Distracted driving is a leading killer
Cellphone distracted driving kills 10 times more people in the U.S. than mass shootings (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), but you won't find politicians enraged by this because it doesn't do much for them in the polls. If they really want to protect people, why not use their exposure to lobby for increased fines for distracted driving? If you're caught texting and driving your wrist is slapped. Why isn't Joe Biden meeting with the CEO of Motorola? Imagine the outrage if the mass shooting rate increased by 10 times (to match the body count of cellphone distracted driving). If the goal is to protect the innocent, it seems reasonable to address the issues that kill the highest number of innocent people. In the U.S. about 100 people die every year in mass shootings. About 1,000 people die every year from cellphone distracted driving. If you're concerned about protecting innocent people, this should be your cause. But on the other hand, if protecting the innocent is not really your primary motivation (maybe you just hate guns or just like to argue), then stick to mass shootings and push to ban assault rifles, it's a great attention getter.
SCOTT SERRANO, Pocatello
Idaho must lead
Mr. Zimowsky, I'm surprised that a self-proclaimed outdoorsman would make such rash judgment about Idaho's legislators' need to smell wild roses. There will be no wild roses, scenic forests or clean rivers and streams unless Idaho takes charge of her natural responsibility and cares for her forests and range lands. The federal government's preservation policies for territories within Idaho are killing our once majestic environment.
Wild and forest fires consumed about 1.5 million acres last summer, destroying forests, habitats and millions of game and nongame animals. The fires resulted from years of failed federal land management policies that are further crippling Idaho's ability to care for our children's educational needs and leaving them a future where fishing, hunting and recreation opportunities are shrinking. Idaho's 1.5 million-acre forest (as much acreage burnt in Idaho on federal land) provided $31 million to our schools last year while the federal forests within Idaho of 17.3 million acres provided only charcoal.
Maybe you, Pete, should get out in the forest more and see for yourself the beetle kill (next year's fire fodder), the habitat destruction and this spring's runoff sure to take Idaho's soil down the river of no return.
DARR MOON, Stanley
Rep. Ken Ivory of Utah is leading Idaho into the darkness of the unknown. Last year, Ivory sponsored a Utah state bill that was signed into law that attempts to seize 3 million acres of public land from the federal government. So how much will his scheme cost the beehive state? Ivory has no idea. Last month, he told an Idaho legislative committee that he's just getting around to studying its financial effects.
Enter Ivory disciple and Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik. He has no idea what a similar scheme would cost the state of Idaho, but he's for it anyway. In December, during an Idaho County commissioner meeting, he advocated waiting a couple of years to study the issue. Yet one month later, he was at Mr. Ivory's side, eliciting grotesquely inflated statistics about the damage of last summer's wildfires without citing a source. Then he used those numbers as "Exhibit A" for a full-scale land transfer.
Mr. Ivory and Mr. Chmelik are luring Idaho into the unknown. They have no idea what the consequences will be, but they're for it anyway.
We must hope Idaho lawmakers reject their nostrum.
DEREK FARR, Grangeville
Nothing slow about his spending
Regarding the recent letter from Scott Worthen about the worthiness of our Idaho congressman from the First District, there are some issues all voters in the First District should be aware of that Scott Worthen missed in his letter.
Congressman Labrador has put his wife on the government payroll for handling the necessary reports about contributions from all those eager "K Street" people crawling all over the Capitol building to persuade Congress types to do their bidding. Salary, not bad for a beginner, only 20 grand per year. Along with his congressional salary, that's a mere 194 grand per year for the household. After all, it does cost something to fly back and forth to his "job."
He recently had to replace his office and Washington staff manager. He was only paying him 100 grand per year. High maybe, especially for a lawyer new to Congress, one wonders how much his district people are paid.
Needless to say, the cost of government has been added to by this champion of the Tea Party. Of course, we all are aware of the founders of the Tea Party, the Koch brothers, of Koch Industries, and their boundless support of Karl Rove's PAC.
GARRY OWEN AULT, Boise
Labrador, Simpson cast the right votes
Please thank Reps. Labrador and Simpson for voting yes on HR 325.
This debt ceiling bill included the "no budget, no pay" clause that suspends our leaders' pay should they fail to do their job. (I know I have never been paid for a job that I failed to do.) Members of Congress have often voted to increase their salaries and benefits but have never acted to have their pay suspended when they don't do their job. I personally believe that these two men have shown they have Idaho and America's well-being ahead of their own by voting yes on HR 325.
Shame on you Sens. Risch and Crapo. You showed your hand and have put your best interests above Idahoans' and Americans' in general. You voted no on HR 325.
People of Idaho, let your representatives know you appreciate their votes and let your senators know how disappointed you are in their votes.
Let's not remain silent anymore when it comes to the decisions that affect us in Idaho and in the USA.
KIM HANSEN, Payette
A laughing matter
I found it ironic to the point of laughter when some of our hard-riding, pro-gun legislators got weak knees and "troubled" by a law-abiding believer in the Second Amendment strolling about the Capitol with pistol in hand. Can't you just hear the pain in Rep. Holtzclaw's plaintive voice when he said "... it's just wrong?"
BOB FRITSCH, Boise