Letters to the Editor

Editor should check the facts

Editor:

Dan Engler recently gave us an editorial that, while entertaining, was written without much regard for the actual facts. Just because something is printed under the heading of an editorial, it shouldn't, in our opinion be fiction!

The title "Give up power a slow process is converting to council-manager government in Jerome" is actually pretty accurate. It is a slow process, making sure everything is done properly, but a good one. However, the picture painted of a council unwilling to give up any power to a Town Manager couldn't be further from the truth.

The former Council form of government put an almost crippling load on each council member ­ which, as Dan correctly stated, is a lot to ask from an unpaid elected official. A Town Manager will be a great asset, both to the individual council members and to the government as a whole. However, it is taking time to get it right, as it should.

And to get Dan Engler's statement right, we would like to point out that our Fire Chief reports directly to the Town Manager, not to the Council. Our Police Chief does report to the Council, and that was at the request of our Municipal Attorney and the Chief, who has established a good working relationship with the Council, which everyone feels is working well. Our Town Clerk also reports to the Council, not the Town Manager as in most towns, but ­ sorry, Dan ­ we are not the only town in Arizona where this is the case.

Suffice it to say that we believe an editor would want to check the facts before writing a half page article ­ next time, give us a call Dan!

Bob Bouwman, Mayor

Jane Moore, Vice Mayor

Nancy Stewart, Council Member

Rebekah Kennedy, Council Member

Gil Robinson, Council Member

Jerome

This is where they can find a home

Editor:

I was shocked to read Terry Mattingly's article (Where will unhappy Episcopalians find a home?) in this morning's (Friday, 12/29/06) Verde Independent! Since most of the readers of this paper live in the Verde Valley, Cottonwood, Clarkdale areas he or the readers should know that we have a conservative Anglican Church (Holy Trinity) right here where unhappy Episcopalians can certainly find a home.

We celebrate Mass every Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (presently at Faith Lutheran Church, 2021 E. Fir, Cottonwood). Holy Trinity believes in the inerrancy of the Bible as God's Word; that the New Testament is the sole standard of Christian morality (on which we will not compromise); and that Jesus Christ is the sole Head of the Church. Father Gene Risch is Vicar and can be reached when a Priest is needed or information is desired. Bible Study is being held in the Risch's home on Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m. resuming after a Christmas break on Jan. 9. See you soon.

Father Risch, Vicar

Anglican Church (Holy Trinity)

By no means an expert, but certainly informed

Editor:

After reading Mr. Bauer's letter that responds to Mr. Lidbeck's letter concerning the liberal press, my wife has taken to calling me "Curly."

She assumes I'm one of the "Three Stooges" (Mr. Lidbeck being "Larry" I suppose) to which he refers. If so, I would like him to know that I do not consider myself an "expert" on "every subject known to man."

I do consider myself a "thinking" man, able to see reality and make informed opinions. Informed because I constantly read, listen and watch world events as reported by all forms of communication. Consequently, I would address several of his observations.

Joseph McCarthy: While the senator may have gone overboard in his accusations, it is a historical fact that the Roosevelt Administration was riddled with communists, their sympathizers and fellow travelers. It is also true that the left wing in this country worked overtime to shut Mr. McCarthy up.

Oil profits: Apparently, in Mr. Bauer's view, OPEC (which recently voted to curb oil production to keep prices above $60 a barrel) and the competition for oil on the world market, is all controlled by President Bush. I wonder why Mr. Bush didn't just lower gas prices back below a dollar until he had re-secured both houses of Congress in the recent election.

Prescription Prices: Should the government force pharmaceutical companies to deliver drugs to their customers at below cost, after spending an average of over a billion dollars, and years of research, to bring each new drug to market? Government interference in the past has been more of a hindrance than a help in bringing down prices.

Denied pensions and health benefits? How do bankrupt or failed companies pay former employee's benefits? Unless "politically appointed" judges (as opposed to those we elect, I suppose") can figure out how to make those companies profitable, I doubt they can find the money for those benefits.

CEO pay? A while back Yellow Freight Lines was in bad shape. They hired a new boss, at a cost of millions of dollars, and, guess what? They are now a strong, viable corporation. Ask the thousands of their employees if he was worth the money. The government has no business interfering with private enterprise's compensation of employees at any level. That is the business of their boards and the stockholders who hire them. If stockholders aren't happy with the pay of their executives it is up to them to change leadership. They will get what they pay for.

Finally, I remember Vietnam. I remember our people's support for our troops. I remember the unrelenting barrage against them by the "liberal" (yes, I will use the word) press. And, yes, I remember the result. I remember pictures of our heroes being spat on as they came home, simply because they had served their country. By the very act of highlighting every dishonorable act by a minute fraction of the troops who served in Vietnam, the press was able to convince a large number of people that all our troops were dishonorable. This same press, liberal press, if you will, is now at work in Iraq and Afghanistan. And their followers are working up a big mouth full of spit.

Jim Barber

Camp Verde

Drug price increases should be legally limited

Editor:

People disagree (mildly or strongly) based on their personal opinions, which are individually created by what we see, hear, read, and experience in our life. It would be highly unlikely that two people have exactly the same exposure to information, hence the difference of opinions. You and I fall into this situation, and I would like to challenge your statements regarding prescription prices. You ask, "should the government force pharmaceutical companies to deliver drugs to their customers at below cost (italics are my emphasis), after spending an average of a billion dollars, and years of research to bring each new drug to market?" No drug on the market today cost the pharmaceutical companies a billion dollars to develop. In the first place, much of new drug research is government-funded at various medical universities. The drug companies take over the results and gain 17 to 20 year patents that prevent competition. This is supposed to allow them to recoup their investment. Let's take a look at what some prescription drugs really cost (this data from Life Extension Foundation in 2005):

o 100 Celebrex pills (100 mg) cost the consumer $130.27. The active ingredient to make 100 pills costs the drug company 60 cents. This means the drug company has marked up the cost of Celebrex by 21,612 percent.

o 100 Norvasc pills (10 mg) cost the consumer $188.29. The active ingredient to make 100 pills costs the drug company 14 cents. This means the drug company has marked up the cost of Norvasc by 134,393 percent.

o 100 Xanax pills (1 mg) cost the consumer $136.79. The active ingredient to make 100 pills costs the drug company 2 cents. This means the drug company has marked up the cost of Xanax by 569,858 percent.

That's not the end of the story. Compare some prices for the same drug in 1994 and 2004 (data again from Life Extension Foundation in 2005):

o A prescription for 100 Premarin cost $37.08 in 1994. In 2004, the same amount cost $106.99, an increase of 189 percent.

o A prescription for 100 Lopressor cost $43.04 in 1994. In 2004, the same amount cost $298.98, an increase of 574 percent.

o A prescription for 30 Prilosec cost $11.23 in 1994. In 2004, the same amount cost $125.70, an increase of 1019 percent.

In fact, in 2003 alone, the average annual manufacturer price increase for the most widely used drugs was 6.9 percent, or more than triple the general inflation rate of 2.2 percent.

I'm sure you know that the recent Medicare drug benefit legislation does not allow the government to negotiate drug prices with the manufacturers. By law, the government has to pay whatever the drug companies charge.

Ah, but we can always drive down to Mexico (or the northern states to Canada) to buy our drugs less expensively, right? Not if the drug companies have their way about it. They are doing everything in their power to stop importation of drugs from outside the USA, which will leave American consumers stuck with paying the highest prices in the world for our prescriptions.

Here is some government "interference" that would be of great benefit to you and I. First, the government should affirm that it is now, and will remain legal to import drugs from other countries. Second, the Medicare law should be changed to allow the government to negotiate prices for senior's drugs. Third, drug price increases should be legally limited to no more than the general rate of inflation.

The pharmaceutical industry organization, PHARMA, has more full-time lobbyists in Washington than there are members of Congress. Given their power and success so far, it doesn't seem to me that your concern for pharmaceutical companies is founded on accurate information. Or, do you perhaps own stock in Wyeth, Merck, Pfizer, Aventis, SmithKlein Beecham, Bristol-Myers Squibb, or AstraZeneca?

Carl Nye

Cottonwood

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