"Give us a single ferry lineSouth Whidbey residents have reached rare consensus on one ferry line issue: Let there be a single lane leading to the toll booths in Clinton.That isn't what the Department of Transportation is planning, but perhaps the DOT will listen to this unanimity coming from the local Ferry Advisory Committee, Clinton neighborhood groups, and just plain ferry users.When the ferry line splits into two lanes at Humphrey Road, it's a tense wait for those in a hurry or for those who simply want to retain their place in the order. Often times the car behind you will slip into the other line and that driver and half a dozen other cars will advance to the toll booth at breakneck speed. Meanwhile, you and others in the original line are waiting while a ticket taker patiently counts out $4.50 from somebody's penny jar.The speed of the two lanes varies tremendously, depending on how many of the four toll booths are operating, and how many people in line are using coupons as opposed to cash. If you're lucky enough to get in the fast lane full of coupon owners, you can beat a dozen cars to the ferry. That's often the difference between missing the boat and catching the boat. It's satisfying when you win, but painful when you lose. No wonder people are worried about road rage. So far, there have been no reports of a violent reaction from a driver in the slow lane, but it could easily happen.Maintaining one lane of traffic to the ferry booths would be simple and inexpensive for the cash-strapped Department of Transportation. It would remove one small cause of injustice in the world, and reduce the number of irate citizens that ferry workers have to deal with.It makes perfect sense to everyone on Whidbey Island, and should too to anyone in the DOT who takes a serious look at the situation. The DOT is notorious for not listening to public opinion on Whidbey Island. But in this case that opinion is so strong and so unified that it should be hard to ignore.Teachers risk loss of public supportWashington State's teachers enjoyed immense public support last November when two initiatives to improve pay and decrease classroom size were overwhelmingly supported by voters. But now the teachers are talking of a possible statewide strike because the Legislature isn't providing all the money the teachers believe they deserve.Perhaps the initiative-mandated cost of living increase will be provided, as well as the required class-size reduction. But at the same time, legislators are trimming other areas of education, such as the number of in-service days set aside for training.Rep. Barry Sehlin, R-Oak Harbor, is co-chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and he says there just isn't any more money in the budget for education. He notes that Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat, hasn't even proposed a budget acceptable to teachers. Unless teachers can manufacture more money, they're stuck.The state budget is highly complex and budget makers must meet many legitimate needs other than education. Mental health and elder care programs are already in jeopardy. The more teachers receive, the more has to be taken from other vital areas. And now, after a number of boom years, state tax receipts are likely to grow less than earlier predicted.Sehlin's arguments seem sound. He has a solid track record of dedicated service in the Legislature, and he knows the budget. Teachers should fight for every penny they can get in the hallways of Olympia, but they should not go on strike this spring. A strike could burn up all that good will that led to last fall's successful education initiatives. "

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