Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Readers' Views

Bridge gates must always be open


This past weekend, I came home from a jog that included a trek over the "Purple People Bridge" and saw something disturbing: easily closeable and lockable gates at each end.

I hope these gates don't ever become symbols of some of what has been wrong with this town. I hope their closure is not ever representative of someone's specific money, elitism, racism, sexism, conservatism, coolness, hipness, power, control, arrogance or whatever. Unless someone is paying the taxpayers at least $100,000 a day for those gates to be closed, they should be open all of the time.

If the taxpayers are not being paid, at least this kind of money for the gates to be closed, then the closers are worse freeloaders than the panhandlers most people would happy to see disappear.

People on both sides of that bridge are using it to walk, jog, go to a movie, a game, park, restaurant, store, etc. Who knows how many web sites and other publications are already out there publicizing the purple people bridge as an attraction.

No one needs to come up to that bridge at the last minute and realize they have to go somewhere else to cross.

Terry Lund, Downtown


SUVs, not Segways, are the real health threat

In regards to Tony Lang's editorial memo ("Clever design: Slim pedestrians," June 27), are you kidding me? The day after two straight days of smog alerts he writes a column which denounces an invention (the Segway HT) that lessens our need to drive cars. If he really cares about the health of the citizenry, then he should use his position to mount a continuous attack on SUV owners. They do more damage to people's health than just about any other group. As to his point, "Most people already come equipped with an alternative transporter for short urban trips. It's called walking." He's right. And I would have taken him up on it this past Wednesday and Thursday but it was unhealthy to be outside. I wonder why?

Pat Carroll, East Walnut Hills


Taft should insist on spending cuts

I can only presume Gov. Bob Taft was absent the day they taught economics in governor's school.

In a struggling economy, it is not the governor's job to raise taxes. It is his/her job to cut spending. The new tax increases will only hurt the economy. I read several increased taxes are going to go to the Ohio state troopers. Instead of raising taxes for them, he should have cut their spending. When you take money out of the taxpayers' hands, you cripple their spending power, thereby weakening the economy. I am a fairly conservative Republican, but I wouldn't vote for Taft if he were running for dog catcher.

Joe Seiler, Colerain Township


Sales tax probably won't be temporary

With regards to the 1 percent increase in the sales tax being temporary, does anyone recall that when the income tax was put into place that it, too, was a temporary tax?

Peter Bertoli, Montgomery


We're still just warring tribes

For thousands of years, the Middle East has consisted of warring tribes. Aided by the modern jet plane, our sieve-like border security, some box cutters and a lot of luck on Sept. 11, one tribe achieved what had been beyond its wildest dreams. Why would they do such a thing? To kill some of us, an enemy tribe, advanced the power and prestige of their own tribe. Tribal thinking doesn't get any deeper than that.

Now half the population of Iraq is under 15 years of age. For every one we kill, expel or put in prison, three more will be ready to take his place. This promises plenty of killing on both sides far into the future.

It is simply untrue that Saddam Hussein and his gang were the only obstacles to an orderly, democratic country. This is a myth perpetrated by the current administration.

Daniel P. Shine, Anderson Township


Birth-control pill also among risk factors

Regarding the article ("Puberty can warn of breast cancer," June 16) the brief mention of other potential risk factors that a woman could control would be of greater interest to most women, i.e., hormone exposure. Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., lists these statistics from 1973-1999 in his book, Breast Cancer, Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill. For example, since 1980, 18 of the 21 research studies done on the connection between the birth control pill and breast cancer showed that pill users have a higher risk of breast cancer than non-users. In 1990, an analysis was done of the previous years' studies, which showed that women who used the pill for four or more years before their first full-term pregnancy had a 72 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer. With the United States having one of the highest rates of hormonal contraceptive use in the world (73 percent to 90 percent of women born after 1950), one would think this information would be pertinent and available to women of childbearing age.

Because there is a lack of public information regarding the side effects of contraceptives, a woman would be wise to investigate this on her own. Read the patient package insert that accompanies the product you are using. Another source would be a physician's desk reference in your local library.

Cheryl Manning, Green Township


At least telemarketers are working for living

In defense of telemarketers, I will answer their calls and give them a polite, "No thank you." These people are out trying to make a living. They are not sitting on their backsides collecting welfare.

Mary Jane Johnson, Price Hill


What about debt of other Miami students?

As a Miami University alumnus, I find it extremely disturbing that President James Garland would donate money to Ben Field and his parents to help him pay for his legal expenses for starting a hoax in Oxford this spring ("MU president gives student $10 to repay debt," June 26). Not only did Field plead guilty to attempted unauthorized use of a computer, he also misrepresented himself by claiming he was Garland.

I am not going say that I never did anything wrong and was never given a second chance on the mistakes that I've made in my life, because I most certainly have. For that, I do agree with Garland and the university's decision to let him graduate. However, I'm astonished at Garland's contribution to Field's campaign. Since Garland has been president of Miami, tens of thousands of students have passed through the university and graduated without breaking any of the rules mandated by it. Many of these same people have left the red bricks of Miami's campus with a tremendous amount of debt.

My question to Garland is this: Have you ever pledged money to any of the law-abiding, debt-ridden graduates of Miami? Should any graduate who still has an outstanding loan/debt set up a Web site and ask the public - and, in particular, Garland - for contributions?

Miami University solicits my donations on a regular basis, whether through literature, through the mail or whenever I log on to the university Web site. Maybe this year I'll follow Garland's example and send my annual donation to Ben Field instead of Miami University or its alumni association.

Jim Skrobola, Springdale


Only part of Scalia's opinion was printed

I was disappointed to see Justice Scalia's opinion poorly excerpted in an Associated Press wire story concerning the Texas sodomy law in Thursday's edition.

There is a significant difference between the excerpt that ran in the story - Supreme Count Justice Antonin Scalia saying he has "nothing against homosexuals" - and the actual decision. Justice Scalia wrote: "Let me be clear that I have nothing against homosexuals, or any other group, promoting their agenda through normal democratic means."

Given the current attempts by a variety of interest groups to use political pressure to influence appointments to the judiciary, I feel it's very important the decisions made by our highest court are reported in their full complexity. The Enquirer's article created the impression that Justice Scalia was implying something unintended by his decision. At least, please remove the period from the quotation appearing in this article.

Shane Cullen, Covington


Equality for all still unfinished business

For decades, people of color have fought for inclusion and equal treatment at restaurants and hotels, in the entertainment industry, on buses and at airports, in the workplace and in the nation's education system. Although much has been achieved in the arena of civil rights, there is still work to be done to level the playing field. That is why the National Conference for Community and Justice applauds the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative action policy.

The nation is strengthened by using constitutionally approved methods to better assure equality to people who have traditionally denied the basic privileges and full access to opportunities of our nation. It is with bitter irony that the day the Supreme Court reached a decision we lost a major civil-rights icon, Maynard Jackson, the three-time mayor of Atlanta who was a great pioneer in implementing the concept of affirmative action in Atlanta.

Access to education has become symbolic of the quality of life that we hold dear and wish to safeguard. Ask generations of taxpayers once locked out of jobs, denied homeownership rights and medical care what helped them break out of the cycle of systemic oppression. Then, ask their children, the beneficiaries of better policies, what has made our nation strong? Most would say that affirmative action has made a positive difference in their access to opportunities and quality of life.

Recent census data show that as of July 2002, Hispanics are the largest ethnic group in the country. And 33.9 percent of African-Americans over the age of 25 have a bachelor's degree or more, compared with 59 percent of non-Hispanic whites. Yet African-American, Hispanic and Native American students combined currently make up less than 20 percent of the University of Michigan's freshman class. Census data also confirm that African-American males still earn 30 percent less than similarly educated white males. These disparities attest to the reality that many continue not to have equal access to opportunity, not only in education, but also in the workplace.

Robert C. Harrod, Executive director, Greater Cincinnati Region, National Conference for Community and Justice Inc.

River wreck: Reckless boating
Ohio: Taxes, fees start rising today
DUI standards: Federal mandates
Readers' Views