Our View: We should feel indignant on sequestration's impact on military
Hold onto your seats, folks. It looks as if sequestration is about to take off.
The plan, as it originated in 2011, was that these "automatic" cuts would force partisans to make a deal on trimming our nation's budget.
The deal they've agreed to, evidently, is a game of chicken. The deadline was moved from January to March 1. Cuts of all sorts, including military, are about to go into effect, because there is little chance the partisans will meet.
We're not sure what Congress was thinking when it settled on sequestration. An institution largely designed to represent our interests and thoughtfully set the course for our country is, instead, dealing with urgent situations in emergency mode. If you were going to design an organization to deal with urgent situations and quickly handle emergencies, would it be a partisan Congress?
With sequestration, we're talking about cutting $1.2 trillion out of $48.3 trillion in spending over 10 years. If not now, when would be a good time to cut? "Eventually" seems to be the popular answer, and that makes natural skeptics naturally cynical.
Some pundits warn that it could be devastating; some pooh-pooh the idea that there will be anything much to worry about. Who knows, maybe it won't be so bad. But we're worried mainly about the defense budget. Even if you're one of those who believe that cuts to military spending could be managed, do you want it to be managed with "automatic" cuts?
Our own Beale Air Force Base is a key component to our nation's and our allies' defense strategies; and it's a key component of the Northern California economy. Regardless of how this sequestration falls out (civilian employees will, no doubt, be receiving notice from the defense secretary that furloughs will be going into effect), we have a right to be indignant about how the military and civilian employees have been handled; and we should let our federal delegates know how we feel.
What could we doto help Peach Tree Mall?
We all want the Peach Tree Mall to be revitalized. But what can we do?
The mall opened in 1972, was damaged by a flood in 1986 and never fully recovered, later losing anchor stores. The deep recession certainly didn't help. But as reported by the Appeal-Democrat's Ben van der Meer last week, now that we're pulling out of the recession, officials are saying that they're hearing murmurs of interest in the mall and its redevelopment.
No one knows what might be happening; at least no one who knows and is able to talk much about it.
But we do know that the property is there, underused, surrounded by an area that has developed and provides a solid retail base. Indeed, Yuba County's economic development coordinator, John Fleming, notes that the county suffers from hundreds of millions of dollars annually in sales tax leakage — that is, shoppers are going outside the county to buy because there isn't enough opportunity for them to spend in their own county. Redevelopment of the mall could plug up the holes and provide much needed revenue to county coffers and dollars to churn in the local economy.
Still, we don't know. Murmurs.
But what if something were imminent? How would we all manage to help in the revitalization?
The low-grade plague that never goes away
Graffiti … it's a low-grade plague. Not quite bothersome enough that we really get worked up about it, but we're constantly annoyed by it. "Graffiti" … the sound of the word doesn't even make it seem that important.
But it's vandalism and it can cost individual building owners hundreds, even thousands of dollars per year to cover it up.
Some points to take away from a report a couple of weeks ago:
• Removing graffiti within a day or two is the best way to prevent the problem from recurring. Zero-Tolerance Graffiti Busters will help in the Yuba-Sutter area. Call Lou Binninger at 713-1838. No charge.
• We're all in it together. The more a neighborhood is kept up, the less attractive it is to vandals. The more graffiti is allowed to remain, the more there is bound to be.
• Vandals like to work unseen. Try adding lighting and security cameras.