Letters to the editor

Thank you to a generous local business

I’m writing this letter to let our community know that there are some people and businesses here in Asheville that truly care and want to see and help women overcome some very serious problems that we are faced with in today’s society — such as drug and alcohol addictions.

One such business is the Muse Hair Studio located in the Haywood Park Hotel. The owners, Jay and Christian, gladly opened their hearts and donated their expertise to the ladies of the Mary Benson House shelter, offering free haircuts and styles to us. The Mary Benson House is a shelter where expecting mothers and women with children are offered an opportunity to learn how to live clean and sober in a safe and supportive environment. It’s all about recovery and the 12 steps.

Muse Hair Studio gave a dose of self-esteem to those in need who hope to become productive members of our society and are working very hard to reach this goal. We would like to thank Muse and congratulate them on their “hearts of gold.”

— S.M.

Keep your butts out of our cracks

Along with about 150 other folks, [I] picked up literally thousands of cigarette butts in downtown Asheville this morning, Friday, Sept. 19. Our fair city looks much cleaner with all the butts in a bag, and not stuck down in the sidewalk cracks. Those filters last practically forever, so they won’t go away without help. Here’s how smokers can help:

a) Smoke the cigarette almost to the filter, but not quite.

b) Snuff out the cigarette.

c) Pinch the tobacco and paper off the filter. Discard preferably into a butt can, or pitch it into the street (not [onto] the sidewalk!). The paper and the tobacco will biodegrade quickly.

d) Put the filter in your pocket for later discard in a trash bin.

If every Ashevillean could learn to “field strip” and discard his or her cigarette in this manner, it would improve the appearance of the whole city for all of us.

— George E. Keller

Don’t vote him out — impeach him!

1. President Bush now admits that Saddam Hussein had no connection to the Sept. 11 air attack on the World Trade Center.

2. Dr. Hans Blix, chief weapons inspector for the United Nations, says that no weapons of mass destruction are in Iraq; they were destroyed after the Gulf War.

3. Saddam Hussein did not threaten the United States.

Why, then, did President Bush start a war against Iraq? Why are lives being lost for no recognizable cause (unless it was for Iraq’s oil)?

The Iraqi people are revolting against the American occupation, which is not “liberation.”

What can be done? I believe impeachment proceedings should be brought against President Bush as a traitor to his country and people.

— Leah R. Karpen

Electronic voting = no recount

No matter which candidate you support in the upcoming elections, you should be most concerned about whether your vote will be counted at all. We all remember the headaches caused by the 2000 Florida recount, but with the new electronic touch-screen voting machines, there can be no recount. You cannot be sure whether your digital vote was counted or not. Neither can you be sure that some digital votes were, perhaps, counted more than once, or counted many times! All of these are possibilities, because the new electronic voting machines leave no paper trail. No paper trail equals no recounts. No questions, please.

Our voting system, which until now has been part of the public commons, has recently been privatized. When this happened, the vote-counting process, which before had been a public process with representatives from all sides present, became a secret of the companies who manufacture the machines.

Two Republican-dominated corporations; Diebold Voting Systems and Election Systems and Software, now control 80 percent of the vote-count in the U.S. Since this transition to electronic voting has started, a pattern of election upsets, which overwhelmingly favor Republican candidates, is emerging. This could be just a coincidence, but with no paper trail and no possibility of any recounts, we will never know. But there is the chilling possibility that “we the people” are losing control of our democracy with no protests, no demonstrations and no idea that this is even happening!

I propose that we insist on a paper readout of our tabulated votes from these electronic machines, one that we can check for errors and then place in an old-fashioned ballot box. Then let paper recounts be mandatory. Better for the counting to take longer, as long as we know it’s accurate.

For more information, check out www.blackboxvoting.com.

— Jackie Taylor
Hot Springs

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