Letters to the editor

Cab fare increase is a bit excessive

Just wanted to comment on the cab companies’ new rates. It used to cost me around $3.65 from Ingles to my house, which was my most common cab ride. Tonight, it cost me $6.10 for the same trip. I will be taking the bus from here on out, it looks like. I found the cab service to be more convenient for grocery trips, but I am willing to walk a little further to the bus stop to avoid a cab fare that has nearly doubled. I understand why they wanted to raise the rates, but isn’t that a bit excessive?

Bah, humbug!

— Jay Mullenax
Former cab passenger

Thanks, Warren, for an incredible hometown jam!

One more vote, please! This time a vote of thanks to Warren Haynes and all the performers who came to Asheville on his behalf to play for us. Warren’s 12th Annual Christmas Jam to benefit the Habitat for Humanity was nothing less than an incredible evening of musicianship and camaraderie, and will not be forgotten too soon. His selfless dedication to this event and its growing roster is a reflection of what a true “hometown” guy Warren remains. Despite the long list of performers with different sets and sound requirements, the event was run with professional precision, yet came off like an intimate “listen-in” on a wonderful star-studded jam! I can’t wait until next Christmas when Santa Haynes brings his music-making elves back to play for us.

Thanks, Warren!

— Brent Robinson

Have your pet neutered before the “miracle of birth” leads to death

“I didn’t want to neuter my pet,” you said, “because I wanted my children to witness the miracle of birth.” Then the puppies or kittens were born and it was no longer a miracle, but little lives that no one wanted. So you took them to the shelter and pleaded with them to “please find good, loving homes.” At that point, you signed away all your rights to know whether they would live or die. And die they did, most certainly!

There aren’t enough homes in the world to care for all the puppies and kittens that are born because their owners fail to neuter their pets. There aren’t enough cages or funds to take care of these little lives at the shelters, so they die! Lives that are over before they even begin … hope and joy cease to exist in their small worlds. Instead, they are given a needle into their tiny hearts and tossed aside like so much garbage. Is that the miracle of birth you wanted your child to see? Well, then, take them down to any “kill” shelter at the end of their school day and let them witness the murder of these poor, innocent lives. This is a reality.

Please have your pet neutered before you become an accessory to murder!

— Shelley Meribtz

Many dog breeders are caring, responsible and offer consistently reliable animals

In her Dec. 26, 2000 Xpress letter, Terri David implied that AKC registration papers are worthless and not even proof of an animal’s breed. She went further and said, “AKC papers are easily falsified, since they are based solely on the breeder’s word.”

Not quite, Terri.

Today, as a breeder, I must tattoo, microchip and DNA-profile my dogs, in addition to maintaining up-to-date written records/history of each dog and transaction. If I don’t do this, when the AKC inspects me — which they are sure to do — I face fines from $5-$10,000 and suspension or permanent banishment from the AKC … and my peers.

What responsible, dedicated breeder who has invested tremendous time and resources will not properly follow AKC registration guidelines? Yes, some people are dishonest, lazy, etc., in every field of endeavor. The AKC has these strict record-keeping and identification requirements so they can monitor breeders and accurately trace ancestry. Breeders who are dishonest or negligent are punished and their pups are devalued. Breeders who are true are rewarded by being recommended to prospective puppy buyers through AKC breeder-referral programs.

Further, Terri David (a dog owner herself) has praised the Doris Day Animal League and urges readers [to] “never, ever buy animals from a breeder. … You can … get purebred animals from breed rescue groups. The best dogs are mixed breeds.”

Let’s follow the illogic of these statements. Readers should note that the Doris Day Animal League has tried to stop all breeding of dogs. If there are no breedings, then there will be no breeders and there will be no dogs anywhere ever again! Stupid! Most breed-rescue groups are made up of dedicated, responsible breeders — breeders who care about overpopulation, abuse, neglect and exploited dogs.

The best dogs may or may not be mixed breeds. I breed German Shepherd dogs. By definition, a purebred dog is an animal who exhibits certain fairly dependable, consistent and reliable characteristics — i.e. working ability, structure, looks, etc. I produce dogs used for service by police, business and homeowners; to families whose husbands work far away from home; to women joggers; dogs who are assistance and therapy aids for the aged, the infirm, sightless and hearing-impaired folks; search-and-rescue dogs; cadaver dogs and cancer-detection dogs; and the most intelligent, trainable companion dogs you will find anywhere.

If I felt I could produce dogs consistently and reliably who did all this and much more from a collection of mixed-breed dogs whose ancestry and health background is unknown, whose breeders most probably were ignorant backyard breeders, then I would do so. The fact is that you can find wonderful dogs at the shelters. You can find wonderful and not-so-wonderful dogs from “breeders,” too. Your best chance at finding a specific dog with specific, consistently reliable characteristics is from breeders who are recommended by AKC, AKC clubs, referral services, breeders-code organizations and the like. Take time to be selective; don’t buy impulsively. Caveat emptor.

Our dog overpopulation problem is largely a result of ignorant people irresponsibly breeding dogs. Breeding is an acquired art that requires talent. It is often difficult and frustrating. Most, but not all, dogs should be neutered or spayed. Pet buyers should be educated and informed. AKC-affiliated groups are organized and actively engaged in education and helping pet owners become responsible.

It is my humble advice to Terri David that instead of continually disparaging folks who can make a difference, she could try to work with folks to help make life for dogs and their owners better.

— Michael Redfox

Send North Carolina information, please

I am a fifth-grade student at Pershing Elementary in Rawlins, Wyo. I am writing about the state of North Carolina. I’m gathering information about your state, and I am asking if the readers of your newspaper would like to help me by sending information to me. I would like to receive maps, postcards and pictures of historical places. I would also like to have information on the symbol of your state.

Please send anything you feel would be helpful to me at the school address: c/o Mr. Mann, Pershing Elementary School, Pershing and Davis Streets, Rawlins, WY 82301.

Thank you for your time and help.

— Michael
Rawlins, Wyo.

A mockery of democracy

If this were happening in someone else’s country, the American press would call it a coup d’etat. Even many Republicans are angry at the Bush/Cheney camp’s flagrant corruption of the electoral system — which dealt a potentially fatal blow to Americans’ trust in their institutions of democracy.

Since Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas refused to recuse themselves for conflict of interest (even though Scalia’s sons and Thomas’ wife were working for Bush) from the Court’s hypocritical decision to meddle in Florida’s vote recount, Americans can no longer trust in the fairness and impartiality of our judges.

And since Florida electoral officials illegally harassed black voters and discarded their votes, then stymied manual recounts in counties with large black populations (while quietly conducting their own manual recounts in 18 Republican-dominated counties, netting Bush an extra 337 votes in time for the Secretary of State’s “discretionary” deadline), we can no longer trust that every person’s vote counts equally.

But for Bush Sr. and Dick Cheney, getting their way by deception and force has long been standard procedure. These oil executives’ war over wellhead prices in the Persian Gulf was the first American conflict in which journalists were completely banned from the front lines — preventing America from witnessing the atrocities that we now know Gen. Barry McCaffrey’s troops were ordered to commit against Iraqi civilians and surrendering and retreating conscripts. When the CIA’s puppet tyrant Manuel Noriega threatened to reveal what he knew about the Reagan and Bush administrations’ covert involvement in the cocaine trade, Bush Sr. invaded Panama and — in contempt of international law — imprisoned the leader of a sovereign nation.

If We the People let this military/industrial clique get away with shanghaiing this election, we’ll have little grounds for protest when they inevitably begin wielding the vast and nearly autocratic powers of the federal government’s Executive Branch to roll back the few pollution protections we’ve managed to obtain for our devastated environment, as well as delete the civil-rights gains of blacks, gays, witches and other persecuted minorities. We can expect a Bush Jr. administration to drag us into a war against the peasants of Colombia, and begin using the military against U.S. citizens here at home — both under cover of that War on Drugs, which Bush Sr. did so much to inflate once the Cold War had ceased to serve as an excuse for expanding military and police power.

The true test will come on Jan. 20, when thousands of American citizens will throng to their nation’s capitol on Inauguration Day to protest Bush Jr.’s usurpation of the Presidency. If Bush, Cheney, et al. crack down on peaceful protesters with their habitual brutality and censorship, will the rest of America acquiesce as they turn our democracy into “demockracy”?

— Dixie Deerman

Asheville natives should demand higher wages, lower standard of living

I just wanted to make someone aware of the serious problem that is occurring in our wonderful area. … I am a newly married Asheville native who, in the next couple of years, is going to be forced to leave the mountains that I have called home for 20 years. I find it so horrible that Asheville has such a high standard of living. My husband and I make close to $50,000 a year and are living in government-assisted housing in South Asheville. This is a disgrace to our community.

Are you trying to change the heritage of our area by welcoming the wealthy into our homespun communities? This city has turned its back on the small working class of Asheville and is looking to catch a small ray of light in the millionaires that are searching for a new place to pollute. Everyday native Asheville residents are forced to pack their bags and move to other areas — which not only have lower standards of living, but also offer high-paying, more diverse jobs.

I, along with my husband, work for Client Logic (formerly Associates Commerce Solutions). We both make really good money for Asheville. Yet with the price of power, water, groceries and gas, we are forced to live paycheck to paycheck. This is an epidemic for those of us who have enjoyed peaceful summers, cold mountain winters, beautiful autumn colors and hot summer nights nestled in the arms of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Unless we step back and take a look at what we are allowing to take place in our city, we are going to blink and watch it all disappear. I know that I am not alone in this feeling, for I have talked to people from all walks of life and of all ages who understand the dilemma that is occurring here. While progress is a wonderful thing, we are not taking advantage of the resources and assets that we have right here at home.

I want to be able to ride the Parkway in the fall and not see giant condos masking the skyline. I want to be able to have my children experience the wonder of a mountain Christmas. I want to have my grandchildren see and feel the love that I have for these mountains. We need to join together — not only as a community but as a people, for we are one-of-a-kind southern mountain people — and take back our community. We need to fight to bring higher wages and a lower standard of living. Why should just a couple of celebrities (and you know who you are) make the rest of the working men and women of Asheville and its surrounding communities suffer because of their good luck?

I just hope and pray that when I die I can be buried underneath this rich soil, on top of a beautiful Blue Ridge mountain, and be able to smell fresh air and feel the sun beating down on the earth that I lay under. This is all that anyone from Asheville wants. They have taken a breath of brisk mountain air, and it will stay with them until the day that they are laid to rest. Let us pass this ideology and feeling onto future generations. Let us put a stop to the rise in the standard of living. Let us pay our hard-working citizens for the very important jobs that they do everyday. Let us take back our community and fight to preserve our future.

— Sara Palmer

Support legislation for a death-penalty moratorium

As a retired United Methodist Clergy-Chaplain for Justice Ministry, and a longtime member of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, [I am writing] an appeal urging our elected officials — especially the City Council of Asheville — to unanimously enact legislation for a Death Penalty moratorium! The reasons have been clearly stated by over 750 local governments, congregations, universities, civic groups, businesses and other organizations throughout the United States:

• Innocent people are sentenced to death and executed.

• Death sentences are given to the poor, not the rich.

• The death penalty is applied in a racist manner.

• Other reasons: For further information, call 252-9912.

In North Carolina, over 60 resolutions have been signed to date. We can and must find a more just way to deal with the problems of crime and violence!

— Dr. Loise L. George

Did assembly-line approach to spaying lead to Shadow’s death?

Our best friend was a 5-year-old Lab with light brown, trusting eyes who loved us unconditionally. During her 5 years of life, she had two sets of puppies and we decided it was time to have her spayed. We entrusted our loving friend to a local (reportedly) reputable veterinarian group, with assurances that she would receive special care. Twenty-four hours later, she died of a massive hemorrhage from a ruptured blood vessel. An autopsy showed no other abnormalities. We do not want to believe our beloved friend was negligently treated by an assembly-line approach to spaying, but our questions as to how this could have happened have netted no results, except the refund of the cost. If anyone out there is concerned that their pet died because of possible negligence, we would like to hear from you (e-mail jadugas@hotmail.com).

In loving memory of our Shadow.

— J.A. Dugas

Pack Square needs more trees and grass, not more retail space

I recently saw a design drawing of the “new” Pack Square. Please say it ain’t so! It seems to me that there will be even less green space than there is now. Not only will the traffic still take up most of the area, but from what I can tell, the little bit of grass that is there now will be replaced by retail space.

Just what we need in a public park.

Downtown might need more retail space, but if so, let private development restore some of the former shops instead of building more.

What downtown needs more are some trees and grass.

I encourage everyone to stop by the City Development office on Haywood Street to look at this plan and comment on it to Mike Matteson at 259-5620, or [comment] in writing to: City Development, 29 Haywood St., Asheville, NC 28801.

— Shawn Robins

It’s worth our time and resources to reduce air pollution

I just read [reporter Steve Rasmussen’s] article on air pollution [“Settling the settlement question,” Dec. 6], and wanted to let you know that I thought it was a very well-written and balanced presentation. You should be commended for doing a fair analysis of the situation. As one who has spent the last 13 years doing air-pollution work in the Smokies, I can attest to the fact that our air quality is getting worse (at least with respect to ozone) and that it is having measurable effects on some trees and flowering plants. The jury is still out about whether these levels of pollution are high enough to kill trees as some claim, but even if they aren’t, they are still way above pre-industrial levels and should be reduced.

Our most important job in the coming years will be to convince the public that it’s worth their time and resources to invest in pollutant-reduction measures, both locally and regionally. Bringing environmentalists and developers together at some middle ground is going to be the only practicable solution. And whatever is proposed today should be viewed only as a starting point for future incremental improvements in air quality (so as not to jolt the economic system too much at any one time) until we achieve reductions that are consistent with current EPA standards, and that protect both the public’s and our ecosystem’s health, yet permit a level of economic development that continues to improve all our lives.

— Dr. Howard S. Neufeld
Dept. of Biology
Appalachian State University

Rant against classism should have been more constructive

I would like to apologize for parts of my letter about farmers with junk [Xpress, Dec. 6]. I was too hasty, misinformed and too hostile. I have since learned that farms are exempt from the junk-car ordinance, and that “smart growth” appears to be significantly less classist than traditional zoning. I still oppose the junk-car ordinance, and I still believe that classism masquerading as environmentalism is evil. Although I never intended to call the editors of Mountain Xpress evil, I should have been more constructive.

I will add that even the almighty tourist industry would have difficulty eliminating classism among every potential tourist. What I really expect from them is an acknowledgment that they are catering to classism [by providing] funding for the voluntary screening of cottage-scale junkyards and privately owned parts cars with bamboo or other plants. I maintain that keeping a junk car of the same type as the one you drive is the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to maintain a car that is not under warranty. Is it too much for me to ask that we celebrate the junk car in the yard as a historic symbol of Appalachian resourcefulness? I know it will be someday; it is part of the reason I came here.

On a more current note, I have long held that to be condemned in the presence of homelessness, a structure must be more dangerous than life on the street. Both must be carefully measured if we are to properly assess the safety of [the now-condemned boarding house at] 135 Merrimon Ave. Fire safety versus homelessness is a very tough choice either way, but again, classism — or regulatory narrow mindedness — must not be allowed to enter the picture.

— Alan Ditmore

Let the WNCW music play on

As a member of the now defunct WNCW Advisory Board, a since-day-two financial supporter, a premium contributor, a volunteer and a loyal subject and fan of WNCW radio, I want to pledge my continued love and support to the station. Obviously, the radio station has problems — internal and external — and yet it still is the best radio around. I am sure these problems can and will be solved and, in the WNCW style that we so love, the music shall play on.

— Susan Hickerson
WNCW Loyal Subject

P.S. I personally love “Crossroads,” starting at 8 a.m. and continuing through the 5-6 p.m. hours. If I want to hear a breaking story, I listen to the other fine area NPR stations for the news.


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One thought on “Letters to the editor

  1. OneWhoKnows

    Dixie, Jeb Bush will NOT be elected Presidunce so stop worrying about that…

    Dr. George, as also a Methodist, I support the death penalty being needed more than ever…

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