For the past couple of weeks, former gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi's "Forward Washington Foundation" has been soliciting ideas for improving life in the state. It's on the Web -- see below -- and the group is also hosting a series of idea-soliciting meetings around the state, starting with one tonight at the Wenatchee Public Library. (Spokane's is at the Argonne branch library at 6 p.m. on June 26th; Pullman's is at noon the same day at the Hill Top Restaurant.)
Some of the results so far:
-Two men proposed offering tax incentives for businesses with flexible employee hours so that everyone isn't on the road at the same time.
-A Maple Valley man suggested naming a new "Transportation Tzar" to coordinate all aspects of buses, rail, ferries and highways.
-A woman proposed allowing people to pay $500 a year for flourescent orange license plates that would allow them -- solo, if desired -- to zip along in the high-occupancy vehicle lanes.
-A Kenmore man and two others from Seattle suggested privatizing the state liquor business.
-A Lynnwood man suggested creating a state "Senior Citizen Apprenticeship Program" in which seniors would teach people skills like gardening or carpentry.
-A Lynnwood man named Brian said there are too many laws, so many that neither he nor anyone he knows knows how many there are. It's time for a full review and revocation of those that are outdated, he said.
For instance, according to Brian, it is still against the law in Washington State to cross a bridge in a horse-pulled wagon without getting off the wagon and waving the lantern from side to side a few times before proceeding!
(NOTE: Regrettably, this appears not to be true. A quick search of the state laws under the terms "wagon" and "lantern" was unable to locate any law similar to the one described above. If you find one, please let me know.)
-A Poulsbo woman named Kim suggested yanking the driver's licenses of anyone who drops out of school. In a strikingly-apt typo, Kim said that "our young people need to have every opportunity to accel in life."
The suggestions website is at www.washingtonideabank.com.