Stockton Chick-fil-A vote

a tempest in a teapot

The recent tempest in a teapot caused by the silly decision by Richard Stockton College's Student Senate to urge the school to cancel its Chic-fil-A contract has really brought out the shrill protectors of the liberal agenda.

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, who heads up this successful chain of fast-food restaurants, has the temerity to believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage (between a man and a woman) and donates to groups that oppose same-sex marriage. For this, he is goofily labeled "un-American" by one letter writer. Another condemns Cathy by the use of the worn-out word "homophobic" (meaning anyone who does not support the complete homosexual lifestyle).

Isn't it still a value in American public education to keep an open mind? Aren't all public schools supposed to encourage all points of view, conservative and liberal? Public schools are supported by tax money, and I sincerely hope that all sides, for and against, are presented to the students and that they are allowed to reach their own conclusions.

The only thing "un-American" here is the attempt made by the Student Senate to force an excellent business, which has broken no laws, to leave this public institution because its owners do not agree with some students' agenda.

GENE SALERNO

Linwood

Minimum-wage workers

welcome Sweeney's help

Regarding the Dec. 9 letter, "Sweeney's remarks bad for Atlantic City":

I guess the letter writer would like us to bury our heads in the sand concerning the economic climate in Atlantic City and be happy with a minimum wage that allows a 40-hour worker to bring home about $290 a week before taxes. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney's comments about Revel's financial situation and his legislation to increase the minimum wage are a reality check and not "publicly promoting fear."

A minimum wage increase to $8.50 per hour amounts to a $50-per-week raise (about $38 after taxes), barely enough for a tank of gas. But apparently the writer believes his employees don't even deserve that, because the increase would "threaten to gravely impact business owners." What about the threat facing minimum-wage earners every day as they try to pay their utility bills (with Atlantic City Electric proposing a 7 percent increase), feed and clothe families or pay for medications for a sick child?

Revel already has held the state hostage for millions in tax breaks over the next 20 years, expended $100 million in additional financing far sooner than expected and is now looking for even more financial backing. Why wouldn't Sweeney question its stability? Revel has left dozens of contractors holding the bag for work long ago competed.

The economic impact the writer refers to is already being felt by Revel employees. Full-time workers are being cut to a four-day work week - with the threat of losing health benefits if they don't maintain a 30-hour week - and some part-time employees are being scheduled to work only one day every other week. Not to mention the possibility of massive layoffs going into 2013.

I, for one, respect Sweeney's determination to represent the constituency that elected him and applaud him for fighting for those who need help the most.

THOMAS CORTOPASSI

Mays Landing

Why does Christie

continue his insults?

Why does Gov. Chris Christie continue picking on Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford?

Is it because Langford won't give him the city of Atlantic City, or is there a racial motivation for Christie's recent performance on "Saturday Night Live."

I believe the governor's behavior is nothing but ignorance and bullying. Langford has been a gentleman through all of the governor's ignorance. We, the people of Atlantic City, are tired of it.

MARY JEFFERSON

Atlantic City

Eliminating deductions

increases our dependence

The proposals concerning the elimination of federal income tax deductions all have one thing in common - they would limit our freedom in order to foster more government dependence.

One proposal would do away with or limit the deduction for mortgage interest and property taxes. For most of us, our homes are the largest single investment. The profit from the sale of long-held real estate is a key ingredient in retirement planning. Taking away this deduction will make it harder to afford a mortgage and will reduce the amount they will be able to sell their house for later.

The plan to do away with or reduce the tax deferred advantage of private retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s removes another layer of our freedom. When IRAs were created, we were told they were necessary because Social Security would only provide a small portion of the money needed for a comfortable retirement. Now, some in Washington think it's a better idea to have more of us dependent on them as our savings are gobbled up.

The proposal to scrap the charitable giving deduction will hamper the ability of independent organizations to service the needs of society. When we give to these causes, we exercise our freedom to act together toward a societal benefit in which we believe. Many would continue to give without the tax deduction because it is the right thing to do. But many will not, and thousands of charities will shrink or fold. We have more needs now than charity and government can meet. Will hampering charities make things better?

We now live in an age of government-sponsored class warfare where owning a home, saving for retirement, and giving to a cause or your church is seen by Washington as something that must be discouraged. And when the money from our deductions is taken from us and "safely" deposited inside the beltway, does anyone believe it will finally be enough? I know I don't.

DAVE HUNSBERGER

Mays Landing

Respond to violence

by loving our families

The tragic mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has touched all of us. We all want to find a way to prevent such a terrible thing from happening again.

The gun-haters instantly attack the right to bear arms. Why doesn't anyone ever want to get to the root of the real problem - the breakdown of a moral society? That is what is sending us in a downward spiral.

We need our families to stay together and for them to form a loving bond, to spend time together and enjoy each other's company. We need God back in our country. He is here, we have just allowed him to be put under a rock and only used as needed. He is needed every day.

We do not need violent movies, TV shows or, especially, violent video games. Our younger generation is being desensitized to killing. Killing is real. It is painful and death is final. It is not a solution to a problem.

If people really want to get behind a mission to clean things up, let us start in our own backyards with love, caring and concern. Let's clean up our air waves and the "entertainment" aimed at our children. Let us unite as families and make this a better world. Let us take our children back and lead them in the right direction of morality and caring.

PAT SILL

Cape May Court House

Minimum wage idea

could reduce dropouts

Regarding the continuing debate over the minimum wage in New Jersey:

There are legitimate arguments for and against an increase.

Recently, The Press reported on high school graduation rates and, unfortunately, several local high schools are well below the state average. This may be because many students who don't contemplate college do not perceive a high school diploma as valuable or as having any tangible benefit.

Why not set a two-tier minimum-wage standard, with a higher rate for high school graduates? This would give students a real incentive to finish school and a benefit they can relate to - money in their pocket.

An alternative would be for the state to pay for the difference in the higher minimum rate for high school graduates by reimbursing employers through a tax credit, which would prevent employers from being penalized for hiring graduates.

When my kids were in school, I found that a modest financial incentive in their weekly allowance frequently produced good results. The extra bonus would be that some of these kids who would reconsider dropping out and instead graduate might later decide to get even more education.

R.C. WESTMORELAND

West Atlantic City