Letters to the Editor --January 14, 2010

Past NARFE president thanks Hocker

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rep. Gerald Hocker for his continued support of federal civil service retirees. Since his election to the General Assembly, he has constantly worked for the passage of HB 97, which would provide similar tax treatment for federal civil service retirees and Social Security retirees.

He understands that this group of retired federal employees were not able to be covered under Social Security (SS), but rather were covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), for which they were required to pay into as others were required to pay into SS.

SS payments are not taxed by the State, while CSRS payments are taxed as regular income. Rep. Hocker has seen the unfairness of this and introduced HB 97 as a fairness issue. The governor and many other members of the General Assembly now say that they agree with this but that the State can not afford to correct it at this time.

I, as are many other federal retirees, am concerned with the current public conception of federal employee/retiree benefits. While they are great benefits, the general public does not appear to understand that they were paid for with a 7 percent payroll tax and a salary which was approximately 20 percent below the civilian counterpart’s salary.

Even though federal salaries have improved in recent years, those who retired under CSRS have not participated in the increases. CSRS retirees get no increases unless SS recipients get them. The federal employee/retiree also pays a significant portion of their healthcare premiums. The public should also understand that members of Congress have all participated in SS since 1984.

Walt Berwick, Past President
Delaware Federation of NARFE Chapters

Reader believes our system has lost its way

The other day I received an e mail deploring the fact that people on welfare were getting cell phones as part of their welfare package. The sender declared that people on welfare were calling them “Obama phones.” Frankly, I wasn’t all that horrified. I can’t think of a place that I last saw a coin phone. That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, it just means that I’m not very observant.

I wouldn’t begrudge a welfare mother a smoke alarm, or a CO2 alarm, or a fire extinguisher. I fully understand that a CO2 fire extinguisher can be used as easily to chill a six-pack of Bud as it can be used to put out a fire. Yes, a cell phone can just as easily be used to call your bookie as it can be to summon help in an emergency. Can we start off with the assumption that everyone on welfare is a cheat? Dear God, I hope I never get that callous.

Do you really think that President Obama was sitting up in the Oval Office one lazy Friday afternoon and thought to himself, “If I give cell phones to the people on welfare, I’ll get them all to vote for me and, as a bonus, I’ll really frost those conservatives.” Somehow, I doubt that. He’s too busy shooting hoops, playing golf or bowling to have such thoughts even occur to him.

Then where did this idea come from? It came from the enemy within: the Bureaucrats.

If we voted every elected officeholder out of office and replaced them with staunch conservatives, I doubt if much would change. Oh, sure, we might stop some new insanities from going through. But how would we get rid of all the existing idiotic laws, regulations and rules that are ruining our way of life?

We are not being governed by elected officials. We are being governed by bureaucrats. They are not elected. They are appointed. They are hired. They are civil servants. They cannot be fired. OSHA would continue to harass businessmen. The Education Department would continue to insist that we teach our children to put condoms on cucumbers. The Agriculture Department would continue to pay farmers not to plant corn. The State Department would continue to give billions to our enemies.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg. There are literally thousands upon thousands of departments, agencies and bureaus. Each of them has their own jealously-guarded little fiefdom. Each of them knows that the only way to get more money is to spend more than they did the previous year.

Is there a way out of this mess? Frankly, I don’t know. I do know this: If we want to get our country back, we must take it away from “the Enemy Within.”

Chuck Griffiths
Ocean View

Reader upset byreceiving citation

I am writing this to thank the Ocean View Police Department for the warm welcome to the neighborhood.

My wife and I work very hard and finally were able to afford to buy a house in the area. On Saturday, Dec. 4, at approximately 2 a.m., I was driving home to my new house from my second job when I was pulled over by an officer of the Ocean View Police Department. Apparently, my license plate light was out.

After being harassed by the officer as to my numerous changes of address and what I was doing out at that time of the morning, I was cited $48.80 for this. I have never heard of anyone receiving a fine for a violation of this nature. This was my first offense. I did not know the light was out and feel as though a warning would suffice.

My wife just asked me the day before to start looking for mail to send donations to the local agencies. The Ocean View Police Department is going to get a donation of $48.80, and this will be the only donation we offer. The officer was out of line. Everyone else in the area has been so kind to us.

Brian M. Popp
Bethany Meadows

Yes, Harry Steele is back at it again

Again, thanks to President Obama and his Executive Order 1305. This executive order is possibly the biggest threat to us in Delaware than anything that has passed to date. This executive order gives the EPA powers that would think we are in a dictatorship. It mandates that Delaware, along with Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland and the District of Columbia, come up with a plan to mitigate damage to the Chesapeake Bay.

Improving the water quality is a great idea. But, the draconian measures in WIP, Watershed Implementation Plan 2010, is nothing short of taking of your land.

You say, “Hogwash!” Not so fast! If Delaware does not meet their standards for reaching the goals accepted by the EPA, then the feds can take over the permitting process from the state!

Please Google “Chesapeake Bay TMDLs.” Also, “Delaware’s Watershed Implementation Plan.” This will lead you DNREC’S Web site, and you can spend sometime finding out how this will affect you and the state.

Whenever you see a meeting that involves any or all of these items, you must attend. This is especially true for those of you in agriculture.

One interesting point that was given to us at a meeting in Millsboro Jan. 6, is that, if we were to plow under 50 percent of all development in Delaware and plant trees, we would not meet the goals set by this plan.

If you are interested in finding more and seeing the PowerPoint presentation give to us on the 6th, e-mail Krudy13@comcast.net. He is with Landmark JCM and is head of the water resources division.

Harry Steele
Bethany Beach