Letters to the Editor
Here are some of the latest and most interesting letters to the editors of local newspapers from the community.
Note: while we only post intelligent, informed letters, they do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the county or party.
Greetings -- My name is Jeff Rice and I hope what follows will be of assistance to those who wish to speak out in a public forum, but not sure how to do so. I began submitting letters to area newspapers as far back as the presidency of Ronald Reagan. There wasn’t any guideline to follow except for my desire to speak out so I sat down and started writing.
As the years passed I learned how to comply to the requirements of area newspapers. Basically it’s a 250 word limit and common sense after that...no profanity. Time between letters is 30 days before another can be submitted.
While my interests lie in political topics, people write about numerous items of interest they want others to read.
Letters can be drafted by hand and submitted via mail, or written on computer and sent electronically. Newspapers encourage citizens to write and they provide the ‘how to’ information on their opinion page.
Some papers call the writer for verification and some do not. My experience is the Dispatch/Argus always calls, while the QC Times does not, especially if they know you have written them previously.
The above publications have their own web sites, thus letters are published online as well as in print which mean your words reach far and wide across our nation. Now it’s time for the nuts and bolts so here goes. Shakespeare wrote, “brevity is the soul of wit.”
Once your first draft is completed, it’s time for the final touch. My suggestion is to sit down and get what you want to say off your chest...no matter how many words you write. Don’t worry about word count until you have set in print everything you want to express. Most of the time writers discover they have exceeded the word limit, so now the editing process begins.
With word processors, it’s easy to keep track by clicking onto ‘tools’ and seeing your word count. Here’s where saying the most in the fewest words count, making your letter capture the readers attention. This is where writers will delete sentences or entire paragraphs. Maybe move them around to a different place for maximum impact.
When writing it is helpful to use a dictionary and/or thesaurus in order to avoid using repeated words. If you follow the above guidelines, you are well on your way to making an impact to fellow citizens. Questions let me know. Jeff Rice
Feature Letter to the Editor
Virus is an excuse to raise property taxes?
According to the Rock Island County administrator, our county is in a very weak financial position. Revenue from the motor fuel tax is down 48% and revenue from retail taxes is down 40%. Our county is in a fragile financial situation, and we must work to reduce spending; the reality of our current situation makes it necessary that we "live within our means."
It took the coronavirus crisis to wake up the board and perhaps force it to make some spending cuts. All this is insane. You and I must "live within our means" all the time. My concern is that the board will use the virus crisis to increase property taxes by double digits in 2021 and again ask for a sales tax increase.
The Rico Board has a spending problem and must:
• Reduce size of the county board to 15; approved by 72% of voters in 2012.
• Reduce wages/benefits for county executives by 10%.
• Implement Lean Six Sigma (business improvement process) to make government more effective and efficient
Focus on core government functions such as public safety; contract out non-core functions to private industry.
• Use public-private partnerships to end the heavy taxpayer subsidies for the zoo and golf course.
I have been attending board meetings for over two years and this board continues to disappoint in so many ways. I simply don’t understand why it refuses to make needed spending cuts.
Rock Island Tax Reduction Coalition
May 22, 2020