I have a question for the folks on the Astoria City Council: Do any of you personally know someone who exists on a Social Security income, or a modest fixed income? If so, how can you so casually decide to increase the water/sewer utility rate by 30 percent?

That's a lot to many who are trying to simply get by, i.e. the elderly or those raising a family. Although there is an energy assistance program to assist during winter months, there is no such program for city utilities.

Then there's an open-ended gas tax proposed, added to the hike from Pacific Power.

It's a hardship to attend all the city council meetings after working all day. How can we get the message across - we don't need a spruced-up City Hall, we need to be able to maintain a quality life. You don't plant a new garden if you can't maintain what you already have.

Whatever happened to the phrase, "Live simply so that others may simply live?"