Letters to the editor

Caudle’s letter is (mostly) off the mark

I would like to clarify some of the issues raised by Fisher Caudle in his letter [April 28] responding to Brian Sarzynski’s article about gentrification.

If Mr. Caudle has a problem with “giveaway programs that reward the irresponsible,” then certainly he is outraged at the City Council using taxpayers’ money to support what should be self-sustaining corporations. One example that stands out in my mind was … last year [when] City Council … cut funding to a local social-service agency and then agreed to make a $25,000 grant to a major corporation to encourage it to move to the area.

I am more concerned about why profit-driven corporations cannot perform in a “free-enterprise atmosphere” without government subsidy, than [I am] by the nonprofit Asheville Global Report‘s desire to be supported by the community that it serves.

The current City Council (and councils past) have made policy that specifically encourage tourism and developers to thrive, often to the detriment of the local community’s livelihood or culture (tourist-based service economies are historically low-wage).

My point is that City Council can make policy that protects vulnerable communities from displacement due to rising property values, and that this is more clearly their obligation and mandate as a governmental body than subsidizing an already lucrative private real-estate industry (or any other industry, for that matter).

And, for the record, the Asheville Community Resource Center (the organization that housed Asheville Global Report along with seven other community organizations) never had a problem “paying discounted rents” as Mr. Caudle alleges, but was summarily thrown out by the property owner, John Lanzius ….

No one is asking to be rescued; we are simply sick of being lied to.

Two points on which I will agree with Mr. Caudle, however, are that public housing is horribly mismanaged — mostly due to the “war on drugs,” institutionalized white supremacy and classism; and that the Democratic Party — much like the Republican Party — “keeps us all oppressed.”

— Jodi Rhoden

Verified voting is essential

The article “Rolling the Dice: Voting in the Computer Age” by Cecil Bothwell [May 19] was excellent. It clearly presented the issues and problems of non-verified voting.

I strongly believe that we need a backup system to our electronic voting, in the form of a paper receipt. Without it, how would we know that our votes were truly counted? We all know of cases of computers failing and losing data, so to presume that this will not happen with the computers we vote on is silly and reckless.

I am happy to say that verified voting was discussed and a resolution passed at the 11th Congressional District Democratic Party meeting on Saturday, May 22.

Currently, this issue is being discussed on the state level by our elected representatives. Please join me in calling your elected representative and urging them to adopt verified voting procedures and a paper trail. If you value your freedom, register and vote … and let your elected officials know your position on important issues.

— Susan Oehler

A clock reset might stop voting-machine hacking

In addition to absentee ballots, there is one quick defense against time-specific, voting-machine-company hacking that can be done by July 20.

If the Board of Elections disables or resets the clocks/calendars in the machines, then any computer worm that is set to activate itself on voting day will not, or [it] may activate during testing instead and be detected.

This is how Y2K was preempted and beaten. It’s not paper, but it can help temporarily.

— Alan Ditmore
Democratic Chair, Buncombe Precinct 52

UNCA parking lot would devalue my degree

I just wanted to add my voice to the growing mass of discontent on the issue of the parking lot in the Southern Research Station across the street from UNCA.

I am currently a student at UNCA, double majoring in environmental studies and biology, and I feel that putting a parking lot in that location actually takes away from the degree I will receive. It goes against every single thing I have been taught in all of my environmental-studies classes, and [the location] is actually an important outdoor laboratory for biology and environmental-studies classes alike.

I truly believe that some combination of the lists and lists of alternatives that we have come up with so far will cover next year’s parking pressures in a much more environmentally friendly way, and I encourage UNCA to please consider the alternatives as actual solutions and not as impossibilities.

— Cady Etheredge, UNCA senior

[Ed. Note: Last week, UNCA announced that it would not cut down the urban forest in question to build a parking lot. Instead, the university plans to create temporary lots with existing open space on campus, and convert other university-owned property on Nantahala Street (the site of a former elementary school) into permanent parking.]

Back Bush’s pro-growth agenda

I am writing to show my support of President Bush. I would like to point out a few facts about his administration.

New job figures and other recent economic data show that America’s economy is strong and getting stronger — and that the president’s jobs-and-growth plan is working. The Labor Department announced that employers added 288,000 new jobs in April. In total, over 1.1 million jobs have been added since [last] August, with eight consecutive months of gains.

America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the president’s policies are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation.

President Bush’s pro-growth agenda, strong education system, and policies to help American workers gain the skills to secure good jobs are the right ways to respond to the challenges of our growing and changing economy.

The president’s jobs-and-growth policies have put the economy on the road to recovery, but there is more work to be done. The president has outlined a six-point plan to create even more job opportunities for America’s workers and keep America the best place in the world to do business.

The plan includes: enabling families and businesses to plan for the future with confidence by making tax reductions permanent; making health-care costs more affordable and predictable; reducing the burden of lawsuits on our economy; ensuring an affordable, reliable energy supply; streamlining regulations and paperwork requirements; and opening new markets for American products and services.

President Bush has been a strong leader. He has stood behind the American people, fought beside them and cried with them. Now it’s time to show our support.

— Brooks Moorhead
Hartwell, Ga.

Study the facts and vote

To the many Americans that understand the complexities of war and realize that President Bush has steadily provided sound leadership and victorious results in the war on terror, I write. It is these people that understand that we are in fact in the middle of the “third world war,” and that things can at times get ugly before they get better.

More than 5 million lost their lives in the four-year struggle of the First World War. Astonishingly, about eight times that paid the ultimate price — not only in their service to country, but in their mere existence — in a period of five years called the Second World War.

Now there is a contingent of people that believe we are paying too high a price for the third.

I would submit that under the president’s leadership, we have successfully managed to limit the coalition [deaths] to just over 900 in the almost-three years since the beginning of this global conflict with terror. After comparing the three largest global conflicts of modern history, it is my personal estimation [that] we owe a debt of gratitude to the current administration for their diligent efforts in coordinating such a massive operation with such a low loss of life. It is my hope that all Americans, not only Republicans, can come to this realization while still honoring the memories and service of the ones we have lost.

We have accomplished a great deal in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we continue to do so every day. Our troops have acted with a gallantry that can only be equivocated to that of the millions who died in defense of the freedom we enjoy today. They are pushing through their duty not only in order that the Iraqi people can benefit from the freedom that we possess, but also that the world can live with a sense of security from those who wish to harm it in the name of radicalism. It is with this sentiment that I implore all Americans to go to the voter registrar and register to vote in time for the upcoming presidential election.

It makes no difference if you are a Republican or a Democrat, but what makes the difference is that your voices be heard. Of course, I would encourage you to vote for the unchanging leadership of President Bush, but please in the name of our great republic, vote your conscience.

Over the next several months, you will hear arguments from both sides saying that they [have] the better candidate. Please, I implore you, listen to what is being said so that you can make the right choice. As for me, I will be supporting the experienced wartime leader that we have learned to trust over the past three-and-a-half years.

In closing, I think it is important to study the facts and understand the brevity of a situation in the context of history, and in the context of the ever-changing world in which we live. Make your vote count by helping to educate others on the importance of showing up with a well-informed idea of where you want this country to go and where our undivided attention should be. Should we concentrate on wavering, politically motivated fundamentals, or should we focus on well-founded leadership of the military and of the domestic arena as well? This is a question that can and must be answered by each individual American before going to the polls.

Thank you for your attention, and for your service to your country.

— Jason B. Hart
Anderson, S.C.

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