Letters to the editor

Can’t MAIN just take yes for an answer?

In a recent letter [“Why Quote Mumpower, When He Stands Alone?” Dec. 21], MAIN Director Wally Bowen complained that WLOS had quoted Council member Mumpower and no one else, even though the motion to waive market-driven pricing on antennae placements and offer MAIN a discount was approved 6-1, Mumpower dissenting.

Mr. Bowen, claiming that the report was incomplete, although not in error, first charges that Mumpower brought to Council’s attention that MAIN is a decidedly political organization — a factual claim that Bowen reinforces himself by saying: “Nonprofits are not prohibited from engaging in political speech.” The problem here is that no one has disputed MAIN’s right to promote a distinctively partisan point of view, which indeed it does. Mr. Bowen then admits that “Mumpower is entitled to his view.” So much for argument No. 1.

Second, Bowen takes pains to explain that his rent would be not $200 but $200 thrice, since MAIN intends to employ three antennae at the discounted rent. Here again, Bowen is not presenting any new, compelling information. As he states himself, the rent would be set at $200 per unit, as factually reported by WLOS. That city taxpayers will subsidize three antennae instead of one is a bookkeeping detail that does not significantly alter the facts as reported by WLOS. MAIN will be paying a reduced rate of $200 per unit, no matter how many they choose to rent — one or 100. So much for argument No. 2.

What Bowen fails to appreciate in his misapplied rejoinder is the essence of Mumpower’s dissent: MAIN, being primarily a partisan, political media organ — in this case on the left — should not be afforded the consideration that a Council majority has given, due primarily to the group’s explicit intellectual bias.

Even though Mr. Bowen would like us to compare MAIN to just any old run-of-the-mill nonprofit, in the end, we must not. And City Council should not be in the business of handing out favors to its favorites — left or right.

— Tim Peck

Attack those who don’t care

Bravo to the Asheville Kennel Club for the money and volunteer effort they’ve put toward animal welfare and pet-owner education [“Kennel Club Still Follows Giant Footprints,” Nov. 23]. I believe most pet owners wouldn’t mind paying a little extra for licensing if it helps, even a little bit, to prod irresponsible owners to neuter their pets. How many tax dollars are spent on the sad necessity of animal control? Many unwanted animals are discarded because irresponsible owners let their dogs and, especially, cats breed unchecked.

Our county charged a higher license fee for our beloved pet show dog because he wasn’t neutered. That seemed fair to me. What would gall me is to have some high-and-mighty reformer give a black eye to breeders of purebred animals. Let’s go after the puppy mills, yes! And the people who treat an animal like a stuffed toy to be discarded when it’s no longer “fun.” But for heaven’s sake, don’t attack the people who care about all dogs — and their breeds, in particular — and work so hard to produce healthy, happy puppies and place them with caring, reponsible owners [Kennel Club Omitted A Downside,” Dec. 14].

— Judy Morman
Knoxville, Tenn.

Asheville Friends support withdrawal

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobbying group in Washington, D.C., has crafted a resolution declaring, “It is the policy of the United States to withdraw all U.S. military troops and bases from Iraq,” in hopes that it would be adopted by Congress. The Asheville Friends Meeting has unanimously supported this resolution and presented it to our federal representatives.

We urge our fellow citizens in Asheville to contact Mr. Taylor, Mr. Burr and Ms. Dole [and ask them] to lend their support to this resolution.

More information about the STEP (Sensible Transition to an Enduring Peace) resolution may be obtained from www.fcnl.org.

— Kitti Reynolds, chair
AFM Peace and Earth Committee

Just who is disturbing the peace?

It seems that the mayor and Town Council of Weaverville are out of control. At the Dec. 19 Council meeting, a member of the public was physically ejected by police officers because the mayor could not tolerate his remarks, which were critical of the recent rezoning decision. The speaker was being forceful, but he was not rude or unreasonable. He merely wanted answers to questions that many of us have about the reasons for the Council’s decision regarding a huge shopping-center development.

Apparently, we residents and taxpayers in Weaverville no longer have the right of dissent. Our governing body seems to believe that they can make all decisions regarding the future of this town without any input from the people who live here. It is truly frightening to see blatant abuse of power right here in this small — and what used to be peaceful — town. Shame on the Weaverville Town Council!

— Lynn Staton

Give the prez some credit

It’s truly disgusting the way the media reports the news! Their choice of words is designed to ridicule or destroy the Bush presidency. For example: A Citizen-Times headline said that Bush “buckles” to McCain’s plan. It could have said he “agreed” or “accepted” the plan. But that wouldn’t have ridiculed the president.

TV news is reporting that Bush approved spying on our “citizens.” In reality, he approved monitoring suspected foreign operatives — and only when there is probable cause. Thank God he did!

When are news organizations going to start reporting the news instead of waging an insidious attack on our president? He came to Washington hoping to unite, but the left is intent on punishing him because he won in 2000 and 2004. They’re acting like spoiled children and not serving you citizens!

— Richard Rice

States’ rights pre-empted along with your own

I just became aware that buried in the new Defense Appropriations Spending Act is a little-known extra that provides total legal immunity for all drug companies that make vaccines. Evidently under the direction of the drug companies themselves, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., removed any hope of retribution the patient might have against the government and the pharmaceutical companies in the event of a government-mandated vaccine program.

In addition, the actual composition of these vaccines is to be kept top secret. This means that thimerosal (ethyl mercury) can be used as a preservative, as well as other allegedly poisonous substances.

It is interesting that a physician who is also a senator from Tennessee, charged with protecting the health of the public and representing the best interests of his constituency, would allow this. I would have expected much more from him.

In fact, this also pre-empts any state’s right to remove mercury from any allowed vaccines in their respective state.

The pre-emption of states’ rights and mandated-vaccine programs that do not allow any retribution for adverse reactions is reprehensible.

Do your own research on the bird-flu vaccine. My guess is that now that the drug companies are protected, we will have the much-hyped pandemic along with mandatory vaccinations. Drug companies could have faced enormous lawsuits if something goes wrong, and now they will not, due to the passage of this bill. And it was passed. We were all asleep at the switch — blind-sided, as it were, by other so-called newsworthy events. The adverse-event reporting, of course, will not be made public, so we will never know just what is going on. Is this really ethical, to put greed and money ahead of patients’ health and welfare? Vote the incumbents out, I say!

— Kern Stafford
Cosby, Tenn.

[Editor’s note: Stafford works in the Asheville area.]

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