Letters published Friday, Jan. 17, 2020
The importance of our local paper
We are fortunate to still have a local paper, the Columbia County Spotlight, covering south Columbia County. Cities and towns across the U.S. have lost 1,400 newspapers over the last 15 years. Some may think we no longer need a local newspaper because news is available on the internet, TV or radio.
There are several problems with that kind of thinking.
First, one must consider the original source of the information reported. Our local paper provides a trustworthy source of information that otherwise would not be available. Professional, ethical and objective journalists conduct reporting, investigating and coverage essential to providing the factual foundation
for news coverage. We are flooded with an overwhelming amount of information on the internet, most of which is biased, slanted and of unknown reliability or accuracy. Deciphering the truth can be next to impossible.
When we are paying for a paper, we're not paying for the piece of paper it is printed on. We are paying for reporting, investigating, writing and editing necessary to provide the information.
Second, local TV will not cover most of what is happening in Columbia County and our local radio station does not have the resources to do its own investigations and reporting.
Finally, an informed citizenry is the basis for a well-functioning democracy. Our Founding Fathers recognized this and that is why a free press is in the First Amendment. This is just as important at the local level as it is at the national level. Individually, we cannot attend every Columbia County commissioner meeting, city council meeting, school board meeting, Port of Columbia County meeting; investigate local crime, know what is happening at Spirit of Halloweentown this year, etc.
It has been said, "Losing a local paper is like losing the heartbeat of a town."
Chair, Columbia County Democratic Party
President, Scappoose Bay Watershed Council
Welcome words of support for Spotlight
Kudos to Pamplin Media Group, the Columbia County Spotlight, its editor and staff in the fight to save community journalism.
We need and depend on our local newspapers. We look to them for our news, for various opinions on local issues and the advertising that supports them.
I appreciate your writers, your guest columnists and the letters to the editor that appear each week. They all work together to help us gain a greater depth of understanding.
Our Bill of Rights mentions "Freedom of the Press" in the Constitution's First Amendment. It is mentioned separate from "Freedom of Speech." It should be apparent that our founders thought that the press was an important part of our lives, our Republic and our freedom.
I look forward to reading my paper and the opportunities that it provides us all in sorting out local issues.
Thank you, Columbia County Spotlight, for all that you do for our community, and I hope and pray that our community press, our free press, will forever continue to exist.
Suggestions for care facility improvement
I was recently talking with a friend who has a severely disabled child who is now in his 40s. His wife is making a small amount caring for him around the clock. It's killing her. She can't get reliable help.
The adult child can't be cared for in a facility because he can be combative when they try to change him, so they let him sit in his filth rather than violate his "civil rights."
His mother can't stand that. When he's in a facility, that place receives $7,000 per month to care for him. He's a handful and two workers there have refused to help because of it.
These places receive a huge amount to do it right.
Another example concerns a friend's father. At the end of his life, when he was in a local care center, there were two orderlies watching over him and 23 others. They receive $7,000 per month per client: That's $168,000 per month, $5,600 per day, $233.33 per hour.
For 24 people the facility was close to providing two essentially minimum-wage orderlies to help with diapers and one orderly to dispense pills. For $233 an hour.
Let's say the three facilities are costing with both sides of FICA-Medicare and workman's comp, $25 each, or $75 per hour. That still leaves $158 per hour for overhead, insurance, food, linen, and utilities. What a racket.
By my reckoning, here's what's left: 75 x 24 = $1,800 per day or $55,800 per month, leaving $112,200? The market is changing, wages are much higher.
Orderlies should be making $35 per hour and there should be at least four on staff for a facility the size I'm referencing.
Here's some suggestions.
¦ Tweak the "civil rights" part of it to create mechanism for giving orderlies the right to clean up a defiant charge, even if they don't want it. It's hindering the rights of everyone else on the floor.
¦ Make penalties for noncompliance on the number of orderlies per charge so onerous that providers are forced to up their compensation packages to career levels instead of getting entry-level.
¦ Provide a text-message-compatible compliant reception area so pictures can be provided. Initiate the penalty based on the pictures rather than having to send out an inspector. This will speed up compliance.
Not keen on government's involvement in housing
Let's clear away the smoke of Tom Cooper's proposals from "Hope Considerations for 2020," as published in the Jan. 3 Spotlight letters, and expose its covert advancement of socialism.
With unemployment at its lowest in 50 years, salaries on the rise, unprecedented job growth, and a stock market rocketing to the moon because of America's renewed embrace of capitalism, instead of supply and demand and the marketplace determining housing costs, instead of slashing the power of government to impoverish us by reducing government-imposed fees, regulations and restrictions, instead of unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of the free market system by reducing government intrusion into housing; this letter-writer instructs us to "demand" that "local government" provide "Low, and I mean low, cost housing, not for rent but for sale" to the homeless.
Foreseeing a hurdle to the imposition of socialism into the housing market to be overcome, the letter-writer cautions: "But, 'they' will cry, what about the high cost?"
The letter writer wants you to
believe it's the politicians who will cry. When was the last time you heard a politician complain about
the high cost of anything ... except when it's time for him or her to get re-elected? Go ahead, think about it. I'll wait.
Then who is "they" referenced by the letter writer? Well, my fellow taxpayer, "they" is you. And the reason you will be crying about the high cost is because you will be paying it.
But take heart. Just like Obama(no)care, President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal before it, you will have "forced" your "public servants" to hear you.
Unless, of course, you wake up and begin thinking like an American instead of a socialist.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.