March 4, 2015
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1119 Meade Ave. 786-7787
613 7th Street
Prosser, WA 99350
The times they are a changin'
Dear Editor, 
Some folks have pretty strong opinions with regard to marijuana and its use.  I have heard statements as to the effect that those who use it are degenerates, are of low moral stature or skulk around in the low levels of society.  Pretty strong stuff!  If that's the case, a lot of fine people should be held in low regard.
Our Mayor, Paul Warden, has been pilloried by some, who think that he has single handedly turned Prosser into a den of inequity. They say that at very least he has over stepped his authority and taken action contrary to the desires of the rest of the leaders of Prosser.  I will not speak for Mayor Warden but can say that as Mayor and City Administrator, he carries out the duties of those positions and makes decisions reflective, of the desires of the majority of those, for whom he works.
One letter writer questioned how Mayor Warden could hold both jobs.  The answer is that it is very commonly done, in communities across our country.  This is nothing new nor unconventional. In fact, it saves a community money.
Another letter writer gave many facts regarding the Federal "Controlled Substance Act".  Much of what he states is correct.  He fails to take a page from Paul Harvey's play book and tell, "The rest of the story!" 
Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in four states and Washington D.C.  Colorado and Washington will be joined by Alaska and Oregon in 2016. It's interesting to note that although Federal laws prohibit the use of marijuana, a small 68 sq. mile District, containing all the Federal offices and the Capitol of our country, has voted to legalize its use.  The Feds have taken a step back and are watching, taking no action at all.  In fact, the Feds are now treating its possession and use of small amounts of marijuana, as a civil crime similar to a minor traffic violation.
In 1970, Marijuana was classified as a Schedule 1 Drug.  It shares the same classification as heroin, cocaine and meth.  However, in 2013, the U.S. Justice Department said that it would not challenge Colorado or other states, with laws legalizing recreational marijuana, deciding to focus instead on stopping drug trafficking and keeping marijuana away from children.  That's what we do with alcohol and certainly appropriate in this case too.
Not only is the recreational use of marijuana legal in four states, it is legal for medicinal use in 27 states. Twenty seven states now have initiatives, for its recreational use, pending congressional approval for their ballots.  California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada, are just a few. 
The Journal of American Medical Association has stated that states which have legalized marijuana for managing chronic pain have significantly fewer deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses each year.  The medicinal properties of Marijuana are well documented. Some practitioners in pain clinics are calling it a wonder drug.  As to the contention that marijuana is terribly habit forming, I suggest you ask any of your friends who have used it.  Everyone I've talked to has said it's a take it or leave it kind of deal.  That is not true for tobacco, alcohol, nor "hard drugs" 
If rational thinking comes into play and emotions are put aside, one will understand that our country is a democracy and the law of the land is by majority rule.  I'm no Bob Dylan but, the times, they are a changin'   As I stated earlier, you may find the use of alcohol harmful and disgusting but if you do, you are in the minority.
Dick Olsen
The fierce competition between Seattle's Alaska and Atlanta's Delta airlines is spilling over to the Port of Seattle, and it may reach your wallet in the form of higher airfares.
The Port commission, which manages Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, must decide whether to build a new international arrivals terminal at the south end of the airport or expand the north satellite to accommodate additional domestic flights.  At this point, there isn't the money to fund both.
The commission puts the international terminal as its top priority, but there's a problem the price keeps ratcheting up.  It started at $344 million and has now swollen to $608 million. 
Several days ago, two charts were presented during the state's revenue forecast that caught my attention. One shows job creation is growing in Washington. The other shows that nationwide, the number of those without work for 27 weeks or more remains high.
This tells me while Washington is recovering from the Great Recession, our state's economy remains fragile. Many Eastern Washington counties are struggling. In fact, two local counties, Franklin and Columbia, had the highest unemployment in the state in December at 11.3 percent and 11.1 percent respectively.
Imagine if someone used a credit card, but instead of their own name, your children's names were on the card.
It sounds absurd: no right thinking person would consign their children to pay debts they had no choice in incurring.
Yet that is how the federal government operates when it comes to borrowing money from your children and grandchildren to spend today.
Our national debt has grown to $18 trillion. To put that number in perspective, the total U.S. economic output last year was $17.7 trillion. That's roughly $56,000 of debt for every man, woman, and child living in the country at this moment.