Plant flowers, grasses
in stormwater basins
The Feb. 10 editorial, "Stormwater runoff/Still a problem," was spot on, only leaving out the importance of naturalizing retention basins, essentially making them huge rain gardens.
Pinelands Regional Growth communities such as Egg Harbor Township have numerous basins that are now used mostly as doggie toilets and cost taxpayers money to mow year after year. In 2010, when I was chair of the Egg Harbor Township Environmental Commission, we naturalized the retention basin at Veteran's Park as part of a pilot program with the state Department of Environmental Protection and Rutgers University.
The native flowers and grasses in the basin act as natural filters before the water returns to the ground. They have the added benefit of becoming a riot of colorful flowers for the bees in the summer and, once established, need little to no maintenance.
We further expanded the use of the basins by erecting bluebird houses.
Unfortunately there is only so much volunteers can do without the support and cooperation of the township administration. Although the state was willing to help establish more of the naturalized basins, offering both labor and money, after the test basin was "accidently" mowed down at least five times, Rutgers decided EHT really did not want to be involved. That was really EHT's loss.
No community needs to wait for new stormwater rules to act on this very simple approach to dealing with their basins now.
to blacks' experience
Regarding the Feb. 7 letter, "Instead, let's celebrate 'Ethnic History Month'":
The letter writer states, "African Americans were the victims of unprecedented acts of prejudice and discrimination." Really? That's what you call hundreds of years of slavery, brutality and Jim Crow laws?
The letter also mentions several European groups that were also victims of discrimination. I think it is ludicrous to compare what some Europeans experienced to what blacks experienced. And don't you believe for an instant that blacks are no longer discriminated against.
The letter writer also says that African Americans are beneficiaries of the unprecedented "reparations" of affirmative action. White women are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action - look it up. Also white men have always benefited from being white men. Isn't that a sort of affirmative action when they look out only for themselves and exclude others from opportunities?
EDDIE E. HICKS SR.
J-1 program also aids
Regarding the Feb. 9 editorial, "Foreign summer workers/Keep J-1 visas":
I want to point out another advantage to the J-1 program that you failed to mention.
My son worked at Castaway Cove rides on the Ocean City Boardwalk for seven summers during his high school and college years. During that time, he met student-workers from all over Europe. He would often come home and tell me about conversations he had with them about their cultures and life in their home countries.
American workers gain valuable insight into other cultures through this program. In some cases, even lasting friendships might be established, bridging a gap in cultural differences and promoting tolerance for others who are different from us.
will boost N.J. economy
According to a CNN poll, 55 percent of Americans support the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. That lends sizable support to New Jersey state Sen. Nicholas Scutari's proposal to legalize and tax the sale of recreational marijuana.
Legalizing marijuana is about starting up a whole new regulated industry in New Jersey that would generate jobs and tax revenue. Legalizing marijuana also will cut the number of people in our jails each year and allow the police to focus on more serious crimes.
We have to face the fact that even though many people are against the idea of the recreational use of marijuana, people still use it, legal or not. So why not legalize marijuana in New Jersey and let the state make back the money we have lost in fighting against it?
jobs in South Jersey
Regarding the Feb. 9 story, "Region among worst in nation for jobs":
Congratulations to all of our illustrious regulatory heads of this state. You have succeeded in returning South Jersey to the days of old when people worked three months and collected unemployment for the rest of the year.
Perhaps the governor should appoint some more "obstruction police" so that we can finish the job. I am referring to all the commissioners and code enforcement personnel who have done such a wonderful job eliminating private-sector jobs. Of course, these folks will still be able to go to work each and every day as the state will keep borrowing money so that they can continue to get paid.
Three of the worst counties in the country for employment are Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties. And what does state Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, say about it? He feels bad.
Thanks, Jim. We don't need pity though - we need leaders.