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Letters for Jan. 30, 2024

A different take on the energy crisis

It’s laughable to read letters claiming Washington state’s liberal energy policies would make energy shortages worse in times of extreme weather.

A perfect example is the very un-liberal energy policy in “conservative” Texas that shut down the entire power grid and left their customers in a deep freeze just a year or two ago. You can’t blame liberals for problems in a state totally run by “conservatives.”

Their mantra of “drill baby, drill” and total deregulation only serves to make rich power companies and their owners richer. It does not serve their customers in any way.

More renewable and sustainable energy from a variety of sources (liberal policy) is by far the more intelligent approach. Without strong regulation, power companies like Avista are free to increase the bill and ignore any need to prepare for the next freeze or heat wave. They only use it to pay bigger salaries and bonuses to their CEOs and shareholders.

Republicans only know how to break things. Then they walk away, and liberals fix it.

And we always do.

Tom Topping

Millwood

A compromise for our time change problems

There was a Review article (“Washington could move to Pacific Standard Time year-round if bill passes,” Jan. 17) about a Valley legislator, Mike Padden, pushing a bill to keep us on year-round Standard Time. People do realize, that as the Review stated, by June, it would be daylight shortly after 3 a.m., and sunset would be before 8pm. What do we need daylight in the middle of the night for? That was the purpose for daylight saving time. We would still have winter sunsets before 4 p.m. also on standard time. And if on year-round standard time, it would be dark by 6 p.m. for close to seven months.

Year-round daylight saving time has one downfall … the winter sunrise would be around 8:30 a.m., but sunset would be at 5 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. A compromise put out a couple years ago was 30 minutes instead of 60. If on standard time, spring forward 30 minutes and stay there. And if on daylight saving time, fall back 30 minutes and stay there. Imagine that compromise. I’ve sent this to Patty Murray, but never heard back.

Congress is too busy fighting among themselves to do anything for us.

Richard Trerise

Spokane

Keep the capital gains tax

Our state taxation system is not well understood by many Washingtonians. We all know that our governments (local, state, federal) provide services that require money. Thus taxes. The key fairness question in taxation is whether they are “progressive” or “flat.” Flat tax systems take a certain percentage of something (income, expenditures) from everyone. The more you make (or spend), the more taxes you pay. But the percentage stays the same. Progressive taxation uses (typically) brackets to determine what percent a person will pay for taxes – the higher the bracket, the higher the percentage deducted for taxes.

Because Washington relies on sales taxes for its state revenue (expenditures rather than income), the reality is that “the lowest-income 20 percent pay three times as much of their income in taxes as the wealthiest 1%” (itep.org). Sales tax, because everyone has to buy stuff, is not progressive. Washington is currently the second most regressively taxing state in the country.

We will have a referendum on the Washington state capital gains tax this fall. This tax affects individuals who make more than $262,000 in capital gains in a year (gains from real estate and small businesses are exempt) at 7% tax. This is a tiny step toward progressive taxation in Washington that provided about $850 million for schools last year. When you have the opportunity to this fall, please vote to keep the capital gains tax.

Oh, and the typical progressive taxation method? Income tax.

Jeffrey Ellingson

Liberty Lake

Ensure our community continues to thrive

I write today to express my support of the local school levies that face voters on the upcoming ballots across our community.

As the 2021 school levy closes, it is imperative that we continue to support the day-to-day operations that keep our schools and community healthy and strong. While the details of each levy vary from district to district, they fund basic educational needs that are not covered by state or federal funding. Voting “yes for schools” will ensure our schools continue to offer music, art, sports, advanced placement classes and the technology to support them. It will also ensure that students with special needs have the staff and resources they need to access learning in our schools.

My company, Lilac Learning Center, works frequently with students that have intensive special education needs. Our team provides consultation, training and direct support in classrooms throughout local school districts. We are in a unique position to see the impact that lack of funding has on students and educators in our community. Unfortunately, our schools already face significant challenges in supporting this population of students. Failure to pass our local levies will worsen these challenges. Voting “yes for schools” will ensure our districts continue to serve all students well.

As a local community member, business owner and educator, I strongly encourage each voter to support the levy in their local school district. Healthy, robust and meaningful opportunities in education are critical to ensure our community continues to thrive.

Sheena Thompson

Spokane

Vote ‘yes’ for bond and levy

We would like to urge you to vote yes for the Deer Park School bond and levy. As someone who grew up here, I have seen tremendous growth in Deer Park, with much more on the way. We are three generations of Deer Park graduates with a fourth soon to start school, and we would love to see our schools as a safe and welcoming place to learn for them.

I worked as a paraeducator at Arcadia Elementary for over 24 years, and I can attest to the fact that our schools are very overcrowded with double the previous number of classrooms at some grade levels.

Our transportation department is housed in buildings that must be nearing 100 years old. They were part of the old Deer Park Pine Industries and do not meet the needs of the drivers with little space for the mechanics to work on the buses.

This is a replacement bond – it will not be a new tax, and the levy is a renewal of the expiring levy. If these are passed, we will be able to access $23 million of supplemental state funding – but only if we pass the bond and levy.

Please join us in voting for the future of our kids, schools and city by voting yes in February.

Ed and Phyllis Zimmerer

Clayton

Pedestrians are just as careless as drivers

Just read the article regarding pedestrian/car accidents in Spokane (“ ‘People deserve to feel safe’ on foot,” Jan. 21).

The author geared the majority of the article toward cars, speed and drivers.

Very little of the article mentioned the disregard of pedestrians to cross the street at marked crosswalks, wearing bright clothing or crossing at stop light-controlled intersections on red lights.

I live 50 miles out of Spokane but drive on Spokane streets a couple times a month. Every time I drive downtown, I have seen people cross the street in the middle of the block, wearing dark clothing, and in this cold weather some have had a dark blanket thrown around them, making them very difficult to see. I have seen them cross intersections against red lights, and I have seen them talking on cell phones, not looking at traffic, and just walk into the intersection.

I have seen bicyclists cut across traffic, cross intersections at red lights and ride between cars waiting for red lights. But very little was said about these actions of pedestrians or bicyclists.

Yes, drivers do speed on the arterials especially Division. When the North-South Freeway is completed that traffic will be reduced considerably (not sure why it’s taken 50+ years to get a North-South Freeway in the second largest city in Washington State, but that’s another story).

If you are going to publish any article on the subject, please report all aspects of the situation. Your bias is showing.

Fred Phillips

Chewelah



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