Why are assault weapons retail items?
To the Editor:
Is it possible to keep assault weapons away from would-be killers? Is it possible to keep would-be killers away from assault weapons? Why have assault weapons been made retail items anyway?
Why does the National Rifle Association refuse/fail to print the entire Second Amendment in its literature? The Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
Why would someone who wants to ban/control assault weapons vote for a candidate who says he/she supports gun rights? Why are we not asking candidates if they support a well regulated Militia? Why ignore that part of the amendment?
Please give all victims of violence by assault weapons your considered answer. Imagine yourself in their place today.
The Eagles sang, “Things in this life change very slowly if they ever change at all.”
Unbelievably, these needless deaths are the rapid changes we see. Victims are gone in the blink of an eye. Yet, some retain their “right to keep and bear arms.” Surely this is not what the constitutional framers had in mind.
Have you considered voting for candidates who will vote to ban/control assault weapons?
Dave Waldrop, Webster
Ethics should apply to highest court in the land, too
To the Editor:
The Supreme Court has run amok, and it’s time to get it under control.
For the last year, we have witnessed scandal after scandal come out of the Supreme Court. And in the last month alone we’ve seen multiple breaking news stories about Clarence Thomas’s shady behavior. First, it was secretly accepting luxury vacations and lavish gifts worth millions for 20 years. Then, it was having his mother’s home bought and renovated. Now, it’s come to light that his grand-nephew’s private school tuition was taken care of for years. All by Republican megadonor Harlan Crow. And not a single one was disclosed to the public.
Thankfully, this bad behavior can be addressed. Congress has the ability – and responsibility – to act as a check on the Supreme Court and restore faith in our judicial system. It’s time they take the first step and pass a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.
No one is above accountability, and that includes our justices on the Supreme Court.
Patricia Purdy, Sylva
Concerned about optics of tax proposal
To the Editor:
We should all be taking notice of how our taxes are being spent. The town board of Sylva was presented with the 2023-24 budget at last week’s meeting. There is an increase of $119,614 over ’22-23.
The largest single item in that increase is the promotion of a part-time employee to that of full time. Bernadette Peters, the owner of City Lights Cafe, was chosen in 2021 to be the “Main Street Coordinator.” Per her contract, she has been paid $25,000 per year to develop and promote the business of downtown main street for a 20-hour work week.
The Sylva town board members propose to elevate Ms. Peters to a full-time position with the title of Economic Development director, with a salary of $50,000 per year. As a full-time employee, she would now be eligible for the following yearly benefits with costs to the town: 1: health insurance $13,828; 2: retirement benefits $6,445; 3: FICA $3825. 4. 401K $2,500. That now brings the total to $76,598 per year.
The current job description as published for this position is the Main Street Coordinator document with a short page and a half addition of notes that state that the new director should reach out to businesses not on Main Street.
My question is this: The Main Street coordinator’s and Economic Development coordinator’s job is to promote business. Why are the businesses not footing the bill through the Sylva Downtown Merchants Association or the Chamber of Commerce? The town board seems to have developed a habit of using taxes from the whole of Sylva to support business, and in some instances, certain businesses.
The establishment of a Social District costs the town of Sylva for the signage and placement and maintenance of such. Yet this district was established to benefit a small number of businesses downtown. It is my understanding that the establishment of that district was at the instigation of Ms. Peters, whose own business could possibly benefit from the establishment of that district.
I do not imply any wrongdoing or ulterior motives for this, but I am concerned about the optics. Of the five members on the town board, four out have either direct or indirect business interests in the downtown. Ms. Newman owns and operates a business on Main Street. Mr. McPherson owns property and has business there as well. Ms. Gelbaugh’s parents own property and a business on Main Street, and Mr. Waldroup runs a business on Mill Street. Indeed, the candidate for this position, Ms. Peters, still has a business downtown.
The Sylva town board has requested a one cent on the hundred dollar increase in property taxes to fund this position. This will be the second increase of taxes requested by the board in the past three years. I believe that any increase in the tax rate at this time should be by a referendum of the voters, rather than decided by the board.
Luther Jones, Sylva
Defaulting on our debts is not a game
To the Editor:
As guest columnist Susan Kask reminded us in last week’s Herald, congressional brinksmanship around the extension of the debt ceiling is a recipe for pure chaos.
A default on the U.S. debt would hurt working families, military families, children and seniors the worst, and would irreparably damage our prominent standing in the world. Even the current standoff is damaging, the threat of default sowing doubt about our reliability as a partner, thus damaging our national security.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards’ vote for the GOP debt ceiling bill in the U.S. House (unserious, as it has no chance of being passed in the Senate), reveals his inability to challenge the weak Speaker McCarthy and his MAGA faction in the House. Yet the implications of that bill (cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and 401(k)s) would be disastrous for the people of District 11, his constituents.
A default on the U.S. debt would trigger a recession and double unemployment just as we are beginning to sense a return to normal after the COVID years. What are they thinking? Is this political game worth playing just to one-up your adversaries, even at the expense of the people you are supposed to represent? Apparently Chuck Edwards thinks so.
Raising the debt ceiling has been a routine procedural vote in Congress for decades. It does not allocate funds to future spending, but authorizes the country to continue paying its bills. Refusing to raise the debt ceiling will take food off the tables of 400,000 Americans, slash K-12 education, eliminate 108,000 teachers’ jobs, impacting 32 million of our kids. Mr. Edwards, do not let this happen. Vote for a clean, no-strings-attached debt ceiling increase. Stop using your constituents future as a cudgel to win your political game.
Betsy Swift, Sylva