Letters to the editor

Deploying the weapons of peace

Two weeks ago, the WNC Peace Coalition had a peace rally … [that] seemed to go well, with about 300 people in attendance. One incident happened, however, that was not known to the public.

Our group believes that war is a horrible thing, and we believe that violence is not an appropriate response to world problems. Furthermore, we feel that the civilians who suffer in war are often unknown or overlooked by the American public. … In order to increase awareness of the toll paid by Iraqi civilians, we made paper flags that had a peace dove on them, and the following text: “This is a remembrance of the Iraqi Civilian Casualties. May they rest in Peace. May their country find Peace.”

We made about 2,000 of these flags and put them on metal stakes that were one-eighth of an inch thick and three feet high. We placed these in the ground at City-County Plaza the morning of our peace rally. I personally had asked Janet Dack of Asheville Parks and Recreation if it was OK for us to place these flags there. She told me it was, as long as we removed them when we were done. The Asheville police made us take these flags down, saying they could be used as weapons. [They] felt our American flags (on wooden stakes that were three-eighths of an inch thick and two feet high) were acceptable. The WNC Peace Coalition felt this was a violation of our free speech rights, but we took the flags down before the rally started.

These flags were displayed in the yard of the Unitarian Universalist Church here in Asheville from Sunday afternoon until Wednesday morning … after heavy rain the night before … ruined the paper flags. No one was hurt by this display, and no one used them as weapons. The WNC Peace Coalition is very grateful to the UU Church for having this display. We think it did increase awareness in our community of the Iraqi civilians and how they have suffered in all the wars in their country. …

All too often, we see political leaders (in the USA and in Iraq) who do not take [effects on civilians] into account. We would like to see that change.

— Susan Oehler
WNC Peace Coalition member

Shoji Spa intended to complement community

Thank you for taking the time to write a well-researched article about the construction problems at the Shoji Spa [“The Buck Stops Where?”, March 9]. I am an old friend of Roberta Jordan’s and have enjoyed getting to know Carl Mott in recent years. As a result, I have been aware of the many setbacks and frustrations they have experienced in realizing their dream of building and operating an outdoor spa next to their home near Asheville. I am writing this letter for two reasons.

First, I would like the general public to know that both Carl and Roberta are intelligent, conscientious and hardworking people. They were inspired to create a Japanese-style spa by the natural beauty that surrounds their home. From the beginning of the project, they expressed a desire to preserve this beauty and provide an elegant but simple retreat for both local residents of and visitors to the Asheville area. I have always felt this would be a welcome alternative to the luxury spas built by the Grove Park Inn and the Inn at the Biltmore Estate that are unaffordable to most of us. I hope that when the Shoji Spa is open for business, many people in the area will visit it and see for themselves the beauty of Roberta’s and Carl’s dream and enjoy the soothing, restorative powers of their spa.

Second, I wanted to respond to a recent letter to the editor from one of Mr. Arrowood’s relatives. Just as I support my friends, I understand that the writer supports her brother and why she strongly defends his building ability. However, the fact that a builder may have successfully completed other construction projects in the past does not excuse substandard performance on any individual job — particularly when the results may be dangerous. And in the article, neither Mr. Arrowood nor his representatives gave an explanation for the many documented problems.

Thank you for reading my letter and, hopefully, printing it. … I am particularly anxious that your readers hear about my friends’ good qualities and their wonderful ideas for the spa.

— Virginia Duquet

Batter up!

Baseball was a passion for us kids, whether playing on the vacant lot or listening to the radio as the Yankees beat our beloved Dodgers. The game was about teamwork and challenges to personal goals. Now we’re investigating baseball, it having fallen prey to the darkness which only “The Shadow” knew lurked in human hearts.

Investigations will render what? A lost season? No way. Huge fines for rich players? Doubtful. An indictment of million-dollar corporations? Lawyers will negotiate this. Why all this panic and urgency? After all, folks, it’s not been “just a game” for a long time. It’s come so very far from dust, spit and admiring/emulating our heroes. It’s become vulnerable, just as most other bottom-line businesses. And why is this Congress’ concern? Perhaps they prefer baseball diamonds to the challenges of legislative arenas.

Look at issues our guys/gals inside the beltway should be fielding … such as: inadequate and badly deteriorated infrastructure; modernizing rail and shipping industries; getting “Detroit” to market emissions-free and 80- to 90-miles-per-gallon vehicles. How about sponsoring/funding competition among entities seeking alternative energy? Who is investigating and coming up with real, workable solutions to health costs and care? How about investigating [the] on-the-horizon housing and nurturing needs of thousands of elderly persons? What about taxing everyone, even those earning 90-plus thousands a year? Where is the “play ball” cry facing the 40-plus percent debt we owe foreign nations? Forget the seventh-inning stretch, and let’s admit the health(?) of our economy is sadly dependent upon the perpetuation of war and the world’s drug cartel. Is it any wonder our elected officials prefer baseball fields to bipartisan leadership?

What’s happened to baseball is sad. What’s happening in our nation is tragic. It’s the bottom of the ninth, two outs, no one on base. The call: two strikes and three balls. Does it matter who — or if anyone — is in the batter’s box? God, I hope so.

— Pat Farmer

Scales of justice are out of whack

Isn’t it time for people to wake up to what the government radicals are perpetrating? Just like all of the other tricks that this administration has manifested, now they are trying to wrest absolute control of power to appoint the Supreme Court justices who give favor to corporate interests, rather than preserve the balance that is needed in the judicial process to ensure that all peoples and needs are represented.

The imbalance in a system becomes its downfall. The American people must speak up to the wrongs being done. We must oppose the Republican Radical movement that feels [it] can step on those issues that are so important to us as a nation and world, like the environment, human rights, etc.

Please don’t ignore this call for us to unite.

— Dawn Culverwell

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