Beautiful pinelands plants
must be preserved
If you stand on the top of the fire tower at Apple Pie Hill in Wharton State Forest, there is an unexpected surprise.
You find yourself surrounded by a breathtaking view of an uninterrupted forest. This forest is laced with sugar sand paths and roads along which can be found many interesting plants and animals. The forest and surrounding land is in the heart of the Pine Barrens.
Although it is the most populated state in the nation, more than one-quarter of New Jersey is still wild lands. I enjoy the peace of walking with a friend and watching the seasonal changes in this Garden State.
Warmer weather brings with it bushes with bouquets of flowers we call mountain laurel, wild iris, fiery orange butterfly weed, pink and white orchids, water lilies, blue-eyed grass, and bright green and red pitcher plants, just to name a few.
The native plants do not cost anything to maintain, yet they offer us beauty, protection from flooding and clean water to drink. It would be tragic if we lost this beauty, which, because our native plants are still unprotected, remains vulnerable.
I am offended by people who have never been to the unspoiled places in this state but refer to New Jersey as the "armpit" of the nation. How sad it would be if we validated this by allowing our special plants to disappear from this state forever.
To find out what you can do to protect our native plants, visit the Pinelands Preservation Alliance website at www.pinelandsalliance.org.
Vet Rock policy
As an honorably discharged Vietnam veteran, I looked forward to attending the Vet Rock concert at Bader Field on June 1, which was billed as "the welcome home you never received."
I paid the $10 to park and walked about one-eighth of a mile in 90-degree heat to purchase the $25 ticket. I was told I couldn't enter with my own bottle of drinking water. After such despicable treatment, I left.
It is indeed unfortunate for veterans in need that I and others will be most reluctant to consider contributing to or attending such activities in the future.
Art can help A.C.
if we give it a chance
Regarding the May 30 letter, "Don't waste A.C.'s last chance":
The art movement that is intended to rejuvenate Atlantic City's tourism industry is a well-thought-out plan that is sanctioned by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the Atlantic City Alliance, the city of Atlantic City and the Atlantic City Arts Commission. It is part of the city's master plan.
I scoff when people talk about the large sums of money being allocated for the arts in the city. Show me the books. In any case, one piece of art does not represent all art or artists. There are many art forms and many visions in our multicultural society.
Is this criticism just a case of "I like my art but not your art"? The fact is, the Artlantic installation at the former Sands casino site is the best-looking park in Atlantic City and is money well-spent. The numerous "weed parks" throughout the city have to go. They give the city a bad rap.
This is not the time to change direction in our rejuvenation of Atlantic City with an arts component just because fly-by-night art critics who were for it then are against it now.
Lennox Warner is a mixed-media artist and former chairman of the Atlantic City Arts Commission.
When will the American people and the media wake up and say enough is enough? I cannot imagine how everyone in this administration can be so incompetent and continue to get away with it.
Just think about "Fast and Furious," where a border agent was killed by weapons that we sent to Mexican drug cartels. Eric Holder didn't know anything about it.
Then we have Benghazi, where four Americans were killed. President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did nothing to help and denied it was a terrorist attack for five days.
Next we have the Internal Revenue Service targeting any group that takes a pro-life stand or supports the Constitution and the Bill of Rights - or any group that is not in agreement with the present administration. Let's not forget the Justice Department examining phone records of the press corps.
All of these things have been investigated, and top administrators have been questioned under oath. So far, not one person has admitted to a failure to do his or her job properly. This seems to be the "I don't know or I don't have that answer" administration.
Now Obama has appointed Susan Rice as national-security adviser. I ask readers, how can this person handle this job when she didn't have a clue about the terrorist attack on Benghazi? What does she know about security?
EDWARD O'FLYNN SR.
IRS employee bonuses
rewarded illegal behavior
I hear one of my civil servants, Sarah Hall Ingram, has been doing an outstanding job. Her office in the Internal Revenue Service successfully stymied the efforts of tea-party groups to gain tax-exempt status. This crippled President Barack Obama's presidential opponent. She performed her (illegal) duties so well, she received bonuses of more than $20,000 each year from 2010-2012. This is astounding, because now no one in the IRS seems to know who was responsible for the actions of the unit she headed.
For such recognition, her work must have been truly great. Any award of this size must surely be reviewed by top officials. So people at many levels of government would have knowledge and understanding of Ingram's work. Yet no one knows who created and approved the procedures in her office.
Thank goodness Ingram is no longer in the position of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status. She did such a splendid job stymieing applications from conservative organizations that she has been promoted to oversee the IRS portion of the Affordable Health Care Act. Under the current Democratic administration, this is the reward a civil servant can expect to receive for destroying the credibility of the IRS.
Congress is obligated to take the necessary remedial action, which should include possible criminal indictments for malfeasance in office and unjustified expenditure of funds for bonuses.
In my mind, my civil servant has demonstrated there is more than one way to steal. The money can be recovered, but the credibility of the IRS can only be restored by swift application of jail time for the culprits.
WILLIAM H. RICKARDS
cost him my vote
Gov. Chris Christie just lost at least one vote because he is too insecure.
His decision to hold a special election in October to select a new U.S. senator is very costly. To hold a special election three weeks before the regular November election is an extreme waste of taxpayer money while we are in an ongoing budget crunch.
I will not vote for him this time, because the money could be better spent.