Readers Write 8/16

ENVIRONMENT

Response to “Rebirth for historic building.” Metro, Aug. 6

My spirits were buoyed by the article about the Rosenwald School building in Acworth. It really does take a community — a community that understands what is important and acts to save what is important. And talk about “green!” Preserving older structures for reuse is the ultimate “green,” which this community evidently understood long before “sustainability” became a buzzword. I am beginning to hope that perhaps a better understanding is in the air these days. Here is a statement from John Sawhill that we all need to take to heart: “In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create but by what we refuse to destroy.”

Alida C. Silverman, Atlanta

HEALTH CARE

Befuddled by protesters

I’m mystified by these people who show up at town-hall meetings to shout about the evils of health care reform. Over and over, you hear them worrying they’ll lose their “freedoms.” But exactly which freedoms would those be? The freedom to get sick and stay sick because they’ve been downsized, and the medicine they need costs a small fortune? The freedom to pay $800 a month for insurance when their employer tells them he can’t afford to offer benefits anymore? The freedom to be completely uninsurable if they contract a serious illness between jobs? If, God forbid, these shouting people lose their jobs, and are forced to buy private insurance, they’ll quickly discover what all the shouting has been about. It’s about having a health care safety net, and in times like these, any of us could suddenly find ourselves needing one.

Mary Strain, Kennesaw

It’s time for circus to end

In town-hall meetings being held across the country to discuss health care reform, freedom of speech is effectively being denied to civilized individuals by mobs of hecklers, whose sole purpose is to disrupt the events, and prevent meaningful dialogue. These people appear to have no interest in or understanding of the issues, and don’t want anyone else to, either. It’s time for intelligent, thoughtful people, who value an honest, open discussion in a public forum, to take back the town-hall meeting process, and demand their right to be heard.

Beverly R. Littlefield, Atlanta

Why deny extra choice?

I think I may have missed something. I’ve been in Switzerland for two weeks (as with the rest of Europe, people there seem to be quite happy with their health care system). So maybe that’s why I don’t understand some people who are so concerned that we have “choices” in health care. If they are committed to choice, why do they wish to deny us all the choice of a government-run insurance plan? The people we elected to go to Washington have that choice. Why shouldn’t I?

Marcia King, Decatur

Kudos on Canada piece

Thank you, Dr. Michael Rachlis and the AJC, for giving us a look at the Canadian health care system from the perspective of a genuine Canadian health care provider (“Canadian health model delivers despite flaws,” Opinion, Aug. 6). What a joy it is to read such a wonderfully written, highly intelligible description of this system by someone who clearly knows it. And what a refreshing antidote it is to the discombobulated critiques of this system by our American self-proclaimed experts who clearly do not know it.

Ellis Corn, Buford

Nuances lost in debate

This letter is neither an endorsement, nor a condemnation of the Obama health care plan, but is meant to ask the people who continuously gripe about government inefficiencies and failures who they would like to see in charge of the plan: the managers of the railroad companies, airlines, General Motors, Chrysler, or the banks, or perhaps great businessmen like Bernard Madoff and the like? These same people who try to crucify the government continuously cite the Constitution — a document written by people who would soon be government representatives, who suggested that “all people are created equal,” and at the same time, denied freedom to slaves and voting rights to women. This is not intended to belittle our great Constitution, nor to question the greatness of our forefathers, but to point out that no one is perfect, and to give proof to the notion that what seems perfect today may be anything but perfect tomorrow.

P. Frank Mazzucchi, Roswell

GOVERNMENT

More issues lurk at DOT?

The article “Feds blast Georgia over transit money” (News, Aug. 5) reports, among other Georgia DOT transit program failings, a bus route with no stops. The DOT concedes financial mismanagement so severe that the federal government froze funds, including some stimulus money, admitting, “In recent years we have not done a good job of managing this program.” For years? Is there a culture of sloppiness? Are other programs also mismanaged? Will punishment be meted out to those responsible, or will the immediate problem be addressed, and the culture continue? DOT needs to pay attention to detail (this isn’t rocket science), and hold accountable those who err. Will anybody be meaningfully held accountable? Probably not. But, it’s only taxpayers’ money — not to worry.

Steve Ludwick, Dunwoody

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Thanks to Bill Clinton

I would just like to offer thanks to Bill Clinton for a job well done in Korea. I notice it was not Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly who delivered two Americans from hard labor in North Korea. It was much maligned Bill Clinton! I wonder if all those hypocrites who stoned him over the Monica Lewinsky affair will be willing to recognize this good deed, and honor him appropriately. If not, I would like to do it here and now. Thanks, Bill. You took time out of your busy life to do a good deed for those two reporters, and to set the example for the rest of us. You did a great job, and honor is due.

David Browning, Peachtree City