Readers comments 2-23-18

A call for help

Dear Editor:

So what about this Pomona man, Allen Perez, who according to the COURIER Police Blotter is arrested time after time after time for public intoxication in our fair city?

I keep thinking about the 19-year-old murderer in Florida who clearly needed help and the horrific acts he committed before he was finally stopped. Is Mr. Perez asking for help here? Maybe you’re thinking, “He’s just a drunk. He isn’t violent.”

Well, this man clearly has a serious problem. What happens if he gets a gun? Isn’t there something besides showing him a revolving jail cell door that can be done for him? Does he have a family in Pomona? Are there county services that could be contacted on his behalf?

Honestly— I would really like to know what we’re supposed to do when behavioral red flags are raised. Would seem that calling the CPD really doesn’t accomplish much.

Anne Stoll

Claremont

 

Stand up

Dear Editor:

We stood by and it happened again, this time on a clear and sunny Valentine’s Day, with love and expectation in the air. 

We stood by on a day when our young people should be experiencing the anxious butterflies of romantic revelations, but instead were subjected to the anxiety of another school shooting—the 18th in this young six-weeks-old 2018. 

We stood by and another 17 of our sweet and precious children were slaughtered, their blossoming potential and optimistic futures cut short by a hail of AR-15 assault rifle bullets. It can’t be business as usual, an average of three school shootings per week. It can’t be! How did we get here? How did this become normalized?

I don’t know the answer.  But I do know that any possible solution will be arrived at through discourse, compromise and consensus. Sadly, our leaders and fellow citizens are so politically polarized that we cannot even begin a conversation. Discourse is impossible. 

It’s “take the guns away” on the left and “the second amendment is absolute” on the right. But where is the sensible middle? Surely we can all agree that our school children should not be at such risk.

So, how can we navigate the polarizing rhetoric and instead focus on common-sense policy? If we all agree, why can’t we all agree? It’s time to stand up and not to stand by. 

After every one of these horrifying shootings there is the grave outpouring of grief, there is the prodigious offering of prayer, there is the shocked soul-searching  and there is the requisite collective reflection. Then, the moment simply seems to pass with no resulting action. We fail to act! Sadly, within a short period of time, the cycle begins again. The routine is shockingly all too familiar, tragically all too frequent, depressingly all too ordinary. 

Have we become numb? Is it a collective case of PTSD? Is it the raw political muscle of the NRA? Is it a gratuitous media hype that shifts our attention to the next news cycle? 

Whatever the cause of our national paralysis in response to school shootings, I say enough is enough! How many dead children is too many? We cannot let the moment pass. We can’t stand by and let it happen again. It is our duty as citizens and teachers and parents to shake off the malaise of our apathy, to cast off the yoke of our cynicism, to tear off the veil of our willful ignorance. 

I have enjoyed teaching in this community for nearly 20 years. I have served six years as president of the Claremont Faculty Association. My heart aches for our students and it’s no wonder so many of them struggle with anxiety. Their world is chaotic and scary and the adults seem unable to respond adequately.

I will take advantage of this platform I have and I ask each and every one of you to seize the moment; Don’t let it pass. Take advantage of your platform. Add your voice to the discourse and demand action. STAND UP and do not stand by. 

With a heavy heart,

Dave Chamberlain

CUSD teacher and president,

Claremont Faculty Association

 

A glimmer of hope

Dear Editor:

In general, the newly-enacted 2018 Tax Plan (signed into law by President Donald Trump) is terrible.

Almost all the benefits flow to the top of the income spectrum, and it’s not clear how this helps the annual deficit or the combined national debt problem. However, one thing is clear: the new tax legislation will help some businesses buy solar panels and wind turbines and zero out their electric costs.

IRS Section 179 (equipment deductions) includes solar panels and wind turbines and speeds up the depreciation (or “write-off” from gross income) to 100 percent in the first year. This is a new development for 2018, and makes a solar panel or wind turbine investment by certain businesses all the more desirable.

In the past, taking such business equipment “depreciation” and write-offs from gross income was possible, but done over many years. Now the entire cost of the solar panels or wind turbines and associated equipment and installation can be “written off,” or depreciated, in the first year. 

For businesses this is a dramatic improvement and the new 100 percent write off is good for up to $1 million, so almost all small- and medium-sized businesses can benefit.

Almost all businesses will be able to get almost every dollar they invest in solar panels or wind turbines back in tax savings in the first 12 months. Then, if they are smart, their electric utility bill will fall to zero for 20 to 25 years.

So, the government will be subsidizing the entire cost of the equipment while the business owners will enjoy zero cost renewable energy for the foreseeable future.

In short, amazing.

Here is how it works. If a small business is successful and operated as a LLC (limited liability company) or as a sole proprietorship the profit flows through the business to the owner and is taxed at the personal income tax rate (often 35 percent). For these businesses the savings from the 2018 tax plan and an investment in solar panels or wind turbines will be substantial.

Assume a restaurant is paying $800 per month for electric power or $9,600 per year and using 80 kilowatt hours of power per day. Approximately 70 solar panels (300 watts each) or a 21,000 watt system would zero out their electric bill.

A system of this size would cost approximately $42,000 but the immediate tax advantaged savings would be substantial. If the owner was at a 35 percent marginal tax rate, the 100 percent write-off of $42,000 would be worth $14,700 in savings in the first year.

The US Treasury renewable energy tax credit (30 percent) would be worth an additional tax credit of $12,600 and, since the utility bill would go zero, the annual savings on an electric bill would be $9,600 for a total savings in the first year of at least $36,900.

Also, that restaurant owner may qualify for some California state depreciation (perhaps worth $1,000); that combined with the absolute guarantee of a stable cost of electricity for the next 20 years (that is “zero”) adds up to a total benefit of at least $42,000 in state and federal tax savings, or the entire cost of the renewable energy system.

An investment of $42,000 in solar or wind energy system breaks down as:

1. 100% tax write-off of $42,000  (35% tax rate) = $14,700 in savings.

2. 30% federal tax credit on $42,000 system = $12,600 in savings.

3. Zero electric bills = $9,600 in savings.

4. California state depreciation (estimate) = $1,000 in savings.

5. 20-year stability (“0”) in power costs (estimate) = $4,100 in savingsTOTAL SAVINGS = $42,000.

Of course, businesses are organized in many different ways, and not all businesses will qualify for a 100 percent return on all invested cash in solar or wind. 

But the point is clear—right now business owners can make tax-advantaged investments in their own business and have the government pay for solar panels and wind turbines, and then enjoy free electric power for the next 20 years.

Thanks Mr. Trump! Maybe you really do support renewable energy after all!

Peter L. Coye

Claremont

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