Letters to the Editor: Sales Tax for Drug Court Is Money Well Spent; Give Positive Support to Lewis County Pride

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Sales Tax for Drug Court Is Money Well Spent

To the editor:

    I have surprised my friends because of my support for the one cent per $10 sales tax to fund the Lewis County drug court. I am one of the most conservative people in Lewis County, so I believe in lower taxes and reducing the size and scope of government. But I also live in the real world, and our jail is filled with people who are drug-addicted and people with mental problems.

    In my perfect conservative world, everyone would be required to take responsibility for himself and his family or pay the consequences. However, rather than the addicts paying the consequences, it is my farmer neighbor who had his irrigation equipment stolen and my friend who owns a business that was broken into who pay the price.

    We have the option of building another jail and providing personnel to man it (much more money), or we can continue the drug court. I have heard it said that we are paying an awful lot for 70 success stories. But each of those success stories is no longer stealing from my neighbors and me to support a habit. Many of those success stories have also returned to be peer mentors.

    As a conservative, I don’t believe in “no government.” The word for that is anarchy. I do believe in local control of local programs with people who I know running those programs. I would not favor a tax put in place by the state Legislature to run the program say, in King County, because I don’t know how the jails are run in King County. But I’m betting their cost per bed is much higher than what we pay.

    On the other hand, I do know our jail costs are rock bottom, I know we have a program that is seeing some success, and I know we have judges who are enthusiastic about making it work. This is something I can support; it is a program paid for and controlled locally. It is what government ought to be.

    Is the program perfect? No. But faced with other options, I believe that a tax increase dedicated to drug court and mental health is the best option. Many ideas tossed around aren’t currently legal in our state, and based on the fact that we have a Democratic majority in the Legislature, we won’t see a change in the system any time soon.

    If I had a magic wand, there would be many things I’d change about how we deal with societal problems. But right now, in Lewis County, we have a problem that must be dealt with within the constraints of current law. I trust the people running the program to be frugal with my money. The average family will spend about $25 more a year. It is a small price to pay to address a big problem.

Ruth Peterson

Curtis

Give Positive Support to Lewis County Pride

To the editor:

    I wanted to write to remind everyone in Lewis County that the Centralia College Gay Straight Alliance is having its 5th annual Lewis County Pride celebration Thursday.

    Yes, it has been five years. With all the controversy in the past, and I am sure more in the future, they will keep having this event.

    It seems like more and more are coming to the event. This year, they are having a great band come down from Olympia, and Stonewall Youth of Olympia are coming to perform also. They put on one heck of a drag show.

    I think this event should be attended by everyone. Even if you’re not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, it is an event for everyone. They will be having a crowning of the new Mr. and Miss Gay Lewis County.

    There are going to be vendors and belly dancers, music and, of course, the drag show to have some fun with.

    I am proud to be involved in this event for the past five years, and will be involved for the next 20 years if that is what it takes to get this county to accept diversity and stop hate crimes.

    I would like to thank the business community that has helped put this event on every year. You all have been super supportive and it is greatly appreciated.

     So come on out to the Centralia College Clock Tower Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Show that you love everyone for just who they are.

    Please don’t come as a hater; come as a supporter of a loving community.

John Camenzind

Centralia

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