Regarding John Logenbaugh's "Busman's Holiday" (Travel feature, 2/4): Unfortunately, many Metro buses don't run to scenic spots at off-peak times. Unlike Portland's Tri-Met, Metro obviously

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Letters

Slight seeing

Regarding John Logenbaugh's "Busman's Holiday" (Travel feature, 2/4): Unfortunately, many Metro buses don't run to scenic spots at off-peak times. Unlike Portland's Tri-Met, Metro obviously believes that nobody goes anywhere except to work and home from same. This must be the legacy of a frontier drudge town, populated by wage slaves and "goin'-there-or-comin'-back" prospectors. I also sympathize with John's anger at being left to stand at bus stops forever, while Metro chuckles to itself and admits it can't even spell "schedule," let alone adhere to one. God help us if anyone from Metro has anything to do with the RTA staying on schedule.

jay kridner

via e-mail

Babs gabs

Congratulations on the wild travel issue (2/4). Tres exotique! And thanks for the "sexy" interview with me ("Babs' Grand Tour").

I do want to clarify two things.

While I believe that it's quite rewarding for women to travel alone, I don't recommend or endorse hopping into bed with the locals. Au contraire. What I was saying was that in some countries a woman will be perceived as "lustful" simply because she is by herself, and it can be a real drag getting hit on all the time. My goal is to try and see life from a local's eyes, but I'm personally not into seeing their bedrooms!

And the other point, if you want to test your knowledge of European destinations, check out the National Geographic "Where's Melissa?" contest at www.ngtraveler.com.

Melissa "Babs Babylon" Rossi

via e-mail

Not a partisan issue

I am writing to commend Roger Downey on his excellent article "Show Me the Money" (1/14). However, there is one statement that needs correction.

Mr. Downey writes, "To cope with biennium after biennium of budget cutting by the Republican-controlled state Legislature, the UW administration made a conscious decision to direct scarce funds first and foremost to the recruiting of new professional talent at the open market rate."

While it is true that we pay market rates to new faculty members, the characterization of Republicans in the Legislature is unfair. The faculty salary issue has not been, and is not now, a partisan one.

Major faculty salary increases in the late 1980s required support of then-Gov. Booth Gardner and the Democratic-controlled state House—but they would not have happened without the strong support of Republicans, who controlled the state Senate at that time.

Both parties struggled with the faculty salary issue in the mid-1990s. In the 1993-95 biennium there was no general salary increase, and in the 1995-97 biennium there was a single 4 percent increase. In 1993-95, the Democrats controlled the Legislature; in 1995-97, the Republicans.

The UW and all of higher education will rely on the support of both political parties to turn this vexing issue around. It can be done—through a creative combination of state funds, tuition, a recruitment and retention pool, and institutional flexibility and reallocation.

Robert G. Edie

vice president for university relations, uw

Evening the playing field

In the 1/28 4th & James column, you ran an item about Senate Bill 5078 ("Plowing Farms Under"), a bill that I have introduced in the state Senate. I feel that the true meaning of this legislation was misrepresented by your report, and it is important that people realize that this bill would not have the effect your headline suggests.

SB 5078 is not an attack on agricultural lands. There are, in fact, only two sections of the bill that actually address agricultural lands. The bill would allow such limited and temporary recreational use of unused agricultural lands that it is not inconsistent with preserving the farmland for future agricultural production. The bill also makes the "innovative zoning techniques" section of the GMA easier to understand and is merely a clarifying change not intended to weaken the protections of agricultural land. We are simply asking planning authorities to consider recreational opportunities when redoing the GMA plans.

This legislation addresses GMA capital facilities planning for park and recreation facilities. No permanent structures will be erected on these sites, there is no intention to open the door to increased residential or commercial development, and valuable farmlands will not be targeted or threatened.

When presented with the facts, I am sure readers will also see that this bill does not put ballfields above agricultural lands—it simply puts them on the same level of importance in regional planning.

ken jacobsen

state senator, 46th district

Market squabble

James Bush's "PDA Blues" (4th & James, 1/28) gets to the heart of the "troubles" at the Pike Place Market—and that is the very nature of the management structure and PDAs.

If, in a public institution, the public feels marginalized and thwarted at every attempt at meaningful input or oversight the end result will be a consistently embattled management. There is a history of squabbling at the Market because there is a consistent history of mismanagement, which results from the flaws inherent in PDAs. The current system allows politically connected folks appointed to the PDA council to presume a proprietary attitude toward the Public Market with the result that every year meaningful access to the workings of the Market and support for its traditions is eroded by those with a personal vision and a mandate to manage.

After the Urban Group fiasco, many Market insiders, including Sen. Ray Moore, called for the revamping of the PDA. The Pike Place Market Constituency, the chartered group through which the public is supposed to be involved in Market oversight, called for a reorganization of the PDA council to include six mayoral appointees and six constituency-elected members (from the current four), an idea with obvious merit that should be reconsidered in light of current Market issues. The City Council must seriously consider constituency actions, such as the legal recall of elected members. To ignore them is to add to the cynicism and turbulence of the Market.

Andrea Okomski

Co-Chair, Daystall Tenants Association

Pleading the Second

In your 1/28 Legis-ledger column regarding HB 1196, which would require the state to recognize some other states' concealed pistol licenses, you say, "We don't like sharing public space with concealed pistols, though apparently some people think it's a great idea."

How arrogant and smug you are! Your statement implies that anyone who dares to think it's a good idea must be out of their minds. Hello? Have you heard of the great document that is the law of the land, which our rights and freedoms are based, known as the Constitution? How about the Second Amendment contained therein? To "bear arms" means to have on one's person, not locked at home in some safe where it won't do you a wit of good if you need it! Especially if that home happens to be in another state.

If only the anti-gunners would obey both our state and federal constitutions we wouldn't even need this legislation.

paula henderson

seattle

A weighty solution

Eric Scigliano's "A Better Car Tax" (Quick & Dirty, 1/21) was interesting, but its conclusion could easily be argued: Raising the gasoline tax, already one of the highest in the country, would penalize the lower- and lowest-income people who may not have easy access to public transportation.

Reducing the excise tax (a.k.a. license tag fee) on vehicles to $30 is very tempting, but unrealistic. The other provisions of I-595 are equally illusory. However, a compromise should be achieved.

My modest proposal is to charge a license fee based on a car's weight. That way, the heavier—and more road-damaging vehicles—would pay more, such as SUVs, "light" trucks, etc. A special category would have to be devised for RVs.

To charge by mileage is altogether unrealistic; some people at the lower income bracket have to travel the farthest to get to a job. Others, driving fancy SUVs, may drive them far less and would end up paying less. Unfair.

A lowering of the tax is certainly necessary. Even the state of Virginia lowered its tax, based on the same principle but nowhere near as high as Washington's, after noting a surplus in its budget.

Let the license tax pay for roadworks, and let the difference be made up from other funds, such as a higher fee for both construction trucks and 18-wheelers. They are plying side roads as well as the highways, and cause far more damage than any other vehicles, as well as accidents. And, as cars are inspected for emissions, let them also be inspected for brakes and lights. Too many of the old heaps lack both.

yvonne r. freund

bellevue

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