Del Norte Triplicate Readers

If lawmakers were VA patients, it'd be fixed

I can fix the VA system.

Tear down Walter Reed Hospital; make it a world-class parking lot. Senators, congressmen, the president and world-class visitors would then be eligible to use our most excellent Veterans Administration for all their health needs. Call about 30 days in advance for an appointment. Visit with the most advanced medical personnel from around the globe; they are so good they can't be at fault or sued for mistreatment.

I do believe our active troops receive excellent care. But if your're too disabled to be on active duty, then it's up to charity to fill the voids left by our all-promising government.

As a combat corpsman I did my job, got shot four times, and now I'm too old and in need of too much care for the administration to care. But I'm just sayin'.

Bill Cook,

Crescent City

Howard was wrong on Del Norte agriculture

Writing in the Aug. 19 edition, supervisor-elect Chris Howard made a forceful argument for the proposed modification of Highway 199 in order to accommodate longer and heavier trucks.Mr. Howard's arguments were primarily economic and not new. In essence he said we need to take the longer, heavier trucks despite increased safety risks because we have a bad economy and need to do anything and everything to make that economy better.

As evidence, Mr. Howard offers the reality of the business sector in which he works: agriculture. According to Howard, "Agriculture in Del Norte County has been in sharp decline over the past decade, in large part due to tightening regulations and competing economic forces outside our community's control." This claim sounds authentic, especially coming from the manager of a well-known local farming enterprise. Unfortunately, the statement does not comport with the facts.

According to the U.S. Census of Agriculture, the market value of agricultural products sold by Del Norte County farms increased substantially between 2007 and 2012 (the last year for which statistics are available) from $32.51 million in 2007, to $35.651 million in 2012. Furthermore, the number of farms went from 32 in 2007 to 53 in 2012 and irrigated acres from 7,660 acres in 2007 to 9,220 acres in 2012.

It is true that net cash farm income during the period fell from $5.33 million in 2007 to $5.01 million in 2012. However, that is the result of agricultural prices in a world market, not, as Mr. Howard claims, "due to tightening regulations."

The facts, as documented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and available online, do not indicate an agricultural sector "in sharp decline" in Del Norte County; quite the opposite. We should be celebrating our thriving agricultural sector and working with it to adapt to a changing world economy, a rising sea level, other climate change impacts and the demands of citizens for a healthy, non-toxic environment.

If supervisor-elect Howard can't get the facts right about the industry in which he works, can we trust his words when he pronounces on issues like the proposed modification of Highway 199?

It looks like the citizens are going to have to keep a close eye - and a fact checker - trained on this new supervisor.

Felice Pace,