Letters to the editor – Tuesday (3-29-2011)

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 28, 2011

What House Bill 129 says about broadband
House Bill 129 has certainly caught the publicís attention, but I wonder just how many readers have taken the time to read the bill. The catch phrase ěleveling the playing fieldî is accurate. However, the way the bill has been presented by some writers is not accurate. Approximately, 80 years ago the N.C. Legislature passed the Umstead Act. This legislation stated that it was against state policy for any N.C. government unit to go into competition with private enterprise. Bill 129 was written to deal with city government units who have violated this policy. How did Salisbury and other cities that are in the broadband business skirt this policy? Permission came from the N.C. Court of Appeals, not from our elected representatives.
What will HB129 accomplish? It will require municipal broadband providers to follow the same state, federal, and local regulations as private firms and pay the same taxes that a commercial company pays. It will also require a city owned business like Fibrant to keep the ěbooks straight.î The cost of operations must come from the broadband businessís revenue. City owned broadband companies must ěpay their own wayî and cannot be subsidized with other tax revenue. A written yearly report will also be required. House Bill 129 also states that in the future any city that wishes to borrow money to go into the broadband business must first receive public approval through a referendum.
House Bill 129 is not just a bill to protect the cable and satellite companies; it is a bill to protect taxpayerís dollars. The John Lock Foundation, an N.C. think tank, published a research paper in 2009 when Wilson went into the broadband business. The paper stated that cities like Wilson had become the victims of sales pitches from fast talking consultants, and cities that go into the broadband business will find their systems obsolete long before they are paid for. It is a shame that House Bill 129 was not in place before Salisbury city government made the decision to go ěFibrant.î
ó Karen Lilly-Bowyer
Inform yourself on bulbs
When doing a simple survey at three large stores in Salisbury and Concord for the light bulbs currently being sold, I mainly looked for a bulb to replace a 60W incandescent bulb and the prices.
CFL bulbs were priced from $7.98 to $9.98 for two or four per pack. Two stores had LED bulbs priced from $21.97 to $39.98 per bulb. Another type of bulb has CFL set inside a glass bulb but still has mercury, which it states on the back of the packaging. It was priced from $8.98 to $9.97 each. At one store a salesman showed that LED burns brighter with no heat given off and none of the dangers of the CFL.
I noticed that the majority of bulbs I saw were the uncovered and dangerous CFL and the one with CFL inside a glass bulb. And those with no health dangers, as far as I know, are much more expensive.
President Obama said (in a 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle), ěYou know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know ó under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because Iím capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it ó whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumersî.
The new energy law, in effect, bans the incandescent light bulbs. Why are the most dangerous bulbs sold at the lowest price? The consumer needs to be well informed. The choice is there to see. You donít have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what is being pushed on us. Be alert.
ó M. June Clancy
We canít afford this reform
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, has many supporters. People have been led to believe it will make insurance more affordable. One recent column summed up the prevailing thoughts: ěThe only way to reduce costs is for government to get in the game ó as it does in every other country on the planet where costs are half and coverage is broader Öî
But since U.S. taxpayers provide foreign aid to well over three-fourths of the worldís countries, we actually subsidize these (often sub-standard) socialized health care plans. European countries are facing economic instability due to entitlements. And itís no coincidence wealthy foreigners come here for life-saving medical treatment.
Our federal government is already in the game in many areas, especially education. Educating our kids has become secondary as teachers are forced to concentrate on pushing liberal philosophy while ignoring basic studies. Students often canít pass exams. This results not in more rigorous schooling, but instead, testing requirements are lowered or phased out altogether.
Under Obamacare, Medicare could be cut 30 percent. The ěIndependent Payment Advisory Boardî and the ěPatient-Centered Outcomes Research Instituteî are just two of many agencies that will exist to determine our treatment plans. And reimbursing doctors for ěend-of lifeî counseling? Doctors already provide this service. Offering them bonuses is simply evil.
Obamacare adds over 1,200 employees to the IRS payroll, while Medicaid is expected to cover 16 million additional people. It will suddenly be ědiscoveredî that money doesnít exist to fund these expenses. Keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Education (established by Jimmy Carter) employs over 5,000 people; yet, when budgets are cut, only local educators feel the crunch, never the bureaucrats. Health-care reform will be no different.
Thereís no quick fix. Obamacare canít deliver as promised; but it can hurt our entire health-care system. It must be repealed and replaced with something more realistic.
ó Steve Pender