Washington focuses

on irrelevant issues

Don't our elected officials have anything better to do with their time than sit around thinking of how to point fingers and create task forces to investigate things that amount to nothing to anyone except those in Washington?

Do they think the average person really cares about what David Petraeus did in his personal life? They should be locked in a room until they solve our financial problems and forget about Petraeus - or what happened in Benghazi.

So one official said the attack on our consulate in Benghazi was one thing, and it may have been something else. Who cares? Yes, something went wrong. Unfortunately there were people killed. But do we need to concentrate on whether it was a terrorist act or some group just rebelling against our being there? No, we don't.

As for the fiscal cliff, go ahead and don't compromise. The Republicans will be blamed and voted out of office because they have refused to bend on any tax increases. The people are tired of watching them demand that the tax cuts enacted under George W. Bush be left in place. Let the cuts for those making more than $200,000 expire. The majority of working Americans don't make anything close to that and won't be affected.

America needs more work done and fewer groups sitting around pointing fingers, which is pretty much all they do anymore.

DAVID WESSEL

Galloway Township

Evidence shows

smoking bans work

Smoking bans do work.

An analysis of 45 studies of 33 smoking-ban laws in the United States and other countries shows a dramatic drop in hospitalizations where smoking is banned in the workplace and bars. For heart attacks the drop is 15 percent; for stroke, 16 percent, and for respiratory illness, 24 percent. This is from the respected journal Circulation.

Those who feel inconvenienced by these smoking bans should remember that it really is worth it.

DR. VINCENT R. MOLONEY

Egg Harbor Township

Republicans can't win

by demonizing voters

Regarding the Nov. 11 Charles Krauthammer column, "The Republican path forward is to stay conservative course":

If the 2012 election is the conservative course, then the Republican Party will never see the presidency again.

Krauthammer is wrong if he thinks Latinos are the only minority group that is socially conservative. I am African American, middle-class, and conservative. In fact, I would say 95 percent of African Americans are conservative. The reason we don't vote Republican is because that party has demonized the black constituency, saying all we want is a handout and all we want is welfare. But Republicans are in favor of giving welfare to corporations and rich people.

The white Republican Party does not look at black people as Americans. Republicans have been disrespecting the black constituency for 50 years. And now they are doing the same thing to the Latino constituency.

JAMIE JONES

Woodbine

Get candidate ready now

for next congressional race

Now that we are a good two weeks into the 2014 congressional campaign, it seems about time that the Democratic Party begin to get its act together to find, groom and finance a credible candidate to make a real run against Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd. For years, the national-level Democratic Party has basically ignored the 2nd District of New Jersey, essentially ceding the seat to the Republicans. Why LoBiondo is seen as unbeatable is a mystery.

LoBiondo isn't a bad congressman; he just isn't a very effective one. After nine terms in Congress, he is still essentially a backbencher with virtually no legislative accomplishments. His voting record shows he is, at best, a reliable cog in the Republican machine, rarely going against the party line.

He has voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act (equal pay for women), for defunding Planned Parenthood and against a ban on tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

He can be counted on to show up at Veterans Day events and tell veterans how much their service is appreciated. But he has voted against any number of bills that would actually have helped active-duty servicemen and veterans. Maybe these were procedural votes that don't reflect the congressman's true positions, but since he refused to debate his Democratic opponent and explain himself, we only have his record to go on. And that record seems very vulnerable.

So, come on, Democrats. Aren't there enough issues to at least make a credible run at LoBiondo? Go find a candidate, find some real money, and present the 2nd District with an alternative who has a real chance.

GUS SCHICK

Millville

Reactions to election

are over the top

Regarding the Nov. 15 letter, "Obama re-election shows power of fools":

The writer refers to the "depraved electorate of fools who defied reason" and voted for President Barack Obama.

In the same edition was the story of the woman in Arizona who ran over her husband with her car because he did not go out to vote against Obama.

I had to wonder if any other of the "multitude of fools" might have seen the irony evident between the Arizona story and the letter writer's vitriol. As for myself, I simply had to chuckle and shake my head in disbelief.

JOSEPH J. McOSCAR

Greenwich

Utilities, workers

deserve recognition

Hurricane Sandy was one of the worst storms ever to hit the Mid-Atlantic states. It caused more than 100 deaths nationwide, millions were without power, and the amount of damage is beyond comprehension. In the aftermath of this tragedy, which affected our most basic services and well-being, New Jersey utilities and power suppliers implemented effective incident response plans.

Prior to the storm, thousands of crews prepared to work once the worst passed. Many of these workers are local residents who experienced severe damage to their homes and property. It is important to recognize the vast challenge they dealt with. Facing limited transportation options and severe personal danger, they did their jobs, repairing and restoring electrical service amid flooded roads and downed trees. The number of power outages was unprecedented with 1.7 million Public Service Electric and Gas customers, 220,000 Atlantic City Electric customers and 1.3 million Jersey Central Power & Light customers without power.

New Jersey's nuclear reactors fared extremely well. Oyster Creek declared an alert due to rising water levels, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said this posed no safety concern. The other three reactors operated by PSE&G Power in Salem County weathered the storm without incident.

Energy is New Jersey's lifeblood for a robust economy and a necessity for a high quality of life for residents. While thousands are still displaced and many more left to rebuild, the actions of these dedicated, determined and courageous individuals is worth recognition. Energy industry leaders effectively planned and responded to the worst natural disaster to hit New Jersey in our memory.

BOB MARSHALL

Executive Director

New Jersey Energy Coalition

Millville

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