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Originally published Friday, July 29, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Letters to the editor

A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.

Fleet of fight

Southwest departure: It's going to be a bumpy ride

Editor, The Times:

Instead of ceasing everything — third runway and all — and saying, Let's work with the county and Boeing Field and convert that into our "third runway," taking Boeing Field's backed-up traffic in inclement weather and they take ours; building the commuter-air traffic at Boeing Field, and concentrating on building back the cross-country and trans-oceanic traffic at Sea-Tac International Airport, the Port of Seattle goes on saying, "It's our monopoly and it's going to be the only game in the three-county area" ["Southwest: We'll build it ourselves," Times page one, July 22].

After all, it was inclement weather that started the whole mess. It was the justification for the most expensive public-works project ever started in the state of Washington. Now the Port, famous for bad long-term projections and planning, wants to go on as if it still has the monopoly. Someone should have told them they don't, long ago in the planning stages.

I would rather have 80 Southwest and 80 Horizon flights a day at Boeing Field [versus] Portland or Bellingham, than as have either of these as the new Northwest air-feeder hub.

— Dave Colby, Normandy Park

Hand over the controls

Local government airport policy is hurting, not helping, our regional air-transportation system ["Regional planning president opposes Southwest's relocation," Local News, July 23].

Our elected officials on the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), who are responsible for local airport planning, have failed us. They encouraged a monopoly at Sea-Tac International Airport. They supported the $4 billion Sea-Tac Airport expansion. They tripled Sea-Tac landing fees. They didn't stop the $1 billion third runway after the 9/11 recession. And they didn't build a new regional airport as they resolved to do in 1996.

Southwest Airlines is moving to Boeing Field because the PSRC is incapable of effective and efficient regional airport planning. Hard economic reality has spoken: Sea-Tac Airport is too expensive for the airlines.

Stop the third runway. Stop the Sea-Tac expansion. Build a new regional airport. And stop blaming Southwest Airlines for the airport planning failures of the Puget Sound Regional Council.

— Chris Gower, Burien

Angling for an upgrade

Major cities have successfully used secondary airports for years ["Jet pain: So many splinters," Northwest Voices, July 25]. The examples are everywhere: Los Angeles has five commercial airports. New York, Washington, and Chicago use more than one airport. Dallas may be a reasonable comparison to the potential Seattle scenario, with Southwest mainly using closer-in Love Field, as opposed to suburban Dallas/Forth Worth (DFW), but many don't realize there are some old contracts in play that keep Southwest out of DFW.

But that is where the comparisons stop. All of the aforementioned airports are major hubs. Seattle, despite a healthy passenger count, is not a major hub. I don't see any valid reason for Southwest to move to Boeing Field.

And if Southwest gets it, Alaska Airlines will no doubt follow with similar requests.

Does Southwest really want to spend for costly infrastructure at Boeing Field to bring passengers about 10 minutes closer to Seattle? Plus, there are no hotels or rental-car providers near Boeing Field.

My guess is the Southwest-Boeing plan will never move much past some speculative real-estate inquiries. The fact that King County is even entertaining this tells me there is a lack of knowledge of what is really happening — a Southwest bargaining tool designed only to keep their costs down at Sea-Tac.

— Paul Rybock, Seattle

Slanted in Seattle

A little more to the right

I agree with James J. Na regarding Seattle's liberal political monopoly ["Seattle's charms can't hold the young and the restless," guest commentary, July 27].

His argument, however, confirms the reasons why political conservatives should remain in Seattle, not leave. We need the debate and diversity. Sure, it's not easy being the political minority, but how un-Seattle-like it is just to give up and jump ship.

— Mindy Ursino, Seattle

Vote of no confidence

Misdeeds goads to Washington

The arrest of former King County Elections Superintendent Julie Ann Kempf ["Former county elections official arrested," Local News, July 21], in relation to forgery, theft, criminal impersonation and assault raises many questions.

Who hired her for the job of elections superintendent? Was it the King County executive, the King County Council, or a civil-service commission?

Are applicants not subjected to background checks, including character references? Don't they have to pass a civil-service test to determine their basic language, math and communication skills before being interviewed for the job?

Isn't it comforting to know that a person of such sterling character was, until [2003], in charge of screwing up King County elections, wherein absentee ballots were mailed late, sent to wrong addresses, or not sent at all. And when they were returned, they were altered, misplaced or destroyed.

It isn't difficult to understand why some folks don't bother to vote anymore. But voters' heightened vigilance — not apathy — is necessary if we are to avoid a total disaster. The 2004 gubernatorial election ought to have been invalidated because of fraud.

— Warren Wilson, Kirkland

The Owl and the caveat

So the parties don't want the people to choose their candidates ["Judge tosses state's new primary," Local News, July 16].

Here is the simple solution: Stop having primaries. Just have one free-for-all general election. That will save us all a lot of money.

If the parties want to pick their candidates with their own caucuses or traditional party bosses in the smoke-filled room, that's up to them.

If your favorite party won't let you on the ballot, run as an independent or start your own Rhododendron (or whatever) Party, e.g., the old Owl Party.

To make it even more fun, let's adopt an Australian-style instant runoff election: each voter ranks all the candidates in order (1, 2, 3, etc.), then you count up the first-place votes to see if anyone has a majority. If not, add their second-place votes. Keep going until one candidate has a majority. Think of the fun!

We know how good the ballot counters are in this state — we've never had any trouble.

— Doug Winder, Bremerton

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