Solid waste, recycling changes are necessary
To the editor:
I appreciate being informed on local issues, however I feel a recent article about managing Washington County’s solid waste department was very misinforming. The tone of the article incites negativity toward recycling as a wasteful and costly program.
Although the landfill operates through an enterprise fund, we have and are paying taxes for it. Put simply, no one donated a 500-acre farm. It might have been federal, state, county or city taxes, or it might be outstanding debt, but it was not free.
Recycling saves and makes money. Putting less in the landfill means extending its life and, although the Solid Waste Department might not directly save money from recycling such hazardous materials as lead acid batteries and antifreeze, we as citizens save money from recycling them rather than having them dumped improperly. It would be very costly to clean up if it were to pollute water systems, for which the government can be fined and held legally liable.
Paying for disposal of garbage does not subsidize recycling programs. In fact, it does not even cover the true cost of throwing away the trash itself. Many of the items that can be recycled, i.e. electronics, refrigerators, freezers, a/c units, water coolers, yard debris and tires, require fees for recycling. I would challenge the idea that items commonly thought of as recycling — paper, plastics, glass and metal — cost a fraction of what they save. If we as residents are paying to recycle them, then I challenge the County Commissioners to consider finding new places to take our recycling when the contract is set to be renewed next year.
I also believe the recycling program should be moved to the general fund and a pay-per-bag trash program be implemented throughout the county. As one of many people who do not make much waste, I am frustrated at the thought of how much I am and will have to pay for people to throw away things that could be recycled or reused. Studies have shown that per-bag disposal policies reduce the amount of trash a community throws away between 25 percent and 40 percent, while increasing the amount a community recycles by about 25 percent.
Making changes to our county’s solid waste disposal program and our recycling program is a step toward fiscal and environmental stability. It is our decision as residents what steps are taken. I encourage all residents to make their voices heard to the County Commissioners.
America, as a country, has lost its compassion
To the editor:
After watching the movie “Death at a Funeral,” I thought about how it takes a tragedy to bring family and friends together. As Americans, we are supposed to be a family, a family who comes together and works out our differences.
If you noticed I said “supposed to be a family.” Sadly, it took a tragedy 10 years ago to bring us together as one big family. On Sept. 11, 2001, many Americans lost their lives. They were of many colors and nationalities, men and women, and of all ages. America cried and mourned together. Many flocked to churches for God’s help. There were no thoughts of mixing religion and politics. The world saw us as people who could come together when needed and a country of people who knew compassion. But as the days and years slipped by, so did our compassion.
During those 10 years, America nominated and elected our first African-American president. It should have been a day of pride for all Americans, a day when we showed the world that we not only talked the talk about fairness and equality but walked the walk. But many who voted for him have become frustrated, and those who didn’t want to make sure he is a one-term president. And that’s fine, after all, families fight among themselves.
It seems like things will only get worse. So many seek an answer to all of this. The answer can be found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. It says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” I’m not trying to force my religion on anyone, and I really don’t care about separation of church and state. Trying to take God out of anything is like taking wetness out of water. It can’t be done. It is said sometimes the best place to hide something (even the truth) is in the open. The answer to all of our problems is right in front of us.
Robert L. Burnett
Progressives have conveniently forgotten facts
To the editor:
I find it incredible that progressive pundits who support a more centralized, activist federal government now attempt to blame the tea party movement for the failure of their policies over the last few years.
For example, Allan Powell’s column (Oct. 7) credits the tea party influence with stopping “thoughtful concessions in order to advance the interests of the nation.” Exactly what part of the progressive agenda was stopped? Not the $810 billion “stimulus” bill of 2009. Not the “cash for clunkers” bill of 2009. Not the 2009 and 2010 homebuyers “tax credit” bills. Not the “health care” bill of 2010. Not the two different 2010 “jobs” bills. And not the 2010 Dodd-Frank “finance” bill. All of those were supposed to help stimulate the economy.
Powell and others have obviously forgotten that, from January 2009 until this year, Democrats held the White House and enormous majorities in both the House and Senate. Add to that the fact that Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress from January 2007 until this year.
I can understand why progressives conveniently forget these facts. By any reasonable appraisal, their policies have failed to improve the nation’s economic condition. Now, they would have us believe that more of these same policies would somehow magically repair our nation, if only the tea party would get out of the way.
Thomas E. Firey