Where the 1 percent are
Are you looking for the greedy One Percent in America? The IRS can help. Among our 3,144 counties, six of the top 10 in per capita income surround Washington, D.C., like a clogged artery. The federal regulatory state has a good thing going. It has elements of both the old Soviet Union and of the Roman church of the fifteenth century.
Like the Soviet central planning model, we have created central permitting via the EPA and other regulators. Central planning destroyed the Soviet Union with its inefficiency, although Moscow apparatchiks became wealthy. Central permitting threatens us with the same inefficiency.
We also have created a system of Indulgences similar to that of the old Roman church which Martin Luther so despised. Today’s Indulgences are called special interest legislation. With each additional molecule or species regulated new sinners are created who must go to D.C. and pay lobbyists for loopholes.
The federal regulatory state has a very good thing going indeed. The six wealthy counties surrounding D.C. are the top one-half of 1 percent.
Dan Aspenwall, Winthrop
Big need for small homes
Thanks for Scott Domergue’s articulate My Turn of Aug. 22 regarding small homes and the local need for affordable housing, the insightful comments by Rocklynn Culp and Sarah Schrock on related social equity and the trend toward small homes, and the article describing actions of Twisp Town Council member Ashley Thrasher and Donna Keyser leading to a public hearing to discuss proposed exclusion of small home construction in some areas of Twisp.
There is growing financial contrast among various populations in the valley that would only increase with the proposed zoning changes. The unintentionally condescending term “worker bees” quoted in an accompanying article is unfortunately used with increasing frequency in our community. There may never be a truly equitable society in which actual effort, intelligence or education leads to basic security and happiness, but there is no reason Twisp shouldn’t move in that direction.
Times do change over the years. The Pine Stump Symphony, the large winter social event where all income levels equally mingled once a year at no charge, has been replaced by year-round events often out of financial reach for many families. Large homes dot the land, sometimes creating a spectacle as compared with the landscape. A restaurant hamburger and beer averages $45 per couple. Families with both parents working full time or more find it difficult to feed children, especially on weekends, without The Cove’s assistance. And some families displaced by wildfire cannot afford to return to the Methow.
Our home in Twisp is 610 square feet on a relatively large lot, providing lower heating, electric and maintenance bills as well as room for a large garden. Freedom of choice between putting resources into a larger lot rather than into a large home should exist; and freedom to design a home consistent with the owner’s values and artistic expression, if safe and healthy, is a good thing.
Winthrop deserves credit for its support of small homes, support for families that need or want them, and its acknowledgment of employers who rely upon these families to keep our economy going.
Richard Tingelstad & Isabelle Spohn, Twisp
Thank you to the local Eagles for help fundraising for Okanogan Open Roads Coalition. The court battle to reopen Texas/French Creek roads is not being defended by the county commissioners. Our commissioners need to know the “neutral” position is a clear giveaway to the corporation keeping us off our public lands. Residents applauded the denial of a road vacation to the Gamble Corporation in January 2017. Apparently not wanting to uphold that decision, the commissioners have instead chosen to stand by, letting a long court process supersede political leadership.
Meanwhile, roads stay blocked. Over 1,200 folks in the past year signed petitions asking the commissioners to protect access to public lands and keep our back roads open. Simple direction ordering gates unlocked and defense of the public trust in current litigation would show they understand their responsibility to the voters.
Folks on Texas Creek watched fire come back on their homes two and three times in 2014. Coming back a third time, some folks watched their house burn as they drove through the fire to Carlton. There is another way out but since Gamble Corporation locked the old wire range gate at the top of Texas/French Creek Road safe access is unknown. In 2017 fire on Highway 153 led to evacuation orders on Texas Creek again. Imagine the irony of fire potentially blocking any safe escape through Carlton.
Texas/French Creek roads have unquestionably been used by the public for over 110 years. Bigger gates with bigger locks have appeared, blocking public right of way where unlocked range gates once stood. Our commissioners are in error hiding behind a “neutral” stance that lets the roads stay closed while the court case drags on. They are in error putting cost burden on the community fighting a very large corporate octopus hiding as a family farm. This is an issue of political leadership. Please contact the commissioners now. Ask for legal support in court. Ask for active defense the public’s right of way.
Thank you to supporters, neighbors and firefighters. Send legal fund donations to OORC, P.O. Box 163, Carlton, WA 98814.
Paula Mackrow, Twisp