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Insurance cost may send young vendors packing

Vendors forced to buy liability insurance at Farmers Market?

Our teenage daughters became involved with the Walla Walla Farmers Market for the first time last year and really enjoyed it, and have been excitedly preparing for this season's market, purchasing supplies and planning new products for their craft.

While our girls had one of the market's more humble concessions, it has provided them some great life lessons such as learning to deal with people and the value and rewards of hard work. The market has helped instill an entrepreneurial spirit in our girls that will hopefully stick with them for the rest of their lives.

According to the market's website, this season it will be enforcing the requirement that all vendors purchase $1 million of liability insurance. Apparently, this has been a requirement for some time, albeit unenforced.

We called several insurance companies for quotes, and not surprisingly, found out the cost of $1 million liability policy will be more than what our daughters will probably gross this season. To their credit, the insurance agents we spoke to were appalled.

Amy and I - as well as our daughters, Callie and Laurel - respectively ask that whoever is mandating this requirement consider the consequences. Maybe signs at all entrances to the market could be placed that read: "Enter and purchase products at your own risk?"

Our daughters will only suffer disappointment when we pull them out, but the livelihood of other folks who depend on the market could be crippled or eliminated. In the current economy, we should be looking for ways to ease financial burdens, not create them.

Brett Morris

Waitsburg

Let's all follow rules of the road

I recently had trouble with a driver who needs a refresher on the laws regarding bicyclists. Given the rude and reckless behavior, the driver does not understand the rules.

I am a responsible cyclist. I was riding my bike pulling my trailer with two small children.

The trailer has a large orange flag, my children and I were all wearing helmets and I obeyed all road rules.

When approaching a curve where there is no shoulder such as on Northeast C Street, I tend to ride in the middle of the right side of the road then return to the right edge once the road straightens. I do this so that if someone were tempted to pass he would wait until the road straightened, avoiding any chance for a unseen collision.

Most of my rides are on rural roads where there is plenty of room but when I ride in town, I understand it takes a bit of patience on the part of the vehicles and I am grateful for your courtesy.

For those not present, the driver rushed on my tail, honked the horn and yelled, "Share the road" as he sped on past. Share the road indeed!

The vast majority of drivers in Walla Walla/College Place are kind and courteous and up until today I have wonderful experiences on the road.

However for the driver of the orange sports vehicle, according to the WSDOT website, "A bicycle is a legal road vehicle, just like a car. This means that bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers."

This includes being subject to ticketing, "Riding on the Road - When riding on a roadway, a cyclist has all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle driver (RCW 46.61.755). Cyclists who violate traffic laws may be ticketed (RCW 46.61.750)."

So even though I was closer to the middle of the road for that brief section of road (which has no shoulder) let us look at one more law, "Shoulder vs. Bike Lane - Cyclists may choose to ride on the path, bike lane, shoulder or travel lane as suits their safety needs (RCW 46.61.770)." Read more at www.wsdot.wa.gov

What was a beautiful and wonderful trip to Pioneer Park ended with a dangerous and inconsiderate incident. So in the future, driver of the orange sports car, "Share the road" and please do so responsibly!

Becky Samitore-Durand

College Place

Legislature did right thing by finding more revenue

When our state Legislature finally adjourned, it did it with the right priorities in mind. It had some difficult and potentially unpopular decisions to make, but fortunately for Washingtonians, it acted in the best interests of the residents of this state. We simply cannot keep cutting state programs year after year and expect our communities to remain whole.

By finding new sources of revenue, the state Legislature has managed to save many priority programs including family planning, maternity support services, digital mammography and Basic Health.

In the end, preserving these programs will actually save the state money by preventing more expensive health-care and social costs later.

I'm sure legislators will hear plenty from extremists like Tea Party members who oppose all government spending and the revenue to support it, even for essential programs like family planning and Medicaid. I want my legislators to know the majority of us applaud their determination to ensure all of us can have a decent quality of life.

Cora Davidson

Walla Walla

Singleton's letter hits the mark

Hear! Hear! If you missed Steve Singleton's April 11 opinion letter, you missed a gem!

Spend a dollar at the Union-Bulletin's circulation department for a back copy. Or better yet - get numerous copies - for your friends and enemies too.

It is time for repeals and impeach-ments.

Hey legislators - wake up and stand for the Constitution. Remember your oath of office, represent the people or "get out!"

For all of you other folks - give a phone call or send a message to your legislators - insist they uphold the Constitution as represented in Singleton's letter. Or send them a copy of Steve's letter with your note of agreement on the margin.

Al Johnson

Walla Walla

Trip to museum a great outing

Two of my grandchildren and I spent a recent Thursday afternoon at Fort Walla Walla Museum. One is pre-school and the other is a home-schooled mid-high school student.

My older granddaughter got an educational outing that was enjoyed by all three of us. We brought a lunch and picnicked by the new children's play fort. There was the company of other women with young children.

We have family memberships and we sure got our money's worth with sunshine. We had lots of post-lunch play on the new play fort followed by our "school" tour through the interesting new building, the older buildings and on to the village.

The girls toured the village while grandma sat on a bench. It's easy to keep an eye on them as they visited their old favorites: playhouse, the doctor's office and the blacksmith shop. It's a safe, lovely and interesting place to take kids.

The day was super with the green lawns, young flowers and blue sky outside and interesting and educational displays in the new main building and elsewhere. I can see we'll be back many times this summer and our family memberships will continue giving great benefits for the price throughout the year.

Plus with this membership if we're in the mood for a drive we can visit the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute for free and see even more.

Celia Andrews

Walla Walla

Plea bargains raise questions about prosecutor

Based on information published in the Union-Bulletin, the Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney's Office must be on a very stringent budget. It seems that office relies heavily on plea bargaining rather than actual prosecution - even for repeat offenders. Is this an attempt to save taxpayer dollars by reducing prosecutors' time in courts and/or reduce jail costs by shortening sentences of those convicted?

The prosecuting attorney inferred in one meeting that convictions were due, in large part, to how well police reports were written. It seems that it's not the conviction that counts as much as what the prosecutor's office recommends for sentencing.

I've believed, apparently mistakenly, that poor behavior is not improved without a negative consequence. In one known instance a parent had to firmly insist that an appointment with a prosecutor was necessary so the potential consequences of the child's actions could be explained.

The juvenile prosecutor was determined that diversion was adequate, but the parent felt a face-to-face between the child and prosecutor would make a more lasting impression. The prosecutor grudgingly agreed to the appointment, and the young offender is now, as an adult, employed on the correct side of the law.

Are there justifiable reasons that can be explained to the public for the seemingly endless parade of plea bargains made by the prosecuting attorney's office?

If not, maybe it's time for a change of leadership and a new direction for that office.

Jim Davison

Waitsburg

‘Social justice' brings lots of issues to churches

In response to Pastor Willms' "Glenn Beck doesn't understand ‘social justice."

What I got from Glenn Beck's comment on churches promoting social justice was that churches that use the phrase put their money and energy into promoting social justice through government regulation and not necessarily for the congregation to act on an individual level.

The problem with the phrase "social justice" within a church is it includes issues of race, gender and sexual orientation, and not just helping the needy.

Each individual is responsible for following God, treating others as their neighbor in acts of charity and kindness, not a government. In fact, God and his role in this government is slowly being erased.

Government can make only general rules and apply them to all. Community-level charity is more adaptable to individual needs.

Rather than a top-down legislation approach of charity that ends up wasting much of what was "taken," our society would reap a greater benefit from a community-level, bottom-up approach of a surge across the country of local organizations using what is "given" to make a real difference in the lives of those in need.

The Bible is written for His people, not His nations, especially for one who seeks to erase any mention of Him from its culture.

Jesus would like every person in every nation to live a more godly life and improve himself by giving more of what he has as he grows with his understanding of how to live a godly life.

When government takes from everyone to give to those it deems needy, resentment grows within society against those who receive the money, when a person would rather see their money go elsewhere, and against government for taking it and spending in places seen as unnecessary and inefficient, especially in a country with a history of liberty for all, granted to us by God, not the government we are ruled by.

Even if a government is established by godly people with the intent to give money to those who are needy, what would happen when people who do not have the wisdom of God or good intentions make their way into office?

Ilya Perry

Walla Walla

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