Letters to the editor, Feb. 21, 2020

Letters to the editor, Feb. 21, 2020

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A reasonable investment

To the editor,

Over half the schools in our city were built between 1949-1963. I started kindergarten in 1960 at Robbinsdale, attended South Jr High and graduated from RC Central High School in 1973. To the retired and elderly still among us who funded the construction of those schools and those that followed, thank you. You accepted your responsibility as parents and citizens and invested in the future of Rapid City. Tens of thousands of local citizens educated in our community owe you a debt of gratitude. And now it's our turn.

Patching buildings built during the Eisenhower presidency is no longer financially feasibly. I encourage you to visit RCASfuture.org for the sobering facts. The issues of decaying buildings, overcrowding and safety have been sidelined for years. They can't wait any longer.

Retirees might not feel they have a vested interest in supporting a strong school district. But we all have an interest in the services of the professionals-medical in particular-who are attracted to a community with strong schools. We can't have one without the other.

My property taxes will increase $30-35 per month- a reasonable investment in the city and my grandchildren's future. Our parents paid it forward. Now it's our turn.

Maureen Zomney, Rapid City

Future boards not bound by the promise

To the editor,

The only thing that is keeping me from voting yes on the school bond issue is the fact that it would give the school board the authority to raise property taxes without community approval. They tell us that they won't do that unless they absolutely have to. Even if that were true for the current board members, future school boards won't be bound by that promise. It is my understanding that they would have the authority to raise it at any time. Yes, our kids need better facilities. But our community deserves a better option.

Justin Harn, Rapid City

We can't afford to wait

To the editor,

What educational paradise will I enter if I vote no on the school bond issue? Surely you're saying we'll all be better off if we vote no, right? Will interest rates for bonds be lower in some near future? Will it be easy to jigger the details of the next plan to fix all the things you're complaining about? Will we be able to cram even more students into our current buildings as we hope no more sudden maintenance emergencies crop up? Will our students be safer if we vote no? Will the future you promise for my No vote be better than things are now?

I truly believe a No vote is simply kicking the proverbial can down the road, not solving anything, and in fact just making things worse for our childrens' futures. Perhaps the current bond plan does not comply precisely with how you would have it. Perhaps no plan ever will. That's why we rely on experts to work on such things, and why we openly discuss the plans to allow community input.

Our children can not afford to wait until all of us have a plan that satisfies everyone, because that day will never come.

Jeff Jacobson, Rapid City

State Senator responds to a letter

To the editor,

I’d like to address a letter received by you from Vera Cline of Rapid City on February 16th regarding concerns about me and my actions as the Senator for District 35.

My voting record is clear, and serving on the transportation and taxation committees, I’m uncertain what health and human services bills I’ve voted on and killed as referenced in her letter. I haven’t been provided the opportunity to vote on anything of the nature she referenced. I can guarantee however, given the chance I would’ve upheld the Constitution and will always endeavor to be fiscally responsible with decisions for the sake of our taxpayers.

Luckily voting records are public, and anyone wishing to review my voting record and bills I’ve sponsored can find the information at https://sdlegislature.gov/

I appreciate hearing the perspective of District 35. Perhaps Ms Cline will consider contacting me directly if she has further questions or comments.

Senator Jessica Castleberry, Rapid City

Parents are failing

To the editor,

Do you think kids should have a whole class to get their missing work, or homework done? I think that if you have missing work or homework you need to do it on your own time. This class is wasting time that we could be learning other things. Kids that don’t have missing work are just sitting doing nothing. Homework is called homework for a reason if it needed to be done in school it would be called schoolwork. Kids need to have the responsibility to get their work turned in on time.

The teachers shouldn’t have to babysit teenagers to make sure that they do their homework and missing work. If your kid is constantly failing, as a parent you are failing.

Erica Stverak, Rapid City

Hemp Prices Plunge

To the editor,

This was one of the headlines in the Journal for 2-12-20. Hemp biomass prices dropped from $40 a pound in July to under $10 a pound this month due to a quadrupling of supply in one year's time. Consequently hemp production would not bring in much revenue for South Dakota. After consideration of administration and regulation enforcement, expenses would probably exceed revenue for the State. Additionally $3,5 million is needed to start up the program.

Governor Kristi Noem is trying to keep the State's budget in balance. Most states cannot do that. Many states that have allowed hemp production have gone on to legalize marijuana. This has resulted in many unforeseen problems and additional costs to those states.

Governor Noem, keep up the good work for our State. We do not want a state income tax.

Jim Stephens, Rapid City

We need the jobs

To the editor,

When was the last time you went to the local grocery store and saw all the new scan and go’s? Or even going to get some food and saw the new order it yourselves? Well since all the new technology has come it has been a major decrease in jobs and is becoming a big problem now in today's society. There are other reasons why there are a decrease in jobs but the one that stands out the most is modern day technology.

In January 2019 a whole 4% of people were unemployed in the U.S. The least amount in 2019 was 3.5% but that equals up to about 11530750 adults in the U.S without a job. In a study taken by the McKinsey Global Institute had estimated by the year 2030 between 400-800 million people could lose their jobs to technology.

Some people may disagree with my statements and think that there are new jobs appearing every day or more opportunities working with robotic technology for a new chance for jobs and future advancements for a better future. But how can we have a better future if we don’t get paid enough to keep it from being that way?

Alison Wilson, Rapid City

Pay a fair rate

To the editor,

How is it that WestJet got such a deal on the very profitable business space they actually lease from the taxpayers of Rapid City?

Meanwhile, the taxpayers and owners of that property are having their personal property taxes increased.

WestJet needs to stop stealing from the RC taxpayers. The airport needs to enforce fairness to the people who own that property when determining the rental value of that property. Pay up or move out. My tenants don’t tell me the amount the a month their rental amount is or will be. As my taxes and insurance rates increase, so does the rental expenses for our renters. Market value should directly impact the rental fee. Business 101?

Kyle Kircher, Rapid City

Vote them out

To the editor,

Below is from an article by Alexander R.M. Boyle, in the Rapid City Journal February 14.

“Recently released data from the Labor Department shows that over 500,000 fewer jobs were added in 2018 and 2019 than originally thought, making 2019 the weakest year of job growth in the past eight years. Job growth has been gradually slowing since it peaked in 2014. The public does not seem aware that Trump's tax relief has done little other than widen income inequality and raise our annual deficits and debt.”

Trump and the Republicans are taking us into a total economic collapse where tens of millions will lose their jobs. The US deficit is one trillion a year and is set to increase each year over the next decade. Trump and the Republicans are pushing America into the greatest Depression we have ever seen, and we sit blindly voting for it to happen. “I got mine so who cares about tomorrow” is the GOP mantra.

If you care about your children and grandchildren you need to vote out every Republican.

Brent Cox, Sturgis

We the people

To the editor,

The South Dakota Committee on State Affairs, at the request of the Office of the Governor, has introduced SB 157 bill which wrests power from local citizens by gutting a county process that has worked well for our state for decades: the Conditional Use Permit (CUP).

Senate bill 157 affects the county decision-making process for ALL types of projects. Say goodbye to having input on a wind turbine, mine, or confined animal feeding operation in your neighborhood. Such decisions could be made without notice by an unelected administrator.

Locals know best their community needs. This bill concerns all South Dakotans because it is a direct threat to citizens’ ability to participate in their own government. County decision-makers have a duty to protect local communities and economies, and reject this attempt to gut local control.

The process we have works well because public hearings allow citizens to bring crucial information to elected county officials. An administrative approval process is likely to cause more hard feelings.

The US Constitution begin with the words “We the People,” not “I the Governor.” Ask your state senators to vote no on SB 157!

Gena Parkhurst, Rapid City

Where are we headed?

To the editor,

After George H.W. Bush invaded Iraq in 1991 there was a documentary about Saddam Hussein's rise to power from a low-level enforcer in the Ba'ath Party to president. One troubling segment showed Hussein speaking animatedly to the Iraqi parliament. During his tirade he would call out the names of various ministers, asking them to stand, whereby he would call them traitors and enemies of the state, citing trumped up charges against them. Then his henchman would lead the offender out of the room, never to be seen or heard from again.

Donald Trump is treating patriotic Americans who lived up to their oaths of office and told the truth in front of the Senate as political enemies. Who is next?

There are no guardrails left on Trump's highway, and the senators who "hoped" he "learned his lesson" should be ashamed of themselves. Senators Thune and Rounds, who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, are now part of the Trump cult and completely spineless.

We deserve better and can only hope things will change in November. Until then, NO ONE should feel safe from the unfettered vindictiveness of the toddler occupying the White House!

Bruce Oberlander, Deadwood

Who has the moral high ground?

To the editor,

Given the path(the low road) that the GOP takes on other issues of ethics and morality, why should they get to claim the high ground on the issue of abortion? Truthfully now, have they not used safe abortion when convenient even back when it was illegal? Should we revert to unsafe abortions for those who can't afford an expensive underground doctor?

The main difference here is, who is honest about it and who isn't? I'm not an advocate for abortion just as I'm not an advocate for "shock and awe" war but both appear to be accepted American morays, legal or no. So when self righteous folk call out others, they absolutely are casting the "first stone" in an issue where guilt is shared universally. U.S.religion certainly holds no moral high ground either.

They are nowhere near above worldly hierarchical corruption as they, like the U.S. Senate, figuratively cry "give us Barabas" over ethics and morality. On the bright side,at least Mitt Romney stuck to his oath and didn't knuckle under to what he knew to be an obvious farce.

Dave Freytag, Rapid City

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