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:

Democracy.

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

Buchanan has right leadership tools, Sylva Herald Letter to Editor by Bob Allen

Says Buchanan has right leadership tools

To the Editor:

Rick Buchanan, candidate for Jackson County sheriff has served under four different sheriffs during his career. Through those years he has gained workable knowledge of all duties and obligations of the office of sheriff.

Rick has the leadership skills and the ability to work with the citizens of Jackson County to arrive at solutions to the problems we face. The office of sheriff is “of the people and for the people.” As our sheriff, Rick will humbly serve the people with integrity.

I am expressing my support for him as our next sheriff of Jackson County. Rick became a member of my department in 1991, and has dedicated himself to serve the citizens of Jackson County as a sworn office for 31 years.

I am asking you to vote for Rick Buchanan on Tuesday, Nov. 8, to ensure the people of Jackson County continue to have the best possible leadership in the office of sheriff.

Bob Allen, Sylva

Allen is a former Jackson County sheriff.

Vote against election deniers, for democracy, Sylva Herald Letter to Editor by Dave Waldrop

Vote against election deniers, for democracy

To the Editor:

If Donald Trump is so smart, if he loves America as much as he claims, why did he not show us the “election flaws” in 2016? As you recall he won that hotly contested election. Yet, for the next three years he said and did nothing. He had the ideal position to analyze the process, identify flaws (and there are some) and recommend changes that would strengthen democracy.

Then as the 2020 election approached, he began his rant about the possibility of a rigged election, still with no suggestion of how to make it more secure. Does this sound patriotic to you? Is there any hint that Donald Trump was working for democracy?

Why no action to secure the election system in the face of an election which he lost massively? Here’s the simple yet dangerous truth: Donald Trump is the “hood ornament” of a national movement to re-write our Constitution in favor of the wealthiest individuals and businesses. There are various groups working relentlessly at this endeavor. They are right-leaning in political philosophy. Many at the worker level are your neighbors. Some know what the goal is. Others are merely loyal Republicans or independents who hope for the best for America.

Now, hope won’t save democracy. Americans need to study democracy and decide if they/we actually want to keep our form of government. If not, then vote however you want. If you do cherish democracy, then vote against election deniers. A big hint here – most of them are Republican. I doubt that there has ever been an election that was perfect. But near-perfect elections will uphold democracy. Merely harping about a few flaws is only meant to undermine the process.

Let’s identify the election deniers and vote against them. Vote for democracy!

Dave Waldrop, Webster

Cheri Beasley is the better choice, Sylva Herald Letter to Editor by Pam Krauss

Cheri Beasley is the better choice

To the Editor:

Along with voters of both political parties, I am concerned with the future of democracy and the form of government that has given the citizens of our country freedoms and rights that are protected by the United States Constitution.

Many times, these rights are challenged, and at times they become clarified or in some cases seemingly expanded or diminished. Most recently, many women, in particular, have questioned their equality under the laws since the SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v. Wade. This decision has added to the partisan fray that has been explosive, unyielding and downright destructive over the last few elections. It seems our U.S. Congress has been paralyzed in its lawmaking duties and problem-solving role while wrestling with partisan nonsense. No one benefits from this, other than perhaps, the participants in the fray.

We are facing yet another election cycle that seems to be nothing but a repeat of accusations of leaning too this way, or too that way, with the intent to scare a voter into voting with fear, rather than making a rational, thoughtful decision on how to cast their votes.

We should be looking at policy preferences, ability to perform the job, and most important the willingness to do a job for all of their constituents. The U.S. Senate seat is a good example of the candidates that offer choices of voting out of fear versus voting to choose a candidate that will provide thoughtful, balanced input to legislation.

Cheri Beasley is a former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice. Sitting on the bench forces an individual to balance facts and law and reach a conclusion that is fair and just.

Contrast this to her irresponsible opponent who skipped U.S. Congress floor votes to attend a CPAC convention. Additionally, Beasley’s opponent is a member of the Freedom Caucus. This a tip-off that a vote for that candidate will be a continuation of the shenanigans that have been ongoing since the early days of Mark Meadows. And we now know where that led us.

So, instead it seems like voting for a candidate that took an oath to justice and had to balance the interests of divergent points of view would give North Carolina a voice of wisdom that could represent us to accomplish the legislating that needs to get done.

Pam Krauss, Webster

Al Platt will be a terrific state representative for NC119, Sylva Herald Letter to Editor by Carolyn Cagle

Al Platt will be terrific state representative for NC 119

To the Editor:

Al Platt will be a terrific N.C. 119 District representative. Al is an upstanding, respected and successful businessman, a family man and community advocate from Brevard.

If elected, Al will work hard to serve the needs of the people in Jackson, Transylvania and Swain counties. He will vote to expand Medicaid to help working families have healthcare while creating jobs and strengthening rural economies.

Al knows we don’t have a shortage of teachers, rather a shortage of people who are willing to be underpaid, overworked and disrespected. He knows how hard teachers work and how important they are to our children’s education.

He believes our climate is changing, that we still have a chance to change things and leave our planet better than we found it. Al believes our democracy is important!

Al’s opponent, incumbent Mike Clampitt, has proclaimed being a proud Oath Keeper for years. He only spoke out to say he didn’t condone the Oath Keeper participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 Insurrection after his name publicly appeared on a leaked Oath Keeper membership list in the fall of 2021. Clampitt is now saying he hasn’t been a dues-paying member of the group for several years. It seems to me being a member, at any point, of a group like the Oath Keepers that has consistently espoused extreme conspiratorial anti-government rhetoric since its founding should be disqualifying. Publicly distancing one’s self from the group only after a failed coup shouldn’t absolve them from the consequences of past membership.

Can we really trust Clampitt to uphold our fragile democracy? Vote for Democracy. Vote for Al Platt for NC House District 119.

Carolyn Cagle, Sylva

Democracy is a fragile thing, Sylva Herald Letter to Editor by John McMacken

Democracy is a fragile thing

To the Editor:

In his Oct. 6 Opinion piece, “You’re not entitled to your own set of facts,” Tom Campbell wonders where the voices of the silent majority are. I think I’ll toss my voice into the ring.

The far right wing of the Republican party has always had more than its share of delusional people: anti-vaxers, hollow-earthers, people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked and those poor souls who believed that the world would end on a particular date at a particular time and sold all their possessions in anticipation.

With the rise of the internet, these kindred spirits found a home. We now have people who believe that the Democrats are running a ring devoted to the kidnapping, sexual abuse and cannibalization of children. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Now, exactly the same kind of delusional thinking has arrived in the form of the Big Lie; the idea that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election and had it stolen from him by a vast conspiracy.

This is now mainstream Republican thought and is being used vigorously by almost all candidates. This is terrifying. If they do well in the coming election, Republicans will see this as a viable strategy and we will never again witness the smooth transition of power that this country has been proud of. Every result the Republicans don’t approve of (those they lose) will be litigated to death.

I think most people believe that our democracy is a strong one, buttressed by our Constitution and the division of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. This is far from the truth. Our democracy is a fragile thing. It is supported by the good will of men and women who put their country above their politics. Well, we just lost half of them.

John McMacken, Cullowhee

We can’t afford Scott’s proposal, Sylva Herald Letter to Editor, Eric Myers

We can’t afford Scott’s proposal

To the Editor:

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, chair of the Senate Republican Coordinating Committee who is responsible for electing Republican senators in 2022, came up with a Plan to Rescue America which seems to have a varying number of points. The presumption is that newly elected Republican senators will embrace and support his plan. His plan contains most of the MAGA talking points, a few I want to mention here.

On the one hand he wants to cut taxes on the people who are paying them, i.e. those making more than the standard deduction, which is a common Republican means to increase the debt. But his initial companion (since rescinded) proposal was to tax all those Americans making less than the standard deduction. That was somewhat watered down to encourage all Americans under 60 to work and pay taxes. Another one of his callous proposals is to put all laws on the chopping block every five years, including Social Security and Medicare, as a way to do away with them, another MAGA dream.

This would also put the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and numerous other important statues at risk. In addition, he links conservative religious doctrine and science in a rather bizarre way. He would have children recite the Pledge of Allegiance, salute the flag, and learn that America is a great county, despite SCOTUS decisions that do not force these requirements. The Senator would eliminate diversity training and any recognition/acknowledgment of past wrongs based on race or other characteristics. All in all, a MAGA wish list.

I don’t know that Ted Budd has officially adopted or endorsed this plan, but the Senate Republican Coordinating Committee is expecting newly elected Republican senators to support it. We can’t afford this plan in North Carolina and the only way to stop it is to elect Cheri Beasley (D) as North Carolina’s next senator on Nov. 8.

Eric Myers, Sylva

Reader tells why he’s backing Rick Buchanan, Letter to Editor, Sylva Herald

Reader tells why he’s backing Buchanan

To the Editor:

I want to share a personal story. I have a different perspective than a lot of people in Jackson County.

For many years I was an addict. I know the struggles of addiction and how much someone may want to get clean, but just can’t. I have been there. I was arrested many times and I remember being interviewed by Rick Buchanan very often. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is he always took the time to encourage me and offer help to me to stop using drugs. Rick was always compassionate even though he still had a job to do.

Rick understands the drug crisis in Jackson County and what must be done to fight this epidemic that has affected so many families. Rick Buchanan made a difference in my life and this is why he is my choice for sheriff.

Daniel Wallace, Sylva

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