Letters to the editor for Jan. 21

Thurston County Connects/Courtesy
·4 min read

Please renew Olympia schools tech and safety levy

I write to urge you to renew the Olympia School District Technology and Safety Levy. We have never needed it more.

As an educational leader, I know how essential strong schools are for our children and for us in spite of the huge challenges in this pandemic. When Olympia had to shut schools in mid-2020, educators and kids met a huge crisis. Teachers had to switch from face-to-face learning with their students to online instruction. Kids were learning how to learn at home. Homes became online classrooms and parents had new learning/teaching roles. They needed technology and new communication strategies to connect with school.

Technology and safety funds have been essential, but even more so for teachers, parents, and students’ success in the complex learning environment of the pandemic. Olympia schools and educators did a fantastic job keeping strong learning alive in partnership with kids and their families, and we are still learning and teaching in that mix of face-to-face and online learning and teaching. The Technology and Safety levy funds continue to be a critical part of many supports to keep that learning and home/school partnerships alive and well.

Technology and safety funds are not new money. They just need our authorization to continue as a critical part of the Olympia School District’s education mission with our young people and frankly the continuation of a strong future for us all.

I am voting yes for the Technology and Safety Levy. I hope you will too.

Terry Bergeson, Olympia

MLK or DEI – you can’t have both

Growing up in the 1960s, I thought with Martin Luther King Jr.’s content of character admonition, that the final word on human relations had arrived. Important interactions were to be “colorblind.” Humanity finally got it right. But it was not to be. Why?

Because collective grievance and shame sells. And it didn’t take long for the academic and political types to figure this out, and lust for the power they could wield by selling it.

50-odd years later, here we are: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Oh, it sounds all warm and fuzzy. But if you scratch the surface, what it’s saying is, “Sorry, Martin, you got it wrong.”

You see, DEI tells us that any inequity we see is to be blamed on systemic prejudice baked into society. It’s there to maintain the power of the majority — be it in the language, the laws, the education, the customs, the history, etc. Thus, your moral status is not based in your individual character. It is based on your immutable characteristics which place you either in the oppressed or oppressor category. Your DEI job: acknowledge your role in this prejudiced system, and affirm the directives of the DEI diviners. They will tell us where and how to apply advantage or disadvantage to bring about equity and social justice. Hallelujah!

But one last thing. Tell Gov. Inslee, who decreed DEI be applied to all government functions, not to forget to rescind MLK Day. The hypocrisy would be a bad look.

Doug Nelson, Olympia

On Aaron Pollack and the lack of respite for the homeless

Just read in the paper that Mr. Aaron Pollack died. I, too, recall seeing him frequently as I worked as both a delivery driver at Jimmy John’s and currently for Domino’s. I have given him money and liked the uniqueness of his signs.

I also know what it is to be homeless and have to do whatever it is you can come up with to eat, find shelter and come up with money for whatever is needed at the time.

One thing that really disheartens me is that now, just a few years after the last time I was homeless, most businesses will no longer allow people to sit and take refuge, use the restroom or even be a patron if you are homeless.

Being homeless does not mean you don’t have to eat, sleep, use the restroom, shower or get rest or time off of your feet, yet there is no longer anywhere to go for even a moment’s reprieve. I’m not sure if you could help me get involved in the seriousness of this problem or not, but I believe it’s inexcusable for people to not rest, eat, shower, or use the bathroom or get rest anywhere. It really needs to change and become a priority for all of us in the community to be involved in and make happen.

And that’s really all I have to say about that.

Thank you.

Patricia Ridge, Lacey

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