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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

July 18, 2010 at 4:01 PM

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Mayor Mike McGinn's push for higher parking taxes: an economic boost or hit to Seattle business community?

Posted by Letters editor

Pothole data a statistical tap dance

Editor, The Times:

Mike Lindblom’s article about Mayor Mike McGinn’s plans to increase parking taxes was very informative [“McGinn’s street fix: higher parking tax,” page one, July 15]. The last section about potholes, however, seemed like a lot of jive-talking to me.

The very last paragraph in particular caught my attention: “McGinn said SDOT will save $868,000 by reducing the number of pothole crews by one.” Is this $868,000 annually? If so, how much does an average pothole filler earn? If there are four men on a crew, this comes to $215,000 annually (including benefits, of course) per person. Doesn’t this sound fishy to you?

Also, if they reduce the number of crews by one, will this not increase the repair time from 48 to 72 hours simply due to fewer people being available to do the same work? If so, how do they plan to do additional work in order to increase the quality from a three-month fix to a 12-month fix?

Essentially, they plan to reduce the number of people and increase the amount of work. I suppose it is possible they have so many crews they can eliminate one and still increase quality by delaying response times, but it all sounds like a statistical tap dance to me.

I would be interested to read a follow-up article on this subject that challenges the mayor’s statistics.

— Richard Dickinson, Seattle

Won’t leave Bellevue to pay to park, shop in Seattle

Mayor Mike McGinn wants to raise parking fees in Seattle and that’s fine with me — he can raise them as high as he wants. Here in Bellevue I can park free at my doctor’s and dentist’s offices, at restaurants, at movies; I can shop with free parking at Bellevue Square, Crossroads Mall, Factoria Mall, etc.

I can get everything here that Seattle offers, so why would I want to fight Seattle traffic and pay to park?

Go ahead, McGinn, and raise parking fees — surely the Seattle business community won’t mind.

— Harry Petersen, Bellevue

ORCA card best thing since sliced toast but could be improved

With regard to the current costs of transportation, I would like to include my opinion: While I do believe that the ORCA card is the best idea created since ‘sliced toast,’ I feel it could do better and add parking to that option as well.

Providing the option to pay the parking meter in cash was also a tremendous oversight that was overlooked by all parties involved in making this crucial decision when the parking meters were initially designed.

I feel this is something that most definitely needs to be revisited in order to make the hectic trauma of driving and parking in downtown Seattle less so.

— Denise Crie, Mountlake Terrace

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