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Opinion

To protect our privacy, make the FISA court act like a real court

The expiration of key surveillance authorities this spring will force Congress to grapple with the sprawling spying activities exposed by Edward Snowden. Defenders of the status quo sound a familiar refrain: The National Security Agency’s programs are lawful and already subject to robust oversight. After all, they have been blessed not just by Congress but by the judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court.

Annie Cubberly — Money spent on kids now saves us a bundle later

The Grays Harbor Early Learning Coalition applauds the Washington State Legislature for its strong bipartisan effort to pass the Early Start Act. Now, as we launch into the state budget process, we encourage the Legislature to fully fund the bill and affirm our state’s commitment to high-quality early learning programs that create long-term, positive outcomes for our children.

Locals again being shut out of environmental plans

In a recent guest column, County Commissioner Frank Gordon was singing the praises of the Washington Coastal Restoration Initiative (WCRI). It was a “warm and fuzzy” letter about saving salmon and creating jobs here in Grays Harbor County. Please don’t get me wrong; I am all for saving and actually increasing the salmon and steelhead runs in Grays Harbor County. And jobs — of course Grays Harbor County needs jobs!

Usurious banks

The state now has a tax crisis because the state Supreme Court has ruled that the state must comply with the constitutional mandate to properly fund our schools. The Legislature is now considering raising the gas tax to meet this crisis. This would unfairly impact the middle class and the poor. It is time to make the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, so we should reinstate the inheritance tax with proper exemptions. We need this money to properly educate our children and maintain a fairer tax burden.

Drivers don’t keep their distance

In reference to the March 3 Daily World story, ” Aberdeen police stop cars not yielding to pedestrians” — wonderful to see the police protecting the pedestrian. But there’s a problem. Many drivers fail to keep the three-second distance from the car in front.

No endeavor is without risk

Apparently I am in the minority of those whose letters you’ve printed about shipping oil through the port. The majority that I have read seem to have what I refer to as “Doomsday negativism.” They only seem to look at the worst possible outcome no matter how remote it may be. The oil train fires and explosions that have been abundantly referred to are few and far between and the conditions that caused them are not present on the Harbor. The major safety problem that I perceive is the rail and trains that are moving relatively slow. The railroad company has been upgrading its rail system recently and I don’t believe that the company wants to have accidents anymore than we do.

Oil — The risks outweigh the rewards

We are facing economic forces that have the potential to change this community more than at any time since the 1880s, when the Great Lakes region started to run out of timber and it was our turn to be ground zero for wood. Now some think it’s our turn for oil.

Governor’s carbon bill good for environment and business

In Olympia, people speak of “two Washingtons”: the prosperous cities of Puget Sound, home to numerous globally recognized companies, and the rural communities where job recovery is slower and economic development lags behind national averages. Washington needs bold efforts to spur job growth and innovation across all of our communities.

Paul Noe — Governor’s carbon bill would make mills less competitive

Recent news from coastal Washington and the Olympic Peninsula has provided a glimpse into the future of a paper and wood products industry that plays a critical role in the region’s economy. Investments in local facilities are helping them compete in the new efficient manufacturing, carbon neutral energy economy. The question is whether state policies collectively are going to help or hinder that competitiveness.

County facing rising costs, shrinking revenue

The time has come to meet Grays Harbor County’s fiscal problems head on. Your three county commissioners are tasked each year with writing and funding an annual budget, which results in an itemized list of revenue sources (expected income) and expenditures (expected costs) that appear in its General Fund Budget.

Difficult time

I need to say a big thank you to a lot of people during my sad and difficult time. First to my neighbors Brent and Diane Whitmire. Then to Aaron Glanz, Russ Fitts, Dave McManus, Jeremy Towery, Rhonda Minks, plus several I didn’t get their names and Mike MacGregor. A big thank you to Rocky Sage, Chanda Hair, JoAnn Sutter, Patrice Timpson, Angi Schreiber and Scott Sage. Thanks also to Dave and Carol Wayman, Stan and Diane Pinnick, Rhonda and Ken Ham, Rob Schreiber and Brett Mackey. Thank you North Beach Girls basketball team for the flowers and Madi and Emily for delivering them. Thanks to all the people that dropped in, brought food and sent cards. A special thanks to North Beach Printing and the North Beach Schools and staff. In the event that I missed someone please know that I appreciate all this community has done for me and Jaen.