Monday, May 05, 2008
The punishment is out of proportion with the offense
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The punishment is out of proportion with the offense
As a conscientious driver with an impeccable driving record, I wanted to offer my experience regarding moving over for stopped emergency vehicles ("Move over, or get a ticket," April 22 letter).
Last July, I received such a ticket, my first in 16 years of driving, while driving on Interstate 581. Upon returning home, I was horrified to learn that this was not a simple traffic offense. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor -- the same as reckless driving or DUI/DWI, and punishable by confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both (as well as license suspension).
This simple offense had potentially jeopardized my career as a professional pilot because it is a criminal offense. I have spent hundreds of dollars and multiple days appealing this ticket (which, to this date, hasn't been officially closed).
While I believe such a law is important for the safety of our law enforcement and rescue public servants, I feel the punishment significantly out of proportion and needs to be revised. Virginia also needs to publicize the law (and the penalties) so that they are more widely known. Drivers beware.
Legislators denied people a vote
The Roanoke Times editorial "A sound investment in higher education" (April 28) praised the entire Virginia legislature for passing a $1.46 billion bond package for construction projects at state colleges and universities. What happened to Gov. Kaine's promise to allow Virginia citizens to vote on a bond referendum?
The voters most likely would have approved the bond package but were denied the opportunity. Kaine stressed on numerous occasions that a referendum would be on the November ballot. Was there fear of voter rejection of such a large bond issue, or is the Virginia economy much worse than reported and warrants a quick jump start?
Most economists believe that future construction costs will be more favorable as the economy continues to slide. Virginians should understand that their right to vote on debt has been stripped for this WPA project. It's no wonder that public trust of politicians at all levels continues to plummet.
Speeding saves little time, risks a lot
I laugh every time someone goes speeding by me, apparently trying to make up time. This is particularly amusing since I'm usually right behind the driver at the next stop light or sign.
I'm not talking about passing me at 70 mph on the interstate, but those who pass me at 45 mph in a 25 mph residential neighborhood where children or pets could run out into the street.
I was driving to work one morning with a van driving close to my bumper. When we reached the corner, this van went another direction trying to beat me to the main road. A few minutes later, we were both at the entrance to Interstate 81, arriving at close to the same time. How could this be?
At highway speeds, you must travel approximately 5 mph over the speed limit for one hour just to make up five minutes. A 10-mile trip across town at 45 mph will be only four minutes less than traveling at 35 mph. Is this really worth the risks?
Speeding saves little time and increases your chances of causing an accident. Also, accelerating quickly and driving fast waste gas. Slowing down will also help your wallet.
A scientist who truly was expelled
In response to Rob Miles' letter ("Lives ruined? Expel the thought," April 28):
I know of at least one scientist whose career was ruined by his stance on evolution. He was my first cousin, Estel Melton, a brilliant scientist who, after working for Oak Ridge for many years, became a physics professor at a major university.
He was in "Who's Who of American Scientists" many times and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in physics several times. His last major acclaim came from his explanation of the Earth's magnetic field.
Among his many publications, one book, "Ancient Diamond Time Capsules," uses the laws of mathematics and physics to disprove the theory of evolution. After this book was published, the university became a hostile workplace for Melton. Eventually, he grew tired of being ostracized and of having his equipment vandalized and he retired.
This book does not promote intelligent design. Melton was "expelled" for daring to offer evidence against evolution. Since he was retirement age, his life was not ruined. However, his career and professional reputation were ruined because he dared to question scientific dogma.
About expelledexposed.com: Reading something on the Internet does not make it true.
Gun rights also should be restored
I agree that "[f]orever stripping felons of the right to vote is counterproductive -- and abandons all pretense of rehabilitation" ("Ex-felons should have the right to vote," April 27 editorial). The same logic applies to gun rights, which, unlike voting, are explicitly secured by the Constitution. Restoring felons' gun rights should be on equal footing with restoring their right to vote.
Democratic Congress has failed families
We just passed the two-year anniversary of the promise by the new Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, that if given control of Congress, the "Democrats have a common-sense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices."
Since the Democrats took over Congress last year, there has been an incredible increase in gasoline prices: an increase of $1.20 per gallon, from $2.33 per gallon to $3.53 per gallon. The average family would have spent $2,671 per year on gas at $2.33 per gallon last year. Today, that same family spends nearly $4,063 per year on gas at $3.53 per gallon. That is an increase of nearly $1,400 for a family's budget.
Since Democrats took control, 1 percent of American homes are in foreclosure, unemployment is up 10 percent, we have seen $2.3 trillion in stock equity vanish and have lost $1.2 trillion in home equity. Congress makes the law, not the president. He has to work with what's handed to him.
We asked for change in 2006, now pocket change is all we have left. The Democrats have failed miserably at leadership. My family will vote 100 percent Republican this fall.
Save while you're young -- if you can
In response to Richard Schafer's letter ("People have to plan for long-term care," April 26), in which he urges people to plan ahead for their care in the "golden" years (especially when they aren't so golden):
He states truthfully the condition of Medicaid and its possible demise if we keep dipping into it as we've done since 1965. Speaking from experience, there are two plans I would not advise people to take: a reverse mortgage and a long-term care plan.
The long-term care plan is fine if you get to use it by going to a nursing home or having care in your home. But if you should put money in the plan and have an unfortunate early death, you will not get to use your money. As my mom used to say, "It's like pouring money down a rat hole."
The answer is to put money away in our young years where it'll grow. But those of us in middle America can't raise our children on a modest income. With the way our economy is going, this is a very discouraging situation.