The Truth About Squirrel Genocide

Don't relocate; terminate.

Re: "Solitary Assignment" by Nina Shapiro (April 23)In the article, [state] Senator [Mike] Carrell is quoted saying that using taxpayer money for a program like Kohn's is "a difficult area for a lot of legislators" and that a lot of people think "Why should this person who hurt my family be using my money to go to college?" That is simply ludicrous! The public is already spending its money, to the tune of $29,500 per year per prisoner, just to house them in prisons, not to mention the inordinate court costs, defense and prosecuting attorney costs, jail costs, etc., to re-arrest them because upon release there are no tangible opportunities available for uneducated, unskilled ex-prisoners in our society (85% of prisoners read below the eighth-grade level).What is more frugal and fruitful to spend money on—$29,500 per prisoner per year, plus court costs, etc., with two out of three returning to prison, or about $8,100 per year per student who does not commit additional crimes and becomes a law-abiding, taxpaying citizen contributing to his or her community? The Post-Prison Education Program is actually effectively addressing the public-safety issue that our elected officials are charged to handle. It makes incontrovertible sense for the Washington State Legislature to invest in the program. —Kimberly Mays (Mays is a participant in the Post-Prison Education Program.)The majority of prisoners are incarcerated because of nonviolent crimes that are motivated by drug addiction and poverty. When a person exiting prison is dumped on the streets with no money, no place to live, and no way to get employment, it is only a matter of time before that person turns back to the only life he knows. Education is a right for all citizens, and the only effective way to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. I agree that the legislature should not be targeting education for former prisoners alone. The solution is for our state to prioritize adequate funding for state community colleges so that ALL our state citizens who are living in poverty have a fair chance at getting the education and training they need to make a living wage and support their families and children!—Polly TroutRe: "Ask an Uptight Seattleite" (April 16)Just a little update for you. Squirrels are considered a public health nuisance by the city of Seattle, King County, AND the state of Washington. Regarding trapping and release, all of these agencies are very clear about their respective policies: They do NOT want you trapping and relocating them; they would much rather you trap and dispose of them—as in terminate their lives. (This from all three agencies recently.) The Eastern gray squirrel—the only one most of you newbies have ever seen—is not a native of this part of the country; it is classified as an invasive species. It has systematically killed off the Pacific Western squirrel, which is a cute little brown guy...but still a rodent. Even worse, those cute little black squirrels you see when you visit Vancouver, B.C., and Stanley Park? All but gone in the past 15 years, eradicated by, gee, the Eastern gray squirrel. So what you're suggesting here is not only against public health policy, but also the systematic genocide of an entire two species of Western squirrels.—Doug SwanWrite to us at or comment online!

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