Thursday, March 15, 2007

Our Readers Respond...

Do Not Re-License Indian Point

Dear Editor:

Many residents of Westchester County are aware of the many problems that have plagued Indian Point in recent years. Indian Point has been leaking radioactive water from many sources, which have created several lakes, or plumes, of contaminated groundwater under the plant. The notification system of Indian Point has had problems. The evacuation plans are inadequate. Recently, a worker discovered cracked nuclear fuel rods. Those are just a few of the known problems.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission can impose fines of up to $110,000 per violation on Indian Point for leaks or other problems. For a number of years the NRC has waived the fines everytime Entergy has not complied with regulations. The NRC stopped fining nuclear power plants in the late 1990s. The time has come for the Congress to direct the NRC to issue the fines after violations occur. If Entergy is punished financially every time there is a problem maybe they will have an incentive to work harder to make Indian Point safer.

Eight percent of the United States population resides within 50 miles of Indian Point. I believe that the NRC should not re-license Indian Point and hope that our lawmakers will work to ensure a safe and orderly decommissioning of the nuclear power facility. The risks are too great.

Paul Feiner
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

Westchester Residents Also Entitled to Playland Jobs

Dear Editor:

I am writting to question why the Rye Playland jobs are only being offered in the Bronx offices. Here in Westchester County there is a high unemployment rate and over 65,000 people on Welfare, shouldn’t these jobs go to them? Seems to me the state and the county are conspiring to ensure work is NOT available to Westchester County residents. With the serious influx of illegal aliens and the state recruiting from the boroughs Westchester residents don’t have a chance at employment only WELFARE AND WORKFARE, which are modern
forms of slavery. I would like to know who made such a decision, their name and contact information.

Thank you.

Tracy King
Mount Vernon

Writer Responds to a Reader’s Response

Dear Editor:

George Imburgia (letter, March 1) is entitled to know that I have participated in anti-war demonstrations (specifically against the current war in Iraq), have written to publications to advocate civil rights (for everyone, including minorities and people our soldiers capture in war) and have written to publications to express opposition to abortion. In addition, I have given money to Feminists for Life, a consistent life organization that opposes not only abortion but also the death penalty, that advocates gender equality, and whose publications do not
alienate non-religious people.

My pacifism, belief in equality of all people, concern about the current erosion of civil liberties, and belief in protecting the lives of the pre-born are logical extensions of each other.

Jeanette Wolfberg
Mount Kisco

In Our Opinion....

“It Ain’t What Cha Say, It’s The Way How Cha Say It”

A few weeks ago the County Legislature was all stressed out, and passing legislation “banning the use of the word NIGGER.” Last week three high school girls, eleventh graders at the John Jay High School in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District were about to be punished for using the word VAGINA. What’s next? Will it be, “Move over, make room for the Thought Police?”

What gives our County Legislators, and school administrators the idea that the utterance of a particular word, any word, can be effectively handcuffed, or that such prohibition and restriction is desirable, or even productive, given the information-communication profusion we are surrounded by every day?

As regards the word NIGGER, said in the context of anger, racial or ethnic hostility, or mindless demeaning cruelty, it is a tool of hatred and division, no different than WOP, MICK, or KIKE, and a host of other antagonizing expressions seldom heard in a serious tone except in highly emotionally-charged situations. No resolution passed by any legislature will ever prevent what will come from the mouths of combatants in a socially tense encounter. But what about the youths, mostly, but not always, Black, who greet each other publicly with an embrace, or a meeting of hands, and a Hi Nigger?

Again, it’s all about context. For such individuals the so-called N-word has lost its potency, its power. The word has been de-clawed, if only in their limited, mutual company. We are not sure that is necessarily a bad thing. Only time will tell. We are more inclined to believe that attempting to legislate, and to censor speech is, however, offensive, and ultimately counter-productive in a free society. It is not the word, after all, that we ought to be seeking to eliminate, but rather the hateful, divisive motive that evokes its use. Experience dictates that what is made forbidden more often becomes the more attractive, particularly to youth.

The uproar and attention brought to their school district by three young women, aged 16, students at John Jay High School in Cross River, last week is another matter altogether. Irrespective of what their individual motives might have been, and yes, even withstanding whatever oral agreement they might have had with their principal Richard Leprine, We believe what occurred was a very positive outcome. Underlying the controversy, the lines that were quickly drawn, remains the inescapable issue of Free Speech, the right of individuals, citizens, and noncitizens alike, in these United States to freely express themselves in public, without prior constraint, or censorship.

The fact that the school administration felt the need to keep the girls from using the word VAGINA in front of, what they believed would be a mixed audience, possibly including young children, goes right to the heart of the matter. What, were they concerned about? What possible harm could have come from, say, a five-year-old asking his mother, or father, “What’s a vagina?’ As one parent observed, “This is 2007, not 1957.”

Persons in authority, particularly those dealing with youth, would do well not to instill notions of guilt, obscenity, or mystery to words such as VAGINA, PENIS, ANUS, etc.. And, while it is a wonderful and exciting period in our lives, adolescence is a difficult, and confusing-enough experience for most young people to navigate, without having to cope with unnecessary hypocracy.

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