I must admit to being over 80. WWII was the focus of my grade school days. With politically active parents making me aware, the Cold War, Nuremberg, Joe McCarthy and football made headlines in high school. We survived Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Dr. King and the Kennedys, with hope of future peace and good will. I am heartbroken for the U.S.A. in 2015. There is a mean dialogue in the air.
We worked hard and paid a price to clean up our environment and passed laws to keep it clean for you. We built your schools and freeways and now that they are wearing out, you won’t pay the price to repair or build new. This political generation lacks pride in U.S.A. It’s all about freedom and taking someone else’s rights to clean air and water. Global warming is too hard so skip it.
We used to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, which implied to each other united we stand or divided we fall. We did not mix religion and politics until they added God to our pledge and started electing bible scholars to govern. The odd thing about that is we became less caring for our poor, sick, disabled, elderly and each other.
What about Jesus? He told us to care for one another. Cut them off welfare and food stamps, they shout! The abortion issue will not be resolved because it is too handy as a divider. So here we are, falling under the thoughtless babble of left and right. We used to guard against “propaganda” and “double speak.” Now it is our daily news.
A previous letter last week criticized the U.S. Postal Service for “poor performance by our local post office … repeatedly experienced for months.” Unfortunately, this situation is not local but is systemic throughout our country, as other citizens will attest. To understand why this happened, we need to look at the facts, or as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here’s the rest of the story.”
The employer of the U.S. Postal Service is the federal government controlled by Congress, (the House and Senate). For the past several years, Congress has repeatedly reduced the number of postal employees, cut their hours, pay, benefits and pension while demanding the same type of good performance we used to have. Postmasters are faced with an impossible task, which only Congress can fix. Some want the postal service run by a private business, but guess what would happen to postal rates?
Most postal employees are hard working and doing their best to get the job done the best way they can with less help and fewer hours. So let’s give our postal employees a break if things are not always done as they used to be. Instead, put pressure on Congress to fix it.
As the previous letter writer said, “Maybe we’ll finally catch a break and get back to the reliable delivery we experienced in the last century.”
We gamble with liability by delaying a new jail.
The existing jail must be replaced, as it is no longer safe for employees and inmates (the jail is about 31 years old. The Seattle Kingdome closed after only 22 years of use).
The county has a statutory responsibility to operate a jail. The current jail was built in 1984 with 148 beds. It now operates at twice the design capacity. As with anything that’s overused, it wears out quickly. The jail’s structural integrity is questionable; parts are difficult to obtain for critical operating systems; inmates break off pieces of the building; the spread of disease cannot be contained and water and raw sewage leak below into the sheriff’s office.
The existing jail cannot meet the current and future demands of the combined volume of municipal and county inmates. Population levels in the jail are impacted by a variety of factors: legislative mandates, mandatory arrests, changes to sentencing laws, community population increase, proximity to a foreign border and use by state and federal law enforcement.
The county council must approve and submit the sales tax ballot proposition to county voters. To delay such an action is placing county employees and inmates in a health and safety risk, which ultimately equates to financial liability for Whatcom County.
I was disappointed to see that the Republicans had chosen to run Kathy Kershner for county council again. Kathy first got involved in local politics in the fervor of the Tea Party. She ran for county council with a big pink heart on her signs and she won by a very narrow margin.
In the first few months she showed her true colors when she voted to cut funding for food banks and for domestic violence services. She stood in the way of clean energy projects. She accepted funding from the coal project developers. She voted to appoint the commission that didn’t seem to understand why slaughterhouses should be regulated. And the voters let her know what they thought and replaced her at the first opportunity.
I’ll be waiting to hear whether she can show evidence of a change in her approach or ideas.