Nine out of ten King County streams tested last spring for diazinon contained harmful levels of the pesticide, which is used to kill insects despised by homeowners for turning green lawns brown.
Diazinon has already been banned from golf courses and sod farms because of its toxicity, but it is still allowed on yards, even though it is poisonous enough to kill any duck unfortunate enough to eat it. Now that the Puget Sound Chinook salmon has been officially declared a "threatened" species, King County scientists are publicizing the findings in order to discourage lawn lovers from dumping poison directly onto their property, and indirectly into the watershed.
Two of the waterways where scientists found unsafe diazinon levels, Thornton Creek in northeast Seattle and Longfellow Creek in West Seattle, are part of Mayor Schell's much-hyped Millennium Project and potential habitat to the last remaining migrating fish still willing and able to swim back into the city limits.
Perhaps the mayor should consider a city-wide ban on diazinon. Any fish tough enough to dodge predators, nets, hooks, oil slicks, and industrial waste for a 1,000-mile journey from creek to sea and back again deserves better than to be poisoned in the name of immaculate lawns.--Ben Jacklet
ACLU SUES TIMBERLINE HIGH
Last week, the North Thurston School Board determined that 16-year-old Karl Beidler, who was expelled from Timberline High School for creating an offensive web page, could attend another school in the area. The board also promised that Beidler's record would be expunged at the end of the school year, which sounds suspiciously like a move to dissuade Beidler's parents from suing. But Mr. and Mrs. Beidler will proceed with their ACLU-represented suit against the school, seeking damages for the month of classes their son missed.
Beidler was expelled when administrators happened upon his home page, which featured "a very elaborate group of images" of the school's vice principal, according to ACLU's Doug Honig. Little Karl's after-school project featured the VP doing the nasty with Homer Simpson, attending a Nazi book burning, and appearing in a Viagra ad. Honig said the Beidlers don't expect to win much money in damages. "The idea is that it's a very important principle to say that when a kid does something on his own with his own resources, the school can't discipline him when there's no evidence of disruption of school."
Washington state courts seem to be shaping up as a defender of teenage boys with too much free time and Internet access. Four years ago Bothell student Paul Kim won an ACLU-represented out-of-court settlement against Newport High School, after they withdrew support for his scholarship because his home page insulted the school and had links to masturbation web sites.--Samantha M. Shapiro
UW STUDENTS CALL FOR ECO-DIVESTMENT
The University of Washington student body is hoping to stick it to corporate gas mongers mucking up the ozone layer.
Students unanimously passed a resolution last week demanding that the UW divest funds from Chevron, GM, and Ford. The three targeted companies are members of the Global Climate Coalition, an industry-funded lobbying empire known for misinforming the public about the link between the burning of fossil fuels and the earth's rising temperatures. Companies from the Coalition are also attempting to block political initiatives that would prevent further damage to the ozone layer.
Together with Ozone Action, a national non-profit organization devoted to fighting global warming, student leaders and over 50 members of the UW faculty made the school the first in the country to propose divesting funds for the sake of the environment. "This is a request for the school to be responsible investors," says Jamie Clausen, Vice President of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate.