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Preserve funding for police, fire

Being new to the area (and the U.S.), I was somewhat surprised at all the criminal activity being reported nightly on TV news. Then, to my consternation, I read that the city of Vancouver is considering reducing the manpower of its police force. Admittedly, I don’t have an adequate understanding of the dynamics and demographics of this area, but I feel in these times of dual threats from terrorist and criminal elements, we surely don’t need to be constraining our police’s abilities in combating these elements by reducing their numbers — if nothing else, we should be increasing manpower.

I understand the need for budgetary constraints imposed by the current economy and agree with cutting waste to meet them. However, there has to be a better way than reducing the personnel in the police (and fire) department. People naturally abhor more taxes, but perhaps the imposition of a temporary “first responders’” tax may be needed in these difficult times.

If we’re not careful, our proactive force will be relegated to being reactive by these restraints, and Portland’s problems will overflow to our streets. I urge each resident to be vocal and let his or her voice be heard by contacting the mayor’s office.

Ken Haynes

Vancouver

Public safety should not be weakened

After reading the July 18 Columbian story, “Cutting the safety net? Vancouver’s budget woes mean police, firefighters must be axed, officials say,” on the loss of firemen and police officers, I am disgusted. We all understand economic times are tough, but removing public-safety resources is unacceptable, and a large part of it can be blamed on unions.

If the employees were nonunion, there could be an across-the-board wage reduction, which would be a much better solution. Every employee would remain employed and the services they provide are intact.

It’s too bad we can’t lay off some of the Vancouver City Council members and their salaries. The city could function just as well and likely better.

Smaller groups tend to make faster and better decisions.

Harold A. Lay

Vancouver

Mayor, show some leadership

Of course Mayor Tim Leavitt backs off his anti-tolling stance on the Interstate 5 Bridge.

During the election, the experienced straight-shooter told our community that tolls would be necessary, but, unfortunately, we voted for the candidate who promised us that Clark County would get something for nothing. It’s becoming painfully apparent that Vancouver is on the losing end of our newly elected mayor not understanding the financial mechanics of building a new bridge or simply intended to deceive the voters of Vancouver.

Mayor Leavitt, why don’t you show leadership and fight for what you promised the voters of Clark County?

Korey Kier

Vancouver

Breed should not be blamed

Unfortunately, the media, coupled with ignorance, have given pit bulls a “killer” image that is a false perception. I have raised three pit bulls and still take care of one now that is 7 years of age. I have had him since he was 8 weeks old, and he is a great companion. Wouldn’t hurt a fly, but if you tried to attack me or my family, he would bite you just like any dog would. Did I mention I have an 18-month-old daughter? Well I do, and they are like best friends.

If an ignorant person owns any large or strong breed, it is a problem. Unfortunately. the urban community has made it “cool” to seem like you’re tough by having a pit bull, which has been sad for the breed. Don’t blame the dog; they are a product of their environment. Blame owners without common sense or decency.

Chad Brame

Camas

Right-wing rage machine continues

The story in reference to the New Black Panther Party that a couple of recent letter writers wrote about took place during the 2008 election. The NBPP stood in front of a polling place in a black majority voting district; one had a night stick. The Bush administration’s Justice Department charged them with civil voter intimidation charges, after deciding that the case didn’t meet the bar for criminal charges. The Obama administration’s Justice Department has since dropped most other charges because the remaining charges weren’t supported by facts and the law, and did obtain an injunction against the man carrying the night stick. On the other hand, the Bush administration failed to even investigate numerous civil rights violations when the victims were African-American and Latino. Once again, Fox News has distorted the facts, and the right-wing rage machine is race-baiting.

Leah Dorn

Vancouver

Don’t let nation step backward

Judging by recent congressional Republican votes on health care, extended unemployment coverage, and Wall Street/banking financial reform, corporatist-Republican obstructionist tactics are obviously in full swing. As the “party of ‘no!’,” their strategy to regain power by 2012 is to “run out the clock” on the Democratic legislative agenda, run the U.S. economy “off the cliff,” then blame the Obama administration for the resulting Great Depression, while portraying Democrats as the “do nothing” party.

The recent 5-4 Supreme Court “Citizens United…” decision, affirming corporate “personhood,” will now enable these multibillionaire corporate oligarchs to amass tsunami-level funding for a media-blitz “carpet-bombing” campaign.

Folks, unless we Americans wake up to their nefarious strategy, I fear that we’re in the actual process of taking a giant step backward into a de facto feudalistic-fascist form of government where multibillionaire corporate oligarchs have complete and total dictatorial control over our very lives.

Is this what we really want?

Michael T. Carver

Ridgefield

Headlines sway opinions

I’m disgusted but not surprised by obvious bias in recent headlines on the debate to extend federal unemployment benefits. When people read headlines such as “Obama to GOP: Restore jobless benefits” or “Dems ready to revive jobless checks,” a lazy or shallow thinker might likely conclude without reading further that the nasty, heartless GOP is at it again, penalizing the little guy. Of course, this is completely false.

Deeper into the facts, one learns that the GOP favors extending unemployment benefits but wants the government to be able to pay for it without printing and/or borrowing money — a novel idea even when the national debt is near $13 trillion. The media pay this little mind; they know the headline swings votes far more efficiently and effectively than imbedded facts.

Bruce Smith

Battle Ground

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