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Letters to the Editor, June 8

Meals tax could fail

The assumption that if the meals tax proposal is placed on this year’s ballot it will automatically pass is false. We don’t know what the outcome will be.

The initiative is only to provide Jacksonville citizens an opportunity to vote aye or nay. It might be soundly defeated; it might pass with a strong majority; or it might be a close call. Regardless, the outcome will provide important guidance for Jacksonville citizens, city government and other stakeholders like the Jacksonville Review and restaurant owners.

The current discussion must be placed in the appropriate context of “If it passes.” Even though city government has citizen representatives, citizens are allowed to speak briefly at meetings and major stakeholders make their opinions known (see above), ordinary citizens (like myself) should also be empowered to decide how their money is spent. Citizens, use your voice in determining how to best support our police department (surcharge or meal tax) by signing the current petition to place the meals tax initiative on the upcoming ballot.

Dianne Helmer


Why bet the farm?

Engineers design to “fail safe” when miscalculation may result in a devastating catastrophe. If one design choice will save money, while another avoids the risk of serious loss, they are taught to choose the design which avoids calamity in the event of failure. We should follow that standard when it comes to climate change.

Despite scientific consensus about our effect on climate, we are recklessly ignoring the engineers’ “precautionary principle” by betting that nothing will happen if we continue increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has hit record levels in each of the past five years, and is higher than at any time since humans first walked the earth. Incredibly, President Trump’s newly appointed NASA director killed the program that monitors atmospheric CO2 and methane. This problem won’t go away just because we stick our heads in the sand. Common sense demands that we continue to measure what is happening in our atmosphere. Climate scientists tell us that we are lemmings heading off the cliff. Why are we betting our only farm (indeed, mankind’s very existence) that they are wrong?

We need leaders who respect science, not ignore it!

Eric Weisberg

Central Point

Colluding with Trump

Russian interference in our election was an attack on our democratic process by a hostile foreign power. Dedicated public servants are investigating what happened in hope of preventing it from happening again, but our so-called president is desperately trying to sabotage their efforts.

In other words, he’s aiding the enemy. Maybe he’s Russian — has anybody seen his birth certificate?

What Trump calls a “Witch Hunt!” in his Twitter tirades has so far netted 19 “witches.” When feeling the need for a distraction, he demands the investigation of some trumped-up conspiracy theory, such as the fake news hoax he calls “Spygate.” Catchy name, but it was already taken, so let’s call it what it is: Stupidgate.

Now Trump is insisting that he has the power to pardon himself but that he doesn’t need to because he’s above the law. Meanwhile he’s punishing people for seeking asylum by abducting their children — GOP family values, Trump style.

Seriously, the guy’s a psychopath. His contempt for truth, facts and the rule of law is a far greater threat to our republic than immigrants and refugees. When his bigotry, ignorance and inflammatory lies come back to bite them, Republicans will regret colluding with him.

Michael Steely


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