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Readers Write

Remember history, lives are at stake

On Dec. 7 the U.S.A. declared war on Austria! Disoriented? That’s because “hardly a man is now alive who remembers that famous …” – the year was 1917.

Let me remind you of the situation: Members of a terrorist organization (The Black Hand) managed to kill important people of a large and rather arrogant superpower. A small country (with which the big country already had grievances) and its government were held responsible (though no proof ever emerged that the Black Hand acted under its authority). World opinion was outraged and sympathetic with the big country, which then made a list of demands on the small country. When it did not comply fast enough, war was declared a month later. The U.S.A. did not intend or want to be dragged in but, like 44 other countries, “got involved.”

Count Stefan Tisza insisted on diplomatic action “to avoid larger European complications.” As has happened before, the hotheads didn’t listen. A conference was proposed to consider alternative courses of action, but the big power (Austria-Hungarian Empire) “refused to submit a question of national honor to the decision of others. …”

Does any of this sound familiar? The operative word in the quote from Longfellow’s poem is “remember.” When we remember bad things, we often change our behavior upon that recollection. Unless we read history, we shall passively allow hotheads in power to make the same disastrous mistakes hotheads always make, with the same inevitable consequence: innocent people will die.


Durbrow III

Grass Valley

Unsafe motorist

took terrible gamble

Okay, we were both lucky … you made it this time. You, like an increasing number of Nevada County drivers, chose to pass me on a winding road with a double, solid yellow line. On the other side of the curve, you almost hit the woman crossing the road with her mail, but fortunately she was young enough to break into a run and narrowly avoid you.

The next time you choose to risk your life and those around you, it might be my wife or me coming the other direction, unable to get out of your way. Or it could be a member of your family, a classmate, or a neighbor with her young children.

We’ve all made stupid mistakes while driving. Maybe we allowed ourselves to become distracted and didn’t see a stop sign, or turned the wrong way down a one-way street. But passing on a double yellow line on a curve is not the result of a lapse of concentration. It is a deliberate, conscious decision to take your chances and put everyone on the road at severe risk, including the ones you can’t possibly see coming toward you … around the next bend …

Larry Burkhardt

Grass Valley

Democrats got state into this budget mess

The Democrats have given California a mountain of debt, an ever growing deficit, and no solution for solving the problem. This saga started with a $9 billion surplus. Now it is a $35 billion deficit.

It all started with an increase in income. This was followed by an enormous spending spree. Ghost workers were put on the payroll; 43,000 additional state workers were hired.

Proposition 13 has saved taxpayers over $350 billion, or an average of $14.5 billion each year since 1978. Our governments have spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars trying to overturn this proposition. Now the Democrats will try even harder to do away with it.

The passage of Proposition 39 has resulted in a flood of new bonds and has resulted in over $100 billion of new debt in 2002. It takes nearly $200 billion to pay back $100 billion. With recent reductions in ratings, California bonds are approaching junk bond status.

The logical solution is to cut expenses. Will the Democrats do this? No, they won’t. Will they raise taxes? Yes, they will. Their motto is “Spend, spend, spend as fast as you can. Tax, tax, tax; the public be damned.”



Grass Valley

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