can't fund tree cleanup
Regarding the Dec. 28 letter, "Clean up the area around A.C. Airport":
The Atlantic County Utilities Authority and the Atlantic County Clean Communities program are always open to suggestions on ways to improve the program, and we appreciate the letter writer's concern about keeping Atlantic County clean and beautiful.
Atlantic County's Clean Communities program currently has 182 participating groups that actively clean 45 percent of county roads. During 2012, more than 514 cleanups were held, with 1,409 bags of litter and 982 bags of recycling removed, including 81 tires. This year alone, volunteers have cleaned 502 miles of roads, bike paths and school yards.
The Clean Communities program has also hosted several large-scale community cleanups to help beautify public areas, such as Hammonton Lake Park and Gardner's Basin in Atlantic City.
We, too, share the concern regarding the downed trees along Tilton Road. However, as a litter-abatement program, the Clean Communities program is not authorized to fund the cleanup of fallen trees and vegetative debris from storms.
While we cannot contribute to this particular expenditure, we would be happy to help in any litter-removal projects readers may have in mind.
I encourage anyone with suggestions to contact me, so we can work together to keep Atlantic County clean.
Clean Communities Coordinator
Atlantic County Utilities Authority
Egg Harbor Township
Eradicate poppy fields
and bring troops home
Regarding the Dec. 30 story, "Heroin use nearly double statewide since 2006":
For the uninformed, the source of heroin distributed in the United States is Turkey and Afghanistan. Turkey is supposed to be an ally of the United States. Afghanistan, as we all know, is controlled by the U.S. military. Why then is there more heroin being distributed in the U.S. than at any time in history?
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, his brother and many other corrupt Afghan politicians have become millionaires. They now own condos and estates in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Their bags are packed, and they're ready to flee, taking every U.S. dollar they can get their hands on, as soon as the U.S. finally pulls out. Absolutely nothing that has been done by the U.S. in Afghanistan will exist after our military forces are gone and the Taliban return.
So, if no other reason is sufficient to end the futility of this war, there is one absolutely undeniable, inarguable reason to bring our gallant troops home. That reason is that there is nothing and no one in Iraq and/or Afghanistan that is worth the life of even one U.S. military person.
End the war. Bring them home. And eradicate the poppy fields on the way out.
ROBERT E. FORD JR.
As an 85-year-old resident of Atlantic City, I was very disappointed in our local firefighters when I read the Dec 13 story, "Vote of no confidence in Atlantic City Fire Department's leaders cast."
My husband, Battalion Chief John J. Duffy Jr., was a dedicated Atlantic City firefighter for 40 years, and his father served for 39 years. I'm sure they both would have been as shocked as I was for such an issue to be discussed publicly.
My husband did not always agree with the leadership of the department, but he always handled it in the proper venue within the department. I believe that public disclosure should be used only as a last resort and that this action reflects badly on the department and the brave men and women who serve in it.
Some of the complaints refer to nontraditional jobs and methods that were asked of the firefighters during the emergency conditions caused by Sandy. During the 1962 March Storm, I watched Firefighter Ralph Palmentieri rowing down the street in front of my house to get to the firehouse. They did the best they could with what they had. Jack went in to work and didn't come back for three to four days, leaving me in the house with three small children and water rising in the basement and the surrounding streets. But that was the job.
Jack did not always have the safest equipment to use either. Instead of air tanks, they had to fight fires with World War II gas masks. He also did many things during his career that I'm sure he would rather not have done, but that were needed to protect the public.
While I'm sure that mistakes were made during the storm, it was an unprecedented event, and I doubt anything was done to put firefighters at more risk than is inherent in this career. I have complete confidence in Chief Dennis Brooks and Deputy Chief Vincent Granese. From what I hear, they were both out in the storm along with their men, suffering the same conditions to help protect the public.
Hoping for change
in the coming year
Perhaps 2013 will provide some sanity.
Maybe our Congress will do the job we elected it to do instead of acting like the Bloods and the Crips. Maybe the men in Congress will stop treating women as though they have no idea of how their bodies work. And maybe women - and their "baby daddies" - will understand that bringing a child into this world is a serious responsibility that should be planned.
Maybe the National Rifle Association will realize that guns do kill people, and that the forefathers did not have any idea of the modern weapons that would be available at local shops and gun shows when they wrote that "a well regulated militia" (note the "regulated") was necessary. Loading a powder horn and loading an assault rifle are not on the same page or even in the same book.
Maybe people will learn to respond to each other with civility. I do not eat beef, but I do not go into a steak house and belittle those who are enjoying their filet mignon; therefore, whomever I vote for and whatever I believe should not be labeled with emotional vitriol. Disagree, but do it with logic, statistics and details - not with hysteria in letters, on Facebook or on Twitter.
Maybe Americans will realize that we are not the center of the universe. We are part of a planet that is trying to survive.
Maybe we will learn to better accept people of different beliefs and races. We elected a black president; we have an Hispanic woman on the Supreme Court. White men signed the Declaration of Independence, but we must move on.
Maybe 2013 will show the world that even though our educational system ranks 17th in the world, we do value learning, and our schools can produce citizens who will care for this country, will respect our differences and will work together. Maybe …
SUSAN Van ROSSUM
Cape May Court House