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Friday, January 09, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Letters to the editor
THE ICICLE GRIEF
Forecast of the future: Clearing a path above will freeze smiles below
Editor, The Times:
The New Year wasn't even a week old yet and we already had word of the latest engineering folly proposed for the new monorail ("Monorail could deal with ice, report says," Times, Local News, Jan. 3). Because monorails lose traction in snow and ice just as fast as a Metro bus does, they propose dealing with cold snaps like our current one by running a special monorail equipped to plow snow while sanding the track.
Sounds like a workable and inexpensive solution, right? Wrong.
Whereas our current monorail is located in the center of the road above the street, the new monorail is proposed to go directly over the sidewalk for much of its route.
So imagine the sight: The sidewalk is bustling with holiday shoppers and Benaroya Hall concert goers, when along comes the monorail sanding truck, plowing snow and flinging sand 40 feet over everyone's heads. We should get years of material for "America's Funniest Home Videos" from this.
Stars on ice
I would like to thank the King County Sheriff's Department for their participation on Friday in keeping Interstate 405 safe from cars crashing into each other while icy conditions persisted. A person could not tell it was icy and you wouldn't expect it to be on I-405.
The University of Washington, the largest employer in Seattle, gets a great big rant for its Rambo policy of "We never close." Ignoring weather forecasts and already snowy conditions in the ill-prepared city of Seattle, they force all of their employees and thousands of commuting students to risk everything to come to work and class.
After risking all to get there, the university decides to close at 12:30, stranding thousands of people in the city. Maybe somebody has to die on their way to work before (the UW) will re-think its stubborn policy.
Flakes on the air
We all joke about how one snowflake will trigger news alerts and news hype. As an amateur weather buff, I was shocked how most of the TV talking heads left the impression that this snow would turn to rain and all would be fine. They talked about freezing rain, but didn't explain to a city that almost never sees it how dangerous it can be.
People count on (the news) to make decisions about calling employees into work and when to cancel events to protect lives. Tuesday we saw some organizations slow to close because they had been left with the impression that by afternoon it would be raining. None of them realized the first hours of rain this time might be more dangerous than the snow.
Shame on the news people who hyped snowflakes for ratings, and failed to educate when it was needed.
Snow-blind in Seattle
On Saturday, it was snowing in the early hours in Pierce County but the local TV channels made no mention of it. We had between 4 and 6 inches that day. In the afternoon (one local channel) finally came on live to update its pre-recorded morning weather report (showing) snow extending from the coast through Olympia, Puyallup and Enumclaw. There were no more reports regarding Pierce County.
I moved to Puyallup from California three years ago and it did not take long to understand how provincial Seattle is. All the TV channels report only Seattle and north, Portland, Boise and Spokane, for every accident, fire and cat stranded in a tree. Reports of the South Sound only involve a warehouse fire, a murderer who killed 25 women in 20 years and a police chief who murdered his wife and killed himself.
We learned in the Tribune on Monday that Highways 512 and 410 were closed on Saturday and there were 200 accidents in Pierce County. The question of the day was "Are Washington drivers wimps in the snow?" My answer is "No, they are uninformed!"
Ah, foul weather does indeed make for outstanding entertainment, doesn't it? With King 5's roving "Snow-King" out there fighting for us, how can we lose? Hilarious.
Weather is for lightweights
Washington's blanket primary is a part of our young state's history. It represents the spirit of the political contrarians who seem drawn to such a gray and rainy place. But as John Steinbeck said, "I lived in a place with a good climate and it bored the hell out of me."
Speaking as a lifelong Washington state sailboater, snow skier and Republic-crat, there's no place like home. We welcome everyone to the Upper Left Coast, and if they can take it, they can stay; but quit complaining about the weather real Washingtonians talk politics.
Editorial writer Kate Riley's column, "The thieving mission of party bosses" (Dec. 29), touched several important points; however, Washingtonian independence is truly the underlying message. Our state has a history of independent expression and sometimes-violent activism, from the Wobblies (for those in the know) to WTO. Secretary of State Sam Reed's compromise (allowing the top two vote-getters to advance to the general election) is the way to go, or allow political party hacks to grow the status quo.
Let the top two win as the people's choices not divisive, dogmatic, politically partisan voices.
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS
Boost for dummies
"Employers get tips to avoid overtime pay" (News, Jan. 6) was an example of how invaluable the assistance of the Bush "compassionate conservative" administration is to the welfare of the working men and women of this country. The fact that the guidance was generated by the Labor Department was even more telling.
I found the scheme to pay a worker, currently earning $400 for 40 hours, $399.95 for working 45 hours, breathtaking in its simplicity. Both Adam Smith and Karl Marx were heard rolling over in their graves when the guidance was originally published in March of last year.
I also found it appalling that the Labor (sic) Department and its spokesman, Ed Frank, were stating essentially that the department was not telling employers what to do, just making well-known information more well-known.
With that rationale in mind, I am seriously considering publishing my monograph, "How to Rob a Bank." I am defending this decision by stating my intent is not to tell people to rob a bank, just how best to rob a bank. As a public service, I'm just making "well-known information more well-known."
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