Letters: Rowan can behave for Coble meeting

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rowan can behave for Coble meeting
This morning, when I asked Rep. Howard Coble about holding a town meeting here in Salisbury, he answered “I don’t believe in town meetings.” His reason was that they get taken over by special interest groups and become divisive, serving no purpose. I wasn’t surprised because his staff has told me the same thing, but I did feel disrespected as a citizen of Rowan County and Salisbury.
Cutting to the core, Mr. Coble doesn’t like people having the gall to ask him unpleasant questions or to account for himself as our representative. Later several Republicans told me privately they agreed with me.
There is no reason for a meeting to be allowed to become raucous, divisive, loud, rude or disrespectful. We here in Rowan County have our share of positive thinking people, with strongly held opinions and positions on issues. And yet, our county commission chairmen don’t seem to have any problem controlling their meetings. I have seen far more contentious meetings elsewhere kept under strict control by even-handed chairs.
I propose to invite Representative Coble to a town meeting with clear rules prohibiting the kind of behavior he objects to, while encouraging the public to ask questions, both supportive, opposing and of general interest. I will report back to your readers on his response.
ó John P. Burke
SalisburyScare tactics
Regarding John Rock’s Aug. 4 letter (“Don’t believe the promises of health-care reform”):
It is a great tragedy when false information, scare tactics and name-calling enter the debate of a serious issue currently being faced by our democratically elected leaders and the citizens they represent.
In the case of the current health-care reform package, the misinformation created by the health-care industry (which is spending $1.4 million a day to defeat reform) and far-right ideologues has scared senior citizens, cried socialism and rekindled the flames of the culture wars in an attempt to turn public opinion.
Rock is correct in stating the House reform bill will save taxpayers money by cutting $500 million from Medicare.
But that savings will be made by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, eliminating bureaucracy and increasing efficiency. In fact, this reform will allow Medicare to provide better benefits to a larger percentage of citizens.
He is also correct in stating the president and Congress will not see a significant change in their health coverage. This is because federal employees and elected officials have one of the best health-care plans in the world. A health-reform bill that includes a strong public option will allow every American access to this plan.
Health-care reform will not, however, increase the burden of Medicaid placed upon states. Under the proposed legislation the cost of Medicaid will go down, and fewer citizens will need coverage.
The legislation will also decrease the burden illegal immigrants place upon of health-care system by lowering costs and promoting preventative medicine.
The bill also hopes to reduce the number of abortions by investing in sex education, contraceptives and other methods of pregnancy prevention.
Finally, I agree when Mr. Rock says “we will not be dictated by lies.” I, too, refuse, and hope all Americans refuse, to be dictated by the lies of ideologues and health-care industry robber barons.
ó Seth Morris