Protests are all over the globe

Dear Editor:

If one wishes to make some good money, buy stocks in Reebok, Nike or other footwear producers.

Seems 2017 will be a year of world-wide mass protests and marches. Also in this uncertain atmosphere is if one is traveling to foreign countries be sure to wear a Canadian maple leaf lapel pin so you will not be mistaken for one of the unwelcomed. You could end up visiting places you hadn’t planned on.

Joe Schwarz

Penticton

Politically correct on a new level

Dear Editor:

Oh for heaven’s sake, “substance-use disorder”, give me a break! The recent article in The Herald by Camille Bains of the Canadian Press on applying proper terminology to junkies and drug addicts is the stuff that spawns the likes of Donald Trump.

If you are stupid enough to get hooked on drugs, you are very deserving of all the loaded stigmatizing you receive. Altering terminology to make it all sound softer will not render the problem invisible. David Bond, in the Jan. 31 issue of the Herald couldn’t have summed up the current plague and it’s needed resolutions better.

Paul Crossley

Penticton

Most customers saw $15 increase

Dear Editor:

In response to “Electricity prices continue to rise” by Douglas Lychak (Herald, Jan. 20).

I would like to clarify the letter incorrectly states that natural gas rates have recently increased by 75 per cent. He, like others, may have seen headlines last fall suggesting that your natural gas bill is going up by 80 per cent. This was incorrect.

At the time, a change in the cost of natural gas resulted in an approximate 12 per cent overall bill increase. As of Jan. 1, 2017, most FortisBC gas customers saw an overall increase of about $15 per year, approximately two per cent more on your bill.

FortisBC natural gas rates are regularly reviewed and approved by the BC Utilities Commission. In addition to the cost of natural gas rate on your bill, you will also see storage and transport charges that reflect the prices we pay to other companies to store and transport gas through their pipelines and infrastructure.

Like the cost of gas, we do not mark up these costs either. Plus, you’ll see delivery charges which reflect the costs of safely and reliably delivering gas to you through our distribution system. The basic charge on your bill is a flat daily fee that partially recovers the fixed costs of our system as long as you are connected to it.

If you have concerns about your gas bill, you can call us toll free at 1-888-224-2710, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. or visit us online at fortisbc.co.

Diane Roy, vice president,

Regulatory affairs,

FortisBC

Qualifications for city council

Dear Editor:

Apparently our present council has no desire to continue on with being elected officials in the future. They continue to make very unpopular decisions regardless of public opinion.

I attended a public meeting at the Trade Centre on the proposed rezoning of a property on Kinney Avenue. It was a three-hour forum and property owners in the vicinity had very valid concerns. Also of a concern was that the proposed development would in fact make traffic in the area congested and put children at risk.

This forum was three hours. It took council less than 10 minutes the following evening to vote to rezone this property.

Shame on you!

I plan on running for council. Apparently the only qualifications that are needed is the fact that I am breathing.

Leslie Evans

Penticton

Rapid decline in ideology forces

Dear Editor:

Some of you have seen the pictures of a fish grown in a Mason jar, contorted, grotesque, unable to move, unable to function at any task other than consumption, barely resembling a fish.

Long past being able to sustain itself, it is constantly in need of outside support but still it has no real future. Humans can do that sort of thing, until of course, we no longer are able to!

There is no question “we” can push beyond what has already degraded and damaged virtually every aspect of our society and our lives, much like we can grow a fish in a jar; for example, more provincial grants and federal handouts forcing things the local tax base and local businesses cant afford or refuse to pay for — the exact opposite of sustainable. The reality is the bone-crunching ideology that drives this agenda comes with a severe cost that will further impair quality of life, overload services, greatly aggravate an already divisive level of social and political disparity, and diminish the public good.

Penticton’s destiny could have been, and I say should have been, to strive to be a small tourism and agricultural (fruit) city with low density (and low buildings as a reflection of that) human population and governance that focused on internal growth and maintenance. Being intelligent enough to realize the future (and present) of this valley is based on weather (sunshine), water and beaches, would have served us well now and into the future.

Turns out I have read Penticton’s Official Community Plan and it is small wonder this morass of contradictions is violated virtually daily. It was “contrived” by senior public servants and lobbyists to accommodate any and all schemes.

Endorsed by every council and mayor, all in lock step with the same ideology, it pays lip service to some critical personal, social and environmental values — but always licenses real estate and industrial development. It was designed both to swallow public comment in the quick sand of ambiguity and choke public involvement and influence.

Without a revolutionary change in how people contain and control elected officials and senior bureaucrats, the new OCP will simply be a new iteration of words designed to exploit citizens, our tax dollars, our land and water, and an essentially moribund democratic process.

In a province where money has been allowed to govern decisions, this is to be expected. Citizen suspicions about further oppression of open and equal public participation by council/mayor/bureaucrats are accurate. As desperately as we need

administratively and legally enforceable limits on the actions of city hall and council/mayor, it is simply flim flam for the mayor and “our” bureaucrats to even imply they too want enforceable guidelines.

Brian L. Horejsi

Penticton

Property taxes in city will double

Dear Editor:

Penticton City Council, today you have the opportunity to shine in the eyes of the Penticton taxpayers.

The mayor keeps referring to required property tax increases in the press, it is now time for each council member to put the keyboard to the email program and explain your comments to the taxpayers in the press on future property taxes increases required over the next 10 years.

Council members, could you please use a $400,000 residential assessment and do the calculations (excluding the infrastructure deficit) to show the expected tax increases to operate the COP for the next 10 years.

Also, as a second calculation, you could also provide the calculations to accumulate the necessary reserves to fund the infrastructure deficit over the next 10 years. When you combine the tax increases required to operate the City of Penticton and the tax increases to fund the infrastructure deficit, then and only then, will the property owners have the ability to comprehend the magnitude of the dollar values required to place the COP on a secure financial path into the future.

If the combined increases to operate and fund the operations of the COP and the necessary reserves to fund the infrastructure deficit are anywhere close to my mental calculations, Penticton taxpayers will need to purchase a new pair of trousers.

Reported property tax increases of 10 per cent per annum will compound to a unrealistic level of affordability for many Penticton residents. At an 8 per cent annual compounding of property tax increases, property taxes would double over the next nine years (rule of 72). Property taxes of $2,000 today will double to $4,000 in nine years. For many residents on a fixed income, this is a scary proposition.

Former mayors and councillors need to explain to seniors on fixed incomes why they have been placed in this unenviable position. A question to the current City Council, how can you even consider reducing the business multiplier and extending the economic investment zone benefits to business. The COP budgeted expenditures need to be trimmed to the bare minimum until such time that city finances are

under control. 2017 permissive tax exemptions are a good example of incompetence on behalf of someone.

Council, when Penticton residents marked their ballots, they placed their

financial well being in your hands. Council, you have an obligation to be

honest with the taxpayers. Council, I am not holding my breath waiting for you to respond in the press.

Council, I really do not think that you comprehend the gravity of the current

situation. Council, are you going to inform some residents to take advantage of a

reverse mortgage in order to survive living in the COP.

Time for me to stop thinking.

Ted Wiltse

Penticton

Work together to overcome hatred

Dear Editor:

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order blocking immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, and banning Syrian refugees from entering the country. One of the primary drivers of the decision was protecting America from attacks such as 9/11.

It was interesting to note that of the seven countries listed in the ban, none of them actually were engaged in 9/11. The overwhelming majority of foreign terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, who doesn’t happen to be on the list. Perhaps because it’s one of Trump’s business partners? President Trump is continuing to create divide amongst the citizens of American and as a result we find increasing civil distress. The violence is also starting to cross borders up north to Canada with the recent shootings at the Quebec Mosque.

We must work together to overcome the hate rhetoric perpetrated by President Trump and prove that love overpowers hate.

Jariullah Adnan , graduate

York University

Toronto

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