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Letters to the Editor June 19, 2009

County needs to avoid repeat of Mill Creek property tax loss

I found the story that Nicholas Grube did on Hurdygurdy Creek was lacking because he did not tell that two other interest groups will lose out with the sale of Hurdygurdy Creek.

Currently, the county has to pass through a percentage of property tax from ALCO Holdings to Del Norte County Library and the Del Norte County Unified School District. This pass-through is from the property. It may be only a few dollars. Then there is the timber tax money.

The problem with Hurdygurdy Creek is that it is a fire waiting to happen. David Finigan pointed this out at the (county supervisors) meeting. I deeply believe that Grant Werschkull was not up-front about thinning the ALCO Holdings property before it is given over to the U.S. Forest Service. I do not see the Six Rivers Forest District having the funds to do any management of new holdings.

I hope if you have a child in any of our schools or use our libraries that your write to Sen. Feinstain and Grant Werschkull of the Smith River Alliance and demand that the ALCO Holdings property be thinned before we have another Biscuit Fire. The pass-through money and the timber tax funds are important to our schools and the library.

I have a question for Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen: Will we have another Mill Creek deal, when the library and our schools got screwed? When will Dennis Sutton, Tom Cochran and Bill Maffett wake up over this issue? My main question is when is Bob Berkowitz going to ask Gerry to meet with the library and schools over the lost income they have gotten in the past, or will they allow the county to take them out of the picture again? I think I know the answer: they’ll get screwed again like what happened with Mill Creek. That’s sad.

Richard Miles
Crescent City


Real reform of health care would not cost money, it would save it

Why is there no discussion of the crying need for affordable health care in our community?

The U.S. is one of the most expensive places to be sick of any industrialized country. The cost of the present system is now 20 percent of gross domestic product and it is rising very day. One in six Americans — a total of 50 million people at last count — have no way to pay for that care in this country, where we consume 26% of the world’s wealth.

Any reform of this outrageous system must address these major failings. Obama’s “reforms” will not do so and are no reform at all. With the massive campaign of distortion and groundless fear that the for-profit medical system is waging to prevent consideration of a single-payer option, with key administration and Congressional players holding stock in or having their campaigns well-funded by the medical industry, we will have if anything a “reform” that retains this profit-driven medical system and costs will continue to rise.

Real reform of the U.S. health care system would not cost money. It would save money. It would remove the cost of medical care from employers and workers (who in the past 20 years have borne an increasing share of their medical care). With across the board sharing of coverage through a single payer, it would free up more money for company profits, with less money deducted from paychecks and higher income for workers.

Although an excellent single-payer system has been in place for 30 years in Canada — where patients have absolute freedom to choose their doctor, get instant access to a hospital  and to expert specialist care in emergencies, and have a healthier society by every statistical measure — all at a fraction of the staggering cost of healthcare in the U.S., no Canadian expert working in that system has been invited down to discuss it with the White House or with Congress.

With Americans now fearing unemployment, one in five unemployed or involuntarily working part-time, a majority of us have no health insurance, have lost our insurance, or face losing employer-funded insurance. Now is the time for the president and congress to end profit-driven private health insurance and establish a public single-payer insurance plan to provide access to affordable medical care to all.

Instead, we are offered half measures or none at all by leaders in hock to the health care industry or afraid of its power.

Where is the outrage?

Ralph Johansen
Crescent City
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