Letters for the week of June 6

Jun 06, 2012

You get what you pay for

Dear Editor,

It appears to me that the city of Mukilteo tends to take the low bidder... even when lower then their own engineer's estimate [“All systems aren’t go at City Hall,” The Beacon, front page, May 23]. After years in the commercial construction/development industry, I have learned that you never take the low bidder.

What did they leave out? You get what you pay for. In this day and age, I agree, this is totally unacceptable.

Lynn McKinney,

Mukilteo

Keep full-time librarians

Dear Editor,

In the Mukilteo School District, eliminating 2.5 more elementary library positions is the ONLY cut in next year’s proposed budget.

This change hurts kids. It hurts Alberto, who continually asks me to “recommend him a book.” It hurts Angelina, whose best research strategy would start and end with Google. It hurts Mykel, who wanted a T-shirt badly enough to read the AR books that propelled him into the higher ability reading group.

The ONLY budget cut.

The libraries won’t be closed half time, but staffed with paraeducators instead. We have some great paraeducators in our district, but about a decade ago, the district shifted to fewer paraeducators and more teachers working directly with students.

This change was supported by research, which shows that students make far greater gains from instruction by certificated teachers. In fact, some studies show no gain or even a negative gain as a result of paraeducators teaching the students.

The ONLY budget cut.

Teacher-librarians do much more than check books in and out and read stories. We teach lessons on finding and using information. These days, that information may be found online or on the shelves, which makes these lessons even more crucial and complex.

Google may bring you back 100,000 answers, but a teacher-librarian can teach you how to find the right one. We teach students to love reading by running book fairs, introducing the latest and greatest books, setting up reading contests, organizing AR, and recommending the perfect read.

Is there something listed that children don’t need to learn as well as they do now? Something for which no gain or a negative gain would be acceptable? A love of reading? How to do research in books? Or online?

The ONLY budget cut.

Research shows the strong correlation between student test scores and having a full-time certificated teacher-librarian. Keith Curry Lance, leading educational researcher concluded, “A strong school library is… an integral part of a successful school—one that depends at least as much on a highly-qualified leader as any classroom.”

The ONLY budget cut.

Please modify this proposal. Please let me be there for Alberto, Angelina, Mykel, and all 783 students at our high poverty school. Please don’t cut the last full-time elementary librarians from the budget.

Thom Garrard,

Teacher-librarian,

Discovery Elementary

Bad things happen, even in Mukilteo

Dear Editor,

Our front door has a story to tell. It was originally built to fit on my parents’ house by my eldest brother, Jerry. He had served his stint in the Air Force at McChord, had married a local girl and was working his first civilian job at a door factory.

He loaded the door in the back of his truck in the early ‘60s, drove it down to southern California and presented it lovingly to our folks, to be installed, proudly displayed and used for the next 30 plus years.

I followed my brother up to the Northwest in the early ‘80s, and by the time the last of our parents died in 1999, he had been dead five years.

When the house was to be sold, I just couldn’t let Jerry’s door go with it. The original door was still collecting dust in the rafters of the garage, so we swapped them out and had the door shipped home to the Northwest.

Years passed, and because I didn’t love our house as much as I loved the door, it stayed stored away until we moved to Mukilteo.

Then it became the first project my husband tackled after he built his workshop. He stripped its sunburnt surface, sanded and stained it until it looked almost like new again. We had a frame built around it and had it installed last year. Jerry’s door.

On June 1, someone kicked in Jerry’s door while we weren’t home in the middle of the day. They made a beeline for the master bedroom and tore it apart in what a police officer said was probably only about five minutes, stealing most of our jewelry in the process.

The tiny diamond bracelet my husband had splurged on for our 10th anniversary. The pearl necklace he gave me for my 50th birthday. The gold earrings I bought with the last Christmas bonus I received from the company I worked for before they were sold. All the earrings my mom had bought in her 50s, after she had finally gotten her ears pierced, even the little garnet studs she bought when she visited me and we went shopping together.

Grandma’s crystal necklaces and her necklace of little red stones from the ‘20s that I liked to wear at Christmas. Lots of pretty things that I was planning to hand down to my daughter, but having no real value for anyone but me, they’re probably in some dumpster right now.

The worst loss of all was Jerry’s necklace, a $10 gold coin on a chain that my brother’s widow had given to our son about a year ago. We were “keeping it safe” for him while he was off at college.

Jerry’s door has a crack now, along with our sense of well-being and safety. The police responded quickly and they were terrific, but apparently this happens fairly frequently, so we were not reassured about the complete randomness of it all.

Be aware, Mukilteo, and keep your doors bolted and your valuables safely hidden, maybe even in many separate little places all around your house. Take pictures of your precious belongings just in case.

Be aware that even in our lovely, quiet little community, bad things can happen. And hope that it doesn’t happen to you.

Wendy Day,

Mukilteo

‘No Build’ still a viable option

Dear Editor,

After years of anticipation about the future disposition of the Mukilteo waterfront, the city of Mukilteo has once again demonstrated a complete lack of vision (aka imagination) by signing onto the WSDOT “Elliot Point 2 Plan” as the “preferred alternative” for future ferry facilities configuration.

At an estimated cost of between $120 and $130 million, more than two-thirds of the 20 acres of prime waterfront property formerly occupied by the U.S. military fuel tank installation will be lost for the benefit of Whidbey Island commuters. What a shame!

The “No Build” alternative noted in WSDOT documents as a “work in progress” is estimated to cost $60-$65 million for improving the existing dock. This would be the financially prudent alternative to pursue because it leaves in place the 20 acres of waterfront for future development that benefits the city of Mukilteo.

Additionally, there are currently no funds available to do anything and, with the state of the state’s budget, there likely will not be any funding for many years to come.

The existing facility has worked fine for many years, with the exception of some inconvenience to commuters and local drivers when the summer weekend lines grow out of the designated holding lanes. As ferry fares have increased, ridership has decreased.

Adding a substantial park-and-ride/commuter parking lot along the Mukilteo Speedway on the west side of Paine Field would help take some of the inconvenience out of the Speedway traffic. It is a possibility that Island Transit could fund shuttle busses to move commuters and pedestrians between the commuter lot and the ferry dock.

The “No Build” alternative does not include removal of the dilapidated pier that was used for transportation of jet fuel at the former fuel tank facility. It also would not include demolition of the remaining concrete fuel tank containment walls and unsightly buildings that still occupy the site.

Why should the government not be held accountable to the same standards they impose on any private enterprise that develops land, especially near the water?

Our elected leaders should pursue getting the Federal Government to be responsible and complete the clean up process and remove all infrastructure related to their abandoned installation.

Once the government can be held accountable, they can make the decision to either sell the land to try and recoup some of their cost of cleanup, or surplus the land.

This would certainly be more in the best interest of Mukilteo residents and the local economy for generations to come.

Emory Cole,

Former mayor of Mukilteo,

Mukilteo

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