State politics leave Building 26 in limbo
By Thunderworld Staff
Students and faculty are being forced to use Building 26, despite it being in disrepair, because of partisan politics in Olympia holding up Washington's capital budget.
Building 26 and the students here at Highline are the most local of the casualties caught in legislative crossfire between the House and Senate in Olympia.
Following the third special legislative session this summer, schools, farmers and rural land owners are stuck at a standstill when it comes to construction projects and residential well water.
Over $4 billion is being held by the Republican-controlled Senate in the form of a capital budget, with over $1 billion to fund building projects for schools around the state like the one slated here at Building 26.
The 42-year-old building is planned to be renovated and used as to accommodate health sciences.
Not only is this situation inconvenient for both the school and the students, it is also unsafe.
Due to the budget being held in the Senate, this building is being delayed from its 15,000 square foot expansion as well as improvements to the elevator, fire systems and earthquake protection.
The reasoning behind this move is to force an agreement that would permanently fix a Supreme Court decision made last year, known as the Hirst decision, to make rural landowners prove that their well water won't negatively impact the environment before being issued building permits for residential homes.
Something must be done to either grandfather current landowners' well water, or provide them with legislation that eases their way through the Hirst decision.
However, holding money already set aside for projects all over the state shouldn't be used as a political bargaining chip, and it surely is not in the best interest of state senators' constituents either considering the fact that this money is meant to go to 1,600 projects spread around all 39 counties, essentially creating a lose-lose situation for all parties involved.
Situations like these should serve as a reminder to citizens that the representatives in Olympia work for us. When we pay taxes on goods and services we effectively supply our representatives' paychecks.
There are more ways than one to remind those in elected office how you feel so that your interests can be better represented.
A couple of good ways to do this include the more obvious choice, which is to vote. Get registered to vote and keep an eye out for your ballot to come in the mail.
Second is to do a quick google search, find out who represents you and their official address, then bust out an envelope, a pen and paper. Tactfully but forcefully state your views and how government can better serve you, the constituent, remember, even if you aren't old enough to vote, what you have to say matters.