Letters to the Editor

Relieve ‘captain’ of command

The ferry fiasco reveals terrible negligence on the part of our political leaders. They have watched the 80-year-old boats literally corrode before our eyes and done virtually nothing to replace them.

As chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, our own Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen’s at the epicenter of this tidal wave of incompetence. Her December 15 “Sound Off” tried to calm angry voters with political doubletalk.

As chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, she has been overseeing ferry operations for the past decade, but not once did she take responsibility for this mess. She was our voice, she was in the best position to be heard, and she did not speak up for her own district.

The Legislature authorized funding in 2001 for new boats, but since then $10 million has been spent on studies and stop-gap measures with nothing to show for it.

Haugen knew the boats were unsafe. In September, a local newspaper reported she said, “Would I ride it? Well, I’d ride it in calm seas.”

Now, she is praising the Department of Transportation for their safety-first attitude, and the governor for her “emergency” funding, and even Pierce County for lending a boat.

But praise is not what’s needed. The state failed to plan, wasted millions, and caused unneeded pain and stress. Sadly, it was military families, who need access to Bremerton, and local small business in Coupeville and Port Townsend who depend on Holiday tourism and holiday shoppers who were hardest hit.

As for Mary Margaret Haugen, she was captain of the Transportation Department ship. It’s time she be relieved of her command.

Linda Haddon

Oak Harbor

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