Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor

I said just a few weeks ago, and you published under the heading “Enough,” this comment:

Again we must endure yet another mass shooting at a high school. I fear I’m becoming numb to this sort of trauma. Are we powerless to change? Does the NRA control our hearts and minds?

Look around the planet at other civilized nations. Do they have the same level of gun violence as we do? How many gun deaths have we already had this year in this area alone?

This has gone on far too long. This does not mean you have to give up your guns. It is not an invitation to government overreach any more than requiring fire escapes and seat belts, etc. This is smart public policy to reduce gun violence. Yes, I know we are different from those other countries, but surely we can learn from them and make changes that may lead to the day when I turn on the news and am not assaulted with more gun carnage. Not to do anything is irresponsible, and in doing nothing, we ourselves are partially to blame for future tragedies.

Yes, I too am a gun owner.

Today I add that we are failing as a society and inaction is, in my mind, not only dumb but also immoral.

- John Roberts, Seale, Ala.

I was dismayed but not surprised that the City Council has voted to reduce the number of lanes for vehicles from four to two on 13th Street. As most people in Columbus know, there is a great deal of "good ol' boy" politics" that greatly influence the decisions of the Council. It must be admitted that some members of the Council frequently listen to their friends if a profit can be made regardless of negative effects that might prove to be inconvenient and detrimental to many people, especially those people who drive on 13th Street. There was a bright spot in the Council's decision to ruin 13th Street as an effective corridor for automobiles, and that was the fact that Councilors Judy Thomas and Bruce Huff had the good sense not to follow the herd mentality so often demonstrated by City Council. The City Council has already ruined a whole section of Linwood Boulevard, and now they have turned their attentions to 13th Street. I cannot help but wonder if any members of the council might have special interests in this 13th Street project or if they might be looking out for the special interests of their friends who might own property on 13th Street.

- Thomas Orr, Columbus

While I applaud the efforts of the city, Midtown Inc., and the "Tallahassee-based urban designer and transportation engineer" for their thoughtful re-design and beautification of the 13th Street corridor between Cherokee and 5th Avenue, allow me to say that I witnessed the traffic patterns on that stretch of road for 32 years, often multiple times a day, having practiced dentistry in an office directly on 13th St. and at an office one block off 13th on 14th St. And though there is terribly inadequate parking for the businesses along 13th, it has been exciting to watch new ventures move into the area and revitalize what has alternately been both run down and vibrant down through the years. I'm not exactly sure which "expert" measured the traffic count, but I can tell you firsthand from years of driving on 13th, that the traffic going west over the viaduct between 5 and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays is horrible, and if the number of lanes are further reduced, traffic will back up quite a distance -- making one of the things that you are trying to improve, more parking for people who want to "linger," very difficult. Isn't it interesting how things come full circle? Remember parking on Wynnton Rd? So, while I am excited about the project, and endorse it, I for one have no intention of attempting to parallel park, as the proposed drawing shows, on 13th St. headed west when I'm in town. Accidents waiting to happen!

- Richard Straus, Sr.

If we can't look to highest places in our country, where can we look for moral leadership? In my lifetime, The White House has always been as a lighthouse on hilltop, giving light and direction to people from one shore of our great nation to the other. We, in response, tried to reflect back to it the best of who we are- our highest ideals, our best ideas, our most sincere impulses. I find myself questioning what it means to be an American now in this new lightless, blighted America we are now living in. When men who beat their wives are protected and allowed to sit in these powerful places, it sends a message of intimidation and oppression that harkens back to a time that we should be trying to relegate to the shameful archives of history where it belongs. It is message to women, blacks, jews, gays -- that this White House operates without social conscience or justice, and from a place of true moral bankruptcy. We, the people, 63 percent of us, however, have not abandoned our values and are not so ready to hand over our hard- fought gains to this president and a complicit congress.

- Carlos R. Wise, M.D.

I’m all ears these days when it comes to matters of marriage, so when I discovered that the week leading up to Valentine’s Day is National Marriage Week, I took note. Since becoming the director of Right from the Start last August, I have come to a greater understanding of the significant benefits of marriage. Prior to August, I was aware that marriage is linked to longer life expectancy for both men and women and to better physical health for not only the married couple but also for their children.

What I was not aware of was the astounding correlation between the decline of marriage and poverty. There is a lot we can do as a community to reduce poverty—create more jobs, offer assistance, and educate people on making changes to improve their quality of life—to name a few. I have come to understand lately, however, that one of the strongest anti-poverty programs around is marriage. According to one source, marriage drops the probability of a child living in poverty by 82 percent. Likewise, another source says that the poverty rate for single-parent families is six times that of married families.

These are staggering statistics, and if we have a week to recognize and ponder the topic of marriage, we should not let it pass without giving serious reflection on and discussion to the decline of marriage and its effect on the overall economic well-being of our community. We should commit ourselves to strengthen and support marriages in our community. The welfare of our children and the prosperity of our city depend on the extent that our marriages and families are healthy and thriving. If we want to decrease poverty in our city, we should be doing all that we can to preserve, strengthen and promote marriage within our circles of influence this week and every week of the year.

Respectfully submitted.

- Ruthie Hite, Executive Director Right from the Start, Inc.

It seems like just yesterday someone was campaigning for the widening of 13th Street, to which most of the residents in the area were opposed. The argument at the time was that we needed an east-west roadway to facilitate all the traffic. Now another special interest group wants to change 13th St. to 2 lanes, “to aid the businesses” in that area. My personal opinion is that this will not only cause congestion, but cause people to avoid the area completely. On street parking will only add to the problem – think about backing out of a parking place into an onslaught of cars that have no intention of stopping – surely parking could be improved by expanding the existing off-street parking areas, and making them more accessible. A more attractive street front and pedestrian area with open area cafes would help, as well as street art and public sculpture. Use the Landings as an example of that.

I do not think reducing the number of through traffic lanes will help anyone, least of all the businesses in the area. Think about it – lots of traffic whizzing by, but none of it stopping. Think about the back-up and congestion of long lines of cars that just want to get where they’re going. It’s too bad a parallel street is not available – but it might be easier to take the long route and bypass 13th completely.

- L.M. Tryon, Columbus