is clearly rigged
What hope can citizens have for public safety after the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby paid off politicians to kill even the background-check bill when the majority of the country was hoping for an assault-weapons ban?
How can we accept that Monsanto's genetically engineered foods are now protected by the Food and Drug Administration thanks to provisions quietly slipped into a bill?
I have become seriously disillusioned with a political system that relies on duplicity and government representatives acting as corporate cronies.
Diner's jazz nights
great for fans, musicians
Writing on behalf of jazz musicians, I thank Geets Diner in Williamstown for hosting a jazz presentation Tuesday evenings. I know of no other place in New Jersey where up-and-coming performers share the spotlight with the known and accomplished.
The atmosphere is relaxed, and the blends and solos of trumpet, sax, drum, guitar and voice always elicit the pleased attention of all in attendance. I encourage every person possessing a fondness for jazz to sample the Tuesday experience, and I invite all former players whose instruments now lay silent in the attic to knock the rust off your talent, come out and join in.
DEP did great job
cleaning up Sandy debris
Regarding the cleanup after Hurricane Sandy:
The state Department of Environmental Protection did an excellent job removing all the storm-related debris from the Ventnor West tract of land on the bay. I watched as they removed two barges full of wood and debris. If they had not, this stuff would have laid there for years to come.
This is a very nice place for people for fishing and birding, and I just want to say job well done.
This year, don't censor
Graduation time has come again. We will soon be hearing from commencement speakers and valedictorians.
In recent years, it has become common for area schools to censor or otherwise restrict student graduation speakers. Valedictorians have been asked to submit speeches in advance for approval by school administrations. Speakers have been unceremoniously shut down for deviating from an approved script.
I believe this is profoundly wrong. These are young men and women who have been selected by their schools based on their academic and personal achievements. They are our best and our brightest. They are our future.
If they have something to say, they deserve to be heard and listened to. They have earned that right through their achievements. We should believe in their maturity and judgment. If some say things that make some of us uncomfortable, then so be it. Perhaps we should be uncomfortable.
This year, let them speak.
Egg Harbor Township
WTO has increased gap
between rich and poor
Since its inception, the World Trade Organization has been an undemocratic organization run by the haves at the expense of the have-nots. Sold as a way to combat income inequality around the world, the organization has actually increased the gap between the rich and poor, has favored multinational corporations over people and has blatantly ignored labor and environmental issues.
Since China's entry into the WTO in 2001, enormous trade deficits with the Asian nation have resulted in the loss of millions of jobs and precious export capacity domestically, as well as lower wages and less bargaining power for American workers and the accumulation of massive foreign debt.
Here in New Jersey, according to EconomyInCrisis.org., the losses have been significant. From 2001 to 2007, the state lost 67,800 jobs due to the growing trade deficit with China, an unfortunate trend that will likely continue under the current trade regime.
Don't blame politicians
for murders in A.C.
Regarding the May 8 letter, "Change needed to stem crime in A.C.":
The writer, like too many others, blames local politicians for murders taking place in our community. This is not a political problem - it is a moral one.
Murder is a crime that is either spontaneous or premeditated. When it is spontaneous, law enforcement has no way to know when and where it will occur. When it is premeditated, the bad guys carry out their cowardly acts when they know law enforcement can't prevent it.
The current administration continues to work with the Atlantic City Police Department and other law-enforcement agencies to combat and remedy crime in our city. But Atlantic City is no different from other cities, big or small, across America. There is a breakdown in society, a loss of morals and family values, less adherence to spiritual doctrine and a total disrespect for human life.
Here, as everywhere, the solution starts with the family. Politicians and governmental officials have a responsibility to ensure that law enforcement is equipped with the necessary resources and tools to combat and deter crime. Certainly, adequate educational, vocational, recreational and other viable alternatives must be provided. But to blame the mayor and City Council for the murders in our city is ridiculous.
Even more ridiculous is to suggest that the murder in our city will stop by electing Don Guardian as mayor.
Arts, cultural tourism
must be part of A.C. mix
Regarding the May 10 editorial, "Saving Atlantic City/Sculpture won't do it":
There is no one attraction or improvement that will serve as a panacea for the revitalization of Atlantic City. The city's revitalization strategy has to be viewed as a mosaic of many elements coming together to complete the picture.
We are starting to gain some synergy through various attractions and improvements, including Bass Pro Shops, Harrah's Conference Center, the "Do AC" advertising campaign, increased code enforcement, additional ambassadors, the city multidepartment law-enforcement task force and, yes, the arts.
The glue needed to hold the mosaic together is a clean and safe city for tourists and residents alike. Only when we have a clean and safe environment will Atlantic City rise to become a destination resort.
Each year there are more than 118 million cultural travelers - people who include arts and historical sites in their trips. Cultural tourists stay longer and spend 36 percent more money than other travelers. These tourists have to be a part of the overall portfolio of visitors to Atlantic City, and it is a smart long-term strategy to tap into that market.
CHRIS A. BROWN
Brown is a member of the Assembly Tourism and the Arts Committee.