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Letters to the editor 2/23

February 24, 2003

'Slush fund' does benefit tourism



To the editor:


I'd like to respond to the article in The Morning Herald on Feb. 6, entitled, "Mayor says hotel-motel tax has become 'slush fund.'" In the article a garden club was named as an example of a group the mayor felt was not deserving of such funds.

I am the president of that club, the Clear Spring Garden Club. We did not spend any of the $300 we received on the club. We requested it in order to create, "Christmas in Clear Spring," which took place on Dec. 15, 2002. We used most of the money to advertise this family-oriented event, which was entirely free to all who attended. Our tiny town, population 425, had more than 1,200 people in attendance that evening.

We had five music programs, a live nativity, lighting and gingerbread house contests, Santa giving out treats, free refreshments, open houses, tours and special postal cancellation. Every organization and business in Clear Spring had the opportunity to benefit from this tourism event.

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The hotel-motel tax fund was to be used to promote tourism in the county. That is exactly what we did. We asked for and received the lowest amount of money of any organization that requested funds. The next lowest was over $1,000.

The event was so well-received that we plan to do it again in a few years. At this time, we would be honored if Mayor Breichner would attend.

Maybe if he actually understood what the 1,200 people who attended understood, he'd be happy to financially help out such a hard-working club that asks so little in exchange from anyone.

Cindy Downs

President

Clear Spring Garden Club




War proponants ducked service themselves



To the editor:


As young Americans part with their loved ones to head for possible war on Iraq, it is time to ask who is going to die, and on whose behalf?

It's a striking paradox that many of the administration's hawks - including President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and Defense Policy Board chair Richard Perle - somehow missed combat experience. Perhaps that's why today's armchair hawks are dubbed "chicken hawks."

Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs of Staff - who know something about the reality of war - have been far more cautious about launching an attack. Desert Storm commander Norman Schwarzkopf has publicly voiced the concerns of many in the military.

In war, the first to battle will be low income and minority Americans who serve disproportionately in the armed forces. If our leaders were sending their own children to war, they would treat it as a last resort, not a first opportunity. They owe the families at risk an honest effort to give inspections a chance.

Iraq poses no threat while inspections are under way. A new report by the prestigious Carnegie Endowment finds: "Saddam is unable to engage in any significant production of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons" while inspections continue.

A unilateral first strike by the United States would no doubt create an explosion of hate that would recruit a new generation of anti-American terrorists. If Saddam Hussein does have weapons of mass destruction, he will have every incentive to use them after a first strike, as CIA Director George Tenet warned Congress.

Though U.N. weapons inspectors have found no clear evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Bush Administration may attack anyway, claiming that Saddam Hussein is hiding them.

But while President Bush cites the uncertainties of inspections, has he considered the uncertainties of war?

Liz and Jim McGowen

Kearneysville, W.Va.




Private schools have problems too



To the editor:


Commissioner John C. Munson's proposal that school boards be eliminated and students sent to private schools is an interesting one, and merits sane discussion.

My first reaction was pretty negative to the idea, but there are many pros and cons. I think at the end of the discussion, we will arrive back at the present system, more or less. We may even come to realize that public education in Washington County needs more resources than it presently receives.

If there was ever a place to apply the Republican slogan "A rising tide lifts all boats," education is it. The more capable and educated our citizenry becomes, the more attractive we are as a work force. It's as simple as that. That goes for adults as well as children.

This issue must be approached with care, however! Recent privatization measures have failed miserably. The education of our children is one that we cannot afford to fail at. There are some functions of government that need to be preserved. Providing a general basis of education is probably one of those functions. (Regulation of the power and airline industries are probably others - especially given the performance to date of deregulation.)

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