Letters for March 15, 2023
March 15, 2023 Updated Wed., March 15, 2023 at 8:11 a.m.
Vote ‘no’ on SB 5662
The Washington House recently passed HB 1589, which would, on an ongoing basis, empower the state Utilities and Transportation Commission to allow investor-owned utilities majority equity ownership on new clean energy projects. Allowing the UTC to rubber-stamp majority ownership of projects would reduce competition with private clean-energy developers. As President Biden puts it, “Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism.” So true.
Further, this law bans new natural gas connections for residential customers, statewide. This completely forecloses on opportunities for private enterprise to innovate, develop and distribute alternative fuels through the existing natural gas pipes. Eventually, as the fixed infrastructure costs are supported by fewer ratepayers, gas service costs will balloon for remaining customers.
Today, alternative fuels such as renewable natural gas can be sent through the existing gas system. RNG is produced from food waste, human waste or agricultural manure and is chemically identical to regular natural gas. RNG requires no changes to customers’ gas appliances. With some modifications, in the future hydrogen fuels could be delivered through the existing systems. Hydrogen combustion has no emissions, just water vapor.
The transition to clean energy will have real costs, so leveraging existing infrastructure wherever possible is wise. Reducing carbon emissions while repurposing pipes can coexist. Unfortunately, the Legislature is blindly following California down the “electrify everything, everywhere, all at once” pathway. I hope Sen. Andy Billig will be pragmatic, especially since Reps. Mike Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli weren’t given their “yes” votes for HB 1589 in the House.
Don’t let Spokane be like those other cities
Lisa Brown as mayor? A white liberal claiming she’ll cure crime and homeless issues? She would follow all the previous white liberal Democratic mayors in the nation and destroy the city, and while looking at the ruins, claim it was white supremacy that did it.
First thing on her agenda if elected likely would be the hiring of an incompetent activist police chief, then the white police officers will flee for law enforcement jobs elsewhere due to safety issues. The second agenda item would be to stop enforcing petty offenses, then all downtown streets would have homeless tents littering the sidewalks.
Don’t do it, Spokane citizens. Stop Lisa Brown from sending us into Portlandville.
A reminder to be kinder
It would make for a better world, were we to at least try to be a little kinder to each other. (Unless, of course, we decide that all is well on this planet just the way it is right now.)
Danny Ebbinghassen x
SNAP and Medicaid
I was happy to hear that SNAP is being reduced and that people who are on Medicaid must reapply this next year. I know that there are those (the elderly and very young) who need the above-mentioned help, but there are those that have their hands out for any and all free stuff. There are job postings all over Spokane. I would suggest that instead of having your hand out all the time, go find a job.
Wealth tax can improve our health
As a primary care provider, I see everyday people who pay more than their fair share of taxes and strain to pay for basic necessities. Some of my patients struggle to afford healthy food or health care due to the burden of housing costs, while other patients that cannot afford to move to higher quality housing continuously struggle with chronic health conditions caused by their living environment.
In Washington, the poorest families pay six times more of their incomes in taxes compared to the richest. This cannot and should not continue. The wealth tax bill takes a big swing at this unfair tax system, uniquely positioning it to improve quality of life in Washington and here in the Inland Northwest.
The bill (HB 1473/SB 5486) is focused on extreme wealth. The 1% tax is on financial property over $250 million such as stocks and bonds. The tax would only apply to a few hundred Washingtonians, yet the impact for everyday people would be enormous, providing billions of dollars of revenue for the four dedicated fund areas: education funding, affordable housing funding, the disability care trust and tax credits for working families.
There is no reason working people should continue to subsidize the rich under our unequal tax system. Rather, we should all support the wealth tax because when corporations and the super wealthy pay what they owe, our communities will be healthier for everyone.
Socialized medicine works for many
On March 9, Annette Mason shared her thoughts about socialized medicine (“Equal sharing of misery”). Like many letters, context is everything.
If you have had good experience with medical treatment in Canada or Costa Rica, among many others, you approve of socialized care. If you had a bad experience, you do not approve of socialized medicine. Mason does not say how old she is, but if she is on Medicare or Medicaid, she is already on socialized medicine, which works fine for me since I am on Medicare plus a supplement for drugs. Otherwise, for drugs the U.S. has the most miserable of all systems in the world. While the government does not control much of the medical system, the insurance companies certainly do. We have never won an argument with an insurance company.
As for “astronomical taxes” to pay for socialized medicine, I just filled out my 2022 taxes and I have $16,371 in medical expenses (not including long-term care insurance). I doubt if taxes would be much higher or lower than that. At the same time, it takes my wife or me over two months to see a family doctor, never mind trying to see a specialist. Why would someone come down from Canada to see a doctor in the U.S. with such wait times?
I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the international border.
Kennel Club lacks accommodations
As March Madness begins, we relish in the nostalgia of Gonzaga’s Cinderella run to the Elite Eight. Backing the Zags at every home game are the students that make up the Gonzaga Kennel Club, the largest student-run club at Gonzaga University.
For the biggest games, students pitch tents on Herak Quad, joining together as a community to brave the cold and wait for the Kennel to open. But in order to be a part of this experience, one must run. On the Wednesday before big games, a tweet discloses a tent number distribution location and students must race to that location.
As a member of the Kennel Club for the duration of my time at Gonzaga, I’ve twice contacted the club to inquire about accommodations for physically disabled students who are unable to run. On both occasions, Kennel Club presidents informed me that the club does not provide accommodations for disabled students and that “students can recruit friends who are not in their group of six students to run for them if a group member has class or work … or someone in the group has a disability or injury.” The equation of someone who’s unable to participate due to obligation and someone impeded by disability is discriminatory and unacceptable. I think about the kid who stood in front of the television, wearing Adam Morrison’s jersey with a fake mustache taped to her upper lip, and I imagine how disappointed she would be.
Benson cartoon needs balance
Lisa Benson’s cartoon in The Spokesman-Review opinion section on March 11 shows President Biden unable to inflate his metal balloon while in the tax and spend basket. The implication is that he would raise the money through taxes to spend on government programs. The opposition is missing. Would it include the same picture with the message to put the charges on the credit card and refuse to pay the bill?
Find better ads for Zags
I’m on the fence regarding college athletes cashing in on their name, images and likenesses (NIL), but wearing a school jersey for a casino or HVAC TV ad?
Dudes, you look ridiculous standing there.