Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, March 4, 2003 at 1:00am

Heed Greenspan's tax-cut warning


Last month Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan, a 76-year-old member of the "greatest generation," spoke regarding the future of that generation's children. In testimony on Capitol Hill, Greenspan pointed out that a tax-cut agenda might not be prudent given the upcoming retirement of the baby boomers.

Indeed, a budgetary disconnect does seem to exist between glib talk of dividend tax cuts and the elimination of the inheritance tax upon all levels of inheritance. We must fact the reality of the boomer retiree tidal wave of some 70 million people, which will begin to sweep our nation in the year 2011 - when the first boomers turn 65 - and which will roll on unabated through 2029, when the last boomers turn 65.



Rogers' gentle legacy lives on


Alas, Feb. 27 brought not such a beautiful day in the neighborhood. A great man died.

Fred Rogers entered the sometimes-scary world of my childhood like a reassuring friend. As a young boy, I eagerly awaited the start of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood each day. The piano music would begin, the camera would meander along the miniature streets to his house, and he would always walk in with the same warm smile and friendly wave.

When he removed his shoes and changed into sneakers, I removed my shoes and slipped on another pair. When he walked to the closet to change into his sweater, I walked to my family's hall closet and donned a sweater of my own. And then I watched, spellbound, as the gentle man fed his fish with quiet reverence, welcomed friends, visited the local bakery or music shop, spoke words of comfort and encouragement, and sparked imagination by summoning the trolley to transport us to the Land of Make Believe.

Some have poked fun at Rogers for his gentle demeanor, branding him a milquetoast, a sissy or worse. I sometimes joined in the derision as an adolescent and laughed at Eddie Murphy's Saturday Night Live spoof. But the more I've reflected on my childhood - especially now with three children of my own - the more I've come to cherish the wisdom, kindness, patience and love Mister Rogers poured so generously into my young life and into the lives of millions of others.

A great man is dead, and he won't be back when the day is new. But his legacy of goodness, gentleness and respect will endure. Rest in peace, dear neighbor.



Banning bicycles in Wilson County


I am writing to inform your paper that recently Wilson County has signed an ordinance banning bicyclists on numerous roads. Its excuse is that many are complaining that bicyclists slow motorists down (most are speeding anyway) and are getting in their way.

Since Wilson County can't afford to make bike lanes, it's decided to ban us. I have never seen anything so insane. The county has spent taxpayers' money on purchasing 20 signs that read "No Bicycles Allowed." So far, three of them have been discovered. I assume it doesn't realize that bicycles are a mode of transportation and have every right to be on the roads, too.

There are not that many cyclists out here, trust me. I never see anyone else riding when I'm out, other than those I'm riding with. What's next? Are they going to ban joggers and pedestrians because they, too, get in motorists' way and can't afford to build sidewalks?



Teacher's instincts should be trusted


I read with great interest the front-page story of The City Paper Monday concerning Ann Zimmerman not being allowed to return to her classroom because she refuses to use curriculum she views as unsatisfactory ("Teacher refuses to use material").

Zimmerman is a consummate teacher. She is what every teacher should strive to be. She has a personal interest in each and every one of her students - both the bright and gifted and those who struggle for each new thing they learn. I know this because we were lucky enough to have her teach our youngest while at Dodson Elementary.

Zimmerman never, ever gave up on any of her students, even the hard to reach. Instead, she stuck with them, taught them, enlisted the help of parents, told them that she loved them and would not give up on them. We have only fond memories of Zimmerman and her stubbornness to ensure that each student be successful in school.

Dr. Pedro Garcia should trust Zimmerman's instincts. They will not fail him. Zimmerman is the best of the best. She deserves to be treated as such and be allowed to return to her classroom to do what she does best: teach our young ones!



Filed under: City Voices