The Helena Independent Record publishes letters from readers in the Opinion section. Here are this week's letters.
To submit a letter to the editor, go here.
Assault guns are meant for police, military
Another mass shooting, done by an American citizen. We again offer prayers and condolences. We say we need more security at our workplaces, schools and churches. Lets put more guns in the hands of people to keep us safe. It hasn't worked since they took the ban off Reagan's bill to keep assault guns out of ordinary people. They were meant for the police and military. The man who invented them, did not own one. Look up the statistics, that is when the mass shootings have risen.
Remember when you were able to stop at the church and walk in to say a prayer. They are locked up. Children wonder if their school will be targeted next. We work so hard to stop abortion, so let us work just as hard to keep them alive after they are born.
Daines wasn't working alone to save Anaconda job center
I read in the June 4 Independent Record that Sen. Daines "personally called the president" to ask him to reverse the decision to close the Anaconda Job Corps. Whether that happened, we really don't know. Daines is running for reelection, so possibly his campaign staff pushed the story. What wasn't mentioned is the fact that Sen. Tester has been working on this issue since the closure was first announced.
On Monday, June 3, Daines supported a budget plan that would cut $183.1 billion next year alone. Those cuts would hurt millions of families and undermine the domestic economy, which is why the Republican controlled Senate blocked the bill.
Maybe write an article about that?
Historic Confederate fountain should not be destroyed
The process to determine the fate of the Historic Montana Carsley Fountain as decided by the Helena City Commission on 8-16-17 was wrong and possibly illegal. As then-Commissioner Ellison stated it “Rather than the commission’s usual approach of starting with a discussion, gathering input, resolution of intention, public hearings and proceeding deliberately to a consensus decision, taking action today seems to be the best option before us.”
Now as the Carsley Fountain sits in an empty field, its final fate will once again to be decided by a group of people without public input or discussion. Only this time it will be behind closed doors.
Is this what our democracy has become? A country where the perception of a few persons of a work of art determines the perception of that work of art for the rest of us?
To the select few who will decide the fate of the Historic Montana Carsley Fountain, please consider that your own perception of what that fountain represents may be different as to how others see it. By destroying this Montana Historical art work, all diverse viewpoints will forever be blinded.
Column about forest ecology misses the mark
I take exception to most of George Wuerthner's views about logging and forest ecology. He states that the driving force behind wildfires is not "fuels," but extreme weather stemming from climate change. Certainly the weather has a lot to do with it, but if you have excess fuels, sooner or later you are going to have a fire.
It's been my observation in this area that game habitat is greatly enhanced by logging. (The Forest Service certainly does overdo roadbuilding, but that's another issue.)
If his goal is to sequester carbon in our forests, I believe he is off the mark. We need to manage our forests properly, and utilize what we can from them — but wisely. Locking them up is not the answer.
It's okay for Montana to be a tourist destination, but some of us need to make our livings in other ways, without tripping over wolves, bears and buffalo.
Congress needs to fully fund 2020 census
As two of our elected leaders waste time and money to create untested census questions about immigration, the 2020 census remains underfunded. If this isn't done right, the people of Montana will be left out of vital federal funding and new business. I am calling on Sen. Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte to get focused and deliver a fully funded 2020 Census for all Montanans.
Census information is used by the government and businesses to make all kinds of decisions. Farm subsidy programs will be underfunded if the count is wrong. Internet companies deciding where to roll out new 5G technology will rely on census numbers. The census count impacts all of us.
To not get left behind, rural and hard-to-count areas need Congress to fully fund the 2020 census. Our senior Sen. Jon Tester and Gov. Steve Bullock support fully funding the 2020 census without adding in expensive untested questions. These leaders have the experience to know that an underfunded census can hurt Montanans for years.
Let’s make this census count. I'm urging Sen. Steve Daines to follow the example of Tester and Bullock. Fully fund the upcoming census and reject wasteful untested questions.
Republican party is not what it used to be
A recent political cartoon asked what Democrats hate about Trump, is it his hair? What I hate is that he is a bully, a braggert, a bigot, and an amoral tom cat.
He has the negotiating skills of a 5-year-old. "I didn't do it! She started it! I don't remember. You're an idiot!" I wait for -- I know you are, but what am I? If your 5-year-olds behaved like Trump, you would put them in time out.
Like all politicians, he is a snake charmer who says what you want to hear. Oh yeah, he's singing your song. The problem is, the most important word in Trump's vocabulary is "ME." I have contacted the White House and asked him to stop talking so much about himself and talk about what he will do for America. Making it great again is not disparaging America in whatever foreign country he is in.
The Republican party was once known as the Grand Old Party. But today's party has drifted far away from the 1970s and, with McConnel proudly calling himself the grim reaper of bills, seems today to be better known as the party of spin (180 degrees) and lie. It is a party of junk values where being in the majority is all that matters — not what working class voters need.
Some have suggested that Trump's election was God's will. I suggest it was the Devil wooing your vote. As for the current crop of Presidential candidates, I think Beto's hair looks a lot like John F. Kennedy's.
Sign petition on Helena water/sewer service line program
By chance did you notice an increase in your water bill during December 2018? If so, the increase was more than just the average fluctuation due to increased water usage. At least part of the increase is due to the new water/sewer service line program authorized by the mayor and city commissioners. If your home is “attached” to both the city’s water and sewer systems your water bill’s monthly charge went up $8.97/month, starting December 2018, to fund this program. The additional charge is assessed to approximately 8,500 single-dwelling homeowners. On average the city has completed 64 water/sewer service replacements per year, over the past seven years. The benefit of the program, to single-dwelling homeowners, is that, if ever you need to have repair work done on your water or sewer lines, you can obtain up to a $15,000, 10-year, interest-free loan to help cover the repair costs.
You may or may not agree that this is a worthwhile program for our city to foster, but I have reluctantly come to think that it is. I do, however, have two strong objections.
The first is that the mayor and city commissioners did not specify an end date for the monthly fees, which fund this program, once the program becomes “self-sustaining” through loan repayments. According to my calculations, based upon data supplied by the city, this program will become “self-sustaining” by the end of 2025, if not sooner.
My second objection is that this program and the associated cost were not sufficiently publicized for public input and debate. It is a troubling precedent that the city administration can conceive of and implement such programs, unilaterally, without sufficient notification. What prevents the city administration from randomly raising our water rates for other “do good” ideas or for no reason at all?
To address my first objection, I am currently circulating a petition to be presented at the June Helena City Commission meeting, requesting that the commission specify an end date for the monthly fees and to communicate that end date to the public. The petition’s intent is not to stop the water/sewer service line program, but rather to request that the commission specify when the monthly fees will end. If I visit your home in the coming weeks, I hope you will consider signing my petition.
If you agree with me, you might want to phone the Helena City Commission at 447-8410 or email them at email@example.com and express your concerns.