Letters to the Editor

6/14 Letters: Elected officials shouldn’t get to vote themselves a raise

Taxpayers squeezed

Grab your wallets folks, the Orange County Commissioners are on the prowl for more ways to squeeze the taxpayer.

The county is awash with social programs, some of which are necessary to help those who truly need it. Others seem to just support the nonprofit “CEOs” who seem to lurk behind every tree.

Does anyone else think it is obscene that elected officials get to vote themselves a raise? It should be an honor to serve as an elected official, not a lucrative sideline.

A referendum should be required allowing voters to approve or disapprove a raise for commissioners.

How about commissioners propose that in the interest of the taxpayers? I won’t hold my breath.

Robert L. Porreca, Hillsborough

A blank check

N.C. Senate Bill 559 could give public utilities a blank check at their customers’ expense.

It could raise utility rates on North Carolinians and will weaken the state’s oversight when it comes to future rate increases. AARP North Carolina opposes this bad bill, specifically three new “tools” that could negatively impact customers.

The first tool, “multi-year plans,” would allow the N.C. Utilities Commission to establish electric rate (increases) for the next five years. That’s too long to allow pre-approved increases based on speculative forecast costs.

The second tool, called “banding,” would basically pre-approve a range of returns for utilities. With looming costs for storm recovery, clean-up and infrastructure improvements, now is not the time to loosen NCUC oversight.

The third tool (“securitization”) would allow the utilities to issue a bond for storm recovery costs that increase customer’s bills through a new surcharge for the next 30 years. Protections must be added to truly see consumer cost savings and not result in a blank check for utilities.

Bottom line: Too much is at stake for N.C. utility customers to push through a flawed bill that could have many older residents on fixed incomes choosing between paying for electricity or medication or even putting food on the table.

Steven Hahn, Raleigh

Associate State Director, AARP North Carolina

Tillis silent

I just re-read a 2016 letter that Sen. Thom Tillis sent to then-Secretary of State John Kerry, scolding the Obama administration for “engaging” with the totalitarian regime of Venezuela. This consisted of a visit to Caracas by an undersecretary of State.

Tillis seems to have gotten over his earlier concerns over human rights, since he has been silent regarding President Trump’s love affair with the murderous Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea.

He also has been silent regarding Trump’s failure to criticize or sanction the crown prince of Saudi Arabia over the murder and dismemberment of Jamal Kashoggi.

Robert G. Harrison, Durham

Fight poverty

Why should the U.S. prevent 25,000 children from dying each day?

Because it can.

But beyond the humanitarian imperative, addressing global poverty is vital to our national security strategy and economic interests.

Developing impoverished areas decreases the vulnerability of weak states to terrorism and insurgency. Additionally, undeveloped regions represent the largest untapped global market for American producers.

We all do better, when we all do better.

Allocation of funds to the international affairs budget not only impacts millions of impoverished people around the world, but each of us at home.

Sydney Downes, Chapel Hill

No party is safe

Because President Trump won election through the Electoral College, many Republicans feel that to abolish the college would be against the party’s interests.

In fact, because of the whimsies of our electoral system, no political party is safe. Until this point is understood by all, thus ensuring the end of the college, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact needs to be passed.

Somewhere within the state’s Senate chambers is Senate Bill 104. It states, consistent with the NPVIC, that our state’s electoral votes will go the winner of the national popular vote.

This is a bill that is popularly supported by Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike.

It is time for our legislators to stop their dithering and turn Bill 104 into a law that allows N.C. to participate in the NPVIC.

Few are the times we are allowed to vote as a nation. Those opportunities shouldn’t be squandered by a well-intentioned by archaic barrier that prevents us from making our votes count.

Craig Mosby Miller, Leland