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Letters for March 24, 2023

WA Cares Act exemptions

I haven’t seen much news coverage about the WA Cares Act, so I am sharing our story for those who might not be aware of the exemptions.

The WA Cares Act is designed to make long-term care more affordable for Washingtonians. Although this fund will certainly assist some who contribute to it, the WA Cares Act was initially written to also include payroll deductions of individuals who don’t qualify for the benefit. For example, persons who work in WA but reside out of state would have had deductions made to their salary, but they would not be able to reap the benefits of their premium contributions. Thankfully, shortly before these mandatory payroll withdrawals were to begin, the commencement date was postponed to address several issues. The newly revised WA Cares Act is now live (as of Jan. 1) and is set to begin premium withdrawals in July 2023.

There are people who qualify for an exemption to this salary deduction, but they must opt out. Exemption applications became available Jan. 1 and can be found at

Our family applied for an exemption the first week in January. Although we received an exemption approval letter later that month, the effective date wasn’t until April. Hence, there is a significant delay between requesting the exemption and the effective date that ceases payroll withdrawals. Be sure to act swiftly if you believe you are exempt from participating in the WA Cares Act payroll deductions.

Robyn Cole



The conservative distraction machine is churning out a nonstop torrent of manufactured outrage about woke-ism, along with a clutter of confusing buzzwords and acronyms they say are taking away our freedom and American way of life. True, politically correct jargon is largely unhelpful in clarifying what is really at stake in this moment in American democracy. But the fundamental question is whether American citizens should own their own bodies or whether government should function as religion’s policeman, as in other theocratic and unfree parts of the world.

The question is whether we will allow the U.S. to become what it has always claimed to be, namely an equal society with equal rights enjoyed by all, whether we can all be “secure in our persons,” per the Fourth Amendment. Republican anti-wokeism is about whether women can be forced to give birth against their will; whether gay, lesbian and transgender Americans must account for what’s under their clothing any more so than I do as a straight man (not at all, ever) and whether nonwhite Americans have to fear for their lives during encounters with police (I don’t, ever). Concern for working families, single parents and kids once they’re born? Not much.

Chris Norden



It truly pained me to see that the newspaper delivered to my door on March 15 had printed Carleen Riley’s letter, “SNAP and Medicaid.”

It boils down to a lack of empathy, compassion, fellowship and understanding that should not be given a voice or space, in my opinion, in the pages of any respectable newspaper.

Barre McNeil


World views

So much talk about social and political polarization, so little analysis. Why? I am not a fan of Marc Thiessen, but his op-ed on the contrasting cultural positions of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis II was enlightening. Benedict taught that true love is embracing timeless truths, no matter how uncomfortable it is for us personally. He contrasts this with Pope Francis’ openness to whatever the individual wants to believe.

The divide in our culture is basically these two world views. Are there universals of right and wrong, or are we all to determine these things individually? Currently, this usually ends up with different political groups.

When it comes to choosing our group however, both ends of the spectrum seem determined to avoid real rational argument. Conservatives want to ban everything that is progressive. Progressives want to make sure that no conservative has a voice at the intellectual table.

Sue Lani Madsen’s recent column (“Library collections need a broader idea of diversity,” March 9) noted what is needed is not banning books. Libraries and intellectual circles, especially colleges and universities, need to make sure ALL views are presented. This means, for example, making sure not only socially progressive writers who affirm ideas such as gender fluidity is what “inclusive” means.

Conservatives need to argue effectively why their views have the force of history and logic behind them. Progressives, again in the university world, need to stop dismissing conservative viewpoints out of hand and actually allow argument. There are two sides to almost every disagreement. Time a real debate to begin.

James Becker


School levies

It’s disappointing to see school levies in the news again. Now, saying that teachers can be laid off if the levy doesn’t pass. Come on folks, it time to be responsible with your school budget and really see what the priorities are. If teachers or other programs are the priority, then make sure they are funded. Don’t put pressure on the community to pass a levy because you have overspent your budget.

Why not cut out some of the waste within the system? Like the free lunch. I was told by someone who first hand witnessed lots of the free lunch ending up in the trash. This is so unnecessary. If you can’t afford to feed your own children then I understand the need there and that’s legitimate, but everyone else should feed themselves. When I was in high school, the cafeteria had low cost food. A peanut butter sandwich was five cents, and I could afford that.

I pay my fair share of taxes and do not need school levies to increase my property taxes, which takes food of my table.

If you wish to donate to the school system of your choice, go right ahead but don’t force everyone to go through the school levies.

Jim Kotur

Medical Lake

Firefighter gear

Great article on new and improved space suits! Now maybe some money and effort will be put into designing firefighters turnout suits that won’t poison them.

More important, I believe.

Diana Oswald

Coeur d’Alene

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