The Montana Standard publishes letters from readers in the Opinion section. Here are this week's letters.
To submit a letter to the editor, go here.
As our health care system is hotly debated in the coming months and years, it’s important to let policymakers know why it’s critical to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion.
As the mother of a child with severe disabilities, I strongly support the ACA and Medicaid expansion.
Reforms like coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay longer on parents’ plans have helped many Americans and are extremely popular. But many may not understand the impact the ACA had on people with disabilities and their families, such as expanding programs that help states provide new or expanded home and community-based services that make it easier to receive specialized care that they need in their homes instead of an institution. These localized services may be harder or impossible to access under a new system like single-payer.
The ACA turned the insurance tide for people with disabilities, helping them be more independent, remain active community members, and supporting their parents, family members and other caregivers. Health care for the disabled is a life or death proposition, and I expect my elected officials to fight to protect progress made by the ACA and not repeal it or replace it with government-run systems.
Kelly Lynch, Helena
A better option
Ref: B-SB Council of Commissioners - Communication No. 19-203
Butte Local Development Corporation Taking Over The B-SB Economic Development Mill Levy Funds
— 59% of those who responded to the B-SB growth policy survey favored citizen - government action alliances.
— The B-SB City-County Government Council of Commissioners Economic Development Mile Levy Funds Committee has traditionally favored a broader Economic/Community Development interpretation of Economic Development than what the BLDC is proposing.
— The citizen action SARTA Board and the BNRC Committee seem to do reasonable jobs in dispersing the public monies they have been entrusted with.
— The B-SB Council of Commissioners has recently authorized the hiring of a Grant Writer - Special Projects Coordinator who could fulfill the function of administrator (just as the Superfund staff person does for the SARTA.), without utilizing a considerable amount of the funds for administration and operation. Also this would provide the B-SB Special Projects person with an opportunity to interact positively with the people of the greater community.
— the B-SB commissioners need to utilize every opportunity afforded to demonstrate proactive positive interaction with their constituents.
— The clause 3.3. (e) allows the B-SB Council of Commissioners to; call for, authorize, and recognize the advice of a citizens action community council that could do the interview grunt work and provide the B-SB Council of Commissioners with a recommended distribution of the B-SB economic development mill levy funds for final B-SB CofC Economic Development Committee review and oversight before submitting to the full B-SB Council of Commissioners for approval.
— The B-SB Council of Commissioners should encourage the BLDC to continue to seek other outside funds for narrowly defined economic development, as they did in the case of the brownfields grants.
— The B-SB Council of Commissioners should make the adjustments to the current B-SB economic development mill levy grant program procedure to eliminate the current inadequacies and/or inconveniences of the current procedure and continue to directly administer those funds.
R. Edward Banderob
The Trump administration is finalizing regulations to dramatically weaken the Endangered Species Act, which could bring an end to the law that has kept some of our most iconic species from disappearing. Since becoming law in 1973, hundreds of species have been saved from disappearing forever, including the bald eagle, as well as grizzly bears and the gray wolf. The ESA is a law with a 99% success record.
But the Trump Extinction Plan weakens endangered species protections by making it harder to protect species listed as threatened, delaying lifesaving action until a species’ population is so small it may be impossible to save. These new rules also exempt climate change from key parts of the law, making it more difficult to protect the species like the wolverine and others that are impacted by the effects of climate change. Finally, the new rules make it easier for companies to build roads & industrial projects in areas of critical habitat that are essential to imperiled species’ survival.
Please contact Senators Tester and Daines and urge them to overturn the Trump Endangered Species rules. We owe it to future generations of Montanans to protect fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction.
Maureen Edwards, Polson
Party before people
I find it disgusting that our Senior Senator and our Governor do not support a citizenship question on the upcoming 2020 Census. It affirms what I’ve always felt about the Democratic Party leadership — they always put the party before the people (us). For them winning is everything, and a little dishonesty here and there is “good for the vote, doncha know.” The citizenship question is one stick to measure the election tallies against. It’s an honesty and integrity thing, and that, in my mind, speaks poorly for Senator Tester and Governor Bullock !!!
EA Johnson, Butte
I am writing from a Registered Nurse and Public Health Professional of .34 years perspective.
I am aware that Montana’s Representative, the Honorable Gianforte, has just voted against HB 986 which protects patients with pre-existing conditions from being withheld health insurance. I have written to Greg Gianforte and expressed my concerns that he is not representing Montanans who need health coverage despite having pre-existing health conditions, when he votes against health care measures that assure Montanans and Americans have access to affordable and prevention service health care without excess out of pocket or high deductible policies. I would be interested in what kind of health care coverage Mr. Gianforte has!
Gary Rillema, Dillon
When I was growing up the preponderance of TV commercials were advertising cigarettes.
When the dangers of smoking to human health were pointed out by the surgeon general of the US and backed by scientific studies (really!! Did we need clinical studies to tell us that lighting something on fire and sucking it into our lungs wouldn't be good for us?) these commercials were outlawed.
Today's commercials are frequently recommending the wonderful drugs available to cure just about anything that ails you. Each however carries certain risks! One such drug is to supplement the anti-depressants people are already taking to make those more effective. The ad states "2 out of 3 people on anti-depressants may still experience symptoms of depression." They freely admit that their drug is not for everyone and to call your doctor "about unusual changes in behavior or worsening depression or thoughts of suicide. Anti-depressants can increase these in those 24 and younger, and elderly dementia patients have an increased risk of death or stroke." They advise you again to call your doctor "if you have stiff muscles and confusion — to address a possible life threatening conditions, or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements as these may be permanent." They candidly state that their product "has been shown to increase blood sugar in some people" and that "other risks are increased cholesterol, weight gain, unusual urges or compulsive behaviors, increased white blood cells-which can be serious, dizziness on standing, seizures, trouble swallowing, and impaired judgement or motor skills."
When I see this commercial and several others endorsing different drugs whose possible side effects are just as frightening, I wonder: If the criteria used to ban commercials is to protect the public's health from an imminent threat, shouldn't these commercials be banned as well??
Jim Sheehan, Butte
Mr. Trump, I have heard you use the word terrorist many times. The recent hate crimes: the killings of American Jews in synagogues and the murders of African Americans in their churches, are acts of terrorism.
The perpetrators have been young, white, American males. Not American Muslims, not Americans of color, not even undocumented immigrants. They have been white supremacists - American white supremacists. We could call this “movement” what it is: A White Supremacist Jihad.
Mr. Trump, you have said you are not anti-Semitic, that nobody loves "the" Jews like you. You seem to support Benjamin Netanyahu unconditionally. You have moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem and stated that the West Bank should be part of Israel.
This proves your love for the Jewish people? They should re-elect you? Do you think Jewish Americans are so easily bought? That these political moves prove your "love"? I know an important part of your religious base are American evangelicals and they are cheering your Israeli politics. But I think you could show Jews just how much you love them by using your bully pulpit and calling out white supremacists for what they are: TERRORISTS.
Saving the life of any American, any human being, that is targeted — especially in a house of worship, shows true concern and love. That will get all Americans' attention to this homegrown insanity. And since your true agenda is always about you, and staying in power — maybe that will garner more votes.
Marlyn Atkins, Clancy
On April 30, the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem committee met to present their false science and to convince the general public that grizzly bears should be delisted from the Endangered Species Act. The fix is in for a phony recovery scheme and delisting by highly paid government workers without the general public suspecting such treachery.
In my days in aerospace engineering this was called “reverse engineering.” The tactic is to predetermine an outcome you desire and then produce fake science to prove the premise you want people to believe.
Representatives of the environmental community were present to testify and appeal to the NCDE committee to save the grizzly bear from delisting but, as usual, their pleas were ignored.
The public must protest these false meetings with predetermined results in a corrupt agency culture and come forward to save the grizzly in a massive protest on opinion pages of local and national newspapers. We can only hope that these agencies with their evil employees will be rebuked by the courts as a result.
The grizzly bear is a noble animal and deserves to survive as Mother Nature intended, notwithstanding the greed and politics of the human species that has already reduced their original habitat by 98 percent.
Bill Baum, Bad Rock Canyon
Rake, don't blow
Leaf blowers raise dust clouds that may contain pollen, animal feces, pesticide residues, fungi and street dirt containing tire rubber, heavy metals and carbon dust, with especially harmful tiny inhalable particles that have been linked to higher hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory illness.
The Los Angeles Department of Power and Water pitted a grandmother with a rake and broom against a professional landscaper with leaf blowers. In three test cycles, the grandmother cleaned the area faster and better than any of the electric blowers and 80% as fast as the gas-powered blowers.
From the "Reader's Digest" editors: “Your local home center is always eager to sell you the latest ‘labor-saving’ device for lawn and garden maintenance. But few inventions in human history are as useless and obnoxious as the leaf blower. These contraptions are absurd wasters of energy and are so loud they have been banned by many municipalities... They don’t work as well as the humble rake, which is more precise, more tenacious, offers exercise to the user... Next time a salesperson thrusts a leaf blower at you at a garden center, ask to see their rake selection.”
Loreen Folsom, Missoula
Huge decision looms
The Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners will in the next few weeks be faced with a monumental major policy decision that will have ramification into perpetuity.
The EPA is now asking for public comment on proposed amendments to the Record of Decision (ROD) relative to the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit (BPSOU) Superfund Consent Decree (CD).
It seems the B-SB Council will have the option:
— to make the politically expedient decision to accept the Consent Decree as proposed and amended without ongoing health studies and monitoring and control of airborne metal-laden, hazardous to human health dust, thus sweeping these issues under the rug, perpetuating continual studies calling into question whether or not Butte is a healthy place in which to live and work, and never showing the citizens of Butte and the outside world beyond a reasonable doubt that the BPSOU Superfund site has been properly remediated and restored as pertains to protecting human health.
Or the B-SB Council will have the option:
— to request that the ROD be amended to insure that the proper cleanup is completed to protect human health and ongoing health studies and monitoring and control of airborne dust are carried out so that the citizens of Butte and the outside world will be assured beyond a reasonable doubt that the BPSOU Superfund site has been properly remediated and restored and that Butte is a healthy place in which to live and work.
Has your Commissioner chosen to adhere to the B-SB City-County Charter and call for a community council consisting of participants from the major personal, familial, communal, educational, spiritual, economical, and governmental segments of your district’s community to advise him/her on this monumental major policy decision?
R. Edward Bandrob, Butte
Hoax is over
It's all over U.S. Congress and news media: "No collusion no obstruction."
After three years and nearly 30 million of tax dollars spent — wasted — the long-awaited 448-page Mueller report is out. He stated also no collusion no obstruction and his 18 Democrat attorneys were sent home.
It's over. Time to do now your jobs now and face reality. The southern border security, immigration and changing the amnesty law is needed.
The political boomerang is returning to the senders. Investigations are underway by DOJ on the origin of the Mueller probe, fake Russian Steele dossier: who paid for it — and the signed fake FISA application to spy on Amrican citizens — all federal felonies. Attemps to unseat a duly elected president failed. Mueller came up empty-handed. So sad.
Yes, the 2020 election is coming up with a booming Trump economy, highly successful and best in 21 years. Unemployment for all is at an all-time low. Time to move on for the nation, address immigration laws not realistic and just a one hour job to change. Fund border security and protect our nation from crime,drugs and human traffickjing. We are a nation of laws. Stop your whining in the halls of Congress and earn your $300,000 a year.
It's over. A probe that was illegal from day one. A crime must be identified before a special counsel is even appointed. No crime. It was a hoax.
Don't waste our time anymore on the Mueller hoax ! The voters decide in this nation and will again in 2020.
A serious crisis also in Venezuela very little reported by the media no food no water, people dying every day, isn't that news and a socialist country that failed the people? Socialism does not work — it's proven again.
The witch-hunt hoax is over. Time to move on. Get realistic. Do your elected jobs for our nation.
Jack Jones, Butte
What? Montana's 2019 66th Legislative Session failed to pass House Bill 274?
I'm astounded that the political leadership of the "Big Sky" state chose not to supply funding to extend educational opportunity for special needs students after 12th grade.
The much-needed extended three year program will in most cases prepare students to be productive citizens in the work force. These students are just delayed in their learning pace. Each student has great capacity to learn, acquire knowledge, and apply to their future lives.
House Bill 274 would have started the process of extending the productive workforce in Montana. In the 2021 legislative session, will the vote be YES for this crucial three-year (19-22 yrs) program? In so doing Montana would join other states of this United States of America in caring for all citizens. Montana should be the leading state and not the last to pass this legislation.
A grandma of two special-needs students in Montana,
Judy Harvey, Federal Way, Wash.