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Letters to the editor – Wednesday (8-20-11)

Why so many SEALs on one aircraft?
Regarding the deaths of 22 Navy SEALs and eight other U.S. troops aboard a helicopter shot down in Afghanistan:
I would like to know if the military general, captain or whoever gave the orders for all of the SEALs to be placed in one helicopter would also have put the president, vice president, cabinet, Senate and Congress all in one plane.
Plain common sense would have prevented all the elite, precious-to-our-country SEALs from being put in one aircraft! Whoever placed the order deserves the highest reprimand or would a court martial be appropriate? Such a shame … Makes me sad, then angry. I think the average person has more common sense than that!
— Diane Valley
Salisbury
Good friend, citizen
So much has been said in the last several months about Ronnie Smith, I feel I need to give my view of this warm and sensitive man. I have known the Wilson Smith family all of my life. Our children grew up together, attended the same public schools and worship in the same church. In my opinion, there are no finer people anywhere.
The Smiths worked hard and invested in a grocery store that started out slow but worked itself up to be a great investment that made lots of money for many people in Salisbury. Luckily for our community, the Smith family always felt a need to give back and contributed so much to so many.
Ronnie was a consultant with his father. They talked over all donations and made decisions for their foundation. Ronnie has contributed his time and money to many organizations, which include United Way, Salisbury High School and the largest, Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Ronnie was born in Salisbury, went to school here, served his country in Vietnam and returned here to work and make Salisbury his home. He is a caring, passionate, educated and hardworking man. When Ronnie is behind a cause, he gives 110 percent. He studies a situation, views it from all angles and then makes a decision. Only when he does not understand or has a question does he raise his voice and ask why. That is one of the joys of being an American.
Thank God we have people like Ronnie Smith who will stand up for what he sees as right and sometimes ask the hard, unpopular questions. I am proud to call Ronnie Smith my friend.
— Barbara Rufty
Salisbury
Budget clarity
I probably don’t need to tell you this, but the way we’re budgeting infrastructure projects in this country just isn’t sustainable. Accounting gimmicks have unfortunately become the norm, but as you know, they are short-term fixes for deep-rooted problems.
You know better than I, we’re dealing with unprecedented budget shortfalls and huge deficits. You also know that voters are upset, and we’re not just talking about the partisans; even moderates are angry about the levels of government spending and the lack of accountability.
Most Americans agree that there are certain projects we need to fund in order to keep the country going in the right direction — they just want to get the best value for their money. That is why I’m bringing your attention to transparent life-cycle budgeting for all necessary infrastructure investments. We need roads and bridges, but we need to make sure the voters can see the real, longterm costs of these projects from day one.
I know you’ll recognize that now is the time to bring full transparency to the budgeting of these vital projects. I hope you will stand with me and pledge to support transparency and life-cycle considerations in government spending.
— Victoria Gill
Salisbury

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