Vaccine booster shots need to be rolled out now

Dear Editor:

Perhaps because I’m 80 and have a mild form of COPD, I‘m more concerned than most about breakthrough COVID infections.

I’m worried about dawdling by the government to start providing booster shots within six months of our initial vaccine shots.

“In addition to the immunocompromised, health officials are seeing worrying evidence that older age groups continue to be at higher risk from the pandemic. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people over 65 account for 67 per cent of hospitalizations and 85 per cent of deaths from breakthrough cases. And recent media reports citing data from Seattle, Washington, and the United Kingdom show that older vaccinated people face similar — and, in some cases, greater — risks of severe disease than unvaccinated children.” — a National Geographic COVID report.

Our government has done a pretty good job getting COVID-19 vaccines out to the population but it’s no time to let up. I expect forms of COVID will be with us for years as will be need for booster shots not unlike the flu. Lets make it happen!

Gary Wolfe, Kelowna

Bike lanes shouldn’t be top priority for snow-clearing

Dear Editor:

Re: “Bike lanes will pose challenge,” (Penticton Herald, page A3, Oct. 21).

According to this article, the city has budgeted $17,800 for the costs of cleaning snow from bike lanes.

Who is biking during the snow-and-ice season at all? The bike lanes are hardly used during the warm season.

During the last five years since we’ve lived in town, our cul-de-sac was hardly ever cleaned. It is dangerous to walk on snow-and-ice tracks and it is bad for tires.

The snow cleaning of bike lanes is a No. 2 priority. What priority are cul-de-sacs?

We pay the same taxes as everybody else. Why are we treated so badly when it comes to snow removal? Is the city planning to give us a tax reduction or will the snow be removed this year?

Alice Wolf, Penticton

Pine Acres closure exposes government mismanagement

Dear Editor:

On Oct. 20, we learned that Pine Acres Home, a care home administered by the Westbank First Nation, will cease operations.

My 87-year-old father has been a resident of Pine Acres since February, 2020. His care has been beyond excellent, and our family is heartbroken at this decision.

The staff at Pine Acres Home navigated the challenges of the pandemic with exemplary skill and compassion.

I don't know if any of us can truly appreciate the burden caregivers in long-term care facilities bore, and our family is forever grateful to each and every member of the outstanding staff at PAH.

The closure notification from the administrative staff at Pine Acres indicated that long-standing staffing shortages compounded by the vaccine mandate led to unsafe conditions for the residents, resulting in the difficult decision to close the facility.

Last week, the province said 96% of long-term care and 97% of assisted living workers were at least partially vaccinated. Are we expected to believe that the unvaccinated 3% are responsible for spreading COVID-19?

There is a good chance that many of that 3% has already had COVID and now enjoy the far superior natural immunity.

The target date for operations cessation is Jan. 15, 2022, with the proviso that final closure is dependent on all residents being placed.

When I placed dad in long term care pre-pandemic, there were three subsidized residential care beds on the Westside and I am sure the situation has only gotten worse.

All the care facilities are strained to the point of breakdown for the same reasons that Pine Acres is closing. How Interior Health proposes to place the 63 residents of Pine Acres is beyond me. There are simply no beds.

The closure of Pine Acres Home is the tip of the iceberg, and we are witnessing a government induced implosion of care delivery systems.

If nothing else, COVID 19 has exposed the inadequacy of our vaunted institutions as a result of sustained government mismanagement.

Lori Malone, Surrey

‘Sure some people will die, but they …would have anyway’

Dear Editor:

Even in the best of times, there are many in any society or civilization who live lives of quiet desperation, and these are most definitely not the best of times.

Added on top of normal concerns of health, or lack of it; employment, or the fragility of it; promotion, or the lack of recognition of it; fear of being fired, even though competent; relationships, or loss of them due to a difference of personal choice; travel or recreation denied; worship, denied; bodily integrity, loss of respect and denial of normal activities unless accepting an unwanted substance; all of these are creating a very unhappy and frustrated society.

There is no solution which will magically erase all of these concerns as some of them are integral to living a 'normal' life of striving, achieving, and disappointments. However, there is a magic wand which, once waved, will at least remove many of the above and that is:

Stop all anti-COVID measures.

Sure some people will die, but they probably would have anyway, of that or something else. With the vaccine or without, with mandates and passports or without, people will die. That's what people do; we’re not immortal! This has nothing to do with being hard-hearted or cynical; this has everything to do with being realistic.

Before this virus, people died and after this pandemic is ended, if ever, people will continue to die. Once we accept that the purpose of life is to live, but not at any cost, then we remove all impediments to the pursuit of happiness.

Steve Friedman, West Kelowna

City utility surplus should be shared with ratepayers

Dear Editor:

Re: “$23M surplus beckons as budget talks near,” (Penticton Herald, A1, Oct. 22)

Did you know the City of Penticton has total electrical utility reserves of $28-plus million as of Dec. 21, 2020?

The majority of these reserves are in a non-statutory surplus reserve of almost $23 million.

All of this money flows from ratepayers, namely residents and businesses who pay for electrical services.

This sure looks like several years of overcharging to me.

What should be done right now?

The City of Penticton should immediately reduce electrical rates across the board for all ratepayers by at least 2%, and secondly, if our electrical supplier (FortisBC) brings forward a price increase in 2021 or 2022, the reserve could easily absorb this cost.

Furthermore, I strongly believe the city should immediately declare a special dividend of $5 million from the electrical utility surplus and deposit it into a reserve fund for RCMP and bylaw officers.

This could cover the majority of increased costs for additional RCMP officers and bylaw officers for the next five years and avoid a property tax increase for 2022.

If you have comments, please share your thoughts with the mayor and council by emailing them at council@penticton.ca

Rick Thorpe, Penticton

Trump greatest liar ever in White House

Dear Editor:

So here we have another letter seemingly written on behalf of the “Trump cult, declaring him “the best president ever,” all on the basis of much exaggerated hyperbole. (Oct 15 Daily Courier, Oct. 19 Penticton Herald).

Pretty easy to ignore such ridiculous ramblings. However, when good people remain silent, they may be deemed complicit. 

Trump will go down in history as the biggest liar ever to inhabit the White House.

Not to mention his undermining of democracy by refusing to acknowledge valid election results, inciting an insurrection, coddling up to Vladimir Putin, pretending religious conviction while using the justice system to bully, polluting public parklands, open nepotism, lining his pockets the those of family and friends with selling of access, suppressing the truth with open war on truth tellers, defaming the fourth estate as “false news”. 

On the world stage, Trump was a laughing stock; with few ideas beyond self aggrandizement.

I believe it was Stalin who said; “Teach the people how to hate and fear and you rule their lives.”  It certainly is a guiding principle in the Trumpian autocratic play book.  

While trying to deflect all of the wrongs of the world onto anyone other than Trump, the writer of that letter fails to look inward. He does raise a good question, yet refuses introspection: “Why do freedom fools ignore corruption and deception?” 

Ian Royce Sisett, Kelowna