Editor’s note: Letters in support of candidates for city council will not be accepted after April 14 and will not be published after April 18.
Program gives ‘Hope’ to West Virginia
The future is bright for children across West Virginia. On March 29, Gov. Justice signed HB 2013, enacting the most comprehensive Education Savings Account program in the nation: The Hope Scholarship.
With the program’s passage, the scholarships will allow education funds to follow the students rather than systems, ensuring the educational needs of our most vulnerable Mountaineers are met, whatever way families see fit. With the $4,600, calculated by the average state portion of education funding, families may use these monies to pay for tuition, purchase a homeschool curriculum, online classes, textbooks and so much more!
The expansive Hope Scholarship is available to all students who have enrolled in public school full-time for at least 45 calendar days or entering kindergarten for the 2022-23 school year. This will make more than 90% of the student population in the state eligible in 2022. For so many in West Virginia, this is the start of a new chapter.
For years, education proficiency has remained low. NAEP scores from 2019 reveal 30% of 4th graders are considered proficient in math and reading, while 8th graders are only 25% proficient. Of the students who go on to pursue higher education, a third must enroll in remedial courses just to be prepared for their freshman coursework.
West Virginia had been in desperate need of transformative ideas. As I speak with parents in my community, I sense a newfound optimism. Now, parents can take charge of their children’s needs, and classrooms in traditional public schools won’t be forced to swell, unable to meet the demands of a 31-student class. Each child deserves an opportunity for success. The Hope Scholarship creates a new educational landscape to do precisely this.
Jessica L. Dobrinsky
Manchin should rethink stance on Biden plan
I have a message for Sen. Joe Manchin.
Senator, I have read that you oppose the proposed corporate tax rates in Biden’s infrastructure plan and believe they should be lower. The top rate under that plan would be 28%, still lower than the 35% before the 2017 tax cuts. You favor a rate no higher than 25%.
But a lower top rate is meaningless, because American corporations don’t pay anything near that top rate. Prior to the 2017 tax cuts, the income tax they paid on profits in the U.S. was comparable to that our rivals in the G7 nations paid in their home countries, which was under 30%. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said 55 large publicly traded companies paid no federal income tax last year. Nike and FedEx paid none for three years. When the rate was 35%, many companies still avoided taxes. Eighteen companies, such as General Electric and Priceline, paid no income tax between 2008 and 2015.
In other words, the prior 35% maximum rate was no disincentive to business, putting them at a disadvantage to international rivals.
The 2017 tax reform was supposed to stimulate investment. But the Cleveland Fed determined business investment grew more slowly after the tax reform than before it.
As you have emphasized, Senator, your vote carries weight. This is the wrong issue to throw it around on. West Virginia and the nation can well benefit from the infrastructure proposals. Please reconsider.
Change in term limits good for city continuity
The upcoming referendum seeks to change the city council term-limits from two to four years; the terms would become staggered, electing four and three councilors in odd year elections.
Morgantown is the only large city in West Virginia that does not follow a city council four-year term. There is a mix of staggered vs. concurrent members at each election across these cities.
According to the Morgantown.gov website, this change seeks to “provide continuity and give council members the ability to see projects they undertake to be completed.”
I was curious about the experience from cities that practice four-year terms, so I contacted the National Civic League and received comments back from three members of the NCL:
“Based on my consulting work and personal experience of two four-year terms on our council, I would say that four-year terms place value on learning and experience … . A council member must learn how the city operates — what the different departments are responsible for; relationships among council members; the relationship between the governing body and the admin staff … and requires time and a range of effective relationships.”
“Two-year terms offer residents the more frequent opportunity to voice their wishes for who they want to represent them. But the cost is continuity and experience. Staggered four-year terms with elections every two years seems a good way to combine the best of the two methods.”
“Staggered four-year terms are used … with the mayor having a two-year term. It does promote continuity to have half of the council continuing to serve after the election … council members who are in the middle of their term will bring their knowledge and experience to discussions of the new council.”
I encourage you to vote yes on the term-limit referendum. The present city council believes it incorporates the best practices of retaining experience and knowledge on the council from election to election and, notably, still allows for the seating of several new incoming councilors by the electorate.
Stanley H. Cohen
Morgantown benefits from great health care
Gordon Gee, Clay Marsh and Albert Wright have taken the WVU Health Sciences Center to heights previously unimagined.
Thanks to years of strategic planning and implementation, what was once an insular academic institution is now a clinical juggernaut aimed at service to local and statewide patients.
In addition, the Mon Health Medical Center (formerly Mon General Hospital) remains an amazing choice for patients.
Morgantown is truly blessed with access to health care at its finest.
David M. Morgan
In support of Danielle Trumble for 5th Ward
Voters in the City of Morgantown will soon begin casting their votes for candidates running for each seat on the Morgantown City Council. Early voting runs from April 14-24, and Election Day voting is on Tuesday, April 27.
As a 21-year resident of the Woodburn neighborhood, I am supporting Danielle Trumble as the best candidate for 5th Ward council seat.
My reasons for supporting Danielle are numerous and simple: She is raising her family in the 5th Ward; she operates a small business in the 5th Ward; she is passionate about making all neighborhoods of Morgantown — including downtown — attractive, safe and prosperous places to live, work and play; and she has been actively engaged with putting her energies to work for the betterment of Morgantown for many years.
Morgantown has been blessed over the years with many people who have chosen to step up and direct their time and talents to the betterment of our city. Danielle is such a person. She has educated herself on many of the issues facing Morgantown through her work with the Woodburn Association of Neighbors and Neighborhood Coordinating Council, her membership on the BOPARC board, the City Traffic Commission and the City Health and Wellness Commission, as well as through her regular attendance of City Council meetings.
One of the everyday differences she makes is through her dedication to addressing the never-ending litter problems we have in Morgantown through her Morgantown Clean Up Project. She didn’t wait for someone else to fix the problem, but rather she formed a group, recruited participants and went to town.
While much of the committee work Danielle does is not always immediately visible, the results of the clean ups are extremely visible, and for that I am especially excited.
You can learn more about Danielle on her website, trumbleforcouncil.com and on her Facebook page. Please join me in casting your vote for Danielle Trumble for 5th Ward City Council and in encouraging your friends who care about Morgantown to do the same.
Seems someone could have helped Floyd
I have not seen the George Floyd video, nor do I wish to. There’s a line in a Charles Bronson movie that goes like this, “Forget what’s legal, do what’s right.”
What I don’t understand is this: Why couldn’t someone who was videoing this awful event simply run and knock this policeman off of Mr. Floyd?
This person would’ve served jail time, but Mr. Floyd would be breathing.
Has technology dulled our reasoning?
In support of Brian Butcher for 7th Ward
There are several new candidates running for the Morgantown City Council who impress me by what they can bring to our city. One such person is Brian Butcher, a man with West Virginia roots and management experience.
He wants to work for waste collection and sidewalk improvements as well as change in street and traffic signal lighting to LED or other lower-energy-use lighting to improve lighting and reduce city expense.
He also wants to help position the city to take on the big issues of needing to increase affordable housing and improving responses to nonviolent public safety calls, such as mental health crises, alcohol and drug overdoses and homelessness concerns.
Brian responds to email and phone calls and shows up when he commits to be somewhere. He is a responsive, reliable guy, and he cares about what is happening in communities these days. He is willing and able to work for just, resourceful, collaborative solutions to community problems that will move the community forward.
His vision and motivation would be an asset to any community. We are glad he and his family are part of us in Morgantown, and we can confidently vote for Brian Butcher in the up-coming city election on April 27.
Early voting starts on April 14, and Election Day is April 27. For more information on the election, go to www.morgantownwv.gov/157/Election-Information.
Cancel culture: Two can play at that game
I must admit, the negative response by businesses to the recent passage of Georgia’s election law took me and half the country by surprise. I also must admit that I have not read the bill, which puts me in the same category of ignorant responders as these business leaders.
But, I can still cancel all relationships with products associated with this boycott of Atlanta and Georgia. I can cancel all Major Leaguer Baseball (MLB) games this season — in person or on TV — and I shall. I can cancel drinking any and all Coke products — and I shall. I can cancel all trips and flights on Delta — and I shall. What a shame. The reported $100 million revenue the MLB All-Star Game would generate could sure help many of the needy in the Atlanta metro area.
In short, I can cancel being woke with the best of ‘em. I call on the other 75 million targets of the woke culture to likewise cancel it. This would be just a start. We have many other woke-related cancel culture activities to cancel as well. Space restrictions limit the ability to list them all, but we know who and what they are. More to come — stay tuned.
Your voice and vote is being stolen …
The soul of our community has been bartered away …
Who really runs the city?
There was a time when each of the seven wards of the city had two councilors, one Democrat, one Republican.
That fair representation was reduced to seven total as nonpartisan (a popular PC term that doesn’t actually exist).
Can you remember the last time that City Council actually improved the economy of our community? Think about that as I move on.
Can you remember a time when a councilor, running for reelection, violated state and federal election laws 52 times and became mayor?
Can you remember when four councilors violated the City Charter under penalty to be removed from council? How about when the remaining three members didn’t do their sworn duty to hold the offenders responsible?
Why is council trying to increase their terms to four years instead of two years? No term limits? Hmm …
Could you imagine if we had three city managers in a row that council hired and then called them “imposters” … incompetent?
Would a council try to demean and defund our police and fire staff? Is that possible?
Put this on your “to-do list.”
1. There are only 4 candidates to represent you that are not bought-and-paid-for by swearing allegiance to other than the Constitution.
◘ Ben Mayle
◘ Tony Setley
◘ Seth Collins, write-in
◘ Jay Redmond, write-in
2. Vote against the referendum. Keep their terms two years, not four years.