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Letters for the week of July 19, 2017

All that is saved is not lost

As a Sudden Valley resident, my heart had an emotional, anxious response to the bleak outlook for Sudden Valley and the fatalistic tone of the Weekly’s report on a recent election outcome. But my brain also had a negative reaction, but of a more rational sort, as the tone and content of the article seem misleading. 
I think the article missed the mark on delivering the news on Sudden Valley’s current situation. The article states, “The troubled community on Bellingham’s southeastern doorstep had just disposed of a plan to rescue its aging roads and other assets.” Here the ballot measure is misrepresented as a logical and appropriate fix for a straightforward problem of deferred maintenance. When in actuality, a bulk of the proposed loan would fund an investment in a new community center building, the likes of which has never existed in Sudden Valley.
Many Sudden Valley Community Association members who turned this proposal down acknowledge the need to pay higher dues to manage and improve existing assets. But the board of directors’ proposal went beyond that, asking members to finance new development and a new type of asset. 
The backstory of historical mismanagement, and current political divides are more nuanced for me to completely grasp or easily articulate. That said, positioning a quote by Larry Brown as representative of any reasonable assessment of Sudden Valley’s prospects is a dubious reporting move. Larry Brown, while currently board president, carries heavy bias in favor of the recent proposal and has demonstrated a flair for dramatic rhetoric. 
I appreciate the attention the Weekly has given to current events in Sudden Valley and wanted to share this perspective on your reporting accuracy.

—Jim Harmon, Bellingham

A wonderful community

As a Sudden Valley resident, I am dismayed that you have chosen two of the most polarizing figures in our community to represent our recent election regarding a dues increase.
We have long had a small group of people who seem to exist for conflict and who have produced acrimonious politics internally. Most of us are not like that. Sudden Valley is a nice place to live. We have a beautiful environment, and (most) of the people here make excellent neighbors. Most of us choose to simply live our lives, and to let those who thrive on shouting at each other do so to their content.
Personally, I wish they would stop shouting at each other, so we could get stuff done, but it is what it is. Meanwhile, my house continues to be a lovely place to be. The community continues to function. Life is good.
Characterizing our issues in a “he said, she said” fashion creates an exaggerated dichotomy and creates an impression of conflict that is in no way the dominant theme of our community. Portraying us as represented by those who seek out conflict is unfair. Please stop.

—Paul Hope, Bellingham

Wealthcare, not heathcare

This letter is directed to those people who can, in all honesty, stand behind the current Republican health plan. Have you looked into how this bill was passed, how it might affect you now or in the future and how it will be financed? If you haven’t, please do so, for you may find yourself very surprised.
First, do not lose sight of the fact that this bill will cut taxes for the wealthy. According to the Congress Budget Office it will result in $88.3 billion in tax cuts—mostly for the wealthy. Is this a health care issue for you?
Second, if you purchase health care on your own, you will get greater tax benefits if you are young rather than old. Yet, is it not the elderly that will need greater support due to their age?
Third, it will control how Medicaid funds are distributed. Medicaid funds will be given to states on a “block grant” basis. This allows each state to further define how such funds are spent. There will be no uniformity on health coverage from state to state as each state will control what services are provided.
The latest Congressional Budget Office estimate is the Republican plan will increase the numbers of uninsured by approximately 22 million and increase premiums by 15-20 percent in 2018-2019.
Do you consider this an improvement in health care? I don’t. This is wealthcare, not healthcare.

—Peggy Borgens, Ferndale

Go ahead, repeal and replace

As an activist Democrat, I completely support the Republican goal of repealing Obamacare. Obamacare is a gift to health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and investment companies who continue to consolidate their control of the long-term care business.
Of course, if the Republicans repeal Obamacare without a better replacement, they will lose big time in the next election cycle.
So in the spirit of good political sportsmanship, I offer this free advice: As you Republicans repeal Obamacare, simultaneously replace it with Medicare for all. This will lower costs, increase efficiency in the health care system, improve health outcomes and as a result improve the economy overall.
This is a perennial formula for electoral victory: Happy taxpayers and a strong economy.
So go for it, Republicans. Repeal Obamacare now and replace it with Medicare for all.
No charge for this unsolicited advice. We Democrats care about everybody.

—Michael Chiavario, Bellingham

Follow the money

Five major health insurance companies in the United States are led by CEOs, each of whom are paid between $130 million and $138 million a year. That is about $670 million a year to the five CEOs.
Not one person is treated or cured by that $670 million dollars.
In addition, most hospitals and insurance companies are for-profit institutions and accountable to the stockholders. Insurance companies compensate their lawyers and accountants to figure out what your premium will be or whether your claim will be paid or not. With the exception of doctors, nurses, med techs and hospital staff, none of these CEOs, shareholders, attorneys, accountants and clerical staff are helping you get well or curing your injury.
Our insurance premiums and taxes are subsidizing this industry and it is not about healthcare.
Single-payer is a pool of money designated to keep us healthy and to cure us when we are sick or injured. We would all pay into it just like Social Security and Medicare. It is a tax, but less expensive than for-profit insurance premiums plus co-pays. It provides care for those who have no income. It assures fair pay for medical professionals, support staff and facilities maintenance. The pool of money would keep rural hospitals open.  Veterans would get care no matter where they live.
Makes sense to me. If you agree, tell your senators and congressional representatives.

—Alice Brown, Bellingham

Feed the hungry

What does it mean when 53 percent of children and youth in the county are eligible for free lunch programs? With one in five children in America living in homes in poverty, this is not just a local problem but a national one.
And the current response from budget proposals by the President and the Speaker of the House is to drastically cut the SNAP (formerly food stamp) program.
Instead, we need to fully fund this program while we deal with the underlying causes. Our calls and letters to our representatives about this dire situation can make a difference. Have you got five minutes to make a call?
Millions of American children are depending on us, along with the future of our country.

—Willie Dickerson, Snohomish

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