Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for April 24

Decentralize government for public safety

Government at the state, county and city level are contemplating budget cuts constantly by a process that does not appear to match the desires of the public. Instead, the process appears to meet the needs of political and special interests before the needs of the public.

Examples of programs that are surviving include public art on new buildings, roadway replacement through eminent domain that doesn’t expand capacity but simply adds trees and bike lanes, the expansion of walking trails, the building of new city halls, executive management pay increases and a lot more.

It is not acceptable to be expanding government yet sacrificing public safety protections while preserving programs and functions that the majority of the taxpayers consider ancillary or expendable. The unwillingness to make the tough choices in the respective councils means that local taxpayers will be asked to pay more and yet tolerate reduced critical services.

I am asking that critical public safety programs in the area of law enforcement and fire suppression be completely decentralized from political entities that would sacrifice public safety performance for non-priority government functions. If this means separating the county sheriff’s office, budget and all, completely from the county commissioners grasp, then I would support this. If the net effect of separating city police departments means that criminals don’t get a free pass and that adequate staffing levels of police officers are always present, I also would be willing to support this through direct voter-approved tax initiatives and directly elected administrators or boards.

Jason Berman,

Lacey

Why limit donation to public servants?

I laud SeaMar for saving the Women, Infant and Children program in the Olympia area. But, I strongly disagree with letter writer Carole Jones’ suggestion that higher-paid county employees donate 5 percent of their salaries to county social services.

First, I think all citizens must realize we are all in this life together. We all face the same problems and pay similar costs to live and exist.

Second, I believe that most citizens would prefer to have the best-qualified and most intelligent staff work for the various levels of government service. But, when there is a crisis the first suggestion is to reduce government salaries by percentages or have forced or voluntary donations to feed the disadvantaged.

What motivates people to work in government service?

It’s certainly not the ongoing admiration of many private citizens, respect for their work and let’s not forget the high pay.

Third, why limit such a pathetic suggestion to government workers?

If it’s such a good idea, let’s levy such a donation against all public and private sector employees making high salaries. That means staff at Microsoft, Boeing, Bank of America and other small and large employers.

Fourth, for some misguided reason, too many citizens feel that government employees have a great ride, high pay, wonderful benefits, etc.

If it’s that good, finish your education and polish up your resume and go get one of those wonderful and highly respected government jobs!

Charles Pollock,

Lacey

Time for a change in health care

With only 57 percent of employers providing health care coverage for their employees, and 46 million Americans uninsured, it is well past time for there to be a public health insurance option for those who need it.

Like Medicare, President Obama’s plan will operate as a non-profit. It will allow a choice of doctors. It will allow private insurance for those who prefer it. And, best of all, it will reduce premiums because public health care dollars will not be used to pay big CEO salaries, and to send drug and insurance company lobbyists to Washington.

Special interests have fought public health coverage for all Americans ever since Teddy Roosevelt tried to introduce it in 1912. They are at it again. They won’t give up their lucrative profits easily.

Special interests have had their way far too long. As a result, the cost of health care in the United States is $2.5 trillion per year, and one person in five has no health insurance.

As a retired registered nurse, let me say it’s time for change.

Please let Obama and your congressional representatives know you want them to support the public health care bill.

Carol Wilson,

Olympia

State has a spending problem

In the past four years our state revenue is up 20 percent and spending is up 34 percent!

That says to me that spending is the problem!

The political pattern is to “sell” needed spending restrictions to we taxpayers as a crisis! The fact is, spending restrictions are necessary for our government officials as well as we taxpayers.

Performance audits are a must.

State Auditor Brian Sonntag saves us $10 for every dollar spent!

Yvonne V. Conway

Olympia

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