Letters for May 15, 2014

Drones are dangerous

Re “What Drones May Come” (Feature story, April 17):

To compare drones, or as they now call them, “unmanned autonomous systems,” to the population that was afraid of the internet in the ’80s is ridiculous. Yes, you can play violent video games on the internet, and yes, the internet will always be an uncertain yet useful tool, but never has the internet been able to shoot someone across the globe. There are many reasons for people to feel unsure about something they haven’t seen before, so feeling hesitant about a completely new world in cyberspace is normal. But weaponized drones? We know what weapons are, this is not unfamiliar territory, the only difference is whether the human controlling this vehicle is behind the wheel, or sitting in an office chair flying an unmanned system across the world under our trusted military surveillance. These drones are already flying over our state, but where is the people’s information on what they are using these for, what their overall effect will be, and most of all who are the people in control of these drones?

Jordan Petrilla


No doubt

On April 27, 2014, the Reno Gazette-Journal devoted three full-page stories to launch an attack on our state’s schools and the public servants who teach there. To get the full effect, lay them out side by side. Start with page 1A. The huge headline says it all, “Every Student Will Achieve.” Oh! Well, our schools are doing just fine. Let’s just ignore the fact that Nevada ranks at the bottom of single-school performance statistics. On page 13A, the headline is even more dramatic: “Growing Cost of PERS Raises Worries” … former teachers, are too … expensive. So if only we weren’t making our teachers so rich, we would have money to spend on schools. Huh? Finally on 1F, the photo is a testament to how deep the pockets go on the pants of those wishing to keep our children down. With a poor education comes the low wage employees the big box stores and casinos need. The RG-J is just another high-priced, big corporation mouthpiece. They will wage a biased campaign against the Education Initiative. If you care about our children, or Nevada’s future, vote YES on Question 3.

Doug Smithson


Car owners own the roads

Re “Put student safety first” (Editorial, May 1):

Raising crosswalks to slow traffic on North Virginia Street at UNR? Sounds like the same forward thinking that is reducing four-lane roadways all over town to two lanes with bike lanes, causing the drivers misery, just to benefit a minority.

Instead, why don’t the students (adults by and large) use their eyes and ears and actually pay attention to traffic and watch where they’re going instead, taking personal responsibility for their safety, rather than expect us to have to watch for them when they run across our roads?

Like it or not, we are a car-based system, and our roads should benefit them first, and bikes and pedestrians shouldn’t be the priority.

Tim Goble


Canada kills fewer

Re “Who Gets Killed?” (Feature story, April 10):

I was just a passing tourist who picked up your paper and was curious as to the difference between Nevada’s statistics and those for Canada, from whence I come. My quick Google search revealed that between the years 2002 and 2006, Canada—with a population of 35 million—had 19 incidents where individuals died as a result of police shootings, whereas Nevada, with a population of 2.9 million had 70 deaths due to police shootings for the same period. Not to put too fine a point on it, but your state’s police shootings causing death rates are over 350 percent higher than my entire country.

Certainly this is a part of the larger problem for your country when it comes to issues of gun control and your individual willingness to use guns as a solution to problems, regardless of what those problems are. Too bad the lobbying power of the NRA makes common sense solutions impossible for either your federal or state lawmakers to enact. As someone who spent 43 and a half years in the Canadian Military, of which 42 years was in the infantry, let me assure your readers I should not be considered a commie, pinko anti-gun nut, but as someone who has a far greater understanding of weapons, their characteristics, uses and effects than the vast majority of people in either Canada or the U.S.

Stew Parkinson

Sooke, British Columbia

Come together

Independent voters are coming together in Nevada to play a role in the mid-term elections, but it’s not the role we are usually cast in by the media as “swing voters.” Instead, at the first Western Regional Meeting [CB1] of independents on May 17, representatives from seven states will gather to develop our network and strategies for representing the concerns of independent voters.

We’ll also bring the “Voting Rights are Primary” campaign to Nevada. Coordinated nationally by IndependentVoting.org, its purpose is to dramatize the ways independents are banned or restricted from voting in the primary phase of elections in nearly every state.

Primary elections are a critical juncture in the democratic process. They are often the most competitive, but in Nevada independents (non-partisans) are not allowed to vote. This is the independent’s plight: We are first class taxpayers when it comes to funding the administration of elections–but second class voters.

As independents, we support alternative approaches to the current system of private party primaries. In a nonpartisan open primary, sometimes called Top Two, all the candidates, whatever their party affiliation (or nonaffiliation) are on a single ballot, and all voters participate in voting. The top two vote-getters go on to the general election. In California such a system has resulted in more competitive elections, less legislative gridlock and candidates being more attentive to their entire constituent base.

A change is clearly needed – so that the voices of millions of independent voters who do not now have full voting rights can be heard. We hope to lead the way to a government less controlled by partisanship and more able to move ahead with the urgent business of the country.

Catana Barnes

Independent Voters of Nevada


Cars come first

Re “Put student safety first” (Editorial, May 1):

They don’t put school zones around universities. I believe that is because the “big brains” are expected to be able to safely cross the street without assistance, like every other adult. Just a thought. I’m battle born and raised, and moving away because of a lack of support for the economy, arts (or at least local artists), and the general public’s apathy towards making a difference. Seriously—25 percent voter turnout?

Jacob Schneck


Corporate sponsors

Re “Buy a candidate” (Editorial, June 8):

I agree business affiliations and service club memberships do not make a good mayor for the people. Endorsements from other politicians are even worse. I have been in Reno over 25 years and have seen them come and go. We are living in 2014, and our local government leaders both present and some of the future hopefuls are still in the mindset of the 1980s. It is time to carefully research who the candidates are and their platforms and issues important to them, and see that they are for the people of this city and not some perk they might get down the road.

Arthur Mason