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Do you want the 1 percent running your life?

I live in a city of 10,000 hard-working Americans. We go to work, come home and enjoy our lives. Ninety-nine percent of us do not want to run the lives of others, and then we have the other 1 percent.

I have yet to meet anyone who is willing to give away free money without clearly understanding what it is for, yet this is exactly what is happening to you, through the St. Helens Economic Development Company, or SHEDCO.

Following one publicized meeting that had the intent of finding volunteers of like mind, SHEDCO pretty much went underground, and 99 percent of us are no longer informed of when the meetings will happen. I called and asked to be informed by several of our city's officials several months ago, and was told that I would be informed, and never was.

After attending the first SHEDCO sales meeting, the professionals who had already filed for corporation status stated that the purpose of SHEDCO is to tax us all, set up another level of government and use the money to renovate privately owned business property in St. Helens. Meditate on that last statement for a minute and tell me when that became the responsibility of the 99 percent.

Trees are to be planted along Columbia Boulevard, and overhead wires along Columbia Boulevard are to be buried underground, just to name a few of the grand ideas you will be paying for.

I live on Columbia Boulevard and I own a business in town, so I stand to gain more than most from this fiasco if you allow it. But when did it become your responsibility to pay to beautify my home or business?

SHEDCO is the same urban renewal plan brought before us called one year ago, just repackaged. But we were asked for our consent on that one and said no.

This time, not only is there no consent by the 99 percent, but there is a banker involved who is willing to finance the whole deal. Loan the money, and tax us later to pay it all back. This plan does not require a vote of the people. You start seeing wires go down and trees go up, which will look very positive until you get the bill in a year or two. Can you say sewer bill?

Want the fun part? There will be a committee who will tell you if you can paint your house. What color to paint your house. If you can plant a bush, what type to plant, etc., etc., all paid for by the 99 percent. It will begin downtown and reach you in time. Don't be fooled by the divide and conquer argument of 'this wont effect you.'

And of course there are already homes in the plan that are exempt from the tax and, at the committee's authority, those homes will belong to the 1 percent.

Think the new charter was a bad idea?

- Joe Cason, St. Helens