Publisher’s Note: Fighting For Privilege

I-90: The bridges to privilege. (Image credit: Mercer Island Reporter)

Publisher’s Notes are the personal opinions of The Distorter’s Publisher-in-Chief and do not necessarily represent the official editorial position of The Distorter.

I’ve recently become aware that people in our country are in the midst of a serious conversation about privilege. Who has it? Are they aware of it? How should they behave as a result of it? Now this conversation has arrived on the shores of Mercer Island.

Last week brought the news that an Island resident is standing up for Mercer Islanders by asserting that our single-occupant vehicles (SOV) have the legal right to use entire length of the I-90 HOV lanes between Seattle and Bellevue and on I-405 between I-90 and downtown Bellevue.

This is not a new issue, nor it is not just about Mercer Island. Another Islander courageously noted at a Sound Transit forum last September that if the physicians and surgeons who live on Mercer Island cannot easily cross Lake Washington whenever they need to, children will die!

It’s about time that people in neighboring communities check their privilege: The privilege to get to Bellevue or Seattle without having to cross Lake Washington. They should recognize the hardships that we Islanders face every day, having to rely on bridges to get to those same places. And then having to return to Mercer Island at the end of the day.

But this is about more than our fundamental freedom of mobility. It is also about the basic functioning of our community. If the people who protect our neighborhoods, teach our children, and clean our homes are unable to get to Mercer Island when we need them, our humble paradise will be plunged into a state of chaos and misery.

It’s time for WSDOT and our elected officials to give Mercer Islanders the privilege we deserve.

Letitia Snugbottom
The Mercer Island Distorter