Letters to the Editor
Clean sweep for local waterway
Friends of the Rappahannock would like to thank our partners, the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District and the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, for all of the support and efforts to make this clean-up one of the best we have
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had so far! Also, thank you to the Coast Guard Auxiliary for coming and talking about safety on the Rappahannock and to June Parker Marina for letting us use the beach for our set up area and easy boat launching!
FOR would like to extend a special thank you to the 33 volunteers that came from the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsulas. A total of 10 miles was covered along the Rappahannock and its tributaries. Over 800 pounds of trash was collected including an irrigation pipe, several hundred bottles and food wrappers, and over a hundred cigarette butts.
Without volunteers, our clean-ups would not be such a success. So again, thank you to those that volunteered their time, boats, and efforts!! Friends of the Rappahannock appreciates it and so does our river! I hope to see even more volunteers at our next Clean-up!
Lowery Pemberton, of Sharps
Weigh the truth over opinions
I offer some truths in answer to Republican claims.
Republicans: President Obama is a socialist, tax and spend liberal.
Truth: During his first term President Obama cut taxes for 95 percent of working people, and 76 percent of all citizens.
Republican (Paul Ryan) claim: President Obama is trying to raise gasoline prices by limiting domestic production of oil and natural gas.
Truth: President Obama has increased domestic oil and natural gas production to its highest point in eight years. Obama has increased fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. President Obama has increased alternative energy production. Gasoline prices have a lot more to do with President Obama’s sanctions against Iran than they do with domestic production.
Republicans: President Obama is driving inflation with big budget deficits.
Truth: Inflation was only 1.4 percent at last measure, and it has never topped 4 percent under President Obama.
Republicans: President Obama is costing America jobs.
Truth: America has created 4.5 million jobs since February 2010. These are private sector jobs, not government sector jobs. Government sector jobs are not growing, because local, state and federal governments are in the middle of a budget crises manufactured by Republicans from 2000 to 2008. All told, state, local and federal governments have eliminated 680,000 jobs since 2008. Federal budget cuts have consequences in the job market. We have had positive job growth for the last 30 months.
Republicans: Investors are fleeing American capital markets due to the President’s policies.
Truth: The DOW Jones Industrial Average topped 13,299 on Sept. 3, 2012. That number is the highest since 2007, and it caps a historically long bull market that has occurred throughout the course of President Obama’s term.
Republicans: We are not better off now than we were four years ago.
Truth: Manufacturing has increased since the middle of 2009. The Industrial Production Index is now 10.6 points higher than it was the day President Obama took office. Consumer spending this quarter is 1.5 percent. When President Obama took office, consumer spending was -1.6 percent. Job growth in the last month was 96,000. When President Obama took office, we were losing 800,000 jobs per month. Economic growth is 1.7 percent this quarter. When President Obama took office, economic growth was -5.3 percent. Median home prices were $185,000 at last measure. When President Obama took office, median home prices were $175,500. Think back to January 2009. Do you feel the same way today?
Republicans: This recovery is not as strong as prior economic recoveries.
Truth: Well, this one is true, Then again, it is also a bad analogy. It is kind of like saying, well, I climbed Mt. Trashmore in 37 minutes, and it took you 37 days to climb Mt. Everest. One of these things is not like the other. I quote Bill Clinton: Are we where we want to be? No. Are we better off now tllan we were four years ago? Heck Yeah!
Nicholas Smith, of Montross
The writer is the former chairman of the Westmoreland Democratic Committee and a
former candidate for the 99th District of the House of Delegates.
Local doctor carves out success
Westmoreland citizens should thank their lucky stars that the rumors flying around that Dr. Glenn Spiegler is retiring are false. I underwent right knee arthroscopic repair on Aug. 17, not my first time under the knife with Dr. Spiegler, and he assured me when I asked that he is not retiring. He stated he loves what he does and has two daughters in college which would prompt anyone to keep their job.
Yes there is a new orthopedic surgeon due to arrive in our area at some point but my husband and I will stick with the tried and true as we have both had successful surgeries under Dr. Speigler.
Courtney T. Walker, of Mt. Holly
Now is not the time for tax hike
Yesterday I received a “heads up” from my insurance company on what will happen if the “Bush” tax cuts are allowed to expire as President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate seem determined to let happen.
Income tax rates would rise for all Americans, with the lowest bracket rising from 10 to 15 percent and the highest from 35 to 39.6 percent. That means that every couple who files jointly and who makes at least $17,400 will pay at least an additional $870 in income taxes.
Dividends would be taxed at the same rate as ordinary income instead of today’s 15 percent maximum rate.
The maximum rate for capital gains would rise to 20% from the current 15%.
Personal Exemptions and Itemized Deductions would be reduced for higher-income taxpayers.
Without extension of temporary exemptions, more taxpayers will be snared by the parallel tax system the Alternative Minimum Tax.
Individuals’ share of Social Security taxes would return from the temporary 4.2 percent to the normal 6.2 percent; the self-employment tax rate would rise from 10.4 percent to 12.4 percent.
The maximum estate tax rate would rise to 55 percent from the current 35 percent; estates valued at more than $1 million would face the tax (versus the current $5 million).
The annual contribution limit for Coverdell Education Savings Accounts would fall from $2,000 to $500 and qualified withdrawals would no longer be permitted for K-12 expenses.
The Child Tax Credit falls from $1,000 to $500.
The expiration of features meant to address a so-called “marriage penalty” would reduce standard deductions and push many married couples who file joint returns into higher tax brackets.
The maximum adoption credit would fall from $13,360 to $6,000 and would only be available for special needs children.
Deductions for state and local sales taxes, higher education and teachers’ classroom supplies all would vanish.
Given this exceptionally weak economy, it’s the wrong time to be raising taxes on anyone. It’s time to fire Obama and elect enough Republicans to have a majority in the Senate. We need Mitt Romney as our next president and George Allen as our next Senator from Virginia so we can put a stop to this foolishness.
William D. Neal, of Hague
Thanking cops for doing their duty, regardless of tickets
I recently had to call upon the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office for assistance for a somewhat serious matter and having come from a city of over 1 million people and 3,000 law enforcement officers (excluding state level) I was impressed at the level of professionalism and training I encountered. Living in a large city, the reputation bantered about of small town law enforcement is of inferiority to the “big town.” Not true by a long shot.
City or large town law enforcement officers are on the streets in large numbers and can respond to a call, being close by and free to do so, at a moment’s notice. Back up can arrive equally as fast. Here, law enforcement may have to travel many miles very quickly to arrive at a destination and frequently arrive alone without the benefit of back up or assistance, forcing them to wear many “hats” simultaneously. They may be handling prior calls as well. The level of stress and danger here can be many times city officers. To overcome these differences, I believe the level of professionalism here is greater for compensatory and safety reasons.
Law enforcement personnel have difficulties in areas not many think of: They may have to arrest someone they gave assistance to just a day earlier and they may be called by you, the citizen, to protect you from danger and they will do whatever it takes to provide this protection. Try asking family or friends to assume this responsibility. Not very likely. They will tell you to call guess who? The kicker is, the responding officers will perform this potentially dangerous effort out of duty alone – they do not even know you! They are simply sworn and duty-bound. I cannot imagine what goes through their minds when they are pressed to assist an endangered drug dealer from another drug dealer, grizzled customer or vice versa, yet they do their duty.
The people of our country go a long way to thank military personnel, and deservedly so, for the year-tour or more they spent defending our rights overseas. We need to thank those at home who spend entire careers doing the same thing – defending our rights right here at home. A full 12 percent of officers were killed at home compared to numbers of military killed in action overseas in recent years. A comparable ratio of law enforcement personnel lose their lives on duty as military personnel overseas.
Do as I do: As you pass by any law enforcement personnel on the road, wave a warm hello just to let them know for at least a moment, you recognize the dangers they face and the efforts they provide for you and take a moment to know without them this town may turn into a “Mad Max” in a matter of hours. Give generously to the Sheriff’s funding drives and do not use the last moving violation you received as the criteria by which you measure these fine folks.
Paul Mountjoy, of Kinsale
The following letters appeared in the September 19 edition of the Westmoreland News.