The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 15, 2002

Why be a bully?

To the Editor:

I am a recovering bully. No, I never hit my wife, denied her the use of the checkbook or the purchase of personal items. However, I have made sarcastic remarks about many things and expected her to conform to a role that I thought appropriate for both a wife and mother rather than lovingly accept the roles she chose for herself Our children also saw me as a strict disciplinarian bully and were fearful of me.

The trouble with us bullies is that we are in a state of denial and see ourselves as simply doing what a man and father is supposed to do. I recognized this mentality in myself when another bully ignored the yield sign upon entering a traffic circle. I caught myself thinking, "If that SOB hits me I am going to physically alter him!" Then through the practice of awareness rather than simply reacting, I recognized that it was possible to make the choice to not poison myself with anger and realized that a few minutes delay would not make any difference in my life.

Furthermore, by wishing the bully entering the circle would neither hurt himself or anyone else, it is possible to exit the event and not feel captivated by it.

As one bully to another, I know we forget that how we perceive an event is a choice of our own making and we can address it in either a positive or a negative fashion. I also know we bullies do as much harm to ourselves as to our victims. As a bully, how often are you able to see expressions of love in another's eyes rather than fear? For myself, I prefer that warm, loving look and resulting feeling. Furthermore, I feel a greater trust from one who loves me than one who fears me.

I invite everyone to practice with me in being aware of the choices that are made in our perceptions. I also invite you to be aware that for every action taken there is a consequence and to consider if the one chosen is the one that you truly desire. Finally, I invite you to come to the meeting of the Men Against Domestic Abuse and ControL held at 6:30 p.m. on November 21. Location - the Unitarian Church in Carlisle.

Thomas Dunkers
East Street

WWII participant favors negotiation with Iraq

To the Editor:

This is the Veterans' Day weekend and it seems particularly fitting and urgent for this World War II participant (sorry, I was on the wrong side; a mistake by central casting) to restrengthen the hope that no more veterans or widows are created.

This naturalized citizen of long standing questions the U.S. approach to the Iraq problem — those who chart it have not (none of the strong movers) been where the bullets fly and bombs fall. I've been there; count me on the negotiation side, the side of reason.

George H. Lohrer
South Street

Auction seeks donations

To the Editor:

The Carlisle Education Found-ation (CEF) and Carlisle School Association have joined forces to hold a fundraising auction benefiting the Carlisle School. This auction will be held at the Middlesex School on March 15. We are seeking donations of goods or services to be auctioned. Examples include the use of a vacation home, donations of sports memorabilia or tickets to sporting events, craftwork, artwork, personal services, etc. If you have something to offer, please contact Jeff Brown at 1-978-287-0980 or Marty Blue at Marty.Blue

Jeff Brown, CEF president
Cutter's Ridge Road

Disagreement with editorial

To the Editor:

I beg to differ with a statement made in the editorial in the Mosquito of November 8 entitled "User fees — flatter than flat?" The statement is "Carlisle's real estate tax is also a 'flat' tax, since every homeowner pays the same tax rate on their real estate." This equates tax and tax rate, but they are not equivalent, as I pointed out in my letter of November 8, which ironically is on the same page as the editorial. When assessed land value jumps up and the tax rate falls, the real estate tax becomes a regressive tax and is certainly not fair. Severe instances occurred in Carlisle in 2002, 2000 and 1989.

Fred Churchill
Acton Street

Ed note: a line was accidentally omitted from the start of the fifth paragraph in Fred Churchill's letter last week. The letter is reprinted in its entirety below.

Separate tax rates for land and buildings?

To the Editor:

There seems to be little recognition in town of the unfair nature of the current increase in real estate tax, although it was conceded in a front-page article in the Mosquito of October 18 that "Smaller homes... will see the highest percentage increase in property taxes...." There have been no complaints from the populace, and town officials let sleeping dogs lie.

What has happened is that the increase is highly regressive, similar to the increases of 2001 and 1989. This happens when there is a sharp increase in the assessed value of building lots, and a related drop in the tax rate.

The value of a building lot was increased from $213,400 in fiscal 2002 to $256,100 in fiscal 2003, and the tax rate dropped from 15.78 to 15.05. In my case the building value remained unchanged at $102,400. The net result is an increase in my taxes of 8.3%. (Not bad compared to earlier increases.) But consider the effect on taxes for a property valued at $1,500,000. The land value is small compared with the total value and the effect is a reduction in taxes of I%! Is that unfair or not?

A more extreme example took place just two years ago. The land value went up $60,900 and the tax rate went down from 17.80 to 15.02. My taxes went up 12.41% and the taxes on the $1,500,000 property went down 12%.

The worst case occurred in 1989 when the land value went up $140,000 and the tax rate dropped from 16.56 to 11.15. My taxes went up 48.3% (that is not a typo) and the tax on a $1,000,000 property went down 22%.

The obvious solution to this problem is separate tax rates for land and building. It does not make sense that the tax on the building should go down if the value of the land goes up. There should be no connection between the two. I am sure I will be told that the law does not allow separate tax rates. If that is the case, then the law should be changed. It should not be another case where the tax law favors the wealthy.

Fred Churchill
Acton Street

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito