Direct contact needed
I think that we can all agree that the results of the last election have shown that democracy cannot be a spectator sport, and that it is important for all citizens to participate not just by voting every once in a while, but also by being involved in the political process in between elections.
One of the most effective things we can do is to contact our representatives directly to let them know how we would like them to vote on the issues. Even just calling to find out how they voted means something to them, as it lets them know that their constituents are paying attention to what they are doing. The office staff are very professional and they do keep track of what the phone calls and emails are indicating as far as what people want, and they pass this information to the elected official. I would like to see the Methow Valley News publish the contact information for our representatives in every issue. This should include federal, state and county elected representatives.
Katie Haven, Methow
Analysis before action
I challenge Congressman Newhouse to actually analyze what is best for this district regarding health care rather than just joining the “repeal Obamacare” chants of his Republican colleagues.
For example, does he know how many of his constituents will lose their health care or would have wanted to sign up for health care but can’t if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed? Does he actually have a thoughtful and workable replacement plan? Does he really think that health care should only be for those who can afford what the insurance companies decide they can get away with charging? I challenge him to actually answer these questions before registering his vote. Does he know that U.S. hospital administrative costs amount to 25 percent of costs, whereas in Canada it is only 12 percent (based on a pre-ACA care study). Does he know that administrative costs amount to 30 percent of the cost of health care insurance?
I have personally experienced this administrative madness when my mother was in her declining years. She had three levels of health insurance: Medicare, Blue Cross and a third provided by my deceased father’s employer. Eventually almost all her expenses were “covered,” but in the process huge mounds of paper came from these insurers as they sorted out who should pay what and when, and quibbled about whether the treatment was covered or whether the doctor was “in” or “out” of network or the prescriptions approved or not.
I don’t know if the ACA has made this administrative nightmare better or worse (although health care costs have increased more slowly under ACA than before), but any “fix” of our health care system needs to tackle this issue. Single payer could be a nice solution but we seem to be allergic to that remedy, regardless of dispassionate analysis.
Democratic government should be about research, reflection and responsible action, not just “my team versus your team.” Voters don’t have the time to do this in-depth analysis; it is our representatives’ job to do the hard work of responsible government and not just parrot the knee-jerk reactions of partisanship. Give it a try, Mr. Newhouse.
Kathleen Learned, Twisp
The article “Big slate of public works projects in Twisp this year” (Jan. 4) seems benign enough, but a more substance discussion of state money lies behind it. In this divisive political time, it can be rather difficult to have an actual discussion on the merits of any infrastructure plan. Do we raise money via raising local taxes, do we just scrap improvements altogether, or do we appeal state and federal wide for extra funding?
It is apparent that our local improvement projects are needed. This funding and project are a great example as to how government should work, putting Americans back to work, with good-paying jobs, by using taxpayer money. Everyone around our state helps pay for our improvement projects, especially through the gas tax and registration fees.
This distribution of taxpayer money is exactly what allows us not only to improve our roads and community services, but it also puts our community back to work. I do not believe that the tax revenue from our local sales and property taxes would pay for these improvements alone. We partly rely on the more densely populated areas in our state for these funds.
I hope in these uncertain times, we can see the benefit of infrastructure projects that are statewide-taxpayer funded.
Megan Delaney, Winthrop
Thanks for the support
Re the recent Christmas tree sale at Hanks’ Harvest Foods: It takes teamwork from people to help make things better for a community. It takes Craig the tree-grower, Tom the salesperson, Hank and Judy for the sales area, and the rest of the support they provide. Thanks to Carrie and her crew for the tents, to Larry for purchasing and hauling the trees, to Keith Strickland for setting up the booth, to Carter, Keith, Keith and Larry for stocking the trees, to my faithful crew that sells trees each day — Keith Rowland, Mike Dunn and John Doran.
We generated $4,750 that all goes to the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp, for kitchen and gym improvements. This is what I call teamwork. So thank you to each one of you, and especially to you the customers — you’re a big part of the team. We love serving you and putting that special tree in your living room.
Larry Smith, Christmas tree sale project manager
No money for Trump’s wall
Watch your wallets, folks. The soon-to-be-anointed Scammer-In-Chief is about to pull off his biggest con ever. Since Mexico has made clear it won’t pay for Trump’s wall, now he wants U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill.
Current conservative cost estimates are around $25 billion. That doesn’t include buying up private land along the way, high costs of construction in difficult and remote terrain, and the inevitable cost overruns. Trump says one way to get the money back is to take it from poor Mexicans sending money to their families in Mexico. Maybe he’ll raise visa fees, too. Does our paying up front for the wall sound like a good investment to you?
Ask the folks who lost their investments in Trump’s six big projects that went into bankruptcy. Ask the small builders and contractors who believed they’d be paid, too, and then got stiffed. Do they believe that taxpayers should expect better treatment if they front Trump the money?
Those cost estimates assume legitimate contracting processes and honest contractors. What are the odds of that happening? Vice-president Dick Cheney’s company Halliburton got some $40 billion in Iraq war contracts without any competitive bidding. There were widespread reports of corruption and waste that followed. Will we even know when corporate fronts for Trump’s family or cronies are making big profits from his wall? Trump has done a good job of hiding his financial connections.
Remember Trump’s long-time slogan that investments should come from “other people’s money.” In this case, we are the “other people.” Some simple math shows that Okanogan County residents alone will be paying over $3 million for Trump’s wall. And that assumes no underestimates or cost overruns.
If you don’t like being scammed, or think $25 billion could be better spent on domestic projects, you should give your U.S. representatives a simple message: No U.S. tax money to build Trump’s wall.
Randy Brook, Twisp