Letters: Parks, transit, and living wages

May 02, 2018

Response to park discussion letter

Editor’s Note: In last week’s issue, Paul Marshall wrote a Letter to the Editor regarding Mukilteo City Councilmember Anna Rohrbough’s motion to build an additional park in Mukilteo with excess funds from the state’s Peace Park grant for $400,000. Mr. Marshall didn’t feel another park was necessary. Below, Rohrbough and Council Vice President Christine Cook offer a response to Mr. Marshall’s letter.

We appreciate the opportunity to address your question regarding the proposed spending for a new park, “How did we get there?”

In deliberating the location of a potential new park, the city council has tried to minimize costs and ensure fiscal responsibility to our citizens. The city council did not request additional funds outside the scope of the original project, however without our knowledge, a grant was advocated for and appropriated.

We learned of this $400,000 grant at a city council business meeting and were informed that it would be a fully funded state grant restricted to park development.

On April 18, a motion was made to spend the bulk of any excess money after the development of Byers Park in the Harbour Pointe area where the majority of our young people attend school and where we have a real opportunity to fill a need for a community park.

We feel that this decision can create a place that serves our entire community and will allow us to use the remaining grant appropriation rather than being required to return it, which we believe is the most financially responsible option open to us.

The council will further discuss options at a future public meeting and as always we hope you and others will continue to share your thoughts regarding this important decision.

 

Christine Cook and Anna Rohrbough

Mukilteo City Councilmembers.

 

 

Join in asking Community Transit to please fulfill responsibilities to Mukilteo

 

I want to begin by thanking publicly Mayor Gregerson for writing Community Transit stating in part, "I am excited to see the opening of the Green Line, and am glad to see the consideration of expanded options for our community to connect with the Green Line, including tourists and visitors."

It turns out Community Transit Senior Planner Kate Tourtellot forwarded that letter to the Planning & Capital Projects Community Transit Board Committee, but not others.

Sadly I have learned my substantial comments were not, while other comments "due to their higher level of formality and more completely developed discussion" were forwarded.

Some of my comments cited news stories to help make clear the impacts of not having an hourly transit link via the Future of Flight from Seaway Transit Center to Mukilteo would have.

My comments cited news reports stating Community Transit should prioritize Mukilteo service so ride-hailing services like Lyft and taxis do not add to congestion to replace the timely transit option to Mukilteo I requested from the Paine Field Commercial Terminal please.

I will also write what my friend Mayor Gregerson lacks the bluntness to write and I have the experience from standing up for Outlying Field Coupeville on Whidbey to acknowledge: Mukilteo, not Edmonds or Lynnwood, is being asked to bear disparate impacts for the shared convenience of the region in a Paine Field airline terminal.  As a friend of Mukilteo, I continue to seek aid for mitigating those impacts, such as traffic congestion, in support of the Mukilteo community.

I also publicly acknowledge Community Transit has an ongoing issue of recruiting drivers.  But I also really think the Community Transit Board comprised of Snohomish County elected politicians needs to be well aware of the disparate impacts Mukilteo will be asked to bear for Snohomish County's first commercial airplane terminal - and prioritize mitigating them please.

I write you hoping your readers will be paying attention very closely to Community Transit and join Mayor Gregerson and I in asking Community Transit please fulfill its responsibilities to Mukilteo in the next service change cycle starting in March of 2019 ending in 2020.

Especially if you understand the sales tax in Mukilteo is noncompetitive with Everett at 10.4 percent versus 9.7 percent, and some quality Community Transit services are at 1.2 percent of total sales tax rate while Everett Transit is at 0.6 percent.

 

Joe A. Kunzler

Skagit County

 

Response to living wage letter

In response to last week’s letter from Mr. Unneland, stating, "Living wage law kills jobs":

 

Conflating price control, which are government imposed restrictions on maximum prices, with the basic humanity of paying wages high enough to afford food and shelter is a mistake. One does not necessarily have anything to do with the other.

Secondarily, Mr. Unneland rhetorically asks about the Scandinavian countries that have rejected "price controls" - by which I assume he is talking about minimum wages.

In which case, to set the record straight, Mr. Unneland is correct if he's implying that many Scandinavian countries do not have minimum wage laws, including Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

However, each of these countries have strong mechanisms that enforce living wages via union-negotiated pay scales, usually on a per-industry basis (not a per-employer basis).  This means that as an example, all employees who work in restaurants have their wages and benefits negotiated by a union.

In these countries, unions cover the vast majority of workers.

In addition to living wages, the unions also negotiate for holidays, pensions and other benefits that contribute to a measurably better life for citizens of those countries (who all, it should be noted, have universal healthcare as well).

Lastly, the historical data of the past 70 years shows there has been no correlation between rises in minimum wage and job loss in the United States (http://www.nelp.org/publication/raise-wages-kill-jobs-no-correlation-minimum-wage-increases-employment-levels/).

If 70 years of data isn't enough to convince us all that the "higher wages kills jobs" argument should be retired (without a pension), then I suppose nothing will change those minds.

 

Jon Lawrence

Mukilteo

 

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.