Citizens share benefits

and responsibilities

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

People with a certain mindset write to the newspaper complaining about the prospects of reparations for black citizens. They say that many people’s relatives hadn’t immigrated here during the days of slavery, therefore they shouldn’t have to pay. They say their families didn’t participate in a system in which blacks were forced to do slave labor.

When you become a naturalized citizen of this country, you automatically take on its history, good or bad, which can mean wonderful benefits as well as shared responsibilities.

Everybody in the free world benefited from blacks slogging in the hot fields. Goods were cheaper because people were not paid for their labor. Various industries were dependent on the collateral needs associated with slavery and much money was made by many.

Those same arguments were never vociferously put forth when Japanese citizens in America were compensated for their humiliating treatment during World War II.

Bernard A. Gordon.

Glen Allen.

General Assembly actions

ignore the common good

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

For decades, Virginia has taken great pride in being the “commonwealth of Virginia,” which denotes a civic environment serving the public welfare or common good of all its citizens. Based on recent actions in the General Assembly motivated by extreme partisanship and current election campaigns by candidates who, for the most part, are “one-trick ponies” failing to address real issues while promoting partisan divisiveness, the term “commonwealth” should be dropped from our beloved state’s name. Our current governmental environment serves only the elite political class and ignores the common good of most of Virginia’s citizens.

Robert B. Moffett Jr.

Richmond.

Shake off fears

and go about living

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

When I was a child, I visited Prague, in what was then Czechoslovakia. I saw a tank in the street, parked to prevent a crowd from gathering in a nearby square. A soldier with an assault rifle guarded the tank. Decades later, I saw an armored car with a heavy machine gun parked in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Soldiers with point-and-spray weapons were patrolling the streets. When did we lose the war?

Many claim it was 9/11, when terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, and attempted to divert another plane to Washington, but were thwarted by passengers. Because of these actions, we justified our hatred of Osama bin Laden and reveled in his killing. Has this approval of targeted hatred resulted in the spate of mass shootings we have endured since then?

In his first inaugural address in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear is one of the strongest negative emotions, and we have feared terrorists long enough to outlast the staggered elections designed to protect our republic.

It is time to dust ourselves off and go about living. Since China no longer accepts our recyclables, we should reuse them ourselves. Nuclear-powered industrial recycling centers could use the steam of the reactors to preheat the metals after the steam had made electricity. As the depreciation expense on these new plants reduces, wages would rise. We can drive a wooden stake through the Gordon Gekkos of our country, who suck the life out of our economy with their greed. America should be made up of happy shareholders, happy workers and happy customers.

Warren E. Vandell.

Lynchburg.

Boards’ inaction spurs

formation of PNK2030

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As a 12-year resident of New Kent County, I support groups like the Partnership for New Kent 2030 (PNK2030).

I sat in many meetings of the county board of supervisors and the planning commission during the past 20 months.

For the most part, there seemed to be little effort going into the discussion of serious matters affecting the county. Even the meetings without citizen involvement were the same — only one member was doing due diligence and taking action. Several planning commission members also were sensible and active, but the rest sit like bumps on a log without educated opinions or an ability to hear or remember what their constituents are saying, even after repeated meetings with the same citizen comments being repeated over and over.

They might not like having to deal with PNK2030, but the inaction of those representing governance in the county are the reason it exists.

Dawn Estrin.

Barhamsville.

Utility pole issues

blight neighborhood

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The General Assembly and the State Corporation Commission need to formulate design standards and maintenance programs for Virginia utilities facilities in our neighborhoods.

Virginia utilities are failing communities by not ensuring their facilities are maintained.

College Heights in Fredericksburg has numerous utility poles in need of repair or removal. Some of the problem poles in the neighborhood include: a short, damaged pole attached to a new pole with black tape and loose wires on Stafford Avenue at William Street; a stub of pole next to one in use with loose wires on Dandridge Street; old and new poles next to each other on Payne Street.

The neighborhood is enjoying a major renovation. Homes are being upgraded, and new ones have been built on infill lots. These poorly maintained utility poles are a blight on the neighborhood. The addition of new poles with boxes on top of them are altering the landscape, as are taller poles more suitable for industrial areas.

Utility poles should not be a problem in our neighborhoods. Our utility companies have the resources to maintain them.

Rodger Provo.

Fredericksburg.

Cat owners must curb

pet’s predation on birds

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In a recent “Sally Forth” comic strip, Sally commented on cats bringing “decapitated birds” into the home. The casual nature of this comment belies its significance. Just recently the RTD published an article on the decline of the song bird population, and USA Today has published an article citing the fact that cats kill up to 3.7 billion song birds annually in the continental United States alone. There is no humor in this gruesome statistic, and pet owners need to be aware of their cat’s hunting instincts and do everything possible to reduce this predation.

Wayne Surles.

Glen Allen.

City ignores maintenance

of aging infrastructure

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I have a question about the poor road condition of Libbie Avenue between Grove and Patterson avenues. I have traveled Libbie Avenue at various times since 2013 going to St. Mary’s Hospital and doctors’ offices. During this six-year period, I have not seen one instance of street repaving or improvement, though it is very badly needed. Is this a situation where Mayor Levar Stoney’s plans for the city of Richmond do not include the infrastructure, or it is one of the items that get pushed to the back burner and then forgotten?

H.E. Robbins.

North Chesterfield.

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