Good legislation

LOIS STORK

NEW HARTFORD — The Elder Abuse Prevention & Prosecution Act of 2017, sponsored by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Richard Bloomenthal, D-Connecticut, was signed into law by President Trump on Oct. 18. The bill increases penalties for those who financially exploit seniors via illegal or improper use of their funds, property or assets.

Grassley called those who exploit seniors “cowardly” and said the crimes should be prosecuted “as the reprehensible acts they are.”

At a time when it appears the Congress and Senate are in complete chaos, perhaps this season would be a good time to acknowledge the efforts of those who continue to work across party lines and create legislation that focuses on the unique needs of the elderly.

Safety officers

PENNY POPP

CEDAR FALLS — I received an invitation to observe training simulations for the Cedar Falls public safety officers Dec. 6 after a remark I had made at the last City Council meeting. I was able to see and speak with many people who are involved in the program, from police officers, firefighters and volunteer participants in the PSO program as well as new hires. In a letter to Jeff Olson, director of public safety services, I shared my thoughts: “Based on the wealth of information I received this morning, I must apologize for my remarks directed at the PSO program. I understand that change in long standing traditions, in this case, the separation of police and fire, can be a difficult hurdle to clear. The needs of a city must be assessed and changes will occur. Unfortunately, many in the community are resistant to change, myself included.

“The clear and concise answers to my many questions about this program has altered my perspective about the role of our public safety officers and the need to continue the expansion of the program. I hope that you will be able to share more information about this program with the residents to quell the rumor mill of misinformation.”

Mental health

PAULA DAVIS

CEDAR FALLS — Regarding the forum comments in the Des Moines Register on Dec. 7 written by Kim Reynolds, Iowa governor. In this forum she states, “My administration has taken a number of steps to address the critical mental health needs in our state.” “Today, Iowa’s mental health system is serving more Iowans in more modern ways with better services and more local home and community settings than ever before.”

Iowa may be serving more Iowans with mental health issues, but we are using jails, not appropriate facilities, not saving money but costing more. I fail to see where the administration has taken any steps to address the critical mental health needs in our state. As for serving more Iowans with mental health issues in more modern ways with better service with local home and community settings, that is inaccurate. The idea behind the local home and community settings is to transition the mentally ill into the modern world. Most of the mentally ill that came from group homes can’t be successful in that environment. They would prefer to live like a person without mental illness but can’t. Services are worse, not better.

Education state

AMY MOUSEL

WATERLOO — Once again, Iowa is first in the nation – this time in education. This should come as no surprise, though. Over the past six years, education has been a main priority of Gov. Kim Reynolds. From leadership in STEM education to record investment in education and training programs across the state, Reynolds is making sure Iowans are ready for the jobs of tomorrow.

On Dec. 5, the National Center for Education Statistics announced Iowa is ranked No. 1 in high school graduation rates. With a 3 percent increase over the last six years, 91.3 percent of students in the Class of 2016 graduated within four years.

Outcomes like this would not be possible without the leadership of Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Why

Trump?

RODNEY CARY

CEDAR FALLS — How can the federal government ask U.S. citizens to pay student loans back when illegal immigrants are getting a free education? I can’t quite figure out how you can proudly wave the flag of another country while on United States soil but consider it punishment to be sent back to where you came from.

Hillary Clinton can’t remember a thing under oath, but can remember to write a 512-page book. Need now means wanting someone else’s money. Greed now means wanting to keep your own. Compassion is when a politician arranges the transfer. Florida has had 119 hurricanes since 1850, but the last one was due to climate change. Isn’t it weird that in America, our flag and our culture offend so many people but our benefits don’t? The Russians did not get me to vote for Trump, the Democrats and Clinton did.

Anti-Republican

JAMES E. HINES

WATERLOO — The government claims to have paid $15 million in hush money for sexual abuses by government officials. Why no public notice and names of those who are responsible for the abusive actions causing the payouts?

We now are faced with the biggest liar ever to be president and a party that accepts sexual abuse by its leader. Now the great state that supported George Wallace nearly gave America a child molester. The good old boys in Alabama can again hold their heads high again.

All the Republicans who praise the tax reform know it’s a fraud. I have not heard one economist agree with their predictions. Of course, I don’t deserve the right to not understand why inheriting $22 million tax-free is not enough. Just because my $50,00-a-year job could only provide me enough to spend every darn penny I have on booze or women or movies.

Time to atone

BOB BLACK

WATERLOO — Recently in the Philippines a statue was unveiled of a blindfolded Philippine woman. This statue is a memorial to Philippine women who were forced to provide many forms of comfort, including sexual, to Japanese soldiers during World War II and were known as “comfort women.” The surviving comfort women were offered financial compensation from Japan. Several refused the money and asked for an apology from Japan instead.

That was 72 years ago. So listen up, sexually molesting presidents, senators, congressmen, entertainers and just plain Joes: Sexual molestation at the point of a gun, loss of a job or any other pressure applied does not diminish with time the emotional destruction it causes.

So, atone for past bad behavior and start behaving like the civilized humans you’re supposed to be.