Legislators do bidding of donors, businesses
Boy, do I feel a part of the dumb majority of Idaho. A few years back I watched as the sales tax was raised to provide property tax relief, and now the same parties who pushed this are about to give big business a huge tax break on personal property taxes and fund this tax break by allowing local agencies to raise property taxes. Last year corporations and those in the top income tax brackets got a tax reduction. The same legislators who cut the taxes on those who do not need their taxes cut bemoan the lack of funds for education, infrastructure and the basic duties of a state government. What a pitiful joke. On us, the middle class.
We elect these people to look after our interests. They look after the interest of big business and big campaign contributors. We elect these people. How dumb are we? Wait. Don't answer. An honest answer to that question would make us all ashamed of our abilities as thinkers.
TOM GRIFFIN, Boise
Religious people encounter intolerance
It is sad and alarming that some legislators, bureaucrats and state employees wish to lock people of faith into a religious ghetto. Their posture toward people of faith is, "You aren't welcome to participate in our civic life. You aren't allowed in the public square. Your beliefs are not acceptable."
There are many examples of this attitude that could be cited; one of the most notable is Boise State University's policy of banning student religious groups that (gasp!) actually require their leaders to assent to their faith. It is remarkable that this simple standard would be deemed extremist or exclusionary. Yet that is exactly what has happened.
Last week some Idaho lawmakers even compared Christian students at BSU to the Taliban. So I ask you, who is bigoted and intolerant - students who want the freedom to practice their faith on campus, or those who would deprive them of that essential liberty?
DARYL R. WILSON, Boise
Trying to censor TV smacks of hypocrisy
I recently saw that Idaho lawmakers voted in favor of urging the FCC to curb "indecent" TV programs - particularly ones that portray premarital sex. So, the party who finds it so unbelievable to have a few logical gun restrictions initiated at a federal level runs to a federal agency to implement censorship and hinder First Amendment rights? It's hypocritical to condemn the federal government stepping into what you consider to be a state issue but then run to a federal agency when it's convenient. If you don't like the program on TV, here's a solution: Don't watch it. And if you don't want your kids to watch it, use parental controls.
MEGAN SCHALER, Boise
U.S. Postal Service
I have a suggestion for Helen Fisher, who blames the post office problems on waste. Look up the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This was passed by disgruntled, outgoing Republican congressmen to force the post office to heavily over-fund their future employee benefits. This put free money in the government's hands, and greatly benefited their Wall Street buddies. Their ultimate goal is to bankrupt the post office so they can hand it over to their rich cronies in the private sector.
These people will "Bain" the newly private and unfettered business by forcing poverty wages with no rights or benefits on postal employees. They will also vulturize mail services by discontinuing losing sectors like rural mail delivery and raising rates on profitable Priority and Express Mail services. You think a $50 million investment in our country's athletic teams is absurd? Wait until you see CEO and executive salaries climb by 1,000 percent or more. New shareholders will expect their piece of the pie as well. The courteous and efficient postal employees at my Garden City and your Eagle post office work very hard. Post office deficits could be eliminated by simply overturning the 2006 overfunding act.
CAROL BENZ, Boise
Poorly done reforms are not what teachers need
How ludicrous that anyone truly believes higher socio-economic (high test score) schools have a monopoly on quality teachers! Some of our most dedicated, gifted teachers are struggling against the odds at "low-performing" schools. Sadly, they may not remain where they are sorely needed if we continue to deride and punish rather than reward them for their heroic efforts.
How many legislative bills and poorly crafted merit pay proposals will we see before we acknowledge that in spite of a teacher's best and most innovative efforts, some children will struggle to meet their grade level proficiency on the state's timetable?
We must provide adequate funding and support for all teachers and all schools, not just those whose students are from a particular demographic. Education reform is a complex issue; with the future of all children at stake, we must act wisely.
BECCI CARMACK, Meridian
New pope might mean new day of respect, care
I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of the animals. Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of Oct. 4.
On one of his nature walks, Francis reportedly preached to the birds and is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local townsfolk, whereby the wolf would quit preying on the town's sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded local dogs to stop harassing the wolf. He freed a rabbit from a trap, returned caught fish to their stream, and fed half-frozen bees in wintertime.
I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of good will to show animals the respect and compassion they so richly deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their abuse and slaughter for food at the checkout counter. Joining the Meatless Mondays trend may be a good start.
IKE SCHNEIDER, Boise
Drug traffickers leave horses to die in desert
I recently found out about yet another sad group of victims of our sordid drug trade with Mexico - horses! It's not widely known, but the Border Patrol reports picking up approximately 75 unfortunate drug horses in the Arizona desert each year. Some are found wandering about with hundreds of pounds of drugs still strapped to their backs, evidently abandoned when their slavemasters got scared and ran away and left them.
Others are found with clear evidence of being used by drug gangs then discarded after illness and injuries make them not worth taking back to carry the next shipment over the border. A very lucky few are sent to sanctuary. Most of the rest, however, are either euthanized or sent to the final misery of a Mexican slaughterhouse.
We don't know how many drug horses the BP doesn't find because they've already died protracted deaths from hunger, thirst, heatstroke, disease, or injuries dealt to them by the gangs they served.
Please think about this the next time someone argues for "open borders" or says that drugs are a "victimless" crime.
JENNIFER CHRISTIANO, Boise
Hospitals seem fine
Recently I have read articles about the huge salaries paid CEOs of our "nonprofit" hospitals and the overcharging of meds and supplies charged hospital patients. Every year they are building a new clinic or hospital. Giving free aid to illegals and having the paying patients make up for this loss. Every day I get lots of mail from organizations asking for money. Yesterday I was shocked to get a letter from a hospital asking for a donation. I don't get it.
ROBERT LEE, Boise
Begin in home state to regenerate planet
A reality to reflect upon: Imagine we reside on this phenomenal Earth. A small, spinning orb in a universe of universes. The incredible blessing that our exquisite planet keeps us sustained is a wonder beyond words. One that ought to make us all grateful stewards - absolutely taking care of "Home Sweet Home."
INL at Arco is home to many metric tons of radioactive waste. It's only 150 miles from the Yellowstone supervolcano, whose molten caldera stretches underneath INL all the way to Oregon. This sleeping volcano is 40,000 years overdue to spew. May it only erupt a little at a time - if it must at all. Even a minor earthquake can cause INL's deadly waste to leak - creating a dying hell of every living thing on Earth.
The LINE Commission wants Idahoans to say "yes" to adding 6,000-7,000 more metric tons to the site. Idahoans voted "no" to more in 1995. The right action, rooted in the wisdom gained from hindsight, is for us to keep saying "no more," while demanding the powers-that-be remove all toxic waste from the biosphere into deep geological repository.
Imagine regenerating our now-polluted Earth - into one that will sustain us for generations to come.
ERIC BRANDT, Boise
Passengers could use help at curbside
I took my 86-year-old aunt to the Boise Airport on March 18. My aunt has macular degeneration and can only see shadows. We drove up to the curb and no one was there to help with a wheelchair for her. I got out to assist her and get her checked in and get a wheelchair to take her to her gate. I came back out and had a piece of paper on my windshield that said I had left the car unattended and it would be a $100 fine. I called and spoke to a lady in your city office that told me I could fight the ticket but that the judge would probably impose the fine plus a $64 court fee that would be charged for taking judge's time. I just would like to know where do disabilities come into play? I feel that the airport should have employees that you can request for help at curbside. The city of Boise is making a mint on the public parking or on fines. I live in Twin Falls and we can park almost at the front door of the airport. Very unfair.
JILL BOYD, Twin Falls