Read her senses “clown show trickle-down” here, Andy Barber, Letter to Editor, Sylva Herald

To the Editor:

“Elect clowns, expect a circus.”

Many of us are familiar with this phrase, and are used to seeing it play out on the national stage with professional comedians like Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and their ilk grinding the wheels of democracy to a halt with their buffoonery. Unfortunately, two articles from last week’s Herald have shown that the fairy-tale Republican trickle-down theory does indeed exist, but not in the financial form they would have you believe.

I have always been impressed by the bipartisan support that our county leaders have given to the local schools, but newly seated commissioner Todd Bryson has shown that may not be the case going forward. After requesting that previously approved funds be released to the school system, Bryson brought up the nonsensical, easily disproved right-wing myth of litter boxes being approved and paid for by schools for the use of students.

Superintendent Dana Ayers handled this exchange with humor and class, but the fact that Bryson raised such a ridiculous claim leaves one of two possibilities. Either he truly believes this conspiracy theory and feels he is protecting his constituents from the dangers of kitty litter and the taxpayers from an extravagant expense, or he knows better and is intent on generating fake outrage and is a ready and willing participant in the culture wars that divide us more each day. Neither possibility serves the citizens of Jackson County.

Bryson and other newcomers also balked at the request of new downtown art; inquiring whether it will be “family-friendly” and implying that they are the ones to make that judgment. If they are truly interested in the integrity of downtown art, they should start with the Jim Crow abomination just steps away from the public library. It is far past time to remove the monument built by racists, to glorify racists, to celebrate their racism, after they started a war to fight for their right to be racist. And no, altering the plaque and language on the statue does not change these facts.

Andy Barber, Cullowhee

We need legislators, not saboteurs, Betsy Swift, Letter to Editor, Sylva Herald

We need legislators, not saboteurs

To the Editor:

The new Congress just kicked off, and already Republicans like Chuck Edwards in the House are betraying the voters. When they aren’t too busy fighting among themselves, the new MAGA leadership is pushing harmful policies like cutting Social Security and Medicare, giving tax breaks to the rich, gutting the office that oversees ethics requirements, and criminalizing women’s health care.

It’s also clear that Kevin McCarthy (and the right-wing extremists that he cut a deal with to become Speaker) will spend the next two years sabotaging President Biden rather than getting anything done. Americans deserve a Congress that works for us, not just for themselves and their wealthy cronies.

Betsy Swift, Sylva

Not enamored with new leadership, Letter to Editor, Sylva Herald, Betty Dishman

Not enamored with new leadership

To the Editor:

I hope those who voted for our new sheriff and county commissioners are happy. I see trouble ahead.

The new sheriff didn’t have the guts to personally fire employees that he no longer wanted in his new administration. He went about it by inviting those he wanted to stay to his swearing in ceremony. If you didn’t get an invitation, well you knew your fate. And it came during the holiday season. A true leader would tell the employee in person.

Concerning the newly elected commissioners, some of them don’t seem too informed. One new commissioner questioned whether the school superintendent intended to use funding to put litter boxes in schools for students who identify as animals as the Transylvania County school board supposedly voted to. Surely he knows litter boxes in schools is a social media rumor and our neighbors in Transylvania did no such thing. Elected officials need to research issues and get their facts straight and not believe everything they hear.

The new commissioners also don’t seem to keep up with what the town of Sylva is doing. When town officials presented their request for a municipal grant to fund some new art projects, some commissioners seemed to think upgrading Bryson Park was more important. Yes, that is an important project, but the mudslide above it has affected the upgrades. The town now has over $5 million to address the mudslide and the park upgrades. It has been covered in local newspapers for quite a while now. Apparently, they don’t take the time to read about local issues. And then they go so far as to say that art projects need to be “family friendly.”

There are different kinds of family structures, and art means different things to different people. Apparently they want our town and county to exclude some.

Do we really want leaders like this? Think about it next election.

Betty Dishman, Sylva

Penny-wise and pound-foolish on taxes, IRS funding, Stephen Anfinson, Sylva Herald

Penny-wise and pound-foolish on taxes, IRS funding

To the Editor:

Republican critics of government operations often say that if we ran it like a business, matters would be much better off.

This raises the question of why the first bill passed by the now Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives is to repeal the portion of the Inflation Reduction Act passed by the last session of Congress and signed into law by President Biden that provides approximately $80 billion to the IRS over a 10-year period. The problem to be addressed is that we have an ongoing problem with a “Tax Gap” which is the difference between the amount of tax owed by taxpayers for a given year and the amount that is actually paid timely for that same year. The most recent estimate of this gap I found is around $441 billion for the tax years 2011-13. In business terms, this is an accounts receivable problem, that is to say, money due for services provided has not been collected.

So, how would a competent business person solve this problem? I expect that he/she would come up with a series of activities designed to improve collections like those outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act that fit the special circumstances of the organization and implement them. The expectation is that if properly implemented, they would produce a positive ROI (Return of Investment), in other words, how many dollars do you expect to receive for each dollar spent in improving your collection efforts. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that this $80 billion increase in funding would yield additional revenues totaling $207 billion over 10 years. This estimate would result in a ROI of approximately 2.6 meaning $2.60 for each dollar spent. It should be noted that the CBO estimates generally are very conservative.

The Republican approach is to forego the investment and ignore the accounts receivable amount and allow it to continue growing. I believe that in the business world this would be interpreted as a management failure and result in a loss of employment.

Stephen Anfinson, Whittier

The Second Amendment and the 21st Century, Letter to Editor, Dave Waldrop, Sylva Herald

The Second Amendment and the 21st Century

To the Editor:

The other day I reread the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State …” Those words are the opening clause. I wondered why the word Militia was/is capitalized. What was meant by the words “well regulated?” What is the significance of the word “necessary?” What did the writers mean by “the security of a free State…?”

When I see a bumper sticker or window decal purporting to support the Second Amendment I wonder if the owner knows the first clause. Does he/she support the entire amendment or merely the second part “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

Why has Congress never set up a “well regulated Militia”? If it was deemed “necessary” in 1791 why is it not still necessary? What “Arms” were citizens given the right to keep and bear? How could they have envisioned AK-47s and AR-15s that people currently have the right to keep and bear?

What would the constitutional framers say to those who have been murdered with rapid-fire weapons? To their parents who grieve? To relatives and friends? To you and me? Where would they see a line separating “the security of a free State” and the need for individual security to go to school or feel safe in a house of worship? Would they suggest we merely throw up our hands and claim there’s nothing we can do/we must protect the right to own any weapon?

Is it not high time we look at the Second Amendment and use the provision for a “well regulated Militia” to work for the security of all Americans? At the moment we seem hell bent on guaranteeing some the right to “keep and bear Arms” when that right clearly endangers others. Are we helpless? Let’s make the Second Amendment work in the 21st Century!

No, I am not suggesting that we confiscate people’s guns. I own five. None are rapid-fire. Yet, we could use the amendment itself to work for the security of all. We need a “well regulated Militia” in this century.

Dave Waldrop, Webster

“Divide and conquer can’t be our only choice”, letter to editor, Marsha Lee Baker, Sylva Herald

Divide and conquer

can’t be our only choice

To the Editor:

By the time you read this letter, we will have outcomes of the 2022 mid-term elections. Many people will have worked and volunteered hard to support candidates and issues. More will have listened and read carefully to inform their votes. Some will have voted straight ticket, some not voted at all, and too many without checking the facts about candidates or issues.

Post-election, we each have another choice to make: Will we remain divided as a straight ticket county, district, state, country? Will we continue to line up and soldier on as Democrats versus Republicans, recruiting unaffiliated independents to pick a side? This either/or approach polarizes people into us/them, right/wrong, good/bad. Next, we’re engaged in disrespect, hate and then comes physical violence.

Divide and conquer cannot be our only choice. Between now and the 2024 elections, could we cross boundaries, start conversations, and consider multi- or non-partisan actions? What outcomes could we emphasize? Could we build unity rather than advance division? Listen to each other’s stories, rather than judge one another’s humanity? Examine and research issues of most concern for our county and country?

Let’s not be straight ticket thinkers. What have we got to lose? It can’t be worse than the paralyzing partisan division growing nationwide over the last several years. It can be better. Less hate/more love.

Marsha Lee Baker, Sylva

“Heartened by Election Transparancy”, letter to editor by Dottie Hoche, Sylva Herald

Heartened by election transparency

To the Editor:

Veterans Day became a perfect example of what veterans fought and died for:


The county Board of Elections experienced what each of us has experienced:

A mistake.

Because of the checks and balances the mistake was discovered and corrected.

The Board chose to be transparent in a public meeting. They explained how the voting process works. The various ways of voting, such as curbside, how the ballots are collected, the verification process that assures the registered voter is matched to the voting roll, signs a paper to that effect and after voting on a machine, a paper copy of his ballot is fed into a machine that tabulates and retains that paper copy. The recording and transporting of the days total votes from each polling place follows a rigorous system of checks and balances too. Those measures are in place to detect any mistakes. They work!

Thanks to Chairman Kirk Stephens, the Board, Election Director Lisa Lovedahl and staff it is very clear that we have forthright and honest people serving our voting needs.

This public meeting addressed the concerns of voters who were not aware of the many steps in place guaranteeing that every vote cast is counted and verified.

The fact that members of both parties gathered as peaceful neighbors to understand how the voting process works is a picture of democracy. We now have a deeper appreciation of a complex system that may not prevent a mistake but highlights the mistake so it can be traced and remedied.

I felt uplifted and inspired by the reality of bipartisanship alive in our county. It is proof that we can hold different views and still respect one another with dignity.

I needed that!

Plans for a shifted Congress unsettling, letter to the editor, by Tom Massie, Sylva Herald

Plans for a shifted Congress unsettling

To the Editor:

Well folks the Republican leadership has been mum this past summer in revealing what they intended to do if they gained the majority in Congress in November. More recently, they have revealed their plans in the vague terms of Impeach, Investigate and Obstruct the Biden administration at every turn. Now with the election near, they have finally told us in clear, unambiguous terms what they intend to do, cut entitlements, specifically Social Security and Medicare. Why? Because they are now worried about the deficit.

Of course, they were not concerned with spending when they passed tax cuts for the rich and increased the deficit by nearly $8 trillion during the Trump years. But now the deficit is a major issue again for Republicans and their solution to fix it is to penalize seniors who paid into the system over their working careers and jeopardize this valuable entitlement.

I know some will say this is fear mongering, that Social Security is safe and no changes will occur, but many said the same about Roe vs. Wade. Republicans said they would overturn it and they did. (Does anyone remember when the GOP criticized judges as unelected activists?).

Republicans are now plainly and openly saying what they intend to do. Why would we doubt them now? Of, course our GOP candidates for U.S. House and Senate will deny this plan, but are we willing to take that gamble? I for one am not!

We each have the opportunity to make our voices heard this election and reject this radical GOP attack upon the social safety net which has kept many families out of poverty. Inflation pales in comparison to what could happen to millions of seniors if this ill-conceived plan is successful. Remember, “Elections have consequences.” Let’s send a strong message to “Just Say No” to these crazy GOP plans.

Tom Massie, Sylva

Labels don’t matter, but issues do, letter to the editor, by Mary Joyce, Sylva Herald

Labels don’t matter, but issues do

To the Editor:

Who cares if you’re a Republican or Democrat? Who cares if you like Biden? Who cares who will run for president in 2024?

Right now, if the current brand of Republicans win, Social Security will go back on the chopping block … the cap on drug prices will be popped off … victims of rape and incest will be forced into an involuntary choice.

As for inflation, that is a worldwide problem because of Putin’s war and his nuclear threats to us all – threats that can’t be ignored. Yes, that means the cost of living has gone up in the U.S., but it has skyrocketed in other countries around the world.

Mary Joyce, Sylva

Pray and vote for the born, Letter to the Editor, Ann Fulton, Sylva Herald

Pray and vote for the born

To the Editor:

I was driving home from work and noticed a sign in the midst of several political yard signs. The sign read “Pray and Vote for the Unborn.”

I thought about this message for a long while and decided that we should also pray and vote for the born. We should pray for children who are unloved, unwanted neglected or abused. We should pray for children who do not receive basic health care services. We should pray for children who cannot access necessary mental health services. We should pray for children who don’t get a good public education. We should pray for homeless children. We should pray for hungry children.

We should pray for women who have no access to family planning information and contraceptives. We should pray for women who have no access to affordable women’s health services. We should pray for women who have an ectopic pregnancy. We should pray for women whose unborn child is malformed or dies in utero. We should pray for pregnant women with chronic, life-threatening conditions. We should pray for women who need therapeutic abortions, and we should pray for their doctors who, fearing prosecution, refuse to give potentially life-saving treatment.

We should vote for candidates who care about these souls.

Ann Fulton, Sylva