published: Friday, January 11, 2013
Cutting Social Security COLAs is bad politics
They say elections have consequences. The voters have spoken but is Congress listening?
As the president and Congress negotiate the next budget, some in Congress are pushing for cuts in the annual cost of living increases for Social Security. These cuts look pretty small at first but they really add up.
Over the first year, the reduction in benefits would total about $130 per year for a typical 65-year-old. By the time that senior reaches 95, the annual cut in benefits will be almost $1,400.
The year-over-year effect of these reductions means that Social Security's oldest beneficiaries get hurt the most. Given how much food, fuel and health care cost, the notion of trimming our annual increases shows that some in Washington are out of touch with the average senior.
The only discussion about the COLA should be about how to make it more in line with seniors' spending needs.
Nancy Hurlbert | Leesburg
It's time, Americans, to throw off the republic!
The monarchy had failed. The Americans felt it was their right and their duty to throw off such government and to provide new secure government of the people and by the people. The revolution was fought and won by common people.
Then the oligarchy took over. The politicians saw a chance to seize power over the people and took it. They gave us a Republic -- a government for the people. This is a dictatorship with certain limitations but controlled by the oligarchy, the rich. It has ruled America for 223 years.
It is time America! Exercise your right; do your duty! Throw off the Republic; it has failed. You can provide a pure dictatorship or a pure democracy, a government of the people and by the people.
Put it on a ballot and have a special election of all the people.
In 1776 the common man chose to fight, and maybe die, to get a change. Can we do any less today?
Vernon Hall | Umatilla
School board continues to fail to address impact fees
Congratulations to the Lake County Schools for three of its high schools achieving an "A" rating. Finally!
Further congratulations are appropriate for Lake schools, all of which exceeded the state graduation rate of 74.50.
With East Ridge High School leading with a graduation rate of 86.32 and the lowest going to Umatilla High School's 75.88, educational achievement is on the rise for Lake County public school students, parents, staff and volunteers.
Dragging these achievement down is that the school board has consistently been conflicted about who it was elected to champion: the school family and current residents or the homebuilding industry.
The board has refused to collect all the money it legally can and has a responsibility to collect. It has refused to recommend to the county commission that it receive all the impact fee money to which it is entitled, and has failed several times -- thanks to the failure of the Legislature to meet its obligation to fund education adequately -- to support a modest in-crease in ad valorem (real property) taxes to keep our investment in school plants safe, well-maintained and functional.
How many parents would refuse to provide all the money they could for assisting their children, students and future leaders? Why let the school board get away with it? Money does not solve every problem but, then, neither does the lack thereof.
Keep up the excellent work students, parents, staff and volunteers; now, convince the board to do the job it was elected to do or should have been elected to do.
Choice Edwards | Clermont
Let's grow, not cut, public transportation
On Dec. 18, the Lake County Commission held a public budget hearing about transportation. Commissioners reported facing stark budget considerations and the need to make cuts throughout the budget.
As Lake County continues to grow, and as we look for ways to reduce unemployment and boost the economy, a logical course of action is to build and expand an inadequate transportation system, not look for opportunities to make cuts.
On the chopping block were several transportation options that will affect our community, and especially those who have no other means of affordable transportation such as those with visual impairments.
As a representative of New Vision for Independence, the local agency serving the blind and visually im-paired, I was present at this meeting to learn about plans for the future of Lake County's public transportation. I was impressed by Commissioner Welton Cadwell raising the question, "Are additional revenue sources being considered?" in conjunction or in place of cuts. When he asked the question, the other commissioners didn't have an answer, as though they hadn't considered every possible option.
This is complex issue deserving of a well-planned, multipronged solution, which may include community partnerships, new or raised taxes, increased transit fares, partnerships with municipalities, exploring and implementing opportunities to cut costs, and negotiating contracts with other transit providers.
Simply cutting expenses is short-sighted and has negative impacts on the community.
Unless you have needed public transit only to find it wasn't available to you, you can't appreciate the frustration, lack of independence, and powerlessness that further cuts to public transportation would have on those who need it most.
I implore the Lake County Com-mission, residents, and potential consumers of public transportation to explore all options.
Let's grow, not cut, our public transportation system.
Chantel Buck is executive director of New Vision for Independence, Inc., is Leesburg.