Printed letters, September 23, 2012
The local chamber of commerce would have you believe that a business can buy a piece of riverfront land and subsequently claim the right to have the property rezoned to suit its needs. That is to say, one industry trumps the vision and planning of an entire city.
The City Council somehow finds it in the best interest of its citizens to concede to industry, forever, right smack in the middle of our once-trashed-now-rehabilitated riverfront.
As a member of the downtown business community, I am fearful of a city that can bless industrial zoning into existence next to a landmark park and river that happen to be the soul of its being. I am fearful of a city that thinks less of all the businesses that have already invested in being downtown and that would prosper immensely from thoughtful development of the riverfront and a corridor linking downtown. I am fearful of a city that can’t hold onto its own vision. Businesses, beware!
The city’s ambition is to become “the most livable city west of the Rockies by 2025.” Show me one city in the 21st century that has prospered by placing industry on its waterfront, and I will show you 50 that have benefited more from developing waterfronts and natural assets into the amenities that bring citizens, new business and visitors.
I invite anyone with a stake in Las Colonias Park and amphitheater to join me in turning around the damage our council and chamber would wish upon this city by reintroducing industry on the river. Make no mistake; this was our City Council’s error to rectify. It now rests in our hands to vote on the future of a city and its river in April.
Claim of free-speech right for insulting film preposterous
Last Sunday’s Daily Sentinel editorial extolling the virtues of our First Amendment and chastising a few Muslims for overreacting to an anti-Muslim video produced in the U.S. is way off the mark and insulting.
I am a civil libertarian and a strong advocate of First Amendment protections of speech. If the little video skit were enacted on any street corner in the U.S., I would defend the free speech rights of the actors.
The Sentinel, however, has failed to recognize an important limitation on free speech — the prohibition against shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.
The makers and perpetrators of the video intended to cause Muslims around the world extreme hurt and humiliation. Serious reprisals were surely anticipated, and at least four good Americans have died as a direct consequence of releasing the video into electronic space. U.S. relations with 20 or more predominantly Muslim nations have been strained, perhaps irrevocably.
For the Sentinel to support the video and its distribution as a proper exercise of free speech rights is really preposterous.
Further, accusing Muslim nations of “inflaming the populace” about “misdeeds of outsiders” completely misstates the facts. Those were spontaneous actions carried out by deeply insulted Muslims.
Think of a Muslim-created video shown widely in the U.S. showing Jesus as a womanizer and buffoon. How would fundamentalist Christians react?
Health care reform package cuts into people’s benefits
Every year, my health insurance pays for my annual physical, which includes blood work. This year, however, my insurance denied three different blood tests that I have every year because my doctor thinks they are necessary.
When I received the claim statement from my insurance company, those tests were marked “Benefits ineligible under health care reform guidelines.”
So, I owe $228 for tests that have always been covered until our government created a monstrous health care reform bill that now tells my insurance company what it can and can’t cover.
It’s probably silly to be concerned about $228. That’s chicken feed next to the taxes that will start in 2014 and the $500 billion cuts in Medicare designated to pay for health care reform.
And those are insignificant compared to the fact that some panel of people who don’t know my doctor or me will be able to decide what care I can get.
To all of you who put this current government in power, please rethink your position. I’m tired of prolonged high unemployment numbers, government intrusion into my health care, record numbers of people on food stamps and failed stimulus bills.
I resent that my hard-earned tax money was used to pay for mortgages of people I’ve never met and to buy cars for strangers.