Billboard opponents

deserve a thank you

Regarding the Aug. 29 story, "Judge orders demolition of controversial billboard on Margate Causeway":

Thank you to Richard Levitt and his wife for standing up for the residents of Northfield. I am one of the many Northfield residents who objected to the design and placement of the Jersey Outdoor Media digital billboard along the Margate Causeway.

Now, ruling in the Levitts' lawsuit, Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez has clearly noted that the Egg Harbor Township Planning Board did not correctly enforce nor properly interpret the township's own land-use ordinance and codes for this digital billboard. The judge also noted that the initial construction of the sign and filling of wetlands violated state Department of Environmental Protection regulations.

I commend the Levitts for their thoughtfulness and expertise in trying to protect the quality of life for the residents of Northfield. The Levitts have fully funded this fight and have had to endure harassment and intimidation.

I would hope that EHT officials will no longer continue to push this digital billboard.

ERLAND CHAU

Northfield

Erland Chau is a Republican candidate for City Council in Northfield.

Column on Somers

filled with conjecture

Regarding the Sept. 1 Seth Grossman column about Richard Somers, "The story of an American hero in our backyard":

Somers deserves to be honored; however, Grossman's column is filled with opinion and spin presented as fact.

Stating that most Americans in the late 1700s finished school at 16 "with better knowledge of reading, writing, math and science than most college graduates today" is pure opinion. In the late 1700s, most Americans didn't see the inside of a classroom, let alone remain there until the age of 16. To state that people then were better educated than most college students today is without basis.

Grossman also suggests that because Americans grew up with freedom, people were promoted on talent rather than on any birth right. That's pure supposition.

Richard Somers was a man born with an advantage. His family had been in today's Somers Point since 1693, when it was known as Somerset Plantation, and his father was a colonel in the militia at the time of the Revolution.

The fact that Richard Somers was sent to school in Philadelphia was further example of him not being the "average" American of that time period.

Finally, suggesting that the First Barbary War of 1801 was America's first war to end slavery is misleading. Yes, the Barbary pirates took people captured from ships and coastal villages as slaves, but the "slaves" with which America was concerned were white Europeans and Americans being taken in those raids, not the enslaved black Africans that the U.S. was importing as part of the rum, sugar, slave triangle, which built vast fortunes for many Americans.

It's fine to honor Somers for his heroic but failed mission at Tripoli when his ship's magazine blew up before he had gotten it into position. But it does him and the crew who died with him a disservice to "gild the lily" with inaccuracies, fiction and spin.

SHERRY SAUERWINE

Galloway Township

How could anyone

shoot protected hawks?

It was very disturbing to read the Aug. 24 article about Robert Losasso, "Somers Point man accused in hawk kills."

This man needs to have his firearms taken before a human being gets shot. If he has a hunting license, it should be suspended indefinitely.

Senseless killing of a protected species of birds is not hunting. It's not target practice. He is a threat to the community. How could this man kill hawks when they play an important role in our ecosystem? He was videotaped shooting four hawks. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects this species, and I am so thankful that he is being prosecuted.

DEBBIE MYERS

Woodbine

Minimum-wage hike

desperately needed

While the nation just celebrated another Labor Day weekend, today nearly 10 percent of all Americans don't have the "luxury" of employment, and many of those who do have jobs are paid the under-the-poverty-level minimum wage. They are families struggling to put three meals on the table and a roof over their heads. It's not surprising they need food stamps and other government assistance just to maintain a basic living standard.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Idaho, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., have introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2015 in three steps of 95 cents each and adjust the minimum wage each year thereafter to keep pace with the rising cost of living. It would also increase the federal minimum wage for tipped workers - which has been $2.13 for more than 20 years - to 70 percent of the federal minimum wage.

If the minimum wage had adjusted along with inflation, it would be closer to $16 to $19 an hour today. Now, a very few in this country want to hold these wage earners hostage so they may further enrich themselves.

The nation also recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, known then as the March for Jobs and Freedom (the organizers also wanted to raise the minimum wage). The 1963 march called for a $2 minimum wage, which is equivalent to $13.39 today.

Raising the minimum wage helps reduce high turnover, which is costly to employers; increases consumer spending, which boosts the economy; and helps to reduce both working poverty and inequality. All of these things would benefit and strengthen our economy and our society.

A raise in the minimum wage today would affect the parents of one in five children in America and help those children have a better chance at success.

MARY L. FLATH CAIRNS

Galloway Township

Neighborhood Watch

should be identified

"Identify friend or foe" is a basic notion used by the military. Obviously, it is very important to know if the image that you are seeing or sensing is a friend or a foe.

Why did George Zimmerman not have some type of Neighborhood Watch insignia or decal on his clothes or car that would have informed everyone who he was? Also, why did he not have a video recorder to record what made him suspicious? He should have had a dashboard camera in his car and sent that information to the police.

The whole purpose of a Neighborhood Watch is deterrence and gathering evidence. How much evidence can be gathered from a he said, he said situation?

JAMES MUNROE

Galloway Township