Letters To The Editor

Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 1:00am

Europeans ahead of smoking curve


This is in response to the May 22 front-page article "Smoke-free Nashville?" Hey you smokers! Did you read The City Paper's May 22 article on page 11 ("World Health body adopts anit-smoking pact")? Why does it take the Europeans no time to come to simple conclusions regarding human health?

My advice is to open up your own clubs, restaurants, etc., and smoke all you want. Between puffs ask yourself this: What is the difference between a crack house and smoke house? Nothing. Crack houses house folks that want to congregate and get high. Smoke houses would house smokers who want to smoke together and get dead.



Raise tobacco tax for state budget


The governor and our state legislators are leaving no stone unturned in their search for ways to cut spending and fill the gaping budget hole. Well, almost no stone.

If they'd look a little harder, they'd see the benefits of raising the tobacco tax. There are $355 million in cuts lined up for next year, but a tobacco tax increase of 40 cents per pack would be able to plug more than half of the hole.

Plus, the higher the tax on cigarettes, the more people will cut back on smoking. That'll save their lives and save the state millions in health-care costs.

We hope this proposal will not fall on deaf ears, but our legislators will be reading this letter through the smoky haze that fills the state capitol - the only public building in our state where smoking is still allowed.



Irony of happy Links neighbors


In light of the recent and ongoing controversy over property owners' rights in the Belle Meade Links neighborhood, it strikes me as sadly ironic that the neighborhood association of the self-proclaimed "America's Happiest Neighborhood" (see www.bellemeadelinks.com) has turned its neighbors against themselves.



City creates no-win situation


Mayor Bill Purcell and Metro Councilwoman Linda Williams have created a no-win situation for both Harding Academy and the Belle Meade Links neighborhood. Through their efforts, the city has rescinded building permits previously issued for Harding Academy to construct a park for public use on its own property.

What incentive is there for Harding Academy to be the cooperative neighbor that it has been for over 30 years? Does the neighborhood really think Harding should just swallow its pride and choke on the millions of inflated dollars it has paid for those properties? Perhaps Emily Evans and the Belle Meade Links Conservation Committee can start holding bake sales in the Walgreens parking lot to raise monies to reimburse Harding Academy for its losses.



Reporter hijacks college graduation


New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges was way out of line with his commencement speech at Rockford College in Illinois. Hedges was hijacking the college, comparable to the terrorists attempting to take over the airplane that crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

Thank goodness there was a passenger (student) "on board" who led the group and in essence said, "Let's roll," and crashed his speech. The president, as inspector at the airport, should never have let the passenger (Hedges) on the plane. So the president must resign, I would think.



Congress impairs rights of disabled


On April 30, members of the House of Representatives approved H.R. 1350, the "Improving Education Results for Children with Disabilities Act of 2003," a bill to reform and reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This bill is now currently being reviewed in the Senate, and Lamar Alexander and Bill Frist are members of the reviewing committee.

Unfortunately, the proposed bill reverses years of progress the disability community has made over the last 27 years. Parents, advocates, teachers and students are expressing their opposition to H.R. 1350.

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill says that our Special Education law is one of the most important civil rights laws ever written, and the protections included in it are critically necessary to prevent schools from excluding children and adolescents with physical disabilities and mental illnesses from our classrooms. With attention to adequate funding, positive behavioral supports, expanded training and education of school personnel, and the provisions of the existing IDEA law, we can successfully manage this challenge in a way that protects the right to education that all students enjoy.

It's time to tell Congress to listen before they legislate. Weakening the rights of the disabled in the name of reform is just bad policy.



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Filed under: City Voices