Election letter -- Public safety tax: Yes

March 30, 2014 

Readers should take note that on the very same newspaper page announcing the formation of a citizens group supporting the Public Safety Sales Tax, there was also an article about three different local shootings occurring in the recent past. At least two of the shootings were gang related. Dozens of gunshots were fired in one of those incidents. Three people were injured in these shootings.

We read about crimes committed by gangs much too often. It seems that there are stories of drive-by shootings every few weeks. Retaliation for one act often results in future acts of violence. Gang members are not restricted by city boundaries -- incidents like these can and do happen in each of our cities.

That's why I'm in favor of a sales tax supporting public safety in Benton County. It will put more officers on the street to arrest violent criminals. Additionally, and importantly, this particular effort will provide for gang prevention and intervention. It will give young people an alternative to the gang lifestyle and provide them with options to make better choices.

I applaud the citizens group supporting this ballot measure. They are at least taking a stand against crime. They have my support.

PHILIP HALVORSEN, Richland

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