Letters — Hong Kong, Endangered Species Act, Dallas Budget, Opportunity Zones, Scooters

I'm boycotting Chinese goodsRe: "Riot police clash with protesters — After retreat, demonstrators vow to return to airport today," Wednesday news story.As I watch with growing unease as Hong Kongers attempt to reverse mainland China's growing takeover of executive authority, I fear a military violence. I will express my opinion by boycotting Chinese goods.Dwight Bartholomew, East DallasTiananmen repeat fearedDoes anyone else have a queasy feeling that Hong Kong is going to be Tiananmen Square on steroids?Roland D. Freeman, North DallasSave Endangered Species ActRe: "Endangered species law under review — Administration wants to use cost as factor in enforcement decisions," Tuesday news story.I am writing in support of the Endangered Species Act and in opposition to efforts by Congress and Secretary David Bernhardt to weaken it. I am an animal lover and I am concerned about the loss of plants, fish and animals. The Endangered Species Act is a safety net for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction. Since President Richard Nixon signed the law in 1973, hundreds of species have been saved and many more are on their way to recovery. In Texas, the Endangered Species Act protects the whooping crane and many other birds, plants, fish and animals.But now, some members of Congress and the administration are trying to weaken the act to benefit developers and the oil, gas and mining industries. Proposed policies would undermine science and make it harder to protect important habitat for imperiled fish and wildlife.We have a responsibility to future generations to be good stewards and protect endangered species and the special places they call home. I hope that I can count on Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn to defend the Endangered Species Act.Lisa Babbs, PflugervilleDallas tax hikes relentlessRe: "Council not sold on $8 tax hike — Some cite burden on homeowners; others want residents' input," Wednesday Metro & Business story.First tax hike in years. Yeah, right! I own four rental properties in Dallas. I bought them in 2013-14. Since then, taxes on those properties have risen from $11,802 to $18,328. An average increase of 55% in five years. All without a "tax hike." It's the valuations. Who do you think pays those taxes? If you guessed the tenants, give yourself a gold star. Taxes make up about a third of their rent. There are plenty of homeowners faced with the same situation. Many are being driven out of their homes. The Legislature tried to fix the problem. Evidently, the council didn't get the message. City tax revenue will be up 8% to 10% this year. What are they spending it on? Enough to hire 19 new police officers. If we are 1,000 short, we should be caught up in only 50 years. And, there is enough to renovate Juanita Craft's house. There is lots of fat in the 40% of the city budget outside public safety. I didn't read about any cuts. The city manager is excited about the new budget. I am sure he is. It is easier to be Santa Claus than Scrooge.Mac Smith, DallasDon't ask me for more Now it seems we need a tax increase of 0.33% to support our police. The question is do we need it? The answer is no. Then do not raise it! In 2019, my property tax on a 1,735-square-foot wood-frame 1938 home built on tree stumps moved from a valuation of $330,000 to $508,000. I am a retired, 74-year-old teacher on a fixed income. Do not ask me to support a police raise whose need can be attributed to a mismanaged pension fund.I may be old, but my memory is not that short. Handle it, handle it!Jacqueline Minick, East DallasNothing is trickling down Re: "D-FW to gain from Opportunity Zones — Areas could generate billions of dollars in real estate activity," July 27 Metro & Business story.The Dallas Morning News touts in this article the benefits of the "Opportunity Zones" in Dallas. Like, for example, huge federal tax breaks for the billionaires. The delusion here is that this form of corporate welfare will trickle down to the working class. For now, during these good economic times, nothing trickled down to the ordinary folks. On the contrary; if you take a stroll around downtown Dallas you will meet hundreds, if not thousands, of homeless people. Union Station, once considered the pride of Dallas, looks now like a third-world dump. So, yeah, if you are wealthy, you have more opportunities in Dallas than in China. And keep in mind that in addition to tax exemptions for the rich, Texas has no unions, the employers can be "self-insured" when it comes to workers' compensation insurance, and the workers' civil rights are nonexistent in Dallas' kangaroo courts.John Stancu, North DallasKeep e-scooters with rulesMy name is Jake Overmann, and I am a Boy Scout in Troop 815 in Addison. I am writing to you to express my opinion about e-scooters in Dallas and the ways people could make them safer. Scooters can be a fun and fast way to travel short distances but can be very dangerous when used on highways or even crossing roads. There are many good and bad things about e-scooters. E-scooters slow down traffic in the city because people use the road instead of sidewalks to ride and sometimes even crash. Also e-scooters are left in random places all over the city. In contrast, there are many good things about e-scooters. Firstly, it is easy to commute short distances without polluting the air. Secondly, the operators get lots of data from travelers and place their scooters where they know people will ride them the most. There are many positives and negatives about e-scooters, but overall I believe that scooters should be allowed in Dallas. I think some safety changes should make riders take a class before logging into a scooter and learning the rules more for the safety of the community.Jake Overmann, Parker  Continue reading...

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