Letters to the editor – Wednesday (9-21-2011)

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Alcoa believes agreement with Stanly is best option
While Alcoa works to reach an agreement with Stanly County that will bring new jobs and investment to the community, critics like Nancy Gottovi (Sept. 18 column) believe the county should continue its fight with Alcoa over relicensing the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project and let those jobs walk away. She would rather hold onto the hope that the federal government will eventually seize Alcoa’s privately-owned dams and turn them over to the state. Then, she reasons, North Carolina can use that energy to create jobs sometime in the future.
She seems to forget that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has already said a government takeover is “not a reasonable alternative” and will not be considered further. Such a takeover is unprecedented — requiring an act of Congress — and costly. In the unlikely event of a takeover, it could cost N.C. taxpayers more than $500 million when we are making drastic cuts to education, reducing services for seniors and laying off state employees.
Alcoa has been working hard to recruit new jobs to its former Badin Works plant. Electronic Recyclers International, the nation’s leading recycler of electronic waste, opened a regional recycling facility in Badin that will employ 200. Now, Clean Tech Silicon & Bar is ready to start construction on a $300 million project that will employ 450 people with wages of $40,000-$55,000. This is a tremendous opportunity for a county with unemployment near 12 percent, and it will bring immediate jobs to Stanly.
As the Salisbury Post noted in its Sept. 14 editorial (“Alcoa and jobs”), a government takeover of the dams is “a distant possibility at best.” It’s better to “gain jobs and other tangible benefits now than to continue pursuing a costly legal battle that doesn’t create employment for anyone other than lawyers and lobbyists.”
Alcoa remains hopeful it can reach an agreement with the Stanly commissioners to bring real jobs to the community right now. It’s time for us to work together to make a positive difference in Stanly County.
— Ray Barham
Barham is the relicensing manager for Alcoa Power Generating, Inc.
Obama’s plan deserves support
Except for the call to pass the NAFTA style “free trade” agreement with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, the president’s jobs plan outlined in his recent speech is great, and Congress needs to stop playing politics, stop obstructing job creation, and pass it.
For this reason I also call on Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) and ask him to be honest and patriotic. Let us know, Representative Coble: Why are you opposing jobs creation? The old myth that making big investors and corporations pay their fair share of taxes will cause more loss of jobs is totally untrue. We know that the savings from unpaid corporate taxes can be invested anywhere in the world, and most companies prefer to invest outside the United States, where labor is cheaper and there is little or no control of environmental pollution. So why should the rest of us take up the bill for unpaid corporate taxes?
As a matter of fact, many multinational companies operating in the United States, such as General Electric, Verizon, big banks, and other companies, made tens of billions of dollars in profits last year, yet paid $0 in taxes. Instead, several of them have received hundreds of millions in tax returns. This is the reality of corporate America, and sadly, this is the system that most conservatives are fighting tooth and nail to preserve. Many of them even claim to be Christians, and they can recite portions of the Bible, but the biblical context is clear: The tree is known by its fruit. What does the Lord ask of each one of us? To love justice, to defend the rights of the poor, to help the widows and orphans and to be humble before God. Defending the interests of the greedy and a system that steals from the poor to give to the super wealthy is opposite to Christianity. It is idolatry, and no idolater will enter the kingdom of heaven.
— Miguel Reinoso