Sunday, June 1, 2003

Readers' Views

Keep medical benefits as incentive for troops

TO THE EDITOR: It's a shame the government can now withdraw medical benefits that were used as a drawing card to get people to join the military. I worked for Selective Service during the Vietnam War and saw guys after serving in the military come back with injuries and mental problems. If they stayed in long enough to retire, they were guaranteed medical care for life. Some didn't make it back, and we had to close their records. I worked for the Army during Desert Storm and heard of even Army civilians losing their lives over there. It's pathetic to take away their medical benefits. We owe it to our veterans to give them medical and other benefits for serving our country. There is no drawing card now to get a voluntary military. What is the incentive after they return and are forgotten? Two years of benefits don't cut it. Let the government cut other programs.

Pat Lemen, Finneytown


So why not tax panhandlers, too?

We have been reading about Cincinnati City Council's plan to require a license for panhandlers to beg. In Thursday's (May 29) Enquirer, we read about the reaction of the Mobile Skateboard Series to another City Council brainstorm - the "jock tax" on visiting professional athletes ("Skaters roll out with less in wallets").

Perhaps Cincinnati could apply its talent for alienating people to drive panhandlers away with a similar tax on professional beggars, but that would be a shame. At least panhandlers are still asking for money and not digging into other people's pockets.

Tom Niehaus, Blue Ash


Fine those who give money to panhandlers

Denise Smith Amos' column on May 23 about panhandlers was interesting. I really don't see how giving them a license to beg will make a difference. If they do get arrested, they go to jail, get free room and board and medical treatment. How can they pay a fine they don't have any money?

The homeowner and taxpayer foot the bill. I think the person who gives money to a panhandler should be given a fine with a warning the next time the fine would be more.

I bet Elizabeth Smart's mother wishes she never gave that $5 to a panhandler.

Ethel Lackey, Cheviot


Safety equipment needs to be required

As a resident of Boone County, I applaud the Florence/Boone County Skatepark. However, I am appalled that the free park only encourages users to wear helmet and/or pads ("Kids with wheels test-driving park" May 29). Talk to any emergency room personnel, and he or she will tell you this is a disaster waiting to happen. This is not a matter of free choice for the users but of the extreme potential for injury and lawsuits for the city/county.

I feel the mandatory use of safety equipment would be a small price to pay for entrance to and use of the new park. If the person doesn't own safety equipment, there should be a rental area (or the new skate store close to the park could offer rentals). I, as an adult, have had a bad inline skate accident not wearing a helmet - I had a severely bruised face and lots of stitches. I was lucky. Please change this policy before there is an injury, which would mar the value of the new park.

Lynn Judge, Burlington, Ky.


Look for temporary tax to linger a while

I read with humor the lead story ("1-cent sales tax increase likely" May 28). The first paragraph of the article describes the tax increase as temporary. The second paragraph points out the problem that the legislators are having deciding when the tax will expire.

These legislators must be aware of the short memories that taxpayers have - the excise tax that was placed on telephone bills in 1898 to fund the Spanish-American War. The war lasted six months, and the tax has lasted 105 years. So what is your best guess as to when this temporary tax will expire?

Thomas Frecka, Finneytown


Very poor won't receive a tax cut

In regards to the the article ("Tax-cut cash is on the way" May 29), the bevy of writers who apparently worked on this article missed something rather important. It was reported on the same day that, because of the complicated formula used for calculating the child credit, most families with incomes between $10,500 and $26,625 would not receive the refund.

These families will not be receiving the $400/per child check in the mail this summer.

In addition, the article blithely repeats the Bush administration's PR line about the tax cut stimulating the economy (the old supply-side argument). Leaving aside the headache-inducing economic arguments on both sides of the issue, I'd like to make a common sense point: Isn't it sort of ridiculous to think that a $350 billion tax cut will stimulate the economy two years after a $1.3 trillion cut in 2001 was followed by even more economic stagnation and job losses?

Jim Ashton, East Walnut Hills


Care center's staff prove their dedication

In regards to the Peter Bronson column about the issues at Southwest Ohio Developmental Center in Batavia ("Nurses say Batavia care center's unsafe" May 25), I'm a licensed practical nurse at the center, and while I'm not fully aware of the context in which it was stated, I am concerned over the aides at the center being portrayed as they were.

It is true that the nursing issues have reached a point that residents are in danger. But, if it weren't for the direct-care staff at SODC, their knowledge of and love for the residents and their willingness to go above and beyond in assisting the nurses, it would have been impossible for the nurses to do their jobs even before the arrival of the current superintendent.

While nurses have had to leave because they felt unable to safely do their jobs, and the remaining few continue with the pressure of feeling their licenses/careers are in jeopardy, the direct-care staff is left to take care of and be an advocate for the residents. They are competent, able and dedicated. Let's set the record straight on their behalf. They are heroes. God bless them.

Mike Pergrem, Rarden, Ohio


Shouldn't Christians help disadvantaged?

The letter ("Vouchers could erode Catholic education" May 29) has me mystified. The letter writer wants to send his children to a Catholic school to learn about God and Jesus, yet doesn't want his tax dollars to pay for the poor and disadvantaged to be able to attend the schools with tax-paid vouchers. It seems to me that the letter writer doesn't know a thing (or care to practice) about the teachings of Christ. Aren't we as Christians supposed to help the disadvantaged?

Bob Distler, Milford


Use existing rails to carry commuters

The Seattle Herald reported May 29 that the local transit company has inked an agreement whereby trains will carry commuters to-and-from downtown from several local bedroom communities.

The new trains will use tracks that are already in place and which are owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, one of the nation's largest freight railroads. The transit company will use their own locomotives and cars and will pay rent to BNSF for use of the track. Riders will pay $6 round trip. Officials hope for an eventual ridership of 8,000 passengers per day.

Imagine! Passenger trains on freight rails. How come no one has thought of that here? For the price of some equipment, rail rent, and a few depots, we could be carrying commuters downtown from Loveland, West Chester or Fairfield on rail that's already in place. Can you imagine I-75 or I-71 with 8,000 fewer cars per day?

Dale Peterka, Deer Park


No need to switch method of vaccinations

When my wife and I were children back in the 1920s, smallpox vaccinations were performed by a procedure that broke the skin so that the material used for the vaccination could enter the body. The site chosen was either on an upper arm or on the upper part of the leg. A flattened transparent hemisphere, held in place by "stickum" around the periphery, then protected it.

After a few days, the school nurse or a doctor would examine the site to see if the vaccination had taken. The procedure, if successful, would leave a small circular scar, one that was not very noticeable. Vaccinations for smallpox by this method came to an end when the possibility of a smallpox epidemic fell to virtually zero. Was there ever a death that resulted from this procedure? If there were, we certainly never heard of one. Nor did we even hear of any adverse reactions to the procedure.

The method used today has resulted in adverse reactions, including painful swelling, infection, rash, joint pain, malaise and fever. Why have we substituted a vaccination procedure that has these adverse reactions for one that experience showed had none worth mentioning? Why have we substituted a potentially dangerous procedure for one that was apparently quite benign? Has anyone thought about returning to the procedure used so successfully for at least a century and a half?

Richard Engelmann, Sharonville


It's right to control animal population

I agree with the letter ("Attitudes must change about neutering of pets" May 29). The overpopulation of dogs/cats is another example of humans relinquishing responsibility. It is up to us, the owners, to get our pets neutered/spayed and that begins with educating ourselves first.

Those who use the excuses such as "Getting him spayed will make him lazy" are really saying, "I, the owner, am too lazy to do it." Get advice from the vet and read up on the subject or basically use common sense. To me, it is very simple. If you do not want to be a pet owner, do not get a pet. If you do not want litters, get the animal spayed or neutered.

Some might think this is not a worthy cause, but these animals need someone to speak for them.

Jennifer Schutzman, Erlanger

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