Letters to the editor – Monday (7-20-09)
Cruising ban an overreaction that spurns future spenders
Regarding the article “Cruising’s bruised reputation”:
Now I understand why my southern New York home stopped downtown car cruising: They used Salisbury’s municipal ban as a model! For many, it never made any sense to stop this time-honored, American tradition. Sure, there were a few knuckleheads who were out of control with their nitrous oxide, turbo-charged engines ó the better to lay rubber outside Mrs. Rubenstein’s Bridal Shoppe. But most of the kids simply wanted to see and be seen by their peers. There was little else to do in that small, Hudson Valley dairy-farming community.
When cruising was outlawed it immediately led to no one hanging around on a Friday or Saturday night. Within a few years, a more serious threat surfaced: Large-box stores in gigantic malls invaded the surrounding alfalfa fields and downtown shops rushed to be part of the nouveau suburbs. Civic leaders tried luring back customers with monthly weekend festivals and midnight madness sales. But once the temporary vendors left no one returned ó until the next month’s activities.
The once-vibrant downtown now has dark storefronts and plywood sheets framing display windows. Low-end secondhand swap and liquor stores line both sides of Main.
It didn’t help to kick out the area’s future consumers. Young people grow up to become the next spending generation. Town politicians overreacted to a perceived, violent youth threat. Instead of managing the cruising, working with merchants and looking at long-term viability, they chose a quick, total, no-nonsense solution.
The ban and its enforcement partially led to the unintended consequence of a dead downtown retail area. Where once there were hundreds of potential consumers there are now only vague remnants of youthful possibilities. My town that once was forever young and vital is now old and weary. Municipal decisions have a very long shelf life.
ó Salvatore Michael Trento
Why we need Robin Hood in the new banking era
Bank robberies are on the rise and the banks are the criminals. Banks are expected to reap a record $60 billion in fees in 2009 from charges and late fees. Companies like Profit Technologies, a firm that has worked with 19 of the 20 biggest banks, consult with banks to increase fees and charges.
Here are some of the adopted ideas: Payments sent in a non-bank-provided envelope can be delayed for five days, Bar codes have been removed from remittance envelopes, slowing the payment. Partial and late posting of deposits. Overdrafts are processed highest to lowest, increasing the number of bounced checks.
No wonder the Depression-era robbers like Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde were considered heroes by many.
ó Jerry Crook
Bible isn’t the only basis for society’s rules and morals
Allow me to address the July 6 letter “Law is clear on what constitutes legal marriage.”
Morals are based on the good or harm done to others. I have had people try to kill me for the fun of it. I didn’t have to consult any book of rules or Billy Graham’s advice column to know that is very naughty.
Other morals are simply based on others’ likes or dislikes. Some people consider it immoral to eat meat. Some Christians oppose gun ownership, the death penalty and the war. Some Christians have forbidden blacks to attend their all-white church. What one hates, fears and loves is one’s religion and morals.
The Bible contains morals, but it also condones behavior no civilized country today would tolerate. Read Numbers 31:13-18 regarding what Moses told his troops to do with young girls.
The Constitution says that Congress shall make no law respecting any establishment of religion, and no religious test is required for public office. We allow people of other religions and atheists to emigrate here. The Treaty of Tripoli, ratified in 1797, clearly states the United States is not founded on the Christian religion.
Sure, Abraham Lincoln read the Bible. He also read Darwin’s “Origin of the Species.” Joseph Stalin, David Koresh and Jim Jones read the Bible, it’s also said. So Lincoln had a humble beginning; Genghis Khan and Charles Manson did too.
Oh, a correction: It was not Lincoln’s law partner but his employer who burned his infidel book.
I don’t think I’m being any more judgmental than anyone else. Elizabeth Dole proved that, what with the show she put on.
This country is founded on ChristIan principles? Fine, then do what Judas Iscariot and George Washington apparently did not want to do ó sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor.
ó R. Howard Andrews
Say no to torture
No American government should allow torture, assassinations, kidnapping, overthrowing democratically elected governments, or domestic spying on innocent Americans who haven’t broken the law. Some people think our government should participate in these actions under certain circumstances.
Just because the “bad guys” do (or try to do) these bad things doesn’t mean that the “good guys” should stoop to their level. We should have a government that supports democracy, human rights and civil liberties at home and abroad.
ó Chuck Mann