Dem candidates encourage illegal immigration
To the casual observer, there seems to be a lot of in-fighting among the 20-plus Democratic candidates vying to be nominated for the 2020 presidential election. But there is one thing that all of them agree will be a major plank in the Democratic platform, no matter who is nominated.
In the recent debates every candidate incentivized illegal immigration in one form or another. Nearly all of them promised free health care to illegals (by the way, it’s not free; it’s paid by taxpayers). Several others promised to decriminalize illegal border crossings. Every one of them sent out a loud and alarming message across the world, that no matter who you are, you will be welcomed with open arms to illegally come across the border into our country. Oh, by the way, many of the candidates actually want to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Without that agency’s protection, gang members, murderers, rapists, drug smugglers and sex slave traffickers would have little to worry about if any one of those candidates became president.
But the 2020 Democratic platform gets even better. To the millions of illegal aliens already here, the Democratic candidates for president have promised to protect them from being deported. After all, with ICE being abolished, who would deport them?
I’m not making any of this up. If in doubt, go online and watch video replays of the debates.
Please support efforts to enlarge Cherry Beach
The goal of purchasing and preserving 400 feet of Lake Michigan beach and three acres of undeveloped wooded dune adjacent to the present Cherry Beach has been renewed by the Cherry Beach Un-development Committee. This grassroots committee was successful last year in securing pledges worth over $1 million that were required in order to apply for a grant from the Michigan DNR, which would provide the rest of the $4.1 million cost. The state was unable to provide the grant. This year the goal is to raise 40 percent of the cost and apply for a smaller grant, thus improving the chance of receiving the grant.
Did you know that Chikaming Township has seven miles of lakeshore, and only 2 percent of it is public? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to positively affect the lives of everybody in the community – residents full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, young, old and local businesses – now and for future generations. The opportunity will not come again.
Pledges that were made last year need to be made again. They will be payable by April 2020 contingent on state approval of the grant. Already we have more than half of what is needed thanks to pledges or other support from The Carls Foundation, The Upton Foundation, Berrien Community Foundation, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Chikaming Township, the property owner, local conservation groups and individuals. Pledges are needed by Sept. 30. Donation forms are available at cherrybeachproject.com. Contributions are tax-deductible and are being received and recorded by Berrien Community Foundation. This is a win-win proposition.
BHAS needs resources to succeed
In Alan Phillips’ letter (July 12, 2019) he criticized the Benton Harbor School Board for turning down the state’s plan that, if achieved, would prevent the closing of the Benton Harbor high school. He said instead of “complaining about the action the state wants to take to improve student learning,” they should be saying, “Let’s show the state we can.” He lists some of the state’s goals: decreasing absenteeism, increasing certified teachers, reducing use of substitutes, improving Math and English performance, and hiring highly-qualified leaders.
Of course these are great goals.
But the state has mandated that all of these goals be met within one year, while at the same time the achieving a balanced budget and paying off a large portion of its multi-million dollar debt. Benton Harbor has been under supervision by the state; only within the past month has the school board been given back its authority. In other words, for the past five years the state has been attempting these same goals, but hasn’t produced these results.
Educators both within the district and from elsewhere have reviewed the proposed plan and agree that meeting these goals within one year is impossible for any school district. The proposed plan is really a setup for failure.
As a BHAS resident who has read the plan and attended the meetings, I can tell you firsthand that there is no lack of pride from the students, and no lack of aspiration from the school board. Mr. Phillips’ comments betray a lack of understanding of the real causes of the high school’s problems.
We are seeing the results of years of under-resourcing in this community because of systemic racism. Governmental policies and actions of individuals of the entire area worked together to divert resources away from the Benton Harbor schools. Redlining, white flight, resistance to busing, schools of choice, and other systems and practices are the real causes of today’s crisis.
The remedy is for the residents of this area and their state legislators to take responsibility for the education of all students in the area, instead of washing their hands of the situation and deeming it “not my problem.” Rep. Pauline Wendzel has been silent on the future of the high school. Sen. Kim LaSata said she is “very concerned” but is leaving it up to “whatever local leaders decide.” These elected officials have more power to affect the outcome than they want to own.
Wendzel and LaSata should be advocating for Benton Harbor within their caucus, finding funding to reduce the school district’s debt, and reforming school financing so that the district has the resources it needs to educate its children. They are the ones who should be saying, “Let’s show the state we can!”
Electric car subsidies are not fair
I read the response to my letter about electric cars paying their fair share and noted the writer pointed out some other ways the government encourages certain behavior through taxes, like that is supposed to change my mind. I disagree with this logic and feel it is never OK.
The examples of cigarette and liquor taxes are sin taxes that are much easier to enact without blowback from the public and are done for political reasons first and everything else second. And I have read nothing about raising any electric vehicle-specific fees with the additional 45 cents a gallon gas tax, so when that does happen, and I believe it will eventually, electric vehicles will not be paying their fair share to fix the roads.
I also vehemently disagree with the author’s assertion that we are not subsidizing electric cars. The author conveniently fails to mention the tax credits from the IRS and states that only electric vehicles are eligible for. This is right from the Department of Energy’s website: “The federal government and a number of states offer financial incentives, including tax credits, for lowering the up-front costs of plug-in electric vehicles (also known as electric cars or EVs). The federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax credit is for $2,500 to $7,500 per new EV purchased for use in the U.S.” and “Depending on where you live, you may also be eligible for EV incentives from your state, city, or utility. Monetary and non-monetary incentives may include additional tax credits, vehicle or infrastructure rebates or vouchers, vehicle registration fee reductions, loans, special low-cost charging rates, and high-occupancy vehicle lane exemptions.”
All of these electric vehicle credits lower the amount of tax dollars going to the government, who is us, which adds to the national debt that the author, and myself, do not like.
I stand by my statement: We are all subsidizing electric cars.