Letters to the editor: 11-08-2013

November 8, 2013 

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is coming, a time to pause and reflect on those who gave so much to defend our liberty. For once it’d be nice if as many Idahoans who show up to tailgate a BSU game lined up on the streets in our city to “support our troops” with more than empty phrases.

Want to support the troops and say thanks? Put on a heavy coat, load up the kids and cheer our heroes for all they’ve done. The parade starts at 9:30 a.m., Nov. 9. Will you be there?


Older drivers

In light of the second article in the Statesman referring to an 86-year-old man involved in an automobile accident upon leaving a funeral, I started thinking about some of the problems of an aging population. Especially those involving the operation of motor vehicles. It seems like there is an inordinate number of accidents, many of them serious, involving our senior citizens.

A person of advanced age should be made aware of any impairment that could affect driving ability caused by the medication they are ingesting. In addition, at a designated age, drivers should be required to be retested by the DMV. Testing should be not only with written exams, but extensive road testing to determine driving abilities in a multitude of traffic situations. Upon reaching the designated age, these tests should be done annually.

In addition, a blood test should be mandatory for all older drivers when involved in either an accident or receiving a citation for any traffic offense. This would help drivers know if there is any problem with their medications.


Timber sale

Payette National Forest supervisor Keith Lannom has completed a draft EIS for the largest timber sale on public land in the United States this year. He’s accepting comments from the public for 45 days until Dec. 12. The DEIS and maps are posted on the forest’s website.

Lannom’s preferred timber sale alternative will have 37 square miles of logging units. He also plans to build 30 miles of new logging road. This will all occur in the headwaters of the Weiser, Rapid and Little Salmon Rivers near New Meadows.

It might be worth a try to call Lannom and ask him to stop spending your tax dollars on this project. Nora Rasure, the regional forester in Ogden, Utah needs to hear that you don’t want timber sales this large placed in recreation areas in the Boise National Forest.

Concerned Idahoans might also provide written comments on the draft EIS by early December. This gives one standing to appeal, but be aware that the USFS rejects the vast majority of appeals filed against projects that are important to an agency like this one … regardless of the laws being violated.

DICK ARTLEY, Grangeville

Bicycle safety

I’ll probably be flamed for this opinion, but I don’t believe that a “few” bicyclists are the problem when it comes to the vehicle vs. bicycle accidents. This week while driving to work in the dark, I saw nine cyclists — four with front and rear lights, five with no lights, and all of them wearing dark clothes. None of these were kids on their way to school.

All of these were adults riding in the street and one was riding against the flow. I’m tired of dodging cyclists who refuse to take responsibility for their own lives. I suggest the BPD carry locks and chains and when they see a cyclist whose bike is not up to code, they lock up the bike and have it impounded. If the owner shows up at the impound yard, brings and installs front and back lights and pays the impound fee, then they can get their bike back. Alternatively, the cycling community that consistently blames distracted drivers for the accidents could cruise around early morning or at night and hand out front and rear lights to the unlit cyclists they find, assuming they don’t run into them in the dark.


With all the bicycle riders being hit lately, it amazes me how many people ride their bikes in the dark morning hours without adequate lighting. It should be mandatory for them to wear hi-vis vest's with reflective tape.


Gas prices

Brett DeLange’s responses to gas prices in Idaho are totally unacceptable and incredulous for someone heading up the Consumer Protection Division.

His comments are an insult to the public; he calls the people questioning gas prices “conspiracy theorists.” Idaho gas prices are 25 to 30 cents higher than the national average — it is a fact, not a conspiracy.

He also states high prices and gouging are not crimes. I beg to differ. A verbal or nonverbal collusion is still illegal; it truly is price fixing and it is his job to investigate it. Twenty-five to 30 cents over the national average is unacceptable!

He further insults the public with unbelievable excuses: that “we are in an isolated area of the country that doesn’t get too much access.” We have a major interstate through Boise.

His further statements of proximity to refineries are also not valid. We are surrounded by refineries, all very close: Washington has 6, Utah 5, Montana 4, Wyoming 5, and California has 17 refineries. Oregon has 0 refineries and its gas prices are considerably less.

This is blatant price fixing, and very lame excuses by political leaders who do not provide representation for the public.


ACA website

I just completed an application for "Obamacare" on one of the local insurer's websites after being frustrated by the insurance exchange website for days.

The debacle with the federal website is unbelievable. The administration is so tied to the idea that government does it better, it seems to avoid at all cost any suggestions or input from the private sector. If SelectHealth and PacificSource can both build functioning and friendly websites on time, why can't the feds? Another example of big government overreaching.



The problem with Obamacare is not the website. The problem is that it is socialized medicine, and socialism always fails. Besides, how idiotic is it to add another entitlement when we can't afford the ones we already have?


“Politicians, bureaucrats, and judges in all branches and at all levels of government are using the law to accomplish incrementally the very ends that our form of government was created to prevent,” wrote Gov. Butch Otter.

These are the governor’s words and his actions walk a different walk. Idahoans are overwhelmingly opposed to Obamacare. Public opposition and testimony in the Capitol last session easily ran three-to-one against, however corporate interest and their lobbying dollars won the day and Idahoans lost and now Otter is offended by the word cronyism.

The only people who are going to be climbing are our children and grandchildren to conquer this mountain of debt the federal government has handed them.

The governor acquiesced and gave us Ottercare. Idahoans do not need a mountain climber, we need a fighter. I choose to fight.

JIM CHMELIK, Idaho County Commissioner, Cottonwood

After learning that Blue Cross is cancelling our existing health insurance plan because it does not meet the requirements of the ACA, I went to their website to shop for a new plan.

They still offer the same high-deductible HSA plan but it costs over $100 per month more than I am paying and the out-of-pocket maximum has increased.

But the good news does not end there. Because of the ACA, I cannot buy the health insurance plan unless I also purchase a dental plan for my children under the age of 18 for an additional $50 per month. So instead of paying my dentist directly for the services he provides, I am forced to funnel my money through yet another insurance provider. The result is higher cost and more hassle for both me and my dentist. The only winner in this game is the company that I am now forced to buy a product from that I do not need or want.

Thank you again, President Obama. Will there be any more surprises?


Club For Growth

Most political observers give the Club For Growth credit for electing Bill Sali as Idaho’s first district congressman. They reportedly spent more than $1 million on this campaign.

Bryan Smith of Idaho Falls recently announced that he is running against Mike Simpson in next spring’s Republican primary.

The Club For Growth has indicated that it is supporting Mr. Smith’s campaign. This race between Mike Simpson and Bryan Smith raises several interesting questions.

How much money is the Club For Growth prepared to spend on Mr. Smith’s campaign? How much will the Club For Growth ads influence second district voters? Should a few rich men from out of state determine who represents Idaho in Congress?


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