Don't turn 'showhouse'

into a halfway house

Regarding the March 9 story, "Old Atlantic City 'showhouse' gets second chance," about a property on North Carolina Avenue possibly being used as housing for ex-offenders as they transition from prison back into society:

I don't think this is the best use for this property. House values will fall. Crime will increase. This would never happen in Margate or Brigantine.

I urge the mayor and City Council to stop this plan. Maybe the building could be used for a tourist information center or a police substation. This street is a gateway for visitors and can be used to show that we can make a better Atlantic City, but not with anything like this.

RICHARD POTTS

Atlantic City

The time has come

to vote out Whelan

State Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, is a primary sponsor of a bill (S812) that would charge consumers 5 cents for every plastic bag used while shopping, with most of that money going to the state of New Jersey. The state should not be regulating the bags in stores.

Whelan is also sponsoring a bill (S2531) that would establish a mileage-based fee on passenger vehicles at the rate of 0.84 cents per mile. New Jersey ranks No. 1 among the 50 states in having more people leaving the state than moving into the state. It is time to vote Whelan out of office on Nov. 5 and to elect Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles as our new state senator.

CARL MASON

Egg Harbor Township

Bible-based arguments

perfectly valid in U.S.

Regarding the Feb. 26 letter, "Gay marriage should be legalized ":

The writer maintains that Bible-based arguments about gay marriage are void due to separation of church and state. Let us look at some facts.

The founders of this country were religious men who based our justice system on biblical law. We have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The Bill of Rights made certain that the freedoms they fought for during the Revolution were protected. In English crown colonies, the Church of England was the official church. The Founding Fathers wanted to ensure there was no such official state church in this country. They had no intention for this government to be secular.

Here is an accurate news flash: There is no separation of church and state, and Bible-based arguments are valid. There is no mention of separation of church and state in the Constitution. This country was intended to be a Christian nation with Judo-Christian values.

The Bible considers marriage to be between a man and a woman. Anything else is an abomination unto God. Most practical religious people today are sensitive to gays and believe in allowing a civil union, which grants all the legal entitlements but not the religious blessing of a marriage.

TONY PERRY

Egg Harbor Township

Mental health system

in need of an overhaul

Regarding the March 9 story, "Kennedy: Mental health care vital part of Sandy recovery":

Mental health issues have touched almost all families. There is no way of telling when someone is on the edge of sanity. We all have a different breaking point. Our mental health system is inadequate. This is the 21st century, and we are not advancing quickly enough for the number of people concerned. Just look at the crimes on the news each night. They reveal the number of people who need help and are not able to get it. Not everyone who suffers from a mental illness acts in a criminal way, but statistics show many do.

Phillip Lubitz, associate director of the National Alliance for Mental Health, New Jersey, appeared on "NJ Today" on NJTV recently and said that we are "under-resourced in the mental health field and need reform. Jail has become the default mental hospital system."

When a person needs mental help and is taken to a crisis center, the procedure is to ask the patient if they are going to harm themselves or anyone else. If the person answers no to this question, they are automatically discharged. This is heartbreaking to the caregiver and offers no help to the patient.

A doctor can insist that the patient be admitted, and the crisis center is supposedly obligated to admit the person. However, this can fail to happen, too.

Gov. Chris Christie has been on television recently visiting centers for mentally challenged people. Perhaps he is working toward fixing our mental health care system. We can only hope.

ELIZABETH G. LONG

Wildwood