Defending Bush?

Look at his record

Regarding the March 1 letter, "Letter insulting on Bush, Benghazi":

Of all the people in the world to defend, George W. Bush would certainly not be high on my list.

Let's look at the resume of our 43rd president. The writer is correct that 9/11 happened to us all, but it happened on Bush's watch, and he was warned by Richard Clark.

Bush inherited a budget surplus from Bill Clinton, which he quickly turned into the biggest deficit in our history. He reacted late to Hurricane Katrina. He outed CIA agents, started two wars and found neither Iraqi weapons of mass destruction or Osama bin Laden.

Bush sanctioned torture, a war crime and a violation of the Sixth Amendment. He admitted that he gave up the search for bin Laden. He gave record-setting tax breaks to the richest Americans and then cut funding to stem-cell research, which could save us all. He did all this while taking more vacation time than any president in modern history.

If Benghazi happened during his reign of ineptitude, no one would even have time to bring it up.

GREG MICHAEL-IGNATIUS

Atlantic City

Stop changing

street names

I am bothered by the unnecessary changing of street names. One that is especially troubling is that English Creek Road has been changed to English Creek Avenue. It has been called English Creek Road since it was a stagecoach connection from Port Republic to English Creek.

English Creek itself is situated miles away from where people are trying to move it, to the middle of McKee City, a town named after an African-American doctor who owned the property.

Other streets that have suffered the same fate include Betsy Scull Road, Warf Road and Vella la Vella. In Galloway Township some years ago, Jim Leeds Road was changed to Jimmie Leeds Road. Recently I noticed a sign that called it Jim Leeds Road. I sincerely hope we don't have to wait that long to get our English Creek Road back.

ED DONELAN

Bargaintown

We are not better off

under President Obama

Regarding the Feb. 21 letter, "U.S. better off under Obama ":

I beg to differ.

The writer claims an improved unemployment rate. The chief cause of this is that millions of people have given up looking for work. The labor participation rate is the lowest in nearly 40 years, and long-term unemployment is at an all-time high.

As for General Motors and Chrysler, after billions in government bailouts, Chrysler is now a subsidiary of Fiat. The United Auto Workers own nearly 40 percent of GM.

The claim is made that the deficit has been cut by two-thirds. The 2013 deficit was indeed lower than previous Obama deficits. Given that this administration is responsible for five of the six largest deficits in our history, this is no surprise. The debt under our first 43 presidents was $6.3 trillion. Obama added $4.5 trillion.

Internationally, failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq has resulted in a resurgence of al-Qaida. Syria is a humanitarian disaster. Obama's abandoned "red line" over the use of chemical weapons has left us with no credibility in the region. Our international reputation is in tatters.

Bin Laden is certainly dead. But al-Qaida is resurfacing in greater numbers. The political attempt to ignore that fact before the 2012 election contributed to the Benghazi attacks.

The claims of universal health care are a universal joke. The Congressional Budget Office says some 30 million people will still be uninsured in 10 years. If all of this adds up to the U.S. being better off, I am hard-pressed to understand how.

JAMES M. SHIPPEN

Northfield

Road work preparation

can be very complicated

Regarding the March 4 letter, "What's so hard about fixing roads?":

There are many reasons why some projects are difficult and time-consuming. It is not a lack of planning.

Road projects are subject to state and federal requirements. For Fire and Mill Roads, it took a year to get permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Atlantic County had to create two acres of wetlands mitigation and deed-restrict four acres for barred owl habitat. The pinelands permit took almost five years.

Right-of-way acquisition requires title research, an appraisal for each property and good faith negotiations with each property owner.

When a project uses state Department of Transportation aid or federal funding, the county must acquire approval for plans, specifications and bids. Tilton Road and the Airport Circle went through these same painstakingly arduous requirements.

While we appreciate the writer's concerns, we can assure him we share his frustrations over how long some seemingly simple roadway improvements take.

JOHN PETERSON

Director

Atlantic County Department

of Regional Planning and Development

Northfield