Citizen Editorial

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The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the staff, management or owners of KMAS News Radio.

Citizen Editorial: Churches & Taxes

Dear Jeff and Dale,

I listened intently to your interview with our Shelton Mayor Gary Cronce about our homeless problem and the proposal of tent cities. I have this to say about that:

Almost nobody doesn't like Father Joe Mikel, a well mannered and kind man, the pastor of Saint David of Wales Episcopal Church. I know this because he and I on occasion have spoken about issues and he has always been gracious in listening to me. I've also helped him do dishes in his kitchen feeding the homeless he cares so much for. His quest in life, seemingly, is to "give a sandwich to anyone who's hungry." I like that. A lofty goal indeed coming from caring humble man.

What I don't like is what he told the Shelton City Commission on Monday. He said:

"You want to tell us how to manage our property  .  .  . we don't need you to come in and manage everything."

What troubles me about this his sentiment is the fact that his church doesn't pay any property taxes. He receives police services, he'll get fire protection should he need that, both being paid for by his juxtaposed neighbors left and right of his church and then beyond. He and his congregants avail themselves of the tax payer funding of road maintenance right in front of his church. Receiving these costly services all tax free.

We all have to pay more in property taxes because churches aren't carrying their own weight, they aren't helping out with one dime in this regard. Why is that? Why are we enabling churches? Why the free ride?

This is not chump change we're talking about here either. Studies are now best indicating local, state, and federal governments in the United States subsidize religion — to the tune of about $71 billion every year. That equates to a huge untapped resource going to waste right here in Mason County. Sure, we can take into account all the charitable groups graciously and willingly contributing, thankfully, but it's mostly many of those non-church groups contributing like Occupy Shelton, et al, (to give some credit where credit is due) and not just the church alone all by its altruistic self.

Church tax preferment should be a troubling concern to a struggling overtaxed society like Mason County, because, the number of Americans living outside any religious tradition continues to grow exponentially. It underscores the unfairness of taxing all County property owners in subsidizing religious institutions that fewer and fewer are utilizing these days.

That said: I have a proposal for my admired friend Father Joe:

Sir, Reverend Sir, would you, could you be the first Church in America to pay property taxes? This added money to the county treasury could ease the burdens of your neighbors and too it would give the county more needed funds to assist in accommodating the homeless desperately in need of adequate shelter.

You're a good man Joe, no one says otherwise. Do this for the good of our community.

Darrell Barker, Shelton
August 26, 2014

Citizen Editorial: Hydro-Electric Power

In Washington State we are blessed to have a great abundance of natural resources. Of those resources is water. In Washington most of our power is created through Hydro-Electric power. It’s clean and renewable, and in the last 20 to 30 years engineers have created innovative things like fish ladders to severely reduce the impact they have on wildlife. But in most states, and in Washington, Hydro-Electric power isn’t considered a clean, green, renewable resource in state law. The argument that hydro isn’t clean and renewable is an extremely weak one.

The truth is, the main reason for hydro not qualifying is politics.
Politics that hurts innovation, picks winners and losers, and ultimately hurts our wallets. By the year 2020, Washington power producers will by law have to get at least 15% of their power from renewable resources. Designating hydro power renewable could easily meet this mark and then some. The problem is politicians who thrive off of the green industry know that it would mean tough days ahead for economically unviable types of power like wind and solar.

Designating hydro as renewable would cut energy costs for Washingtonians, but the real cash cow for government is the penalties set for not meeting the correct standard. The penalties when added up for not meeting the standard are a staggering $50 per megawatt-hour and indexed for inflation, which we all know is rising rapidly. This could result in millions upon millions of dollars in fines payable to Washington State and we all know that ultimately comes out of our pocket, energy companies don’t just go away, they simply raise rates.
Essentially, this means “green” industries are guaranteed at least 15% of our energy money. I bet other businesses wish they had government mandated sales. Wait… many in fact do, but that’s a different story.

Some in government have tried to add hydro to the list with no luck.
The best solution would be to repeal the standard itself, it would create real competition, true innovation in alternative energy, keep prices lower, and it would not make government the king of price setting and picking favorites in industry. The initiative I-937 was passed in 2006, which means it is well past the 2 year period when initiatives can be altered.

Rest assured that these “green” companies and industries use that automatic cash to fund their favorite crony political candidates. That makes it the top political reason to do so. It’s time for some common sense and honesty with energy in Washington.

Travis Couture, Belfair
August 26, 2014

Citizen Editorial: One More Time With Feeling

I don’t want to belabor a point. However, I am compelled to respond to Linda Sheldon’s letter to the editor of the Journal of 8/14/14.
In a letter to the editor of the Olympian 8/11/14, Maija Keller of Olympia also received Mrs. Sheldon’s letter to women voters in the 35th district and describes exactly what I would expect from Mrs. Sheldon had I just called her. Ms. Keller states; “I wish he would run as an independent and not fraudulently as a Democrat. That’s what I told her; she hung up. Not a sign of openness to diverse opinions or bipartisan cooperation.”
I agree that Mrs. Sheldon should provide her letter for others to read and make up their own minds. However, I am not sure what value that would have, given the fact she is a spouse of a candidate and would be expected to have a different perspective than regular voters.
When I mail to others, I give them the option of response methods by providing my mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address. I think true communication includes giving the recipient the opportunity to be heard and choose their method of communication. However, my issue is not with Mrs. Sheldon. Her letter asked the recipient to vote for her husband, Senator/Commissioner Sheldon.
Mr. Sheldon has a record that he alone must defend. Voters must take that into account when deciding who would best represent their views and interests. My support must go to Irene Bowling for State Senate. Her sincerity, work ethic, community involvement, and proven leadership are the qualities we need in every public official.

Roslynne Reed, Shelton
August 19, 2014

Citizen Editorial: The Dave Ramsey Show

I listen to The Dave Ramsey show near daily. He offers up to we KMAS listeners very sage, sound and salivating financial advice to abide by. I like the show and his ideas of getting out of debt.
Too, in support of his ideology and preferred methods, he is often quoting scriptures in Thessalonians and other substantiating books of the bible supporting his worldviews. He is often heard referring to Jesus as the “prince of peace” leading me to think he is a rather keen follower of Jesus’ teachings.
That being suspected, I’m curious what he thinks of Jesus’ teachings found in Luke 6:30 where we are advised by Jesus himself to “give to any man who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, don’t ask for it back.”
Seems to me Jesus offers a better way to get totally debt free than the way Ramsey is advising. Now, since Ramsey is a follower of Jesus teachings, I’m thinking I might just go ahead and be that “anyone” spoken about in Luke 6:30 and I just might go and ask Ramsey for his money and see what happens. I could be debt free in a week. Hmmmmmmm.
What say ye?
Darrell Barker, Shelton
August 15, 2014

Citizen Editorial: Thank You!

Thank You!
Friends, it looks like we have been narrowly defeated. I'm honored to have had the chance to run to represent the people of the 35th District. We went toe to toe with giants and had them on their heels but in the end it wasn't enough. I am extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish, the message we were able to promote, and the conversation we started in the 35th District. Our campaign, with very little resources, managed to do everything we could and we left nothing on the table. I've never met a group of people with so much heart and passion about changing our government for the better.
Politics is a harsh mistress, it may sting now but tomorrow is a new day. The fight for freedom is never over, we must fight for it wherever it is threatened. As usual, that is where you will find me.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

- Travis Couture, Belfair
August 7, 2014