Letters to the Editor for Oct. 26, 2017

Special to the PRESS

Letter to the Editor and Laguna Madre area residents,

Residents of the area, please vote NO on the Laguna Madre Water District $16 million bond issue in November. If fully authorized, the bond issue could more than double the tax rate of the water district and residents would then be paying more in property tax than they should.

As former water board directors, we believe there is only one project that is really needed – the sludge holding tanks, which are approximately $1.6 million. With over $5 million in reserve cash, the district can easily pay for that itself without a bond issue.

The other projects, in our opinion, are not needed, overpriced, come with too many unknown costs, and will not be adequately overseen by district staff. For example, the lift station rehabilitation calls for about $50,000 in electrical costs for many of the lift stations without any justification.

Finally, the actual construction costs of the $16 million bond issue are really only about $11-12 million with the rest going towards engineering fees, contingency fees, financial consultant fees and bond counsel fees. That’s about 40-45 percent of the total costs of the bond issue going to non-construction items.

If you want more information about a mistake by the engineers and water district staff that cost us $179,000 on a current project, the private hour-long conference call with at least one board member and the consulting engineers, the 3:30 a.m. texting by the water district engineer to a water board member, please get hold of us.

Please vote NO on the Laguna Madre Water District $16 million bond issue. Your property tax will go up and your money will NOT be spent wisely.

Jeff Keplinger and William “Whitey” Thomas
(former LMWD directors)

 


Dear Editor:

There is a lot of debate going on now about what the Second Amendment means and what new gun controls are possible and desirable. Most reactionaries and liberals have erroneous views on the Second Amendment and what reforms are possible and desirable after the Stephen Paddock mass shooting in Las Vegas. Most, but not all, progressives have more enlightened views.

The Second Amendment has everything to do with the people having access to the same type of individual weapons as the military and police.

It has nothing at all to do with hunting or with the weapons that were common at the time, single shot rifles, handguns and muskets. They were the most advanced weapons of their time and that is what the Second Amendment is about.

Let’s look at history and see how some freedom fighters in the nineteenth century who were active in the struggle against slavery felt about weapons. Fredrick Douglass said, “A good revolver has done more to insure our freedom than all the words written on any piece of parchment”.

About twenty years later, Ida Wells wrote in her book “Southern Terror”, “A Winchester rifle ought to have a place of honor in every black home.”

Both of these freedom fighters were talking about state of the art weapons of their time; the AR-15s and semi-automatic handguns of their time. Later on in the history of the USA, the IWW, the Ludlow strikers, and many others knew the value of being armed. It seems that a lot of liberals would rather die than defend themselves from the alt-right, white supremacists, and neo fascists. I’ll pass on that point of view. All progressive lives and liberals lives are worth more than the lives of the right wing groups that I mentioned above.

Are there reasonable restrictions that can be applied to individual ownership of firearms? Of course there are. Prohibition of private ownership of crew operated weapons, fully automatic weapons, devices such as bump stocks, trigger cranks, all magazines, belts, or drums with higher than a thirty round capacity should be banned. That is about all the restrictions that are possible or desirable.

We are living in a historical period that is more like the 1850s than any other. That means that compromise with reactionaries will be impossible because the political divisions in the USA are along cultural lines that cannot be compromised. We just have to make sure that the reactionaries’ agenda is completely smashed and they are rendered politically powerless. Progressives, and especially liberals, need to learn from history and arm themselves with modern firearms and accurate information before it’s too late.

Walter Birdwell
Laguna Vista

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