West End News Oct. 21, 2009

Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey

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The Sawtooth Clinic board of directors will hold its monthly business meeting at the Birch Grove Center Monday, Oct. 25, at 5 p.m. The clinic board will inspect the clinic, which is housed in the center, before the meeting.

The clinic board welcomes anyone who wishes to attend the board meeting. We will be meeting in the conference room. If you have any questions about the satellite clinic at Birch Grove this is an opportunity to bring your questions to the board.

The clinic has been at Birch Grove ever since the community of Taconite Harbor was shut down by the mining company. While the community existed the clinic was located in a house at Tac Harbor. Many of us remember that facility. Residents of the West End are on the clinic board. You will be welcomed; come if you are interested.

Ann Mershon, a Cook County resident and a longtime teacher at Cook County High School, has published another book. You will remember that she wrote and published the story of a young Norwegian girl who immigrated to Cook County with her family. The story is based on the real family experiences of a Cook County resident, who Ann interviewed in the lady's elder years. That book is titled "Britta.”
The past few years Ann has been teaching in Turkey. She has a wonderful blog site with amazing pictures of the places she visits there. Her new book is titled "Istanbul's Bazaar Quarter.” It is recently available in this country. I hope that the county bookstores will stock the book so we can buy a copy. I know that I will never travel to Turkey; but I am sure that it is a beautiful book and well worth having. Go Ann!
The health care concerns, especially the funding of health care, command most of the attention of all the media, or at least that is how it seems to me. I always wonder who figures out the stated costs of one thing or another which results in what looks like an offhand estimate of hundreds of billions of dollars. Could the estimate possibly be anywhere close to accurate?
I have developed a personal index to help me make some sense of these huge numbers. This is how it goes. There are roughly 300 million folks living in the United States. If just $5 is spent on each and every person, that would cost $1.5 billion. Amazing, is it not?
Another problem is the way costs are presented. "$800 billion over 10 years.” Now does that mean that the total spent in 10 years will be $800 billion, $80 billion a year; or does it mean that $800 billion will be spent each and every year for 10 years?
When I was a county commissioner the county board would get "nasty grams" from the state auditor's office for the reason that we had not sent along a detailed budget for the next 10 years. Our position was that we could not tell what imposed mandates would be required by the state and the feds. So why bother with the silly game of projecting a budget for 10 years? That was not at all popular with the bean counters in the state auditor's office.
The same thing is true about the present estimates for health care "over the next 10 years.” Who really knows?
As a relief from all this big money, I’m going to vote yes for the 1 percent sales tax. At least with this proposal the goals and anticipated costs seem well worked out and affordable. I will be voting in favor of both issues on the ballot. I personally can't see anything that should lead to a "no" vote.
After the vote there should be resolve to stick to the agreed-upon projects and the agreed-upon scope of the projects when the tax is passed. What I am saying is, don't fall into the car-buying trap. "I just want a basic car, no frills.” Then somehow you end up with leather seats, GPS, surround sound, On Star communication, and other goodies, for only a few bucks more a month. We must only build what we vote for. Be strong and resist temptation.
 
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