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Your views: Venezuela profits from our local gas purchases
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I have been a resident of Flowery Branch for the past 18 years and have an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army Reserves.

Recently, I have read where Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's dictator, has broken agreements with one of the major oil companies and has publicly insulted President Bush.

I believe it to be common knowledge that Citgo is owned by the Venezuelan government. My question: Why do I see Hall County sheriff's cars, Flowery Branch police cars and city vehicles and Hall County fire trucks filling up with gasoline at a local Citgo station on a regular basis?

It seems very un-American to aid and abet the "enemy" in these hard economic times.

Phillip Stewart

Government now uses the old bait-and-switch
Bait-and-switch at one time was a tool of sales people. An ad would appear for a desirable item at an unusually low price, but when the buyers appeared, they were switched to a higher-priced "better" item. Hence the term bait-and-switch. Truth in advertising laws were passed and this sales technique was suppressed.

But bait-and-switch is still showing its head in states and municipal governments. Special added sales taxes are approved for specific use such as for schools. The school money is rased in good faith and granted for school use, but is switched by the recipient government for unrelated pet projects and not provided to schools. This is dishonest, if not illegal.

A modified brand of bait-and-switch is achieved by sneaking an amendment to a popular piece of legislation as it is about to be passed. The bait is a needed piece of legitimate legislation. The switch is an unrelated amendment. A current example is an amendment just added to an unrelated state bill. The amendment removed laws requiring state approval for price increases in automobile insurance rates on existing policies.

Quite often, this represents acquiescence to lobbying activities. Bait-and-switch thrives on lack of control and dimmed ethics. We must be the watchdogs. If we are concerned and speak out, we will be heard.

Lee S. Bowers