Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 24

Becker and McCune must tell the truth

Sen. Randi Becker and Rep. Jim McCune sent me a legislative e-mail update, and I am disappointed and frustrated to be in their district. They don’t represent me or my values, and I will be sure to be active next election cycle.

Not only are they in support of the wealthy continuing to use tax exemptions to get richer while the Legislature steals more services from the poor, they are using their list-serv to enlist others to actively support this position.

If this is the way they use their resources, why not do it accurately? Tell the constituents what it will mean not to have any new revenue. Tell the poor families in their district that it will take months for them get food assistance and, God forbid they lose their job, more time to get unemployment or Medicaid.

Tell the children graduating from high school this year that they have no hope for a higher education, unless they are from one of the rich families they support. Tell them that they don’t feel that rural health clinics should be funded and that they would prefer the mentally ill in their neighborhood go untreated and offenders go without monitoring.

Tell them that if they are a public servant who provides these vital services, the cost of their health care will increase by more than 300 percent even though they have seen no pay increase and their workload has skyrocketed.

Tell them and let them decide what their priorities are.


It wasn’t about the oil in Iraq

Strange to see the Chinese Army arriving in Iraq as our army leaves. This is not the Chinese Army I fought in Korea or the one I knew in the 1960s. They look really good — high tech, fatigues, Velcro for their patches, sunglasses, chronometers, two way radios, and advanced assault rifles.

You see, a Chinese sovereign oil company has beaten Exxon for the right to develop the fields and get the oil out. Woe be to any terrorists who try to stop them.

So the Iraq War was not about the oil. All we wanted to do was enforce the treaty, eliminate weapons of mass destruction, hang Saddam Hussein and keep the peace.

A sovereign Korean company has also beaten out GE for the right to build four or five nuclear reactors in Saudia Arabia. There go the jobs.


Limit corporate meddling in civic affairs

It’s time for us all to focus on the fundamentals of our democracy. Not on the parties or the personalities, but the system itself.

Since the reform era of the Civil Rights Act, Vietnam War and Watergate, we’ve squandered our civic interaction on partisan “horse races” while structural shifts have been implemented largely without meaningful public review.

No coherent national debate accompanied the evolution of corporations from publicly chartered business entities into transnational faux-humans.

Even as the information-rich Internet blossomed, our most-watched or most-read news sources were assimilated into just a few national media conglomerates, thus limiting the expression of diverse views.

And in a drive toward some mythical, poll-tested political center, both major parties pushed candidates and public officials to the muddling middle, discouraging creative action.

Even worse, they cultivate divisive, emotional topics to exploit voters.

Is it time to guarantee meaningful access to the ballot for all candidates through instant runoff voting? Can we agree to provide some minimal yet sufficient level of campaign funding for all serious parties to blunt the effect of money on our elected officials?

Shall we recapture the public charter to limit corporate meddling in civic affairs?

Our politics is stunted, cash-ridden and servile to organized lobbies. Let’s re-read the Declaration of Independence and commit to a period of national civic reform.


Government should privatize maintenance

The political will to solve the underlaying financial causes (spending) represents the total mismanagement of the people’s money and is the result of political greed and control of the people.

One great solution that would go a long way in solving this problem and the economic woes of the state, counties and cities is to sell off any and all equipment, rolling stock and services that compete with the private sector. This includes maintenance, repair and shop facilities. The affected employees could be hired by the private sector and continue their employment. Think about the real savings for those governments.

The private sector would be paying more in taxes, tonnage and license fees. This would be a windfall in new revenue for the people’s government. The reduction in revenue spent by the various governments could fill all voids in expenditures.

Guess what? Democrats would need not agonize over the raising of taxes. New revenue would be there. Any taxes raised by government are simply passed through to the consumer thus creating a back door to tax the people more.

This solution to those economic woes is so obvious. The bidding process and small works roster is all that is needed for infrastructure maintenance or expansion. Where is the will?

Our future depends upon the survival of the private sector since it is the producer of revenue. Governments produce nothing. Everything they charge for is a tax. The challenge for our Legislature is to accept that responsibility and not gut I-960.

JAMES H. KALKUS, Rochester