This new revenue will initially be used for fire vehicle replacement and training facilities. In 2002, the budget commission went through a lengthy prioritization process with widespread public input before making extensive cuts in city services. These fire services were seen as significant needs that could be delayed temporarily, but would become critical needs in the future. Now is that time.

Funding these fire services by making further cuts in other needed city services is not a solution I can support. Annual citizen surveys indicate that many residents place a high value on maintaining the services the city now provides. Only the highest priority services survived the 2002 cuts, and this proposal allows residents to continue to receive those services at a modest additional cost.

The quality of our fire services has earned Corvallis an excellent fire insurance rating not achieved by other communities our size in Oregon, which gives each of us a measurable savings in our commercial and homeowners' fire insurance premiums. This savings, and the security we enjoy in being provided a prompt and expert response to fire and medical emergencies, more than offsets the additional cost of this proposal.

Is it not true, that taxes upon a certain group of citizens cannot be fractured into some who pay and others who do not, within that particular class of taxpayers?

I am becoming more sickened by the Bush administration's scare tactics, their defiling of the Constitution, their clear manifestation of pass-the-buck because no one is responsible. The U.S. Congress must exercise its constitutional responsibility and hold this administration accountable, starting with Donald Rumsfeld.

This administration has promoted those that have demonstrated the greatest blunders in planning the attacks on innocent children in Iraq. We cannot stay the failed course in Iraq as we will be there forever. We need to send a clear message to Iraqis that they must chart their future by setting a timetable for withdrawing young Americans from Iraq.

We need leadership change and we need an independent, Constitution-driven Congress. We need a government for the people, not the fascists in the White House.

With all the news media attention on the unfortunate death of Steve Irwin, the famous "Crocodile Hunter," showing his family and colleagues express their grief, I do hope with all my heart that we, as voters, all realize that this same story unfolds every time someone's son or daughter gets killed in Iraq or Afghanistan but doesn't make it to the news that day. "Why?" you might ask yourself.

Oregon State University's Horse Center makes headlines! It appears there are a few who are trying to target and persecute Christian and Elizabeth Rammerstorfer.

The Rammerstorfers are valued members of the general horse community, the American Quarter Horse Association and the National Reining Horse Association. They are well regarded for conducting business as honest, professional, competent horse owners, trainers and instructors.

I have witnessed action and deeds that support their highest priorities are toward the students and horses. With the Rammerstorfers involvement, the standards and quality have been raised. The OSU Horse Center is now a legitimate horse facility instead of a playground for the Oregon Dressage Society and its members.

The Horse Center has my personal financial support I have donated a mare appraised at thousands of dollars to promote the riding and breeding program. Under previous management this donation would not have occurred.

I would encourage those interested in the OSU Horse Center to meet the Rammerstorfers personally, rather than relying upon unsubstantiated claims aimed at tarnishing their integrity. Take a few minutes to talk with them about the program, just as I did, before jumping to conclusions based upon skewed facts and information or slanderous reporting and statements from others.

Everyone in America should be aware, by now, that income inequality has dramatically increased over the past 40 years. Real (inflation-adjusted) family income for middle-class and working-class Americans has essentially returned (back up) to the levels attained in the late 1960s. And that, for better or worse, was with only one parent working outside the home.

What helps keep wages down? Or, we may ask, why is the Wall Street Journal a great proponent of both outsourcing and open borders for workers? As Bob Dylan sang, back when we were all much younger, "you don't have to be a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows."

Uncontrolled illegal immigration is a disaster for American workers. The pay of construction workers, for example, has fallen significantly in the L.A. area. Is that good news? I suppose it is, if you are a builder looking to maximize profits, but not so good if you are a young man trying to support a family as a construction worker.

A letter in the Tuesday GT made the case that our government is "far down the path to fascism" and that the "Support our troops" stickers are "jingoistic." Another letter, citing a Supreme Court decision out of context also states a "Bush regime drift toward fascism."

Perhaps these authors have forgotten or never knew how actual fascist regimes behaved. Were our government fascist, the letters page of the GT would be dull and greatly reduced. Half of the usual writers would be in concentration camps or worse. Can they not imagine what would happen to them if, as residents of Tehran, they wrote such letters about their Islamic rulers? They would be showing up on Arab TV, kneeling in front of some gentlemen in black hoods with long sharp knives!

Of course we can expect little criticism from these authors of the Islamo-fascists of the present day. Their predecessors in ideology condemned our belated military build-up as late as 1941 and praised Mussolini, fascism's inventor, saying, "At least he made the trains run on time!"

As our kids return to school this fall, let's ensure the term "well-rounded" is a measure of their intellectual, social, and physical skills, and not their waistlines.

Physical health is a cornerstone to leading a happy, successful, productive life. And physical health depends on eating good food and exercising regularly, habits best formed in childhood.

Lack of K-12 school funding in Corvallis has resulted in (among many other things) the reduction or elimination of physical education programs, and a multitude of soda pop machines on middle and high school grounds.

Our schools should be providing positive, healthy environments for our children to learn and grow in. But for largely financial reasons, this is not the case. Please take action!

Voice your concerns to Susan Castillo, the state superintendent of schools. Also, contact President Bush and encourage him to increase school funding.

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