Score two for common sense

Two stories in last week's Valley Record give me optimism that, in this time of economic floundering and government red ink, there are smart ideas prevailing.

The first is the 205 project. Ask anyone who has ever dealt with flooding and the reduction of flood levels by any amount is significant. Inches of reduction can result in a home not needing new carpets or sheetrock. It can mean that FEMA money, used by many people in emergency situations, may not have to be used to raise houses out of harm's way.

Somehow, within the past 15 to 20 years, we have taken a stand that the environment is more important than people - that a person's right to have a safe home is not as important as fish habitat. It was not long ago that dredging of gravel bars was common practice in helping to make the Snoqualmie Valley a safer place to live. Now we pile dead tree snags in the river to create fish habitat and have given up maintaining our dike system for river control, both of which will result in catastrophic floods someday. Remember, it's not a matter of if we will flood, but when.

The 205 project lends some credence that people are important. The reduction of barriers to water passage is a good thing and desperately needed if downtown Snoqualmie and North Bend are to survive a catastrophic flood. But beyond the immediate impacts of water reduction are the reduced costs associated with flood damage. The investment in the 205 project makes business sense when considering the $830,000 it will save annually in flood-related damages. Maybe it will offer peace of mind when the warm rains wash away snow in late November. Hey, maybe it will change flood maps and reduce the number of homes that need flood insurance.

The other common-sense idea gracing the pages of the Valley Record was the ordinance introduced by Metropolitan King County Councilman David Irons. Irons proposes reducing the County Council from 13 to nine members. I have wondered how the heck they accomplish anything with 13 members. Of course, the battle lines will likely be drawn between suburban and urban districts. Let's put it to the voters. I agree that we need to look at all types of cost-saving measures, and a reduction in the number of council members will save money. It will also likely make the County Council more effective for suburban areas as the representation could be balanced.

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