01-03-2018 Letters and Commentary

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I truly hope your Christmas Holiday has been the best ever and that this New Year finds you in good health and with great expectations for a happy 2019! Wow, what a year 2018 was! I’m thinking it might have been one of those “watershed” ones where momentous events changed the course of history. There will be a lot of changes in 2019 because of those events of the past year. Our President Trump leads the way in his second year of office, seeking to administer our country in an apolitical style that leaves the professional politicians and national media in a quandary of mistrust and fascination. President Trump closed out the year at loggerheads with his legislature over paying for the border wall with Mexico with 25 billion dollars out of the national budget. He says he’s sticking to his campaign promise to build the wall to protect America from illegal immigrants. At the same time, it seems he forgot his promise to “make Mexico pay for it”. Here it is the New Year and the 700,000 or so “non-essential federal employees have been out of work since before Christmas because 25% of the government has been shut down because there is no budget. With the Democrats now controlling Congress in 2019 there’s little hope of the President getting his wall paid for (in full) by American taxpayers. Perhaps some Democrat in Washington could reach out to Mexico to help out with the cost of the wall and get the government going again. A coup such as that would be a great feather in the cap of a potential candidate for POTUS. Our state has a new Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, democrat elected in November with a republican legislature. The last “divided” Michigan government was led by Democrat Jennifer Granholm. Those years were marked by bilateral consensus with the republican legislature with mixed results. This year Michigan legislators will have their work cut out for them with the approval of recreational marijuana use this past November. Lawmakers now have to craft laws to protect the public from any problems that appear when pot smokers share their happy habit in plain view and the freedom put all at risk. Typically budgeted issues across the board are always on the horizon, less revenue is followed by less service as increased cost of operations and a staggering pension debt puts the squeeze on all taxpayers. Culturally the ME TOO movement brought to the fore the long buried and simmering abuse of women by men of power in the entertainment and media industry and soon spilled over to all institutions where men and women interact. Women in all walks came forward and disclosed they had been sexually abused by “bosses” and their complaints largely went ignored at best and at worst the victims were forced out of their position to protect their attackers. The disclosure of widespread sexual abuse in the American Catholic Church and in Olympic sports slapped Americans in the face with horrendous details of children and teens at the mercy of monsters in positions of faith and honor. 2019 may be the year women and children are truly safe in America as the institutions that were a threat to them continues to clear out the dirt in their closets. At the same, those institutions that harbored sexual predators must take public steps to reassure us all that our sons and daughters are safe. On the home front, communities in 2018 said yea or nay to allowing marijuana businesses on their own streets. Those opposed are concerned marijuana sale and use will cause further decline in the community. Those in favor, see marijuana sale and use as a retail opportunity to save Main Street. Marijuana sales may not be the medium to save Main Street… just like what happened when national restaurant chains were courted by Small Town America only to destroy the local eateries. All too late most towns discovered the bright neon lights of the new hamburger stand never replaced the lost tax base of the mom and pop stores. At the same time demographics of school populations mirrored the local census of declining populations and businesses putting further strain on the taxpayers. Local government and schools may help stem some of the tide of decline in 2019 by supporting existing businesses and attracting new ones that are able to open and operate without tax incentives. Tax incentives granted to new businesses most times just spread additional burden to the existing enterprises. Then the new business moves on when the incentives expire, leaving the local landlords with vacant buildings.

WELCOME NEW SUBSCRIBERS… meanwhile the Tri-City family of readers continues to grow. Nearly two dozen folks received holiday gift subscriptions this year, more folks are reading the paper online at www.tricityrecord.com and despite inclement weather seasonal newsstand sales remain constant. For those new to the Tri-City Record (and those that forgot)… the deadline for news and ads for each issue is noon on Tuesdays and the paper comes out Thursday morning and is delivered to the Watervliet Post Office and local newsstands in all the Tri-City Area. The phone number is 269-463-NEWS (6397); please leave a message of any concerns with our news or ad content, and any subscription issues. Managing editor Amy Loshbough will answer your message as soon as is possible (and me too). I can always be reached at 269-876-1327 (phone or text). The Tri-City Record always welcomes your local news and photos… email them to record@tricityrecord.com or drop them off at the Record office at 138 N. Main St., Watervliet. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 7, Watervliet, MI 49098. You may email your want ads and public notices to publicnotices.tricityrecord@gmail.com. The basic rate is $13 for 25 words. The Tri-City Record welcomes letters to the editor… no anonymous letters will be printed although the name of the author may be withheld by the editor on the request of the author. See the complete letter policy on the Letters and Commentary page. We hope you continue to enjoy the contents of the Tri-City Record and contact us at any time with any concerns about what you read on these pages.