LETTER TO THE EDITOR:Earmarks profit war interests

To the editor:

I just read the article re: Rep. Rick Larsen’s earmark wish list. This earmark money,

$767 million, is said to be “mostly focused on projects at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.”

This outrages me as a citizen. Our schools are struggling to do the best they can with what little resources they are allotted. Class sizes strain even the most dedicated educators as they try to do their crucial jobs in buildings that have leaking roofs.

“Affordable housing” is not affordable to the people that really need it. Decent working people are losing homes due to this banking meltdown, but at least the management at Bear/Stearns got relief in the form of a buyout from the “Fed” (which is you and me).

As a taxpayer, I just thank God the managers at Bear/Stearns won’t lose their retirement nest egg.

Then Larsen is quoted “After careful consideration, the earmarks I am requesting this year reflect a range of local needs and would make a real difference for Northwest families and communities.”

I can see where the benefit would be for Electronic Warfare Associates or Alliant Tech-

systems or people in government that own stock in such companies, or if you are employed by war interests.

What I don’t see are the benefits to “families and communities.”

Mr. Larsen, there are real people with real needs right in your own backyard, yet your priorities seem to be to get more efficient at killing people far, far away so that America Inc. can be in a better position to steal their resources.

I am not impressed by your representation of “The People.”

Dan Freeman


Prosecutor’s acts were vindictive

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the article dated March 29 concerning Prosecutor Greg Banks and Amy Dempsey. The article overlooked two significant factors that must be considered for there to be a complete story.

I am providing this information to you at the request of Amy Dempsey as her legal representative.

Your article came about as a result of a confidential letter I wrote to Mr. Banks and his original attorney in confidence to afford Mr. Banks the opportunity to stop filing vindictive affidavits in court files to avoid causing further claims against the county. However, since Mr. Banks has obviously violated that confidentiality and made this a public matter, a response is now necessary to complete your picture on this story.

Your article quoted very serious accusations about the professional character and credibility of Amy Dempsey made by Mr. Banks. What wasn’t published in assessing his credibility was the letter he and his attorney wrote in support of Amy. If Mr. Banks is an individual with intrinsic veracity, one must ask why he would publish his defamatory affidavit in October of 2007 when he and his attorney wrote the following statement in the case brought against the county only four months earlier in June of 2007:

“Amy Dempsey started working for me in June 2006. Regrettably, she only worked for us until January 2007. In the short time she was at the office, she quickly learned her duties, and ably handled a very heavy criminal caseload. While she worked for me, I had confidence in her abilities and judgment, and gave her wide latitude in handling her cases.

Ms. Dempsey had a very good courtroom presence and demeanor and received high praise from the judges and court staff. She has gone to work as a judge pro tem in a local municipal court, where I understand the court is very pleased with her performance. She should be viewed as a viable candidate for employment in any law office.”

What is also alarming about the letter from Mr. Banks and his attorney in response to my confidential letter is the defense of immunity protection. This defense was quoted in the article but not explained. What the defense of immunity means is Mr. Banks claims that even if he is guilty of defamation, he cannot be prosecuted because he has a shield of immunity that no other citizen would have in defaming another citizen. You, and those who follow this story, must ask yourselves why Mr. Banks would choose this forum to defame Amy where he can claim immunity from liability because of the high public position he holds. He could not claim immunity in the original action we brought, so he obviously chose this forum to plead his case behind his public shield of immunity.

We have tried to keep this dispute from arising again. Amy wanted to put this behind her. Mr. Banks and the county should hope for the same. However, that does not seem to be possible with his ongoing attacks. He and the county will have to live for the next couple of years wondering whether his continuing slander results in further liability.

Peter Moote


Critic shows unclear thinking

To the editor:

Stan Walker’s response to my letter on U.S. foreign policy demonstrates the kind of unclear thinking that has brought America to the brink of disaster.

First, he misrepresents my point and attacks his own misrepresentation.

I never said we should not fight for our lives, or for our country’s life or that we should not defend ourselves against terrorism.

I said that the way we’ve been going about it is self-defeating. Our current strategy is unwise, doing more damage to our own country than anything the terrorists have done.

Second, he takes offense when no offense was given.

I have the greatest respect and admiration for cowboys. I did not use the term in a demeaning or insulting way.

What I did do was draw a familiar image from a once-popular television series to illustrate a point. My point was that our own strength has been used against us. The cost of this reckless war has left our economy in ruins. A weekly theme of this television series was to show how an adversary with superior strength could be defeated by using his own strength against him.

The fact that this television show happened to be set in the Old West was incidental to my point. Had it been set in Robin Hood’s day, the antagonists would have been Englishmen. Had it been set in prehistoric times, the antagonists would have been cavemen. This show was set in the Old West and the antagonists happened to be cowboys. The term was used as an identifier, not as a pejorative.

Third, Mr. Walker attempts to attack me personally. This is usually the last resort of someone who is unable to convince on the issues themselves.

To this end, Mr. Walker suggests that my wisdom regarding international policy is derived from fictional television, that I have no perspective about history and that I am not well-read.

Despite all of this obfuscation, my points still stand: By throwing ourselves into an ill-advised war, we have bankrupted our country; by attacking another country under false pretenses, we have undermined our international credibility by arresting, imprisoning and torturing suspects without due process, we have abandoned the principle of unalienable human rights upon which this country was founded and legitimized; because we are the most powerful nation in the world, our adoption of these lawless, terrorist tactics has put the fear of the United States into every other people and nation on Earth; it is not too late to admit our mistakes, save our country and restore our honor.

Michael Sheehan


Fire District 3 responded quickly

To the editor:

We wish to commend the South Whidbey fire department for responding so quickly and effectively to the fire in our guest cottage.

We are very impressed to learn that Deputy Chief Mike Cotton and his team are ALL volunteers. These men and women interrupted their jobs and busy lives to help us. We didn’t get their names, and with their gear on, we wouldn’t even recognize them if we saw them, but we are very grateful.

We would like the community to know that despite the mess, we are doing fine.

We hope that everyone reading this will consider getting fire extinguishers. Having several of them handy made a huge difference in our case.

Jane and Jim Hyde


Thank you for stepping forward

To the editor:

We the members of The American Legion Post 141 wish to thank Roger Simmons and Freeland Lanes for their help and support with our bowling benefit to help Michelle Jones with her fight against cancer.

The American Legion Post 141

EMS, firefighters are our heroes

To the editor:

My husband and I were in a car accident on Feb. 17 on Highway 20.

This note does not seem adequate to thank those of you who helped us, but we would not have survived our accident without the assistance of many people.

I would especially like to thank the person who helped cut me from the seatbelt as my car caught fire, and then pulled my husband and I to safety. Thank you so much! We will survive with some broken bones to mend, but we will make it.

Also, thank you to the police, EMTs, doctors, nurses, airlift and others who helped us with all the emergency medical care we needed.

I know I had a collapsed lung, as well as a head wound, and we both had several broken bones. Thank you so much for working so hard to save us.

You are our heroes, and we thank God for each of you being there at the right time. May God bless each of you as you continue your work.

Julie and Willie Wilhelm

Oak Harbor


support is wonderful

To the editor:

I offered a native flute concert last Friday, March 28 and I want to thank my wonderful community of friends, old and new, who showed up in support of my journey.

Everyone was treated with an amazing story from Marilyn Saunders and the musical gifts of Mark Wahl with his drums which greatly supported my flute music. These two made the evening very magical. I have been asked by some to offer this again in the future so after I return from Peru (with more flutes) I plan to offer this healing music again.

Also, a special thanks to Robby and the Mukilteo Coffee Roasters for the excellent venue. Ashley, Gary and Beth, you are amazing folks.

And to my wonderful wife, Kathleen Rauch, the dance continues and I wish you well as you embark on your own journey to South Africa today. Much love to you and to all my friends who are sweet and wonderful. I truly feel connected to you all.

Joe Arnold


Short shrift for Hillary Clinton?

To the editor:

The news featured an announcement by Bill Richardson of his support for Barack Obama. This included an implication of Latino voters backing Obama as well; also the suggestion that Democrats should unite behind one candidate before the August convention — greeted with wild cheers by the Obama crowd.

During this prolonged primary season, the corporate media and the predominantly male commentators and political pundits have frequently discussed racial inequities. Rarely, if ever, have they mentioned “gender discrimination.” Or would that be too close for comfort?

Upon occasion, I have heard a journalist acknowledge Sen. Clinton’s “experience” quotient which exceeds that of Sen. Obama, but no political commentator has, to my knowledge, faced the issue of male vs. female. Therefore we must assume that they would be comfortable with no woman, regardless of her “experience,” as president of the United States.

Is male supremacy still rampant in our country? Are we going to continually lag behind in investing women with greater political clout — Nancy Pelosi notwithstanding?

Remember Amendment 15? It gave black men the right to vote in February 1870. Fifty years later, in August 1920, women were given voting rights. Will there be a

50-year gap between a black president and a woman president?

Let there be no misunderstanding: I decry all forms of discrimination.

But, it does seem to me that this time around, women are given short shrift. Nor is Hillary Clinton given due credit for taking on a difficult fight for causes she believes in.

We must salute the fact that she cares enough to fight on. It’s not easy!

Margaret W. Armstrong