A.C. rolling chairs
better than a tram
Regarding the April 17 story, "Atlantic City gets approval for jitney tram test":
Rolling chairs have been an Atlantic City Boardwalk tradition for more than 125 years. Unlike Wildwood, where the trams have a concrete runway, our Boardwalk is totally wooden. These proposed trams are much more likely to cause excessive wear to the 'walk than a rolling chair.
Secondly, unemployment is high enough in our area without putting another 200 or so rolling-chair operators out of work and replacing them with a few tram drivers and support workers. The difference in proposed rates alone spells the demise of rolling chairs.
Thirdly, a rolling chair is under far more control and would cause far less chance of pedestrian injury than a several-thousand-pound tram.
I am a former rolling-chair operator, having worked for the Blue Shill Rolling Chair Co. for several summers. There is far more personal contact between a chair operator and his passengers than between a tram full of people and the driver.
"Do AC" but do it in a rolling chair.
Time for circuses
to end animal acts
To Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and all circuses with animal acts, it's time to move with the times. The global consensus is that circus acts with wild animals are outdated, cruel and unnecessary.
To see the same archaic, degrading tricks performed by intelligent but enslaved beings is, as it should be, becoming a thing of the past. We humans have evolved as a species and know better.
Why not - for the children and humanity - replace the animal acts by incorporating today's HD, 3D and IMAX technology with the spectacular human acts and the whole wonderment of a circus? You could make people feel as if they were in the fox's den truly communing with nature. We would certainly pay for that.
DR. JOHN KASPER
Congress took funds
from Social Security
Regarding the April 16 Catherine Rampell column, "No, seniors - you haven't paid for your benefits":
Rampell was right about seniors collecting more money from Social Security than what they put in, but so does anyone who has money in an IRA, Roth or 401(k) account.
It is not our fault that the government did not manage this right. Social Security payments were originally to be put into a separate account and taken out when a person reaches 65. Congress took the money out and put it into the general account, where they could spend it on other things.
And I pay a premium every month to Medicare, so it is not free. But people on welfare do not contribute anything. So who is the burden on the federal budget?
The hypocrisy and irresponsibility of Sean Hannity and Fox News are overwhelming and dangerous. Hannity and others are always complaining about the "lawlessness" of President Barack Obama and his executive actions, none of which are illegal. He also complains about the "takers" and those people who have the nerve to think they're "entitled" to food and health care.
But lately he's been promoting a cattle rancher in Nevada, who has been grazing his cattle on federal land for decades without paying the $1.35 per head fee. On state land this would cost him $20 per head and even more on private land. This freeloading cowboy actually owes the government a million dollars, but he refuses to pay because he "doesn't recognize" the government.
He is breaking the law, but Hannity has made him a hero. A recent standoff between this cowboy, his buddies, snipers and all their guns against several lawmen could have easily turned into a bloodbath.
So Hannity says our president is a criminal, the working poor are freeloaders, but this gun-toting welfare cowboy is a hero?
could benefit region
Regarding the proposed natural-gas pipeline in the Pine Barrens:
Both sides have some merit. However, keeping the pinelands pristine and protected will actually benefit everyone in the long run. Extensive forests are necessary for clean air, clean water, the protection of habitat and wildlife and, ultimately, our own survival and health.
Our South Jersey shore is a top tourist draw, and the beautiful pinelands with its quaint villages, bucolic campgrounds and pristine lakes, beaches, forests, streams and rivers can play a part. Recreational opportunities in the pinelands should be improved and enhanced.
The focus for officials should be to improve the transportation system that bottlenecks visitors coming to this region, especially along the Route 47 corridor. Route 55 must be expanded to Cape May and well-designed spurs constructed that allow easy access to our shore towns. I am not suggesting new roads. These roadways already exist, but just need to be enhanced and modernized.
Meanwhile, the answer to our energy future may well be to convert the dam at Union Lake to a hydroelectric dam. (Yes, some hydroelectric dams are modest in size, and a dam is already there.) This would provide jobs and clean, renewable energy for South Jersey, yearly revenue for Millville and, if done right, protect Union Lake and the aquatic life and ecosystem of the Maurice River and its estuary.