Is Congress killing the Postal Service?
In the past year or so, I have read or heard stories regarding the financial status of the U.S. Postal Service. Today, I decided to do some research into the claims being made.
I am a frequent user of the USPS in Longmont and in rural Colorado and rely on them for important services. I believe in the necessity of the USPS. Although I hear occasional complaints about service at post offices, I suspect most of us value the ability to reliably and inexpensively receive mail in a few days almost anywhere in the country.
The focus of this letter is about the December 2006 lame duck Congress' enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enablement Act. Part of this act required the USPS to prefund all retirement benefits for present and former employees, something no other agency, public or private, is required to do. The law requires funding of $5.5 billion a year for 10 years. It's no wonder the USPS is having trouble making a profit. My research shows that without this government-mandated prefunding requirement, the USPS would actually have made a profit.
To me this appears as if some in Congress are trying to destroy the postal service. Heaven help us if they succeed and we try to use one of the other carriers to get a letter to someone in rural Colorado for a reasonable price.
Fix the tax code
The lack of logic in the positions in the letter "The envy tax" is typical of the sound-bite politics we are subjected to daily by both parties. I would urge the writer to do a little research on the difference between "envy" and "fairness." We can debate whether to even have a tax structure and if so, how, but it seems beyond any reasonable analysis to suggest that the bill to pay equal tax rates as a percentage of someone's total income is based on a principle of envy and not, in fact, fairness.
That said, the problem is that we have such a ridiculous tax code with tax breaks and legal tax avoidance loopholes advantages that are tilted toward those who either have the income to qualify for the break or can afford expense tax attorneys to take advantage of the code. So let's fix the code, because we are not going to eliminate taxes. Let's do it together for the good of the country. Let's get away from "sound bite" politics and nonsensical positions such as labeling fairness as envy.
The statement that this change in the law was intended to be the only solution to reducing the deficit with a quote of six words is a perfect example of my point above. It's time to wake up and smell the coffee -- we are all part of the problem and we all have to work together to find common ground.
Will of the people being ignored
As I understand it, the purpose of a public hearing is to allow local residents to voice concerns and express feelings about issues that directly affect the community and for the elected officials to hear those concerns and act upon the wishes of the people.
Apparently, that is not the case in Longmont. In spite of overwhelming opposition to the oil and gas lobby in regards to hydraulic fracturing, the Longmont City Council continues to put outside interests above those of the community. Corporations and investors outside of Longmont are dictating to the City Council, and the residents of Longmont are being ignored.
Regardless of one's opinion about "fracking," the flagrant disregard of the will of the people is at issue here. Democracy is being hijacked by outside interests. Willful disregard of the will of the people is a crime against democracy without even considering the moral issue. I call on each member of the Longmont City Council to explain why they consistently go against the will of the residents as expressed in so-called public hearings. I demand an explanation. I doubt I will get one.
No it isn't
For the writer who asserts the will of the people is being ignored (see letter above) and demands an explanation, I can help him out.
Longmont has a representative government, with a single body of elected representatives called the City Council that oversees local governance and makes local laws. The will of the people is expressed by legally registered voters in periodic elections.
At most council meetings the City Council allows a time period when people can make their statements at a microphone. These statements have no legal weight and do not compel the council to do anything, nor prevent it from doing something. The writer asserts that this tiny (in relation to legally registered voters), self-selected group of pleaders and proselytizers that agree with his views represents "the will of the people."
Nonsense. I can make an equally invalid (or valid) assertion that since a vast majority of registered voters did not show up to express their opposition, they must then support what council has done and is doing.
I doubt this will ease his anguish, though.
Wyllys S. Newcomb
Frozen cow questions
Why is the U.S. Forest Service (taxpayers) on the hook for the cleanup of the frozen cows near Aspen?
Where is the rancher and why isn't he "working quickly"? Why is the rancher not merely presented with a fine schedule for every day the carcasses remain on public land or as a threat to health? Why isn't the USFS merely invoicing the rancher for the cost of removal? Does the price of a ranching permit correctly budget for carcass removal costs or should it be increased? What portion of the rancher's profits from operations will be allocated to the taxpayers since they are apparently sharing in an expense item in the rancher's operation?
Why are we continually removing the negative feedback from poor decision making? Will this lead to better decisions? Why aren't the media asking and getting answers to questions like these?
Special Dawson event
I am a special education teacher at Niwot High School. On Thursday, my class went to the Special Olympics event that Alexander Dawson School hosted. It was absolutely amazing! The school has been hosting this event every year for the past 14 years. We have attended for the past six years, and it gets better every year. The students from Dawson host the event and assist the athletes throughout the day. They also provide lunch.
I want to commend Alexander Dawson and Special Olympics Colorado for providing this wonderful opportunity for our students with special needs. My students had a wonderful time. We can't wait for next year!
Niwot High School
Back to square one
The article about Carter Lake water pipeline project leaves this reader somewhat confused.
The Boulder County commissioners have spent $500,000 on the planning of this project and yet cannot make a decision on doing it or rejecting it but now want their staff to come up with a list conditions under which the pipeline could be built.
Did I miss something here? Why would you ask somebody to give you a list of recommended conditions to do something they do not agree with?
The staff could come up with some conditions so outrageous that the pipeline could not be built or the cost would be so great that nobody would agree to pay the cost.
This would let the commissioners vote yes and not be blamed on wasting the monies spent on the planning, and the staff gets its way and not have the pipeline built.
The only people who get stuck with the bill are the taxpaying residents who will be given the bill for the planning of a pipeline the commissioners do not want to build.
We have all gone around the mulberry bush and we are now back to square one.
The Longmont Weekly welcomes readers' letters and guest opinions. All submissions may be subject to editing. Letters should be 300 words or less. Name, full address and day phone are required. Electronic submissions only to firstname.lastname@example.org.