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Letters to the Editor - Aug. 4

August 04, 2013

Walmart should pay ‘living wage’ to employees

To the editor:

George Michael and some other conservatives seem too willing to overlook the inequality at places like Walmart.

Michael, in a column for The Herald-Mail on Friday, July 189, bemoaned the Washington, D.C., council’s vote to require Walmart and the biggest of the other big-box retailers to pay employees at least $12.50 per hour. The figure is, many argue, simply a “living wage” in today’s economy.

The repeated insistence of Walmart management that better wages would pretty much put the company under seems hard to believe in light of figures reported by a workers’ group.

Six members of the family who own half of Walmart “are worth more than the bottom 42 percent of American families combined,” the workers’ group, Making Change at Walmart, reported. “Walmart makes close to $16 billion in profits and its executives brought home more than $10 million each,” the group said in an online petition last year to Rob Walton, chairman of Walmart’s Board of Directors.

But if it has to pay the $12.50 minimum, Walmart said it will scrap three stores planned in D.C. and that another three might be jeopardized. The mayor was threatening to veto the bill.

Michael’s argument that unskilled workers “with some initiative ... should be able to move up the economic scale” rings pretty hollow in a country where massive corporations have been long “outsourcing” many of their higher-paying jobs.

How much more stuff must we buy at Walmart before realizing we’re in a race to the bottom that must stop? We all need a living wage in order to buy good products and services from our own country.

Please add your voice. Tell Walmart to stop.

Gayle Becker
Falling Waters, W.Va.


Sharpsburg Pike is not the place for another Walmart

To the editor:

Upon opening my Sunday Herald-Mail, I was greeted with the front-page story “Walmart site plans move forward.”

My immediate response was “why?” This is so wrong for so many reasons. The first and most major is the location. Anyone who has faced traffic backed all the way onto the interstate and the congestion on Md. 65 for the Prime Outlets knows full well that this store does not belong there.

The next response had to do with the sheer audacity of this corporation. Anyone keeping abreast of the Walmart/D.C. situation is aware of this corporation’s sense of entitlement and power. By threatening to stop construction on three nearly completed stores because the D.C. city council wants a living wage is analogous to the behavior of the neighborhood bully. “If we don’t play by my rules, then I’m taking my ball and going home.”

This area does not need any more minimum wage, or slightly above, jobs with no health insurance. Walmart’s profit last year was $17 billion. It seems Walmart could pay $12.50 an hour, a living wage, for 300 employees at 40 hours per week. But Walmart does not like to give 40 hours a week because then an employee is considered full time and qualifies for health insurance, benefits, etc.

Even more indicative of this corporation’s hubris are some of the names it chooses for nearby roads. Given its track record, some more appropriate names might be Right to Work for Less Way, Working Poor Boulevard, Insane Congestion Highway or Goodbye Mom and Pop Store Lane.

One of the greatest things the citizens of Funkstown did was to stand up together and say, “We don’t want you and we don’t need you.” Let’s hope that a similar movement can be organized to tell this out-of-control behemoth “Go home, and take your ball with you.”

Thomas H. Rockwell
Hagerstown


Celebrate National Night Out and give back to community

To the editor:

I am writing to encourage one and all to join the fun and bond with their neighbors for the 30th anniversary of National Night Out! Hagerstown will hold its celebration at Fairgrounds Park from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

This event is designed to:

 strengthen neighborhood spirit;

 promote police-community partnerships;

 support anti-crime and drug prevention programs;

 and empower neighbors to prevent crime.

This family-friendly event has much to offer. Whether you come to try the healthy foods, participate in the interactive safety fair or enjoy the fun activities, I can guarantee that it will be a great evening. All youth, ages 6 through 16, which complete a punch card at the safety fair, will be able to swim at Robert W. Johnson Community Center, formerly Memorial Recreation Center, from 8:15 to 10 p.m.

Volunteer Washington County will be at National Night Out providing volunteers of all ages the opportunity to register on Volunteer Washington County’s new website. Attendees will be able to create a personal profile, “fan” their favorite nonprofit organizations, search for volunteer opportunities and peruse upcoming events. Once registered, Volunteer Washington County will demonstrate how users can track volunteer hours, calculate the economic value of their service and print their “volunteer resumes.” This function makes it easy for high school students to record and track student service learning hours online and enables those meeting other requirements to track volunteer hours effectively and efficiently.

National Night Out is a model of collaboration, brought to our community by Target, City of Hagerstown, Hagerstown Housing Authority, Hagerstown Police Department, Hospice of Washington County, Robert W. Johnson Community Center, We Care and North End Neighborhoods 1st. Volunteer Washington County believes our community will fulfill its potential when we tap the talents of each individual and successfully collaborate with business, nonprofits and governmental agencies. We salute all those working to make National Night Out a reality that has the power to change our reality. For more information, click the Events tab on VWC’s website: vwcmd.org.

Hope to see everyone there!

Bernadette Wagner
Director, Volunteer Washington County


Parents have the most influence on children’s lives 

To the editor:

The responsibilities required to parent a child from birth to age 18 and beyond are immense. The most obvious, such as nutrition, personal hygiene and clothing, only touch the tip of the iceberg. As a parent, you are your child’s first educator.  Hopefully, you provide your child with some spiritual grounding. As a parent, you teach your child how to resolve conflicts between siblings and playmates. Hopefully, you are able to develop in your child interests outside the classroom — in sports, clubs and volunteer organizations.

My sons are now in their 30s. As I observe parents of children younger than 18, it occurs to me that much of parenting is done instinctively. That is to say it is done without a whole lot of thought. It just comes naturally. In many cases, parenting from your own formative years serves as a guide. I wish I could assume quality parenting occurs in every home, but I know that is not the case. The stories are numerous of children coming from families where parenting was subpar and they became successful. However, there are also many stories of children never making the grade.

With a new school year on the horizon, I encourage all parents to examine their parenting skills and check to see if they can be improved in any way. And kudos to all the parents who are doing an excellent job day in and day out in a society  with many distractions.

Meredith Fouche
Sharpsburg


District 12 group thanks supporters of fundraiser

To the editor:

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to attendees, donors, organizers and workers who joined together to make our recent bingo a great success. We are grateful to every person who purchased a ticket or contributed their donations, their expertise and their time. Your continued support of our efforts to re-establish fire protection and emergency services within the response area of District 12 (Fairplay and the surrounding area) is deeply appreciated.

The officers and board of directors have made steady progress. As of March 2013, we are now officially Citizens for Restoration of Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services to District 12 Area. We are recognized by the Washington County Commissioners and the Department of Emergency Services. Costs associated with such an endeavor are substantial and continuing. Our battle isn’t won by any means, but we’re on our way. We just hope to prevail in returning responsible fire and emergency medical services from the building on the hill to the community to be enjoyed by the community as it was intended by the community founders in 1947.  Current leaders have held the assets hostage long enough. Our work to free them for community health and safety will continue with your support.

On behalf of the residents of District 12, and everyone working to restore confidence in our emergency response volunteer agency, we say a very sincere thank you. The hard-working members of our organization and the certified volunteer firefighters are dedicated to keeping the legacy of the once great Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. alive.

Thank you on behalf of the members, officers and board of directors of Citizens for Restoration of Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services to District 12 Area for your generous support.

Barbara Shipe
Fundraising committee chairwoman, Citizens for Restoration of Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services to District 12 Area

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