SHARING THE PAIN? Giving back 5 percent of your salary is a little easier when you're earning $400,000 a year, but, hey, we'll give President Barack Obama credit for at least making a good gesture. Obama announced this past week that he would give back 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury as federal employees are dealing with mandated cuts because of the budget sequester. Obama will give back $20,000 in total. He and wife, Michelle, reported adjusted gross incomes of $790,000 in 2011, $1.7 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2009, so $20,000 doesn't amount to a lot, but it's the thought that counts, isn't it? Perhaps the Treasury can give the $20,000 back to the White House so tours can be held again. Or perhaps Obama could give up playing golf, considering such outings involve who knows how many Secret Service agents and other federal officials.?We wonder how much a presidential golf outing costs. In any case, perhaps members of Congress should follow the president's lead and give back 5 percent of their salaries, too. If nothing else, it's good publicity. But we won't hold our breath.
SAFE ON MINOT'S STREETS? A poll question we asked last week produced surprising and certainly interesting results. The question "Do you feel safe on Minot's streets?" generated 553 responses after a couple of days of voting, with 68 percent (377 votes) responding "no" and 32 percent (176 votes) responding "yes." It's an informal poll, of course, but the number of voters who said they don't feel safe on Minot's streets was surprising. We know many residents feel the city's streets aren't as safe as they used to be, simply because of the increase in traffic that is a byproduct of the city's growing population. In addition, there are more trucks of all sizes on area roads than ever before thanks to the oil industry and the booming construction industry. We're not saying our streets are downright dangerous, but we urge residents and visitors to drive safe and drive defensively.