Friday, February 15, 2008
Irony was missed
To the Editor:
The February 9 issue of the Mosquito contained a letter that was openly critical of the Forum piece that I had written for February 1 ("Unintended consequences"). The writer began with a personal attack, accusing me of propagating "two right-wing myths," and proceeded to take exception to two examples of irony cited in the article, one having to do with the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and one having to do with taxes.
In both instances, the writer of the letter is incorrect. The example related to the Red-cockaded Woodpecker was taken from an article published in the New York Times on January 27, 2008 (this source was noted in the lead sentence of the Forum piece). As to the item on taxes, data released by the GAO (Government Accounting Office) show that between 2003-2006, total federal tax receipts increased by $625 billion, or 35%, despite the tax cuts enacted by Congress.
Clearly, the critic missed the point of the Forum article entirely. It was not intended as an editorial about environmental protection or tax policy, but rather an opinion piece about irony — a fact made perfectly clear by the title and obviously lost on the critic.
Judy Farm Road
The truth about tax cuts
To the Editor:
In Ken Harte's letter "Two myths addressed" (Carlisle Mosquito February 8, 2008); Mr. Harte asserts that tax cuts do not increase revenue.
However, a closer look at the facts show quite a different story. The most obvious example is President Bush's 2003 tax cuts on income, capital gains and dividends. The 2003 reductions have raised federal tax receipts by $785 billion — the largest four-year revenue increase in tax history.
In fiscal 2007, which ended in September, the federal government took in 6.7% more tax revenues than in 2006.
In addition to increased revenue, the percentage of federal income taxes paid by the very wealthy has increased, which I am sure Mr. Harte would applaud. According to the Treasury Department, the top 1% of income tax filers paid just 19% of income taxes in 1980 (the top rate was 70%), in 2003 they paid 36%, the first year the Bush tax cut took effect (the top rate became 35%). The top 5% taxpayers went from 37% of taxes paid to 56% and the top 10% from 49% to 68% of taxes paid. Furthermore, the amount of taxes paid by those earning more than $1 million a year went from $132 billion in 2003 to $236 billion in 2005, a 78% increase.
In addition to increased revenue, the Bush tax cuts have led to increased prosperity across the board. The 2003 tax cuts were followed by 49 consecutive months of job growth.
Mr. Harte ends his letter by saying: "I believe that when taxes go up, most people will attempt to earn more in order to maintain a desired level of after-tax income."
Perhaps Mr. Harte suffers from the same hubris as our politicians in Washington.
Volunteers needed at the polls
To the Editor:
Ellen Miller's editorial last week was a wonderful tribute to the paper ballot system still used here in Carlisle. In recent years paper balloting has gained favor after many reports of error, fraud or misuse of technology in our voting systems across the country. As a Deputy Election Warden for the town of Carlisle, I and my Warden Eva Herndon, believe in the balloting system and work very hard to make it work honestly and efficiently.
Paper balloting is a concrete verifiable way to track each and every vote of our citizenry. Should we find an error, there is physical evidence that we are able to see with our own eyes, hold in our hands and recount if necessary. But let's not forget that paper balloting is very labor intensive, labor provided by volunteers. Counting each ballot takes two real live people to legally tally and record, and most of this work is done after hours, past 8 p.m., sometimes well past midnight. Absentee ballots, too, are cast just as if you were there in person. A real live person stands in line, checks in, checks out and places your ballot in our lovely quarter-sawn oak ballot box.
Paper ballots are the truest form of voting — honest, tangible and verifiable. But none of this is possible without the sacrifice of time with family (and often sleep) of our dedicated volunteers. For paper balloting to continue to succeed as our little town grows, we need a constant supply of new volunteers to step up and help out especially as we get closer to the Presidential Election later this year. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer to count ballots or work at the polls, please feel free to email me at Kerri@leveraged.com or contact Town Clerk Charlene Hinton
Patch Meadow Lane
Windmill decision disturbing
To the Editor:
I find it extremely disappointing that Keith Therrien's permit for a wind turbine was revoked. The prospects for our children's future are bleak when even well intending citizens of Carlisle regard energy solutions that would free us from conflicts related to foreign oil dependence, while reducing our environmental impact, as threatening to their well-being. It is specious argument. The noise and safety concerns are actually unfounded; windmills today are both safe and quiet. Their sound is unlikely to be distinguished from the adjacent rustling trees. Regarding property values, I for one will seek my next property neighboring people like Mr. Therrien who are taking action to improve our prospects for a healthy and sustaining environment. I suspect many others will feel the same.
A broader view is needed. Think globally and act locally. War, warming and pollution are the very real and destructive global results of heavy fossil-fuel dependence, while approving such proposals are positive local actions that collectively make a huge difference for everyone. Resistance to change is natural, but real change is mandatory if we are to build a brighter future for our children than the one we face accepting the status quo. Structures like windmills can, and I predict will, come to be regarded as beautiful solutions that generate real and positive change. It's all in your perspective.
Hemlock Hill Road
Carlisle should support alternative energy
To the Editor:
We would like to add this letter to the multitude that we're sure you will be receiving about the story regarding the denial of the windmill permit. It is so sad to hear that the Concord Building Inspector chose to interpret Carlisle's lack of specific "windmill" bylaws to mean that they are not allowed. We were shocked and dismayed that this is how Carlisle would handle a request for a green, environmentally friendly energy alternative.
Of course, no one wants a huge tower looming over their home because their neighbor places it on the property line. However, that certainly doesn't seem to be the case here. I hope that others in Carlisle will wholeheartedly support thoughtful placement of green alternative energy sources, and that our town bylaws are amended quickly so that this sort of misinterpretation cannot happen again. Isn't it ironic that a permit for a windmill was denied for a property that most likely had its own windmill 100 years ago?
Frank and Karen DeSimone
Turbines are fitting to Carlisle
To the Editor:
I was enthusiastic at the prospect of a small wind turbine in our corner of Carlisle and disappointed to hear that the permit was revoked. This is a safe, proven technology with low impact and studies have shown that nearby property values are not compromised. Visually, the turbines are quite fitting to Carlisle — structures that capture wind energy are historically a rural sight and serve as a high-tech weather vane that reminds us of our natural resources. I hope the town will come up with a way to facilitate opportunities for alternative energy like the Therriens' proposal.
Deer deer deer
To the Editor:
I wanted to make a comment and also thank John Bakewell for his helpful hints and the use of repellents to keep deer from snacking on our favorite shrubs and trees. One of the things that John brought to light was an alarming statistic (verifiable by the Mass. Wildlife Department). Carlisle supports a deer population of 30 deer per square mile. The recommended population is ten deer per square mile. Our deer have no predators other than the automobile. The weather, nature's natural tool to help manage the population, has not been in our favor either. With the last few winters being mild, the deer population has exploded. So with the deer population at three times the manageable level and no natural predators to keep them in check, is it time for the town to ask itself, should we start looking to discuss some type of controlled hunting on parcels of town owned land? My opinion would be yes.
We could easily manage this with the right groups and the right communication. We could determine the parcels of land that would be used, the number of hunters allowed and where they would be. We could determine the method, archery, firearms, or primitive firearm (muzzle loaders). We could surely mandate that all hunting would be done from tree stands no less than 12 feet high. Hunters will tell you that hunting from a tree stand limits you to a very small parcel of land, 25 square yards with a bow and 50 square yards with firearms. This could be done with safety at the forefront.
The question is are we ready as a town to start managing our deer population though controlled hunting or are we going to need a few incidents where the deer is not the only casualty in the collision? If you are a landowner and a Carlisle resident asks you for permission to hunt, don't be so quick to say no. Ask him (or her) what their plans would be to hunt your property. We need to somehow manage our deer population.
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