Directors decided to make an initial 10 percent cut and bolster remaining service by spending the reserves. That provided time to determine what actions, if any, the state would make to support transit. A one-time payment, equal to one-third of the lost MVET income, was provided.
There are not 30 executives at STA. There are about 30 non-contract administrative staff (about 7 percent of the total employee group). Many of these people administer programs and policies, or collect and report data required by the state and federal governments. A full-time bus operator at the top of the pay scale earns $39K.
There are too many routes and too many buses. Compared to what? STA receives requests regularly for more service, more frequently, more locations, more times of the day. Hamer's concept of smaller buses at the edge of the city bringing people into town would double the fleet required to perform the same service. Think about it. Take one car half of a trip, change vehicles and take a second car the other half. While the bus operator time would not necessarily double, the vehicles needed would.
Question. Get the facts. Join your neighbors in supporting Proposition 1 on September 17.
Dear Fellow Drivers -- I'm sure you were as happy as I to pay the lower 2001 renewal fee for your vehicle license. We don't drive a Mercedes at my house, but the difference was still enough to purchase a budget airfare to someplace. However, I am beginning to be very concerned about just what price I may be paying for that budget airfare.
My husband and I live in Liberty Lake. We love it here, but my commute to and from Cheney since January of this year has been a real eye-opener. I was not prepared for the traffic density of today's commute.
If all the other drivers would clear the path for me, I could make it, front door to classroom, in about 35 minutes.
However, my commute sometimes takes up to 90 minutes. I cannot usually predict when the drive will be prolonged, because weather isn't the major cause. Coming to a complete standstill on Interstate 90 is a common experience. The traffic is similar to what I experienced in the Seattle area a few years ago. It is taking an obvious toll on the road surfaces. Repair and maintenance of those surfaces often stretches the commute even more.
My immediate response to the problem was to check out Spokane Transit. I have frequently ridden the bus from our Liberty Lake commuter lot to downtown Spokane and have found the buses to be clean and comfortable and the drivers to be friendly and helpful. In addition, I can relax and read instead of stressing about traffic.
However, the bus schedule and my class schedule didn't fit. Recent budget constraints simply would not allow Spokane Transit to serve my area between the heavy commuter times of early morning and late afternoon.
I didn't realize that when my check to the Department of Licensing went down I would be contributing to a large change in lifestyle in the Inland Northwest. Bragging to West Side friends and relatives about our lack of traffic congestion has come to a screeching halt. I am also worried that our already challenged air quality isn't being helped by all those creeping cars during traffic snarls.
If we can support Spokane Transit and help limit the cars in the commute, cut down the wear and tear on our roads, lessen the gunk in our air, and even gain a little relaxing reading time (instead of worrying about road rage!) to boot, I say, "Up with Proposition 1!"
Liberty Lake, Wash.
Graham and the Flat Earth -- After the Franklin Graham show created all the local hubbub, we also must remember that the truth will set us free. With the Catholic Church, it was a flat earth, so that even after Magellan's last ship gained a day, circumnavigating the globe, the Pope would declare that the world remained flat because it was written that way in scripture.
With Hitler, it was Judaism and Aryanism. He said you could tell a Jew because his blood was different and an Aryan by measuring his skull, and he cleansed his schools of intelligence by imprisoning any scientist who would not teach those lies.
With Stalin, the individual was to be feared, so he destroyed the intelligentsia of Russia, dispersing them to the communes of the future, which would eventually fail to feed mother Russia.
With modern Bible literalists, it's natural selection, and they go to outlandish lengths to protect themselves from that force of nature, establishing their own schools and colleges, home schooling children, listening to their own radio and TV stations, entertained by their own movies and books, aiming ultimately to destroy public education. They are entirely sequestering themselves from science until they have become a sort of cult within a nation, clinging to their outworn Bible stories as if they were historical facts.
Their help has already given us two of the most under-informed presidents in history. They are in a sort of prison of the mind which they must escape before they bring harm to America's future.