Our Readers’ Views, Jan. 25

Published:

 

County cozies up to developers

County Commissioners Marc Boldt and Tom Mielke voted to again freeze impact fees for developers that commissioners voted to increase in 2007 because they proved inadequate to meet growing needs for roads. (“Development fee freeze rankles commissioner,” Jan. 13) Again, taxpayers subsidize private enterprise and pay 70 percent of costs. What data show that supporting private enterprise on the backs of local taxpayers benefits the community?

What’s fair? Capitalism is industry controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. Still, tax dollars provide tax credits for home sales. Should established residents or newcomers pay for needed infrastructure?

Mielke states, “If it’s to the benefit of the public, the public should pay.” Washington state differs. According to the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington, “Impact fees are charges assessed by local governments against new development projects that attempt to recover the cost incurred by government in providing the public facilities required to serve the new development.”

What’s next? Developer fees replaced with a tax on all real estate sales? Without public outcry, tax laws will subsidize private enterprise at your expense.

Kay Hudziak

Brush Prairie

Know the facts about mental health

Don’t let sentencing debate overshadow truth about mental illness. With so much attention focused on the legal issues surrounding mental illness and crime, it’s crucial to remind people of some important facts.

The general public is grossly misinformed about the link between mental illness and violence, contributing to the ongoing stigma that keeps people experiencing mental health challenges from accessing the tools they need for recovery.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the vast majority of people who are violent do not have a mental illness. Additionally, people with psychiatric disabilities are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crime.

Regardless of your opinion about sentencing laws for individuals with mental illness, I encourage readers not to allow these issues to overshadow reality — that one in four people experiences a diagnosable mental illness in any given year and that recovery is possible when people have access to effective treatment.

When mental health issues are reported in the media they are most often focused on crime and violence. This is a disproportionate fraction of the whole story.

Melanie Green

Camas

Wake-up call on our fuel sources

Once again, the world is witnessing America leading in humanitarian efforts to rescue the people of Haiti after the earthquake there. The world is responding with people, aircraft, land vehicles and ships to bring and distribute supplies and personnel to alleviate suffering.

One thing we rarely take notice of is that petroleum fuels power every vehicle that must be used in this effort. So-called “green energy” supplies no fuel to power the vehicles being used. No solar panels or wind farm powers the ships, aircraft and land vehicles in use.

How shameful that our elected leaders refuse to allow us to drill and develop our own petroleum resources, keeping us dependent upon foreign sources that may be hostile to us or the next region affected by such a disaster.

How tragic would it be in future disasters if we could not rush to the rescue because our ships, aircraft and vehicles were out of gas?

We must be allowed to begin using our own resources if we are to remain able to respond to the world’s tragedies.

Lew Waters

Vancouver

State workers benefit in lean times

Is it not a nose-twisting irony how, during this job-crushing economy, state employees across the nation received step-increase raises or cost-of-living increases? And they expect us private citizens, us taxpayers, to be flattered by it?

They act astounded and offended if we register the slightest protest, like a mortician who receives a tap on the shoulder by one of his clients.

There’s a higher number of federal employees receiving over $120,000 a year than ever before, and this came about after our economy crashed.

Our so-called “public servants” are either drunk on spending other people’s money, or they are deliberately trying to bankrupt our nation even more and further crush our economy.

Now our state Legislature is contemplating raising our taxes rather than cutting their irresponsible spending. This will further deplete our economy of resources, like siphoning the last gallon out of a customer’s gas tank and calling it a “fill-up.”

It is like a million fat lords and a few hard-working slaves. We had best speak up and confront this new tax threat while we have any economy left.

Will H. Matson

Battle Ground

It’s time to abolish the filibuster

The filibuster is undemocratic. It is blocking the Senate from addressing critical needs of “We the People,” including health care, jobs, energy independence, and education.

Abolish the filibuster now!

Norm Enfield

Camas

The people took their voice back

I hope everyone noticed what happened in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

It’s time the people of Washington tell lawmakers they work for us or they don’t work at all.

We should be tired of them telling us we have no idea what is good for us or that they have to look out for us.

We are able to make our own decisions on how we would like to live.

Bill McGarry

Vancouver

Pass tougher cell phone law

After reading the Jan. 18 Associated Press story, “Legislators look to bolster cell phone law,” I hope they make it a primary offense for holding a cell phone while driving.

I would like to see Washington follow Oregon, California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York in their crusade to stop this stupid, unsafe, and menacing behavior.

This ridiculous and selfish action by people while driving must stop and now.

State Rep. Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake, apparently does not believe this law will be necessary and does not believe law enforcement statistics.

Nothing gets the attention of a driver more than that sudden sinking feeling in the chest when seeing flashing lights in the mirror and having to sign for that $124 fine.

Mike Briggs

Washougal