NAACP lawsuit

is not ‘frivolous’

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In his letter, “NAACP lawsuit will waste Hanover taxpayers’ money,” Greg Farmer laments that “Hanover taxpayers will have to waste their hard-earned dollars defending [a] frivolous suit.” The suit to which Farmer is referring is the NAACP’s suit against Hanover County for the continued practice of honoring Confederate leaders.

Farmer need not worry about Hanover County’s taxpayers. If the suit is indeed frivolous, Hanover County may ask the court to sanction the NAACP — and the customary sanction in such cases is the payment of the defendant’s legal fees.

But the NAACP need not worry about sanctions here. Who, with any sense of decency and charity, would argue that black school children are being “frivolous” when they object to the county’s ongoing decision to send them to schools named after Confederate leaders — men who, after all, would rather have owned black children than educate them?

Jack Preis.

Richmond.

City’s bad schools rob

students of their future

Editor, times-Dispatch:

The words “malpractice” and “fraud” came to mind when I read the RTD article on the failure of Richmond schools to prepare graduates for college and jobs. According to the story, only 10% of students are prepared. While the numbers might be better in other jurisdictions, I suspect those numbers also are disconcerting in a number of places. But it is even worse. Reading down in the story — about half of Richmond students went on to college and, not surprisingly, a large number failed to get a degree. What they got, no doubt thanks to the education industry, was a huge student debt.

All we seem to get is hand-wringing and demands to spend more money for a system that is failing so many students and taxpayers. The continuing decrease in reading scores is a warning sign for everyone that Richmond is not an isolated case. The other word that comes to mind is “accountability.” For many kids, the current system is robbing them of their future. Something needs to change, and it needs to change now. The question is, who will step up and make it happen?

Frank J. Jandrowitz.

Locust Grove.

Focus on better schools

before building arena

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Much discussion has revolved around whether the city of Richmond should pursue replacing the old Richmond Coliseum with a new version, and plans to revitalize the surrounding area.

I’m not opposed to these plans, and while there are naysayers who think the city can do nothing right, I agree with those who think that the old facility is an eyesore.

But what purpose will a new arena serve? Who, or what, will be featured there? Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond already have fine sports facilities that serve them well. Will Richmond persuade the NCAA to return for early college basketball playoff rounds? Bigger gatherings than our convention center can hold? Political conventions?

The circus is no more. Performing artists often do not grace us with their presence because nearby cities have venues and the clientele to support such events. It’s hard to imagine Beyoncé coming to Richmond.

First, begin by completing a few projects that are only partly done: The 17th Street Market in Shockoe Bottom and a proper memorial at the site of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail are two. Do them right before starting something else.

More importantly, though, why are we once again mesmerized by the shining bauble in front of our eyes when our city schools are failing? Time and time again, mayoral candidates say their focus will be on schools. Time and time again they somehow do not.

Properly repair or rebuild aging facilities, and study and work to correct how it is that only 10% of our high schools students are prepared for college or jobs. How can it be that our children’s SOL scores are so abysmal?

This isn’t sexy; it’s hard work where results will not immediately be noticeable, which I suspect is why some politicians find it hard to focus. Before committing to a major and costly coliseum project, begin at ground level and build a new school system.

Karen Owen.

Richmond.

America could lead

on renewable energy

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

There has been much disagreement concerning climate change in Letters to the Editor. Are there things we can agree upon?

Do fossil fuels poison our land, air and water, causing asthma, cancer and premature death? Aren’t fossil fuels limited resources? Doesn’t this mean at some point in the near future — whether 50, 100 or 150 years — we will be forced to transition to renewable energy?

Doesn’t it make sense that the transition will mean the epidemic of asthma today will diminish and so will cancer and premature deaths? Currently, premature deaths from coal alone account for 7,000 deaths per year, down from 35,000 after more than 200 coal-fired power plants have been closed. Is anyone against cleaner air and water?

Isn’t there an enormous amount of business to be gained from the transition? After all, the world’s population is estimated to grow by more than 2 billion by 2050, and those people will want electricity just like we do. But that only accounts for part of the growth in renewable energy.

At some point, all of the current fossil fuel plants will have to be replaced. With government assistance to computer technology, this country became the dominant nation in computers and software. Likewise, with government assistance to renewable energy, this country could become a giant in renewable energy. And we could stop subsidizing fossil fuel companies $20 billion per year.

It’s estimated that the transition worldwide will be worth approximately $25 trillion. Wouldn’t this be an economic boon to our nation and create millions of jobs? Let’s not be shortsighted and allow Germany and China to gain the advantage in this century’s major industry.

What is needed is the political will to embark on this path.

Lee Brinson.

Richmond.

Green New Deal

might hurt economy

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Like correspondent Cathy Bolden (“Green New Deal too expensive”), I read Lauren Meyer’s recent letter embracing the Green New Deal and disagreed with it.

I have been trying to follow the debate about the Green New Deal, and all its supporters seem to do is make grand pronouncements about what our obligations are to future generations. They do not talk about costs, and they do not offer specifics.

I agree that we need to leave our planet better off for our children. But we also need to leave them with jobs and a well-functioning economy. And it would be best if we didn’t leave them with even more debt.

Green New Deal supporters cannot pay for their plan by only raising taxes on Wall Street. The federal government will have to go into debt, or Congress will have to raise taxes on us all.

As Bolden said, a better option would be to continue replacing coal with natural gas. That has been working — bringing down greenhouse gas emissions levels while creating jobs that pay very well.

Frank Loehr.

Chesterfield.

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