Let's face the reality

about A.C.'s homeless

Regarding the July 16 story, "2 charities must move in plan for homeless":

There is no reason for continued anecdotal descriptions of why people are homeless, where they come from or why they come. The state has a client/homeless tracking database called "Awards." It is also known by the acronym HIMS.

It is a statewide utility that each agency mentioned in the July 16 article is connected to. The Atlantic City Rescue Mission has been tracking client data since 1987. When you examine the data, things become very clear. But facing the facts is a reality that no one in government can accept. One fact about the homeless condition is that more than half have a mental-health disorder coupled with an addiction.

Homeless people who come to Atlantic City don't come because of the entertainment venues or to "Do AC." They are silently referred by other counties, agencies and themselves because there is help for them here in Atlantic County and little or no help in the counties where they are from.

What may in fact occur by placing the access center for the homeless in the county office building at 1333 Atlantic Avenue is that Atlantic County could become the regional center for the surrounding counties' homeless population. In fact, by default that is what is happening now. This could be a service that other counties would pay for.

It is good to see the county administration change its views rather than blame and vilify broken people who are poor in spirit as well. Let's all adopt the "except for the grace of God there go I" approach and help them.



Bill Southrey is the former executive director of the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

There's no guarantee

our species will survive

Some people fear the truth more than they fear death. They cling to beliefs as if their lives depend on it, even if it kills them. If the Earth's carbon-dioxide levels, temperatures and sea levels continue to rise, there will still be millions of fools telling you it was a government lie. The more honest deniers will just choose to believe there was nothing we could do about it, conveniently absolving themselves of any responsibility.

I do not know the truth, but it pleases me to think that whatever is true will become so, no matter what everyone believes. Although it offends my sense of fairness that those who cared about our environment would suffer the same consequences as those who did not, fairness itself is a human idea that will last only as long as we do.

Try looking at us from planet Earth's perspective. All of the diverse life forms on our planet affect it in their own special ways, both creative and destructive. Now observe our species affecting not merely the climate, but also causing the destruction of vast ecosystems and other species. Like organs in a body, they die off one after the other. What do we look like from Earth's perspective? Try cancer.

Life finds a way. It goes on with us or without us. To insist it will continue in human form is only your vanity talking. In God's great experiment, it just may turn out that all the politics and religion that you feel so certain about are only the dead ends of a minor species during a very short period of geological time.


Ocean City

Don't loosen rules

on voter registration

Regarding the July 22 column by Norman Ornstein: "Congress must revamp voting law":

Regardless of any individual's belief about the results of voting regulations, it is beyond reason to even think that sovereign states wrote, voted upon and enacted laws for the purpose of restricting the rights of legitimate voters. Every citizen who has the right and desire to vote is capable of registering to vote. Just because you think something and have the right to say it, does not mean it isn't slander.

I do agree that there should be a separate federal ballot, but that is my only point of agreement with the column.

Ornstein says that "the default should be that eligible citizens are presumed registered." But how does he propose any U.S. poll worker would be capable of identifying an "eligible citizen"? He cannot be serious that a Social Security card be considered valid proof of voter identification. Voter registration absolutely must be required, and multiple forms of identification must be required to register.

As for initiating weekend voting and/or multiple voting days, there is no valid reason to change something that the voting public knows and understands.


Galloway Township

Pitts column, media

inflame racial passions

Regarding the July 16 Leonard Pitts column, "Blacks know what killed Trayvon":

Pitts' comments suggest he is Al Sharpton with a pen on steroids.

Before anybody jumps to conclusions, let me say I have probably done more for race relations than Pitts, Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson together. Starting as a teenager in a mixed neighborhood working with a young black man who taught me a tough work ethic, I continued in the Army in the early 1950s ensuring unit integration. My own replacement in Korea was a black man who was warmly welcomed so I could go home in 1951.

Later, as a human-relations noncommissioned officer and officer, I continued to work with both black and white, the military being a social model for American society, once even risking my neck in a redneck club ready to defend my black sergeant.

But there probably never will be any racial harmony as long as we have people like Jackson, Sharpton and Pitts roiling the waters. It is time, too, for the media to take a hard look at itself, especially since the current climate resembles 1968. At that time, the media poured gasoline on the fire threatening to burn down the whole nation. Although I am almost at the end of my journey, I sure would hate at this point to see my investment in a better America squandered by reckless citizens.



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