Congressmen must take leadership role
While most of the attention in Washington, D.C. is on health care, another critical priority for America has been making its way through Congress: the Waxman/Markey energy bill.
This bill will create millions of green jobs for American workers, save billions of dollars in energy costs for businesses and consumers, cut our dependence on foreign oil and limit the pollution that’s causing global warming.
It will help our economy immediately, and be a lasting gift to our children and grandchildren.
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Unfortunately, special interests have been able to dilute the bill so badly that many environmentalists actually now oppose the bill!
I think it can be saved, but we need our local congressmen, Brian Baird and Adam Smith, to lead the charge to strengthen the bill.
I hope they will take action to:
• Insist that we get 30 percent of our energy by 2020 through renewables (like wind) or increased efficiency.
• Insist that the Environmental Protection Agency retain the power to regulate pollution from dirty coal plants.
• Reduce the giveaways to the oil and coal companies, instead investing that money into creating green jobs.
With these changes, our congressmen can deliver a bill that will get us more jobs today, and a cleaner and healthier world tomorrow.
Insurers focus on profit, not health care
Those who seemed to be opposed to universal health care have never been able to explain why other nations like the Scandinavian countries, Canada, Germany, France, Japan seem to have healthier citizens with a longer life span than do Americans.
It is also a fact that most of those citizens would not relinquish their form of health care for the dysfunctional American system.
When Americans pay for private health insurance, they are paying to a third party entity that exists for profit and not so much for the subscribers’ health.
Since the government is not a for profit entity, there is an obvious advantage of lower costs. A single payer universal health insurance program funded by taxpayers and administered by the government for all legal American citizens might provide the means for all Americans to achieve better health care.
Since 50 percent of all bankruptcies in this country are caused by the inability to pay for health costs, a universal health care plan would at least eliminate many of those bankruptcies.
Universal health care would produce a healthier nation and a healthier nation can better compete in the world.
For profit health insurance is a bloated bureaucracy that does not provide adequate health insurance for Americans. It’s main goal is profit not health.
Trooper oblivious to poor driving
I recently moved here and it is a wonderful place to live.
I had been noticing how well the State Patrol works and how diligent they are — until the other day.
I was driving on Highway 101 and there was an older van in front of me, weaving in and out of his lane, making very dangerous lane changes by cutting people off and driving 35 MPH in the fast lane.
The totally amazing thing about this was that there was a State Patrol officer driving behind me. But he didn’t take any action to stop this erratic driving.
I can only think that he was occupied doing other things, maybe talking on a cell phone or maybe he was just in a hurry to get home after a hard day’s work.
Whatever the reason, I am very disappointed to see such lack of attention to duty by this officer.
No wonder accidents happen!
Parking nonexistent at new city hall
The four streets surrounding the site of the new city hall — Fourth and Fifth avenues, Chestnut and Cherry streets — are being modified to accommodate 31 street parking spaces, presumably with parking meters.
It will be natural for the city employees to take up all this abutting street parking.
The current plan is to shuttle the remainder of city employees and the public the six blocks to and from the existing city hall parking spaces. The occupant load of the new city hall is 1,681 persons!
Construction costs are estimated at $39.2 million, plus site purchase costs of $3.3 million, for a total of $42.5 million. The plan is to house 267 employees in the building. The city’s project manager for the new city hall tells me the city hopes to be able to purchase a nearby lot or two for parking.
I’m not sure whether the plan is to go through a condemnation procedure or to pay the fair market value created by the severe need for parking.
I sure wish I owned a couple of the nearby properties, the value of which will go up immensely with the need for city hall parking.
The decision to buy the old Safeway site and begin construction before reasonable access to our new city hall was solved is unconscionable.
Does anyone else wonder about the business and financial prudence of our city leadership?