Opinion

Letters to the Editor: June 20-26

 

A vote for public safety

I don’t live within the Sequim city limits, but I consider it “my city.” I will do whatever I can to encourage my city friends to support Proposition 1 - the Public Safety Initiative that will appear on the August Primary Ballot. 

Folks who live in the greater Dungeness Valley, including residents of Highland Hills, Sunland and Carlsborg (and even shoppers from Port Angeles and Port Townsend), rely on our “big box” stores and unique services. We all spend our money here, and the City of Sequim deserves to be reimbursed for the costs of maintaining and protecting our broader community. 

That’s why this one-tenth of one per cent sales tax — a penny on every ten dollars we spend on non-essential items — is a “smart tax” for all of us. It will generate about $240,000 in annual revenue for the city (and $40,000 for county public safety services). 

It will allow the City of Sequim to finance a new police station and Emergency Operations Center. Sixty percent of the revenue from this small tax will come from folks like me who shop here but do not live in the city. It is a bargain for Sequim city residents. 

It is important to all of us who rely on the men and women of Sequim’s police department to keep us safe. These are first-rate officers and all of us are lucky to have them.

They deserve a modern facility. They deserve the best technical resources we can provide. They deserve to be recognized for the excellent work they do for all of us.

In the next month or so it is likely that a number of anti-tax, anti-city, anti-police folks will try to discourage Sequim residents from supporting Proposition 1. 

Don’t let their negativity keep us from doing what is right — for our police officers, for our city and for our community.

Support Proposition 1!

Pat Johansen
Sequim


Vote no on city tax proposal

Sequim City Council wants to raise our city taxes to pay for facilities that should be funded in other venues. Please vote NO on this open-ended increase that would continue to collect your tax money long after the facility’s paid for. 

They already increased our city taxes to pay for streets, sidewalks and street lights. Do you know where that money goes? It goes to a Not-for-Profit Corporation they created, the City Councilors are the Board-of-Directors, the City Manager is the Executive Director, including a legal “pass-through” to tell the city what to do with the funds as they dictate. There isn’t oversight that I can see, they can pay $30,000 to have “studies” done whenever they want to. 

This information is all available on the City Website. I haven’t seen the corporate by-laws, but wonder if the Councilors have to leave this corporation when they are voted out-of-office? 

They put on the back-burner another plan to collect funds from our property taxes to create a Parks program, also an open-ended tax collection, I have to wonder if they would have created another “corporation” (read “cash-cow”) to take care of that one, also bypassing the city’s general fund? Look for it in the future! 

Also, look at their plan to use tar-and-chip finish on our city streets … welcome to the 1940s with the sticky tar and noise. Just drive up Blake and listen to the change. Ask the pet owners whose dogs got tar in their feet. 

Can you say “enough-is-enough”?

Alice Coleman
Sequim


Hands off our mailboxes

This is an open letter to the participants in the "mail box tipping" that occurred on Fir Street on Monday, June 18, 2012, at 10 p.m.

I am a disabled single parent whose mailbox you kicked off the post and into the street.

We are not "well off," but we get by, without taking any welfare or food stamps. 

I get to spend a good part of what is left of this month's grocery money to go buy a new mailbox because you wonderful upstanding young men had 10 minutes of "harmless fun."

I am sure you wouldn't think it was so harmless if the money came out of your grocery money. 

Think about how your actions affect other people BEFORE you do something … it will take you a long way toward being decent human beings.

R. Davidson
Sequim


Orchestra — not a band

On June 20, you featured a very nice article on the new Sequim Community Orchestra. The only thing that surprised me was a misnomer appearing in the “teaser” at the top of the front page: “I’m with the band – Meet Sequim’s new community orchestra.”

A band and an orchestra are not the same thing. A band is defined as “a musical group, usually employing brass, percussion and often woodwind instruments.” An orchestra is defined as “a large instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments.” 

Nowhere in the definition of a band will you find mention of stringed instruments. That is essentially what makes a band a band and an orchestra an orchestra.

Thank you for allowing me an educational moment.

Patsy Mattingley
Sequim City Band


Help a POW's family

Hi, my name is Kristin Kartak. I'm a member of the Washington State Army National Guard based out of Smokey Point, Wash.

Recently I saw a link posted on my friend's website, www.supportbowe.org, about a POW who was captured on June 30, 2009, while out on a foot patrol in Afghanistan. My first thought was, "Hey! Thats MY birthday!" 

My second thought was, "How did I not know about this?" As a combat medic, I felt compelled to help another soldier, and I started thinking about what I could do and ways I could help. 

The biggest problem I noticed was the level of awareness. I started asking other soldiers in my unit if they knew who Sgt. Bergdahl was, and the majority had no idea what I was talking about!

I decided that for my birthday this year, I would hold a car wash/bake sell to help raise money and awareness for Sgt. Bergdahl and his family. The biggest thing they would like to see, is people calling their congressmen and elected officials, and asking for his safe return. The website has a direct link for the contact info for our officials. 

If we can get enough American's to make a simple phone call, hopefully we can have him home. 

The carwash will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 30 (the anniversary of his capture), at 1023 E. Front St. in Port Angeles. The carwash is by donation, and we will also have baked goods for sell.

All proceeds will go to helping raise awareness for Sgt. Bergdahl (There's a link on his page, where you can order brochures, bracelets, and print off fliers and posters).

The week surrounding his capture is a "Take Action Week."

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 360-809-0518, or e-mail me at kristinm06@gmail.com.

Kristin Kartak
Port Angeles


Deregulation opens a Pandora's Box

Don Brunell says "Federal government shouldn't make things worse" (Sequim Gazette, June 20, page A-11).

Few would disagree.

He complains about "regulatory overload," but the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s wasn't caused by "regulatory overload" — it was deregulation that allowed unscrupulous bankers to make risky loans which made them wealthy, but left us taxpayers and some depositors on the hook for billions.

The bankruptcies of Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Lehman Brothers, etc., did not result from "regulatory overload," but from a lack of regulations to discourage excessive corporate debt and risky major investments that lost investors billions.

The housing crisis did not result from "regulatory overload," but from lack of regulations to prevent lenders from making imprudent loans that were risk-free for them, but disastrous for borrowers and taxpayers.

 

Bernie Madoff did not conduct his Ponzi scheme in a climate of "regulatory overload," but one where federal regulators ignored him for unknown reasons.

Medicare fraud does not take place in a climate of "regulatory overload," but in the absence of regulations to discourage unscrupulous health care providers from taking advantage of weaknesses in the system.

The common thread in all these debacles is unscrupulous business people enabled by lack of government regulation to profit at the expense of taxpayers and investors.

If every businessperson was as honest, ethical and pure as Mr. Brunell presents himself, regulations would be unnecessary. Until that day arrives, the public and investors need regulatory protection from predators like those in the five examples above.

Roy F. Wilson
Sequim
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