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Letters to the Editor - April 8

April 08, 2011

County Commissioners deserve our thanks

To the editor:

I would like to commend the current Board of County Commissioners for so boldly eliminating the excise tax doubling. While I do see a need for new development to generate revenue to help offset infrastructure costs, there is one fundamental issue with the excise tax that was overlooked as the fee structure was developed. Those of us who have lived, worked, raised our families and paid taxes for our entire lives in Washington County are seeing our children forced to live and purchase homes out of state. This undoubtedly is in part due to, not only the excise tax, but also APFO school mitigation and building permit fees. I fully support one intent of the APFO and school portion of the excise tax that is to provide our children with a quality education by preventing overcrowding of our schools. Unfortunately, it is our children, not builders and developers, who will pay this cost for years to come provided that they choose to reside here and purchase a new home in Washington County.

Additionally, adding thousands of dollars in fees to the cost of new homes actually inflates the appraised value of existing homes to some degree. Subsequently, this must have an impact on real estate assessments in normal market conditions. Therefore, the excise tax and APFO fees impact every homeowner in Washington County.

I respectfully ask that those who have openly criticized our current BOCC for elimination of the excise tax doubling consider the content of this letter. I am thankful that the excise tax and APFO fees weren't in place some 20 to 30 years ago when the current BOCC members were establishing homes and careers. You see, it is very likely that our county would be without one or more of these dedicated and hard-working public servants.

It is my hope that before their term is over, this BOCC will go one step further by relaxing the amount of the current excise tax, which will benefit all current and future homeowners in Washington County. It is also my plea that those residents working in the construction trade industry will tell the BOCC members “thank you for sticking your neck out” for our benefit.

Michael Shifler

Can Mideast democracy become a reality?

To the editor:

To the American mind, we cannot understand why Muslim nations do not grasp the concept of democracy as we understand it. This misunderstanding frequently happens when American leaders and diplomats take their Western democratic principles and Judeo Christian values and apply that way of thinking to governing authorities in Islamic nations. What is common sense to our minds appears as chaos to their minds. When their governments and their religion have demanded centuries of subjugation, what can Western leaders expect from the Muslim world?

Before al-Qaida, the 1928 slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood was — and still is — “Allah is our goal. Muhammad is our model; the Koran is our constitution; Jihad is our means and martyrdom is the way of Allah and is our aspiration.” Did you read, “…the Koran is our constitution?” The Koran (Qur’an) is the basis of Islamic or Shari’ah Law. That “book,” according to Muslim theology, contains the word of their God, which is timeless and infallible. Islamic theology and the political ideology are inseparable. To the Muslim mind, there is no separation of church and state.

Are Western democracies bound by political correctness and liberal interpretations of freedom actually sowing the seeds of their own destruction? This war on terror is in reality a fight against Islamic supremacism and subjugation. Islam promotes Muslim supremacism! Islam is the religion of submission! Can we Americans visualize Patrick Henry shouting in the Virginia Assembly, “Give me subjugation or give me death!”

Bottom line: The Muslim version of democracy as might appear in the future of Muslim nations will more than likely not be the same kind of democracy as exemplified by our Constitution. In all likelihood, we will not recognize it as democracy and will give it another name as yet to be defined.

Roland E. St. Germain
Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

President can indeed influence gas prices

To the editor:

I am writing in response to Gladys Young’s letter (March 18) about gas prices. Although she is correct when she says gas prices are mostly determined by the market and state taxes, she is wrong on one point. She states that no president can influence gas prices.

The market goes up and down based on supply and demand. When environmentalists in the United States control the president, we are not contributing our share to the market. In Bill Clinton’s first term, Congress voted to open up drilling in Alaska, but Clinton vetoed that plan. Environmentalists said we can’t spoil that pristine wilderness. Never mind the fact that the area is basically the Siberia of the United States and that you can’t get to it except by plane or snowmobile. To take the side of the environmentalist, you also have to ignore the fact that wildlife has survived just fine living right next to existing oil pipelines and drilling operations in Alaska for years.

Because of an oil spill in 1969, most of the California coast has been off limits to new drilling. Environmentalists have blocked new offshore drilling off the coast of Florida. Even in remote areas like North Dakota, oil companies have to spend millions to fight off lawsuits in order to drill there. Huge reserves have been discovered in Colorado and Utah, but the federal government has made much of those areas off limits.

And in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama has stopped all new oil drilling in reaction to the BP oil spill. Again, he ignores the fact that all of the other companies in the gulf had excellent safety records. In Obama’s eyes, everyone has to suffer because of BP’s neglect. So, yes, there is a lot that a president can do to help ease oil prices.

Bill Stryker Jr.
Waynesboro, Pa.

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