Letters to the Editor - Sept. 19

September 19, 2011

Waters should be admired for courageous vote

To the editor:

I have to disagree with a recent letter (Sept. 2) that takes to task Leonard Pitts for crediting U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters with a spine. Referring to budget proposals, the writer makes sweeping queries implying that Waters has made no proposal of a budget or anything useful to this country.

In fact, Waters is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which released its budget proposal last April. The People’s Budget, which would balance the budget by 2021, has been declared by some to be the most responsible of all the budgets from either side of the aisle. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “National budget policy should adequately fund up-front job creation, invest in long-term economic growth, reform the tax code, and put the debt on a sustainable path while protecting the economic security of low-income Americans and growing the middle class. The proposal by the Congressional Progressive caucus achieves all of these goals.”  

The letter declares that Waters has no spine. In fact, Waters showed a spine of steel when she voted against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002. She cast this courageous vote at a time when criticism was severe for not falling lockstep in support of the war — a war, I must add, that was never put in any Bush administration budget, and which is a most significant factor in our current economic woes.

Even if I supported nothing else that Waters ever did, I would admire her for that one courageous vote that, without question, showed spine.

Mary Godwin

Assignment of polling places has voter confused

To the editor:

Voting districts are the basic unit in voting. People in Washington County have commented how they drive past a polling place to arrive at their assigned polling place. The polling place next door to me is not where I am assigned to vote. Rather, my polling place in Hagerstown is across Dual Highway and requires two bus routes to arrive there.

When I approached the Washington County Board of Elections last September, they said that they do not set out the lines for voting districts. The Maryland State Board of Elections then said “voting districts are the basic building block for elections and are set up by the local election board.” The maps in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) section of the Maryland Department of Planning Services Division are used for mapping the districts of the various elected representatives based upon population. After seeing the GIS map for Washington County, I learned that my subdistrict uses Dual Highway as a dividing line, placing me in the same district as the polling place next door. The local board of elections uses a chain-link fence between the neighboring polling place and my residence as their dividing line, not Dual Highway. The board then said it could redraw the voting districts if it were funded to do so. I wrote the county commissioners about this issue. I have not heard whether the voting districts have been updated to match the 2010 U.S. Census results. The board of elections was not even using information from the 2000 Census when I visited them last September. The GIS map was based upon the 2000 Census awaiting the 2010 Census report.

It would be helpful to know that your voting district coincides with the districts of the representatives. Having your assigned polling place near your home also provides confidence of being properly represented.

Robert Streeper

New medical center needs cigarette butt containers

To the editor:

 I am sure that I’m not the first person to write in about the “butt problem” at Meritus Medical Center. I’m referring to the dozens of cigarette butts that litter the parking lots and shrubbery beds near the hospital entrance.

Look, I don’t smoke, but I also don’t begrudge those who choose to do so. Most would agree that Meritus Medical Center is a beautiful, up-to-date facility that we’re lucky to have in this area. It’s a shame to have the grounds spoiled with cigarette butts.

Why can’t the hospital install a few butt containers in high foot-traffic areas? Sure, this won’t eliminate the problem completely, but some thoughtful smokers might appreciate having a place to dispose of their butts instead of on the ground.

John Gill
Waynesboro, Pa.

Union demands crippled steel industry

To the editor:

This past Labor Day, the unions — with a full-page ad once again — reminded us of the great contribution they have made to and for laboring Americans and the nation. No one can deny the items listed in their full-page ad in The Herald-Mail. For all this, we salute the unions.

Might I suggest we look on the other side of the ledger? Visit Johnstown, Pa., a city that was once thriving with its steel mills. Now, the mills are all but silent. The same is true for Bethlehem Steel in Baltimore. The hundreds of union workers are gone. Who closed these prosperous, busy industries?

The American steel industry was so burdened by union demand after demand after demand that they could no longer compete profitably in the world market. I cite this one industry but to illustrate what has happened to many industries in our country.

Now that unions have gained the things boasted in their ad, what is the next step but to make the union worker unhappy with what he or she has. More pay increases, more perks, more time off, on and on it goes. And if it causes a company to close or move out of the good old USA ...?

Kenneth J. Schmidt

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