Reader letters, Jan. 11

Jan 10, 2013

A numbers check requested

To the editor:

With all the news about cities, counties, and states piling up unmanageable debts — San Diego, Burmingham, San Jose, Rhode Island, and Flint, Michigan — it seems never to end.

Recently, the “Wall Street Journal” reported that Stockton, California, had to borrow $127,000,000 to pay pension obligations all the while a firefighter’s compensation in that city is more than three times the median household income. Public safety workers can retire at age 50 with a pension at 90 percent of their highest salary.

I doubt if our elected officials have over-committed our resources, but it might be comforting if three of our public service entities – county, city, school board – would report the number of present employees, the number of retirees drawing pensions and at what rate, and at what age can employees retire with benefits.  A simple chart showing the numbers would be just fine.

Donald Haynes



Let’s plant trees

To the editor:

Waynesville did an exceptional job getting the new WalMart to plant trees in its parking lot.

Why can’t the city solicit Ingles before they begin major expansion to do the same with trees in the parking lot.

Gary Acquaviva



Fire department facts

To the editor:

Like most property owners in Haywood, we recently paid our hefty tax bill. We are in the Center Pigeon Fire District, which collects a tax rate of .075 per $100 of value.

We decided to get better informed to see where our money was going. After making several calls, we learned some interesting facts.

The department is allocated $365,000 yearly. The chief’s salary is $40,000 plus benefits. There are also more than one full-time paid employees. We were told “there’a a lot of paperwork.”

Considering the above figures, we would like to know how many Haywood County law enforcement officers who lay their lives on the line every time they step out of a squad car to respond to a call are paid $40,000 plus benefits annually?

James and Martha Moss


So few understand America's problems

No one seriously can deny the tragedy of the murders in Newtown, Connecticut.  For the families, the town, that state, and to a much lesser degree for the nation, the pain is very real – and understandably and rightfully so.

And it is helpful to dispassionately seek means to prevent such tragic events, even rare as they are.  But, once again, the national leadership, other elected officials, the media in general, the usual cultural icons, and others immediately begin the repetitious and oft-heard solutions — in a very distressing way taking advantage of deep pain to advance limited agendas.

The medical community has a solution.  The anti-second amendment folks have a solution. The educators have a solution.  Security firms have a solution. And other recognized groups of people holding similar convictions have a solution.  And almost always the focus is:  We need more of this and less of that; or we have to have better laws and policy; or funding is inadequate; or….almost always the same proposed solutions.  What is so disheartening is that very, very few leaders are willing to address that the foundational problem in America is moral and spiritual, not policy, not funding, not gun control, not school security, not better mental health services, i.e., none of the repeatedly proposed solutions is or has been “the answer.”

We have allowed in this most blessed of nations a culture that promotes and gladly pays for an entertainment industry that thrives on and celebrates murder, mass violence, rape, absurdities, grotesqueness, and the like.

We have government, at the very top and at various other levels, that legalizes, pays for, and celebrates killing unborn children, overwhelmingly for personal convenience.  We idolize media stars who rage against tragedy and guns while producing a variety of mediums that depend on violence and death for their extraordinarily high livelihoods.

We no longer can condemn what clearly is immoral without being socially and even officially ostracized, and laws are now passed to make it a crime to stand up for basic morality.  Of course, there are many other examples of our downward-spiraling society in decay.

So why does our addiction to more laws, more policy, more restrictions, and more spending not improve things?   One would think our own history would make us see the obviously failing results we continue to get from the same “solutions” — more societal rot.  But we don’t.

It is submitted this is because hearts have not changed.  We’re a nation, for sure, with a broken heart.  Politically, we no longer respect the creator of the universe.  Culturally, we’ve demeaned His word in scripture.  Educationally, we don’t believe evil exists, or that individuals are in need of a savior.  We loudly call evil what is good, and good what is evil – despite the clear warning in God’s word.  Our nation’s heart has become a heart of stone.  And – here’s the overall point – our leadership at almost all levels, does not even know the problem is moral and spiritual.  So we keep on doing the things that sound good politically but just don’t work, and never have.

II Chronicles 7: 14 surely is a rescuing lesson for these United States of America:  “if  my people, who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

C R Torpy

Haywood County