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Originally published Saturday, November 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Walking on water to Vashon Island

I wish I could walk on water. Then I wouldn't need a ferry. I wouldn't feel so guilty about being thankful that the King County Council...

I wish I could walk on water. Then I wouldn't need a ferry. I wouldn't feel so guilty about being thankful that the King County Council raised property taxes to finance a new ferry district, including passenger-only service to and from Vashon Island.

I live on Vashon. As my non-island friends like to point out, I chose to live there. Selfish me. It'd be better if I just stayed there, now that I'm there. Why should others pay for my transportation, any more than I should pay for their schools, roads or health care? Oops! My bad.

I think this idea of the common good is overrated. We should just pay for what we use. I haven't done the math, but I'm sure I'd be better able to afford private ferry service if I didn't have to pay for bridges or roads to places I don't live, work or visit, which is much of the county and most of the country.

But, I exaggerate. This is the United States of America, not the Separate States of America. Much as I like to think I'm self-reliant, I do have a thing for community, whether it is in a neighborhood, on an island, or in a region, state or country. I'm happy to help pay for your needs, how about not hating me in return?

A colleague posed the question: Why not take the Fauntleroy ferry to and from Vashon? I do, when I get on it by bus. But here is what I notice: It's mainly a CAR ferry. Lots of cars lined up alongside Lincoln Park in West Seattle, waiting to board. Do I hear CO2?

Truth be told, I use both conveyances, but the little passenger-only boat seems gentler on the environment. I can't walk on water, but I can walk on the sidewalk. My feet might perspire, but they don't pollute. Every time I walk to Pier 50 by the Colman Dock in downtown Seattle, I think I've gone another day without contributing to congestion or pollution.

So, shame on me for choosing to live on an island. But, how about some carbon credits for driving less and appreciating nature more? Look at it this way: If I were still living in the city, I'd probably be whining about that pothole in my street that needs fixing with your tax dollars.

— Lee Moriwaki

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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