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Make taxes fair
So, Lansing will have fewer police and fire protection because the voters did not see fit to have their property taxes raised. How about if the police, fire personnel, and oh, by the way, teachers, who all work in the city pay 1% like we do instead of 1/2%? After all, they made the choice to move out of the city and they do benefit from these critical services while they work in the city. I’m also guessing that some of those who chose to leave the city are paying higher taxes somewhere else?

Why not?

— Anne Smiley, Lansing

Red Cedar ’rant’

I hope you guys will get all over Virg’s latest "vision" for the Red Cedar Golf course.

Admittedly it’s only an idea at this point, but I think we’d better jump on this before it becomes any more than that. Let’s see, Virg wants to use PUBLIC MONEY (Brownfield funds) to develop PRIVATE mixed use residential/ retail space; improve access to outdoor recreation (bike paths, canoeing), protect the Red Cedar waterway; and create green space which would be a visually pleasing corridor between Lansing and East Lansing. Hmmm.......didn’t we already have all of that? It was called a golf course! Don’t we have plenty of vacant buildings along the Michigan Ave. corridor? If somebody wants to develop them, let them. The public shouldn’t pay for it.

That’s my rant. Thanks for listening.

— Beth Everson, Dimondale

Kennecott and mining laws

Michigan’s legislature is letting Kennecott Minerals rip off the state and not pay its fair share in taxes on the copper, nickel and precious metals they plan to mine in the Upper Peninsula (Eagle Project). The deposit is worth at least $4.7 billion, and it looks like the company is going to get by with paying the state a paltry percentage of the value of the ore in taxes. If we had a good mining tax law on the books (30-40% of the proceeds from sales), it could turn Michigan’s budget problems around! Kennecott, after all, is leasing 120 acres of our State land for the next 40 years. The minerals belong to us, the citizens, and the Michigan Legislature is giving them away.

Many think Michigan’s new mining laws are not tough enough. It’s obvious the state does not have the expertise or “manpower” to enforce even these regulations. Steven Chester, former head of the DEQ, stated, “We simply don’t have the kind of funding we need to adequately implement the laws we’re required to implement.”

In court, it came to light that Joe Maki, DEQ’s mining team leader, has little training on this type of sulfide mining, only having attended a 2-week seminar. No other employee involved in reviewing and approving Kennecott’s permit has experience with sulfide mining either.

When the DEQ hired outside experts to review Kennecott’s plans for the Eagle Project, they completely ignored their warnings. For example, David Sainsbury, a rock mechanics expert, concluded that Kennecott had done a shoddy job in evaluating the stability of the roof of the mine and it did “not reflect industry best practice.” According to a second mining engineer, if built according to plan, the mine’s roof could very well collapse and take a section of the Salmon Trout River with it, endangering life and limb as well as property and environment.

The Eagle Project needs to be stopped in its tracks until we know it will be safe for the workers, safe for the environment and profitable to the State of Michigan. Call the DEQ’s Dan Wyant, 1-800-662-9278. Tell him to pull the plug on the Eagle Project until the problems are fixed! Also, call Senators Coleman Young II (517/373-7346) and Hoon-Yung Hopgood (517/373-7800) and State Reps. Barb Byrum (517/373- 0587), Mark Meadows (517/373-1786) and Joan Bauer (517/373-0826). Tell them to stop giving away the people’s resources to mining companies without fair payment!

— Linda Rulison, Pelkie, Mich.

’We’ll get the services we pay for’

Kyle ("Take millage vote out on Council," 5/4/11), Joel Ferguson, who was interviewed for this story just last week, said the exact same thing. The council should have had the balls to do this on their own, and took whatever political fallout that may have came.

Now, they are going to take it anyway when folks who weren’t paying attention realize how many jobs this "no" vote will cost and the incalcuable hit to public safety this will render. We can’t build or fund anything in this country anymore because of this stigmitation of government. The interstate highway system wouldn’t have even made it to the planning stages in this environment, and that system is beloved by conservatives. What ridiculous times we live in. We’ll get the services we pay for. Now, watch the teabbaggers complain when their Third World, southside shotgun shacks burn to the ground.

— BiddleCityGuy From www.lansingcitypulse.com


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