Hospitals and fireworks

Record Editorial

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 2:37am
  • Opinion

Sometimes the two go together but in last week’s Valley Record, both issues were up for discussion and as always, I feel the need to throw in my two cents.

First the hospital. Yes, I am a major proponent of building a new hospital at the Highway 18/I-90 interchange. I was even the proponent of the recent levy lid lift in the voters’ pamphlet.

The levy lid lift recently failed by nearly 70 percent, so the question is this: Did people vote “No” to new taxes or did people vote “No” to a new hospital.

Yes, the board of commissioners has an obligation to provide us a facility that we can use for emergencies and the staff of the hospital has done a great job bringing the hospital back to life after several past administrators tarnished its image. But the real question is how people voted and why.

I see that the board of commissioners is moving forward with the new location and a new hospital without really answering that question. They believe, as I do, that voters just didn’t want more taxes and that a new location would be a welcome addition to the Valley.

But, and it is a big but, do we really know what people want? I had suggested to one commissioner that the board spend the money to hire an independent research firm to do a quick poll of residents to find out the answer.

Did you vote “No” because of taxes or because you just don’t want a new hospital? Without knowing the answer to that question, how can we know for sure that a new hospital will succeed? Why not postpone moving forward for two months and answer the question?

The commissioner I mentioned it to thought it was a good idea, but must have found deaf ears when taking it back to the rest of the board. Let’s find out why before moving forward with a new hospital.


Perhaps a fireworks compromise?

The proposed fireworks ban in Snoqualmie poses a more difficult answer. I have been known to launch a few mortars in my neighborhood over the years and have also been the one hosing down my roof to assure nothing caught on fire. But an incident a few years ago made me think twice about the need to blow stuff up.

Needless to say, the incident happened in a controlled environment, thankfully without harm to anyone or anything, out in the middle of the Eastern Washington “boonies.”

I have since changed the roof of my house to composition since real cedar shakes are just asking for trouble. Also, these days we don’t do much more than a few sparklers and then watch a local display.

It’s been a long tradition for many families to spend the 4th together, firing up the BBQ and then watching the family display of fireworks. It’s a great tradition that is threatened by a potential ban.

But most of us who have done significant fireworks displays at home may have had the space to do so, not having a neighbor quite as close as some in the newer developments. Let’s face it, if I had launched the mortars that we’ve launched over the years in a newer development, the pieces would have ended up on someone’s house.

I also realize that local charities use this as a fundraising opportunity to contribute to such causes as school scholarships.

So, here is a suggestion. Maybe the fireworks can be banned by the Snoqualmie Ridge Homeowners Association rather than the entire city. There are safe areas in the city where families could continue to do their displays.

Maybe the police department could crack down harder on illegal fireworks and impose stiffer fines as done in other local cities. This would allow local nonprofits to still benefit and not take away one more freedom that people enjoy.

We are still a rural community and some of the benefits of a rural community are hosting family barbecues and enjoying fireworks.


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Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
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