Your letters, April 6
04/06/2014 9:36 AM
04/06/2014 9:37 AM
Flat garbage fee regressive
In his column in the Durham News on March 26, reporter Jim Wise writes that the Durham People’s Alliance opposed the new city residential garbage fee because it would unfairly burden poor people. Mr. Wise only got it half-right.
The People's Alliance has repeatedly demonstrated that the garbage fee is a burden on middle-income as well as low-income residents.
In a written statement last year when the City Council added the monthly garbage fee of $1.80 to residential water bills, we noted, “Instead of $21.60 a year in garbage fees, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would have paid $6.30 (in additional annual property tax). The owner of a $200,000 home would have paid $12.60. The owner of a $300,000 home would have paid $18.90.”
Since they’re a fixed amount no matter one’s income, fees like the new garbage fee are regressive and hit harder the lower the value of a person’s home. The owner of a $50,000 home would be paying only $3.15 more in property taxes, much less than the $21.60 in fees that owner is currently paying.
But our concern about tax fairness isn’t just about low-income homeowners. It’s also about a large range of middle-income homeowners (with home values in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) who are also paying more than their fair share. When funding city services, the Peoples Alliance will continue to urge our elected officials to do what’s best for a majority of residents, not just a few.
People’s Alliance Economic Inequality Action Team
One heck of a Mardi Gras
Three weeks ago we sure had one heck of a Durham Mardi Gras Celebration, and we'd like your feedback.
The parade turned out way bigger and way better than we expected in all that cold (yikes, was it cold!). My frou-frou tutu did not get to come out and play the way she wanted to. Well, until she got inside ... my tutu and her sparkle-shirt buddy thought it was plenty warm in Motorco ... and Fullsteam .. .and the Bar ... and Cocoa Cinnamon. Lots of bands, lots of stages, lots of free entertainment! Did everyone get enough to eat? There was plenty of food around, in the restaurants and at the food trucks. We hope that everyone found something they liked.
Some quiet discussions have begun about Durham Mardi Gras 2015 (already!) and we want your opinions about the festivities. What you liked and what you’d like to see changed next year. We have a few things we know that need to be addressed - the plaza end of the parade, aggressive protester behavior – but we couldn't possibly take it all in and are asking for your help. Parade? Food? Entertainment? Communication? Anything else? Tell us your experiences, share your thoughts (and pictures), and give us your suggestions so we can make Durham Mardi Gras 2015 an even bigger hit!
Happy Spring and Laissez les bull temps rouler!
Re “In new book, former Durham DA Nifong speaks about Duke lacrosse case” (DN, April 2, bit.ly/1olwtP )
Three problems with this book: Nobody really cares anymore, few if any will believe it, and the title of the book is much too long and self-important. Find it in the $1 bookstore in short order.
Part of the problem
I always thought part of the problem with the Duke lacrosse case was Duke Public Safety getting the Durham Police Department involved.
The house was well within the territorial jurisdiction granted to Duke Public Safety by the N.C. General Assembly. They were there first and then decided to give it to DPD.
Probably would never have amounted to anything if DPS had handled the investigation.
The perpetual “fix”
As we all struggle to make ends meet, there is an elephant in the room that everyone knows about but no one seem to care about addressing. I have come up with an appropriate name for it. I call it “capitalistic sabotage.” It’s in every industry, from software to automobiles and home appliances.
The original furnace in my parent’s house lasted 40 years with no major problem. The next one didn’t go five years without issues. We all know stories of automobiles that start having problems and find that parts are no longer available, and the salesman sees this planed obsolesces as a way to encourage us to purchase another automobile that will be obsolete even sooner.
It is no accident that the one percent gets richer and the rest of us struggle. If we have something that works for us as consumers the corporate establishment will fix it. The bulk of the laws and regulations are made to protect them and not us.
And now comes Microsoft with the announcement of the death of XP operating system. It works well for us, so now they are going to fix it.
Before long I will turn 92 and I would hope that although I’m in the downward arc of my life, I have a least a little fragment of wisdom to pass on. One of the most pesky of annoyances I experience is when a person tells me: “I just don’t have time for politics” or “politics just don’t interest me” or “I just don’t read newspapers or listen to newscasts.” What, I wonder, are they serious?
First of all, I believe that as citizens of this great country, with all its faults, we have an obligation to be informed politically and socially. Politics affect every aspect of our lives.
Politics affect the air we breathe; the water we drink; the food we eat; the safety items in the cars we drive and the highways and bridges over which we travel; the gas and oil which fuels our automobiles; the airliners we fly on; the medications we take; the doctors and dentists we favor; hospitals; shoes and other clothing we wear; the cribs and toys for our children; furniture and mattresses we sleep on; and don’t forget the utilities we pay.
I especially appeal to the young people to become enthusiastically involved in the affairs of their community, state, nation and world. The future lies in their hands.
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