Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: May 27

Flood-diverting system would benefit nation

We need a national storm sewer system. Right now, water is flooding countless homes along the Mississippi River as well as other smaller rivers and creeks, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

In other parts of the country, there are earth-hardening droughts, sucking the life out of farms, people and animals. Use existing waterways like the Rio Grande (which is a trickle of its former size) to route water to where it's needed and drain it from where it's not.

Think about it — excess water being routed to areas with water shortages. No more massive floods or droughts. Yes, it would cost a lot, but how much will emergency relief cost? And lives lost are priceless and irreplaceable.

If we can make a national highway system, this can be done, too.

Mary Furnish


Let's start it now

We must reduce harmful additives to our air, we must stop deforestation, we must take recycling seriously and we must start planting more trees to help our Earth.

We are living in a day and age when our actions have dire and severe consequences. As long as we start living responsibly, we might help our children have a decent world to live in, but it all begins with us.

With age is suppose to come wisdom, and after all we've heard and seen you would think it would have already begun. However, it's not too late to think about the consequences of our actions before we make that move.

Shon Stone


At a dead end

I reside in a hollow on Pine Mountain in Letcher County that has no political ties. All I am trying to do is get our road repaired. For years now, the road has been washed out or broken by runoff from the four-lane highway constructed above it.

Our road is the responsibility of the Letcher County road department. Our magistrate has been contacted by numerous residents of the hollow and their family members about repairing this road. His response has been "it is on my to-do list." This is not acceptable.

The road department began constructing an elevated portion of the road where the road has broken and sunk. Construction lasted approximately one week, then stopped. This portion was never completed.

Our road will, at some point in time, be completely impassable, leaving nine families trapped.

What seems really strange is that a new bridge is being constructed for a one-lane hollow in Letcher County. The hollow already had a bridge made of culverts. What is strange is one of the county's other magistrates resides in that hollow.

All I am asking for is help in getting our road repaired. Any help given would be appreciated.

Mary Burke


We pay to be cheated?

Let me get this straight: The oil industry wants me to pay almost $4 a gallon for gas, up over $1 from last year, while it rakes in record profits?

Congress wants us to swallow cuts in things like conservation, Medicare, education — while we subsidize the oil companies' $40 billion in tax loopholes, subsidies to an industry that does not need them?

A February poll (NBC/Wall Street Journal) found that 74 percent of voters support eliminating tax breaks to oil companies. Are our members of Congress listening to taxpayers or oil company lobbyists?

Michelle Harris-Shields


Conflict of interest?

Americans for Tax Reform, a group headed by Grover Norquist, has written the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The ATR Web site shows that 236 Republican representatives and 41 GOP senators have pledged to never vote for raising taxes or to eliminate any tax breaks.

Norquist does not have to run for office and face voters. The Republican lawmakers who have signed his pledge are less than open about this policy position. They make illogical statements like, "Washington doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem."

Current budget debate is about cutting expenditures and/or increasing revenue. Every Republican, except four, in the House voted to make extreme cuts to spending, including to Medicare and Medicaid, and use the savings to reduce top-bracket taxes by 10 percent.

The plan, prepared by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, would add $6 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. Yet the GOP talks about not increasing the national debt.

Multiple polls show the overwhelming majority of voters oppose Medicare and Medicaid cuts and support raising taxes for the wealthy. The legislators' highest oath should not be to the ATR pledge, but to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, including supporting the wishes of their constituents.

Norquist and his ATR group are asking legislators to sign onto something that is, at a minimum, a conflict of interest and, at a maximum, a violation of the Constitution. It's time for our legislators to be honest and end this practice.

Russ Kroncke


Save Medicare

There are many families in our community who continue to struggle to find work and make ends meet while Republicans are threatening to hold the entire economy hostage in order to cut Medicare and preserve the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. The Republicans want to abolish Medicare as we know it.

We can't leave seniors to the mercy of private insurance companies and make them pay even more for health care, which will come if Congress approves what Republicans are calling "spending caps."

"Spending caps" is actually a euphemism to disguise their plan to gut Medicare. Spending caps would trigger massive cuts to Medicare within a few years. Spending caps are nothing more than a Medicare kill-bill switch. This Republican plan is immoral. We can't balance the budget on the backs of seniors and the poor.

Programs that protect our parents and grandparents, like Medicare, should not be on the chopping block.

Marian Judith Broadus


Veneer of protection

A company that manufactures wood veneer is destroying our neighborhood. The neighbors signed a petition and it was sent to city officials, the health department and the Environmental Protection Agency.

We still have the same problems.

In 2007, I noticed a bug was eating my furniture. It took me another year to find out where this bug was coming from. It was coming from the company. This bug eats tile, caulk, carpet, marble, plastic, wood, metal and drywall. This bug will also bite you. On a windy day, you can feel them in the dust which blows onto our property.

I called the EPA three years ago because there was an oil smell and a scent of green wood that was coming into my house. It made me sick. The same thing is still happening today.

The EPA sent someone during the day to my house. Every time they came it was during the day. But you need to come after 7 p.m. This is when you see the soot and dust. The state doesn't come out at night.

The dust is removing the stain from my furniture. It irritates my skin and gets in my throat and eyes.

I would like to know why our federal, state and city governments are letting companies destroy property and are not protecting the taxpayers.

Mary Tate