Letter writers don’t like self-checkout, give Biden some credit, and question Port’s future

Machines taking grocery checker jobs

I heard on the radio that Safeway, Albertsons and affiliated grocery stores, and perhaps also Kroger’s, will go almost 100% to self-checking machines, which will not make it easier for me as a shopper to wait for a machine, code in my items, then bag, pay and load my items in my cart.

I do not like those machines and enjoy the quick but nice conversations with the checkers and other employees of the stores that I have come to know through my many years of shopping.

This change is not to help the public, but to make the corporations, CEOs, and shareholders richer. No more paying salaries, retirement and medical benefits, etc. Just padding their pockets even more.

I can guess that our grocery prices won’t be reduced any by this huge loss of people’s jobs. For some, this is one of the few chances a person has for human contact and socialization when they shop and chat with the checker and other employees.

If this atrocity does take place in the Olympia area and I find a store that does not put profits over customer service, I will shop there, even if it costs me a little more. Please don’t do this to the citizens of Thurston County.

Gail Hansen, Olympia

Olympia is not a viable ocean port anymore

Bob Jacobs was right about the Port of Olympia in his recent letter to the editor. It was a good thing when it started, but now it’s just a failure. Without a substantial subsidy from Thurston County taxpayers, the Port would have died decades ago.

But I wish to elaborate on one of Bob’s points, his comment about how hard it is for ships to get to Olympia. (“Look at a map.”). Indeed, maps show that an ocean-going vessel docking at the Port of Olympia must navigate the longest, most dangerous, and biologically sensitive route of any port in western North America.

Ocean ships coming to Olympia must first travel through the Strait of Juan de Fuca before taking a hard right and then slithering south about 90 miles down Puget Sound. Things then constrict until passage through the Tacoma Narrows, where strong tides and two bridges impede a gap less than a mile wide.

After this navigation nightmare, there is a 90-degree turn required at the Nisqually Delta, and then another one at the turn into Budd Inlet. No ocean port in western North America has such a difficult access route.

Environmentally, a vessel grounding with fuel leakage could devastate south Puget Sound (especially Nisqually Delta) because tidal flushing is minimal. Plus, future orca protections could someday limit large vessel traffic and inhibit the ability of ships to access our Port.

What once made sense makes sense no more.

Steve Shanewise, Olympia

Give Biden credit for climate crisis efforts

I’ve been surprised by recent stories reporting that many people think President Biden hasn’t done much about global warming and the climate crisis. Apparently, that’s because most people have heard little or nothing about Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which is by far the most important thing our country has done so far to address those problems.

In its first year, the bill’s incentives have already supported $270 billion of new investments in American clean energy manufacturing. That’s a 54% increase over last year, creating 29,000 new US manufacturing jobs.

The bill provides a $7,500 tax credit for buying or leasing new EVs, and a $4,000 credit for buying used ones. It pays 30% of the cost of rooftop solar for homeowners, business, local governments, churches and other non-profits. Starting sometime next year, a typical local household earning less than $153,000 per year will be able to get $8,000 toward the cost of replacing a furnace with a heat pump, $1,750 toward a heat pump water heater, and support for electrical upgrades, insulation, and weatherization. Higher income households can get up to $2,000 in tax credits every year for similar improvements, up to $14,000. (There’s other support from the state and PSE too.)

If you’ve been thinking Biden hasn’t done much to help slow the changes in the climate that the news is full of these days, or if you’d like some support for doing something yourself, I hope you’ll look into what the Inflation Reduction Act does!

Thad Curtz, Olympia