It’s about the Constitution
I keep seeing headlines from a variety of new sources saying things like “Dems will lose …”, “GOP stands to win …,” “Trump will win … .” What saddens me profoundly is that these headlines are turning a critical governmental action into a childish popularity contest.
Regardless of how you personally view the current impeachment, please keep in mind what this is really about. And what this is really about is our Constitution, the fundamental roots of our government.
When the Constitution was penned by our Founding Fathers, they were trying to create a system of government and its rules that would counteract all the bad elements of the forms of government in existence up to that point in history. Most of all they were trying to create a government free from the possible tyranny of a single individual. The thinking was that if any one individual, became too powerful there was a way to curb that power – impeachment.
To pay respect to our Constitution, and to the impeachment that has already occurred, all Senators must take their responsibility seriously and remember the oaths of office they have sworn to uphold — to defend the Constitution and to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.
The Senate trial of Donald Trump should not be about supporting or not supporting the President. It should be about supporting our Constitution and our form of government. If it does boil down to a popularity contest, and the Constitution takes back seat, we can kiss our way of life good-bye. Serious detrimental changes will take place. They may occur slowly but they will steadily start creeping into the very fabric of our lives. And within the next 20 years, I predict American government will start to look a lot like Russia’s.
Patti Nordby, Winthrop
Thanks from Room One
Room One would like to express a heartfelt thank you to the members of Okanogan County Fire District 6 and Kiwanis who so often show up as partners to Room One and our community when we need it most. Last month, District 6 and local Kiwanians offered invaluable support for a neighbor. Across three days, they brought in 30 volunteers and made a difference that will last a lifetime. We were awestruck. Their thoughtfulness, generosity and care for this community inspired us all, and reminded us why we are so thankful to call this valley our home.
Room One, Twisp
Making a choice
Despite the fact that we value the good people who work at our local Chase Bank in Omak, we can no longer support the institution. The funds we have deposited there for years have been invested in current and future fossil fuel exploration, development, transport and refining. For decades that was just the price of smart investing. Now it is the wrong choice for our family, friends and future generations who will continue to face the severe consequences of a warming planet.
We all know why it’s warming and we know what needs to be done: stop investing in fossil fuel development, and instead improve financial incentives to leave oil, coal and natural gas safely sequestered in the ground where it is not impacting our atmosphere. Supporting companies that are shifting energy production operations to a cleaner approach is a step that companies like Chase could chose to take. For the years ahead, that is likely smarter investing.
As the world’s sixth-largest bank, with assets beyond $2.7 trillion, Chase Bank has immense leverage to encourage a better direction for our world. That could be considered a burden or perhaps an opportunity. Chase’s 2019 profits alone were $36.4 billion. Their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders is about managing that money, but their moral responsibility could be using their huge financial influence to help secure the future well being of all of us. In a letter to CEO and Chairman James Dimon, the board directors, and operating team members we pointed this out and asked if they could consider being leaders, helping chart a new direction for society.
As for our money, at least for the time being we are banking with a member-owned and managed community credit union.
Dawn and Kent Woodruff, Twisp
I am appalled that three cougar cubs were orphaned by those who should know better, who had good alternatives, and who are being paid by my tax dollars. Our own Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Of course, the cougar the WDFW shot two weeks earlier was the mother!
We live in the Methow in no small part because of the wildlife, and if we (and our pets) can’t learn how to live with it, we should move back to the city from which we fled.
This female cougar had apparently been around the area for two years. She was collared! Our valiant WDFW should have had some idea of her location. She had been “relocated” recently: away from her cubs. She had the ultimate compulsion to find her way back. Then she was chased, terrorized and trapped under a deck! What a public safety risk! And as for the argument that she would have had difficulty finding food for her family if relocated (with cubs), may I remind you of the endless slaughter of mule deer our reckless driving produces on the highways in this valley.
Decking seems to be a particular problem for attracting cougars if you’re really worried. But my barn has attracted cougars too, and I can hardly shut out my stock for fear of providing sanctuary to a cougar. All you big, brave outdoor people: cougars are afraid of humans. Unless hurt/old/injured or trapped, they run like crazy.
For my tax dollars, I would far rather the man who shot this cougar be “relocated!”
Joan Winsor, Winthrop
Kudos for the Plastic-Free February offered by Methow Recycles. It’s a great opportunity to look at how much plastic and synthetic materials are in our daily lives. Not only do these items need to be disposed of or recycled more frequently, but they break down in our environment and are contributing to toxicity in our oceans and earth. If that isn’t enough motivation for some of you busier folks, I’d like to add another reason to look at your plastic use. Your health.
Plastics are made from a variety of chemicals including pthalates and BPA. These chemicals are known to cause weight gain, infertility, thyroid disorders, early puberty and breast cancer among other health consequences. The plastics we wrap, heat or bottle our food in easily transfer these chemicals into our bodies when we consume the food they carried, especially if they were heated or frozen. Consider glass, cloth or ceramic containers for storage and never heat food in plastic, plastic-coated or styrofoam containers. Look for glass or metal water bottles. Another daily exposure is receipts which are coated in BPA. Choose e-receipts or wash your hands especially after shopping and before you eat. Hope all of you cashiers are reading this!
Essentially all of us have pthalates and BPA in measurable amounts in our blood. The good news is that you can make an impact in the amount. One study showed people that stopped eating all canned food (BPA lining) and food stored in plastics showed a 60% reduction in the BPA measured in their body after only three days. Finally, the most susceptible of us are the youngest. Please look for “Made Safe” labels on baby bottles and toys or replace them with natural materials. I appreciate the efforts I see in the valley to reduce and reuse. The Mazama Store has been a leader in creating a more responsible consumer with their culture of encouraging us to bring our own bags, cups, even utensils. We are what we eat and what we eat from.
Beth DiDomenico, ND, Winthrop
What about benefits?
Well, I may be way out of line, but I’ve got to get this off my chest: As with too many employers across the nation, a number of Methow Valley employers do not pay their employees benefits. It appears to me that many successful businesses limit their employees to working less than full time. They hire multiple folks to fill each job specifically so that they don’t have to pay benefits to any of them!
As I said, these are successful businesses, and the owners may claim that they are successful because they don’t have to pay those benefits. I am of the opinion that this is nonsense — they seem to be more about profits. I have known of other employers who struggle, but keep full-time staff despite the cost because it is the right thing to do! It seems to me that there are significant benefits as well as costs to having full time employees, not the least of which are the greater loyalty and longevity of their employees.
Sure, limiting hours means that more people have jobs, but at what costs? These underemployed employees may understandably defer medical and dental care for themselves and their families, leading to greatly increased costs when, inevitably, medical care is needed. These medical costs get picked up by the general population — that includes you and me, folks! Lower incomes can often lead to poor diets (leading to more medical costs?), housing problems and marital issues, among others. There are reasons that about 50% of the students in our Methow Valley schools qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Also lost are retirement plans and other benefits I’m not up on anymore — I’ve been happily retired for 20 years now largely because my employer did offer benefits.
I don’t have answers to this, but I’ve been bothered by the issue for quite a few years. It seems to me that these successful businesses are being/have been built on the sacrifices of their most vulnerable workers. Surely we as a community and as a nation can treat employees better than this.
William Karro, Winthrop