Letters to the Editor

Letters published Oct. 31

Yes on I-1634

The Herald’s editorial on I-1634 questions the threat of taxes on food. To be clear, local governments can impose a “privilege” tax upon anything at any time, including food and beverages, regardless of the measure passed in 1977 to exempt food products from sales tax. We have joined more than 1,400 small businesses, farmers, workers in support of I-1634, the November initiative that would close this loophole to prohibit local grocery taxes.

Washington’s tax structure is one of the most regressive in the nation. Removing the possibility that groceries can be taxed will help stop an even heavier burden from being shouldered by those already struggling to make ends meet. The editorial points out that I-1634 would impact local control, it really doesn’t. We believe there are more fair and thoughtful ways to raise revenue rather than targeting groceries, which will only serve to hurt working families and small businesses.

For the minority-owned businesses and communities we represent, the possibility of grocery taxes is a real concern. We urge a YES on I-1634 because it addresses these concerns and is a step in the right direction for a more equitable Washington.

Nikki Torres, President, Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber, Richland

Support Sanders for commissioner

Lori Sanders has proved her principled leadership skills in both private and public service. I have come to understand that as commissioner she will serve the rights of all Benton County citizens. Having had the pleasure of serving 12 years on the Benton County Board of Adjustment and Shorelines Hearing Board as well as one term on the Benton County Planning Commission and holding vice chairman and chairmanship of those boards. It is apparent to me that Sanders’ opponent has proved he is incapable of providing leadership for all the citizens of Benton County. His actions and self-proclaimed accomplishments are not worthy of our county. Join me in supporting Lori Sanders for commissioner and regain representation for the citizens of Benton County.

R. Dean Burows, Richland

Raebel is right for Benton County

I am taking this opportunity to endorse Jamie Raebel for the office of Benton County coroner. I have known Raebel for 37 years and worked with him in law enforcement for 23 years.

One could ask how can a voter choose a candidate, without really knowing him? I believe a person has to know him in person, or you must rely on those who know him well.

Jamie Raebel has, by far, the majority support of law enforcement officers, both current and retired. These officers can attest to his character, abilities and leadership qualities. The rule is a coroner may be a doctor or an experienced law enforcement officer.

Raebel has been investigating countless felony crimes, including homicides, for most of his 37 years.

Jamie Raebel is the most experienced leader of investigations in the Tri-Cities. Larry Taylor (retired) is a well known, respected, two-term sheriff of Benton County. Taylor as well as current Sheriff Jerry Hatcher support Raebel.

Larry Taylor said, “Only one person has the ability to lead the coroner’s office and that person is Jamie Raebel.” Business leaders and citizens support Raebel, and I urge you to join us in electing Jamie Raebel.

Archie Pittman, Kennewick

Big Oil can pay carbon tax costs

Big Oil is spending more than $22 million to tell us that they will have to raise our gas prices if Initiative 1631 passes, because of the fee it imposes on polluters. But just 17 American oil and gas companies reported a combined $25 billion in direct one-time benefit from the federal tax bill that passed this winter, according to Pacific Standard, and yet our gas prices didn’t go down. The bottom line is, the oil industry has room to absorb this fee, should it choose to leave a liveable planet for future generations.

Otherwise, the $15 per ton of CO2 will result in 15 cents per gallon in gas price hike, quite a modest increase compared to the 50+ cents hike we experienced in the first half of 2018. So the news of economic doom if I-1631 passes are “greatly exaggerated.” I-1631 is designed to invest in clean energy and healthy forests to withstand the changes that come with a changing climate. Small business owners, big corporations, unions, church and faith organizations, doctors and nurses all say yes on I-1631. How about you?

Cigdem Capan, Richland

Advice to those in Ford hearings

To Pres. Trump: If Prof. Ford was lying (kettle, black) there would be no “gaps” in her memory. Liars fill in all the gaps.

To Sen. Collins: Prof. Ford was not “mistaken” about the “who.” She was 100 percent certain who assaulted her. What part of 100 percent certainty can you not understand?

To The F.B.I: Have you been struck dumb? Since when does a president direct your “investigation?” You should change your name.

To Republican-led Congress: Don’t you get it? You didn’t see any corroboration because such witnesses weren’t allowed to testify. You must wonder why. Thanks for nothing.

To Voters: Vote with care!

Elizabeth Koski, Richland

Small right pick for Benton County

My wife and I live on a farm in Prosser. We have 11 children and love the Prosser community.

We support Shon Small because he shares our values in protecting our county and listens to us here on the far west end of Benton County. He has stood against increasing the number of pot grows in our county and has stood up for the voters on the use of the public safety sales tax and helped to keep the accountability of the use of those funds to reflect the way it was sold to the voters. He has always listened to our concerns and really cares about Benton County and the Prosser community. He has worked with Sheriff Hatcher to support law enforcement, combat gang and child sex crimes.

We have known Shon for over 20 years and have watched his life and career in law enforcement, always keeping his faith and family as his priorities. As the world around us gets more chaotic and uncertain, I think local government is critical to protect our constitutional liberties.

This race for Benton County commissioner is critical and I believe Shon Small is the best candidate as Benton County commissioner.

Frank Vermulm, Prosser

I-1639 is a try for gun control

With the November election coming up soon, it’s important to know about the various initiatives, in particular, Initiative 1639. This is a gun control initiative that is quite lengthy to read, so it is imperative to know what you are actually voting for or against. I-1639 seeks to implement many things, one of the provisions being that there would be a $25 excise tax on the purchase of semi-automatic guns.

Why should there be a tax on the right to bear arms? Doesn’t this then give the government the supposed authority to tax any other right as well? Another provision of I-1639 is that the state Department of Licensing would be required to keep purchase applications for pistols, in addition to semi-automatic guns. Why would the government need to know what guns you have unless it desired to take them away? That is a rather dangerous power to give the government, as it could certainly be abused. To learn more about I-1639, go to saveoursecurity.net. Vote NO on I-1639, an attack on your constitutional right to bear arms.

Kaleb Fisler, Kennewick

GOP can’t keep medical promises

One knows that health care is an important issue when even Republicans are talking about it. Unfortunately, they are making promises they can’t possibly keep. The first promise is that their plans will cover pre-existing conditions. The second is that their plans will cover mental health issues.

These promises cannot be kept because Republicans reject universal health care. Neither pre-existing conditions nor mental health issues can be adequately addressed without universal health care. To suppose otherwise is to believe that these conditions can somehow be covered separately from other medical issues that arise.

Republicans will offer plans that purport to cover mental health and pre-existing conditions. These plans, if implemented at all, will be underfunded (they always are) and thus available to only a few. Everyone else goes on a waiting list.

Despite Republican efforts at sabotage, Obamacare premiums will be somewhat lower next year. However, Obamacare will continue to be attacked by congressional ideologues on the right. Something more is needed: health care for everyone.

In the Fourth Congressional District, one candidate understands that universal health care is necessary to control costs and meet the needs of all Americans. Her name is Christine Brown and she deserves your vote.

Robert McDonald, Richland

Wheat grower likes Newhouse

I don’t often write nor endorse, but ask that your readers consider supporting Congressman Dan Newhouse for another term in the U.S. House.

I find it invaluable to have a genuine agricultural producer in the Congress – as well as an experienced and skilled legislator. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy in the 4th Congressional District, and too often, farmers are overlooked in political decisions. In these divisive times, I look for honorable people who can reach across the political spectrum and get things done.

Dan Newhouse has exemplified these skills as a rising star in his party, and as a former Wa. Director of Agriculture (for a Democratic governor, no less); always carrying out what is best for his state, district, and constituents.

I have had the honor of working with the congressman while serving as president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. In that role, I met many elected and appointed individuals – but only a handful who were there for the right reasons; and Dan was one of the finest.

His integrity, experience and strong character merit our support. Please join me in voting for Dan Newhouse for Congress.

Brett Blankenship, Washtucna

Leach has right set of qualifications

The office of the coroner/medical examiner is an entirely separate entity from law enforcement. While we do work closely with law enforcement, our responsibilities are separate and quite different. Law enforcement has jurisdictional authority of the scene. The coroner/ME (medicolegal death investigator) has jurisdictional authority of a deceased body at the scene.

There are only two National Board Certified Medicolegal Death Investigators in Benton County. Bill Leach and myself. Prior to coming to the coroner’s office, Bill worked for the West Richland Police Dept. as an officer, sergeant, and detective, which tilts the qualifications question heavily in Bill’s favor. I have worked side by side with Bill Leach on many death investigations over the years. Bill’s investigative skills as well as his concern and empathy for families while finding the truth as to why their loved one has passed is second to none.

I am inviting all Benton County citizens as well as former students, colleagues and friends to join me in casting your vote for William “Bill” Leach as our next Benton County coroner. By far the most qualified candidate.

Roy W. McLean D-ABMDI, Chief Deputy Coroner, Benton County

Keep Killian as Franklin clerk

On the heels of Bosses Day, the supporting staff of the Franklin County Clerk’s Office would like you to know how we really feel about working for Michael Killian. The truth is, we are a group of hardworking, educated and experienced professionals with strong work ethics who admire and appreciate the support and leadership we have in our boss.

Mike leads by example both demonstrating and expecting high standards. He encourages teamwork, respect, honesty, humility, humor and goal setting. These values get us through our challenging day-to-day responsibilities from case management, to courtroom responsibilities, to serving the public at the customer service counter.

In addition to his administrative duties, he works side-by-side with us answering questions, offering assistance to the public and leading our weekly staff “Shout Out” meetings where we work together on training, policy, and process reminders. Mike’s leadership enriches our professionalism, our ability to better serve the public, legal community and the judiciary.

We are honored to work for and with Michael Killian and ask you for your vote to re-elect him as Franklin County clerk.

Ruby Ochoa Chief Deputy Clerk, Pasco and 14 other staff members