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Sick and tired of scare tactics, levies

     Brad Schaff said (Feb. 7 issue): “If we don’t pass a levy, and another one the year after that...what will we have after that?”

     They plan to ask for another levy next year even if this one finally passes? It isn’t enough if they finally get a “yes” on this one but will continue to pressure us on one levy after another, four times a

year if necessary. What arrogance! If they don’t like our answer once, just keep bombarding us. This is what I resent most: They won’t accept our decisions but will keep bullying us until they get the “right” answers.

     A Kamiah business owner told me that we still have one year to go on a 15-year school levy that increased her property taxes by over $400.

     She didn’t dare publicly complain because it might hurt her business. Yes, a tax-paying member of a local business who is supposed to gain so much from a new levy...wondering when it will all stop. Good question.

     We’re told other communities passed levies, like we should be ashamed for not also doing so. Is this how we determine what is best for KAMIAH? Others passed theirs so we should too?  (Do they still have unpaid levies? How do their property taxes and demographics compare?)

     We’re told that business needs it, the school might close, education will suffer, other communities have more school pride...scare tactics with dubious evidence and often outright lies. This levy is mainly about extra-curricular activities, not about keeping the school open or educating our students.

     Suggestion:  Give us access to a full budget plan, completely itemized, naming each extra-curricular activity and other expenditure, so we can determine its value?

     Kamiah has a large population on Social Security, unemployment, disability, or welfare of some kind. Our health care, groceries, heating fuel, transportation costs for groceries and other goods are all going up along with those property taxes, and many are already on the edge. It is no small thing to ask citizens of our community for more and more every year. And it is HUGE that we don’t have respect from our “leaders” on a local level any more than we do on a national level. Does anyone care that we’ve already said “no” several times recently?

Lana Hiemstra



Say yes to our future

     It was astonishing to see how much local communities, such as Nezperce, Grangeville, and Orofino have supported their public schools. The fact that Kamiah has passed one levy for $100,000 since 1996, while our neighbors have supplemented millions to keep their schools financially above water, says a lot. Perhaps the Kamiah school district should be applauded for their budgeting tact, while receiving very little community funding. However, I in no way support cutting any more school programs and/or teacher benefits. In fact, I believe the levy should have been increased to a level that would regain those previous losses. By not passing this levy our schools would fall even further behind our other local communities. We have already lost several hard-working and cherished teachers, administrators and students to surrounding communities.

     The fact remains that our school district has gotten through these tough times by dipping into the surplus that was created by the federal forest funds. This surplus has run dry. Federal and state budgeting cuts have left us with the unfortunate realization that it is up to us. Together, like our neighboring communities, we have the ability to invest in our children and community.

     Idaho currently ranks 50th in the amount of funding they give per student. Shame on the State of Idaho and the Federal Government for not putting our children’s education and all of Idaho’s wonderful communities first. Shame on us if we, as a whole, decide to draw a line in the sand at the local level and do the same.

     I write this letter on the day that I am proud, honored and humbled to say my oldest son, a current Kamiah High School student, will play Taps at a local funeral. His musical skills are courtesy of the recently cut music program, while he was in our junior high. How many of our children may never get the chance to realize their hidden talents and passions?

     I am a local tax-paying, Idaho County landowner. Please join me in saying Yes to OUR children, Yes to OUR community, and Yes to OUR future.

     Please vote Yes in support of our levy on March 11.

Jeff Whipple



Get over yourselves

     After considerable research and opinions of experts in this field I have come to the conclusion that NOwhere in the Constitution & Bill Of Rights of the Republic of the United States of America that gives people the right NOT to be insulted, belittled, jeered, or held up to be a laughing stock in public opinion.

     People have different opinions as to names of schools, teams, and theological points and have so stated their opinions and many times lose their argument and so might I suggest that they put on their big girl panties, get over it and accept things the way they are until such time if ever their opinions should prevail. Instead they should accept their responsibility as a citizen of this Constitutional Republic and be a contributing citizen instead of trying to tear things down that many people both in uniform and out have died to protect.

     The liberal bent of some of the people seem to have the opinion that if they don’t like something they should try to make it illegal instead of just not participating in the activity. They also seem to think that anything they want should be paid for by the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. taxpayer by calling it a human right which of course it is not.

Alfred Paul (AP) Jones



Don’t mess with the convention

     Senator Curt McKenzie of Nampa is calling for a Constitutional Convention for a balanced budget amendment to be limited to that subject only by another amendment. Does he not understand that once a Constitutional Convention is convened, the partied no longer are in any way obligated to adhere to any directive, stipulations, limitations or regulations agreed to prior to the said convention.

     In short, they answer to absolutely nobody. There is no control of any subject matter, action taken, changes made to our Constitution up to and including any feature that might be not to their liking. That was the concern of Chief Justice Warren Burger and other Constitutional scholars years ago in warning the nation against this procedure.

     Some states have rescinded their consent to calling for a Constitutional Convention; only to be met with the claim/protest that the consent cannot be revoked. That remains to be seen; but there can be no doubt that this is something we do not want to expose ourselves to. If an amendment can’t be passed in the usual manner, forget it. It would likely not be ratified by the states anyway. This is dangerous. Don’t fool with it—ever.

C.M. Chuck Vogelsong



Changes in forest policy not for the better

     In 1958 when I started logging there were less than 20 full time employees on the local forest district. They were selling millions of board feet of saw logs. We were logging strictly the oversized timber and all burned timber as soon as possible, and any other dead or dying timber. Sawmills were operating, the economy was going fabulously, everyone had jobs, logging roads were left open for hunting, fire protection or public enjoyment.

     There were cattle and sheep grazing on the forest in large numbers which also contributed to the general economy. We were also spraying the forest to keep the bugs in control. Also if fire started in was put out immediately.

     In the early 1960s the forest service decided we must quit selective logging and go to strictly clear cuts.

     Then the forest service decided we needed to harvest the small timber and leave the older timber. About this time they quit spraying the forest and bugs were allowed to go wild.

     Then they decided that all livestock grazing must stop except on a limited basis.

     Now we have forests that are overgrown with small reproduction and brush, where if they had left the cattle and sheep grazing on the forest in large numbers they would have kept the grass, small timber and brush eaten off.

     Now if a fire starts, naturally they monitor it and decide to let it burn if the forest needs thinned, not being smart enough to realize that fire gets bigger on all sides not just the area that they are monitoring. Once a fire gets over 100 acres in size, using the methods that they do it is all but impossible to put out.

     The U.S.F.S. is closing roads as fast as they can and denying the general public access with tank traps, locked gates and travel map that nobody can make any sense of.  

     They also say that ATVs are tearing up too much ground and must be banned except on designated roads. I feel after two years you can see very little damage especially compared to a fire that destroys everything. Bottom line is that when the Forest Service get all the motorist vehicles restricted to established routes, they will say that is causing too much resource damage and close the whole forest to motorized vehicles.

Leonard Wallace

                   New Meadows


Lets try a third option for school funding

     To weigh in on the matter of the latest proposed Kamiah school levy, quite heavily favored, according to both the editorial and opinion letters published last week.

     I don’t find such support all that surprising, considering the rather direct connections to education that most proponents have, whether as employed by the system or as parents, grandparents, etc.  It is easy and natural to support what personally benefits us.

     At least one of the opinions expressed rather chided would-be, hesitant voters, seemingly asking them, “what’s the matter, don’t you care (about our children and their future)?”  The implication seemed to be that either one votes Yes on the levy, or else one does not care about children.  I would take issue with that, for there is a very definite, very valid third position, which I, for one, hold.

     It has to do with my personal assessment and evaluation of our entire educational system as it exists today - to say the least, a federally managed and hence exorbitantly costly one.  I dare say that I care about children and America's future as much as anyone, yet why should I want to vote to further expand and perpetuate a system which simply should not be? 

     Instead, just think back to 2010 and Idaho’s campaign for governor. Say what some folks might about then gubernatorial candidate Dr. Rex Rammell, but on the matter of education he had the answers, the solutions and the proper, entire road map for a viable and constitutional education system for Idaho. Too bad that not enough of the voters could see the wisdom of his plan. Not enough Idahoans got behind him to enable him to bring it on home for us.

     Dr. Rammell’s prescription?:  Jettison the bloated, federally-controlled bureaucracy, and for so much less money, bring education back home under the jurisdiction of local, truly independent school boards—indeed if not all the way back to the family kitchen table.  Now THAT plan I voted for, and I’d do so again and again! 

     So what now? How long must we again wait for another Rex Rammell to come along and show us the way out of the federally controlled morass we’re in? For sure, Idaho can do much better. Our children deserve much better than they’re getting under the current federal, socialist system. Thank you.

Carol Asher



Something worth investing in

     At The Life Center one of our values is “Making Life Better.” We understand this goal includes many things not just one or two things. As I look at our community in Kamiah I see something of great value that is worth investing in. The people are worth investing in. The families are worth investing in. The community is worth investing in and our children are definitely worth investing in!

     I don’t think any of us have great confidence in our government and we all would like to see some changes in different areas but the upcoming levy is not about our government. It is about our children and our community. The government forces us to pay many different taxes and then they dole them out as they see fit. The upcoming school levy is one of the few times we voluntarily agree to pay a tax and we get to decide 100% where it goes!

     Kamiah schools are not the Federal Government’s schools and they are not the State of Idaho’s schools, they are our schools. We should care about Kamiah schools more than they do and we should step up and invest in our youth, our community and our future. Even if you don’t have kids in the school you have an investment in this area and you have a stake in its future. A yes vote for the upcoming levy is a yes vote for our young people and a yes vote for our community.

     On our signs we say Kamiah is a great place to live, work and play. If we don’t strengthen our schools Kamiah might still be a great place to play but it will no longer be a great place to live and work. We need strong schools. We need a yes vote on the levy. Join me in voting yes!

Kelly Lineberry



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