Letters to the Editor

Letters: April 7, 2019

Constitution added a bit of socialism

Our country has had a long history with socialism.

In fact, one of the reasons the Constitution was written, was to add “a bit of” socialism (i.e., a socialist policy.) Putting this into the context of history, the Constitution (1787) was not the first attempt at writing a document that defined our government and its operation in detail. The first document that did this was the “Articles of Confederation,” written (1777) and ratified (1781). After a few years, several weaknesses became apparent, and it was replaced by the Constitution, which remedied these.

One of these weaknesses was that after the Revolutionary War there was no clear accountability of war debts. The states, and their debts to arms/weapons manufacturers often went unpaid.

The Constitution set up a system by which the Federal government would proactively “pay the bill,” through collected taxes. It owned and controlled the means of production of our national defense (military, weapons, etc.). If and when a war might occur, militias provided help, but there was no substitute for a single, centrally commanded force, with bigger weapons (cannons, and other ordnance). Socialism, as well as capitalism can be done right. They can also be done wrong.

D.L. Andy Anderson, Richland

We need more affordable housing

Millions of low-income working families struggle because of our affordable housing crisis. A reported 71 percent of extremely low-income renters spend more than half their income on housing; meanwhile only one in four eligible low-income households receive federal housing assistance.

The 4th Congressional District, Hanford excepted, is a rural agricultural economy stretching from Oregon to Canada that relies on undocumented workers, large numbers of migrants, and has pockets of extreme poverty. Access to affordable housing is a serious and growing problem nationally and in the state. The situation is worse here in the Yakima Valley with the homeless and the undocumented unable to access housing assistance and with shrinking numbers of low-cost rental units

A $4 billion increase in Housing Choice Vouchers would fund 340,000 new “Section 8” vouchers over two years for this country. I would ask Rep. Newhouse and Sens. Murray and Cantwell to work toward lifting the current federal spending caps for FY20 during budget negotiations, and in addition to the current $1 billion to maintain the status quo, to support a $4 billion increase in federal Housing Choice Vouchers over the next two years for a total of 5 Billion nationwide.

Stan Moon, Richland

Do not support the Jordan World Circus

Please do not support the Jordan World Circus coming to the TRAC Center April 9-10 because of their wild animal attractions.

What a sad abnormal existence these elephants and tigers have. By patronizing circuses that have wild animals we promote the continuation of this barbaric treatment of these animals. Wild animals belong in the wild! Not being carted around constantly from town to town in crates for our amusement.

Please boycott this circus.

Donna Gilmour, Richland

Richland’s rules for pot pernicious

The City of Richland’s benighted cannabis rules have harmed Benton and Franklin County citizens and me personally. Richland’s ban on sales is particularly pernicious, primarily harming our poor and elderly.

Richland (proposed) Ordinance 20-19 adds cannabis to Drug Free Workplace Policy proscriptions in a way equivalent to opioids and crack. Rules should be made that reflect cannabis’ role cutting opioid mortality by 25 percent.

For over three years, I had been responsibly and discreetly using cannabis in lieu of a prescription narcotic when my vape device was observed at my Southeast Communications (SECOMM) desk. I then switched to the ‘acceptable’ narcotic. Senior city management stepped in and chose to end my 14-year public safety career.

Premature retirement caused me unanticipated financial challenges and anguish. The community’s loss goes well beyond mine. It will affect public safety for years to come as SECOMM rebuilds its mapping and data analysis capability.

The map for locating 911 callers will see updates slip from monthly to perhaps half yearly. My absence could also delay deployment of NextGen 911 across Eastern Washington.

Richland must elect councilpersons and select management who will have the courage and intelligence to make better decisions than these. Look to Democrats.

Ivar Husa, Richland

What time is it where you live?

Ever look at a time zone map? Some time zones stretch across more than 15 degrees of longitude, in some areas time zones are much narrower. This year, sunrise on June 20 in Spokane is 4:51 a.m. (PDT), in San Diego it’s 5:41 a.m.; 50 minutes later, despite being nearly the same longitude. Sunset is 8:51 p.m. and 7:59 p.m., respectively, making daylight 1 hour, 42 minutes longer in Spokane than San Diego. Spokane has sunrise (and sunset) 20 minutes earlier than Seattle on Jun 20 of this year.

Rather than playing around with setting arbitrary time zones, how about going back to standard time and encouraging local communities to set normal business/school working hours to what makes sense for their location. It might make sense to have normal business hours of 8:30 to 4:30 in Spokane but 9 to 5 in Seattle based on the difference in sunrise/sunset times rather than some arbitrary law that puts them in the same time zone.

Martin Pace, Richland

Inslee campaign wastes tax dollars

Once again Gov. Jay Inslee proves he is not a reliable steward of Washington taxpayer money.

For the taxpayers of Washington state to subsidize his travel and security expenses in his boondoggle run run for president is ludicrous. Any expense not directly related to the benefit of the citizens of this state should be rejected, including the additional pay and benefits paid to the lieutenant governor when The governor is out of state campaigning.

Perhaps, Washington Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson, should seek to protect the citizens of Washington and convince Gov. Inslee’s campaign to do the right thing, before we vote them both out.

Ed Young, Kennewick

Newspapers’ loss good for no one

The column by Joyce Terhaar on newspaper decline only touched on, but didn’t mention another important aspect of the decline in this medium. News gathering itself is at stake with the death of this service.

Many of the electronic media, even local radio and TV, depend on the stories generated by having reporters on the streets. Many of these stories are picked up in the same coffee shops where you might eat daily. Newspaper reporters work, eat, sleep within the same communities and develop mutual friends. The sources for what becomes news start at grass roots where there is no substitute being instigated today by electronic media.

While we are being indoctrinated that news is “fake,” what we are being told is really that news that is unflattering or inconvenient to that individual isn’t appreciated. Sometimes all the news isn’t “good” news. A free society should be informed and that means good and bad news. Losing local newspapers isn’t good news to anyone.

Ron Buckland, Pasco

Replanting work at Hanford hard job

Just saw the news about the revegitation at Hanford for MSA. The main point is that it is great to bring the land back to its natural state, but also they did not mention how hard it is to plant it in the ground.

The terrain is river rock. You have to plant them on your hands and knees, very hard on your body.

I happen to know the Teamsters of Local 839 that are doing the work and they are doing a fantastic job for MSA, so my cudos go out to them.

John Crosby, Kennewick

Badger Challenge a great success

Another Badger Challenge is history, and it’s time to thank those who made it a success.

Thank you, organizers, volunteers and sponsors who were efficient, informative and helpful. Thank you, trail workers, who put the trails into great condition after a severe and ruinous winter. We especially appreciate you.

Last but not least, we thank the weather gods for commanding the sun to shine and the winds to rest!

Evelyn Painter, Richland

Time for solutions on gun control

Christchurch, New Zealand. One massacre, 50 dead – immediate action taken to mitigate more carnage. After hundreds of shootings and thousands dead, this country still argues incessantly and eschews any positive action. Is it because we lack courage, or fear a forfeiture of rights? And what of the rights of those souls whose flesh and bones have been bludgeoned by weapons manufactured expressly for killing people?

Tough decisions must be made, compromises reached. Perhaps we’re asking the wrong questions? Instead of fearing a compromise of our rights, perhaps we should be focusing on saving lives. I would hope that responsible gun-owners would endorse sensible gun laws, and validate the fact that those armaments employed in most butcheries are intended only for military purposes.

I understand the slippery-slope argument and the tenacity with which we cement ourselves to the Second Amendment. I do not comprehend our inability to take courageous action toward a sane solution. Do we continue to dodge bullets instead of consequences? What’s a life worth versus the fleeting feeling of unleashing the undeniable devastation of an AR-15? Courageous actions happen not in the absence of fears, but because we face our fears.

Gabe Lyons, Richland

Equitable tax plan what state needs

Mr. Boze finished his article about the proposed capital gains tax by calling for precision of language to have a “nonpartisan …, (un)biased … honest debate about taxes.”

This is ironic because his Washington Policy Center describes itself as a nonpartisan independent think tank when it has been described by others as “the Heritage Foundation of the Northwest.” Perhaps clarity of language in describing his employer would help Washingtonians determine if he truly has the well-being of Washington at heart.

I would like to offer some reasons why perhaps our lawmakers are considering a capital gains tax. Perhaps they don’t like our standing, recently reported in the Tri-City Herald, as the “worst state in the nation to be poor with the tax burden to our lowest income citizens being almost twice as much as ... to the highest income earners.”

Perhaps they’re concerned about reports, such as the recent story in the Tri-City Herald about layoffs in education staffing that affect our most challenged students. Perhaps they’re concerned income inequity and skyrocketing cost of living in Seattle has contributed to its homeless population of 12,000.

I would urge state lawmakers to continue to work on a more equitable tax structure, whatever it’s called.

Sara Flaten, Results Volunteer, Richland

Faith in church and science

Magellan has been quoted as saying, “The church says that the earth is flat. I have seen the shadow of the earth against the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.”

The church says that life begins at conception. I have seen schools of swimming sperm under the microscope. Who can deny that they are blessed with life? Life clearly begins before conception.

Robert L. Whitson, Richland

Outstanding job, Bunch Finnigan

I want to shout out praises for Bunch Finnigan Appliance Store in Kennewick for providing outstanding service beyond any other appliance company I have ever experienced.

In 2017, I purchased a Kitchen Aid refrigerator from Bunch Finnigan. This individual refrigerator had numerous major functional issues to the point of being a “lemon,” uncharacteristic of the high quality products that Bunch Finnigan carries.

The people at Bunch Finnigan went above and beyond in repetitively petitioning the manufacturer, and supporting our needs due to this nonfunctional refrigerator during the year and a half that it took to get a replacement from the manufacturer. I confidently know that we have a working refrigerator in our home today because the people at Bunch Finnigan were there for us over the long haul.

Even though many appliance companies advertise that they will be there for their customers, I can confidently say that the people of Bunch Finnigan really do support their customers in an unrelenting and exemplary manner with integrity.

Marcia Jensen, Kennewick

Drivers don’t heed solid white lines

In the eight years I have lived here I have noticed three chronic driving habits of Tri-Cities drivers but the letter word count will only permit me to address number 2, the most dangerous of these:

1. Stopping in and blocking an intersection.

2. Vehicles crossing a solid 8-inch white line, particularly in the gore areas/entering a freeway through lane.

3. Passing on the right while in freeway’s auxiliary lanes.

“It is illegal to cross a solid white line when you are merging onto the freeway and the solid white line is part of the gore point or the solid white line identifies the shoulder of the road,”

These gore areas are scientifically designed to allow for merging traffic to gain velocity while separated from the through traffic, which may be in the merging traffic’s blind spot, and to give the through traffic an opportunity to allow the merging traffic to assimilate, by slowing, speeding or changing lanes.

The solution? WADOT use safety enhancement funds (to) rumble strip these gore areas. While it wouldn’t stop every person that still wished to ignore the science, it would discourage the majority of these people, without additional hazards or restricting sight lines.

Michael Lavering, Richland