Letters for May 26, 2011

What price liberty?

Re “Smoking sneak” (Upfront, May 26):

Without examining the study purporting to show that Nevada’s smoking bans have resulted in lower medical costs that “dwarf” the costs to business, although studies that claim miraculous reductions in heart attack rates due to smoking bans have been proven to be bunk before, the more important question remains: What role does government have in a free society to tell people what to put in their own bodies, regardless of cost benefit analysis to the state? The only question should be: What is the price of freedom? Free speech is not about talking about the weather, gun rights are not about duck hunting, and the right to use tobacco, marijuana or, as Ron Paul bravely insists, heroin, is not the government’s business.

Private property rights should determine whether any business establishment allows a vice to be practiced on its own property. The government may regulate that right to a minimum extent for community values (no whorehouse next to a church) but when it comes down to it, the only role the government should entertain for itself is protecting our lives, liberty and property, not from ourselves, but from criminals and other governments.

The mantras of statism like “for the children” or “if it saves one life” should be replaced by, “does this protect or increase liberty?”

Brendan Trainor

More government needed

Re “Use restraint” (Editorial, May 26):

Use restraint, is it? Is telling outright bald faced lies wrong or what? The freedom to do what—lie your rear end off? Give me a break. The esteemed author of this article is deluded if he isn’t taking something. While it might surprise you, I agree that it is not the federal government’s job to hunt these people down, unless the law that is written gives it (federal and/or state government) the power to do so. In the end, it is a political/moral decision, and I would leave it to the reader to judge what type of person would do something like lie about receiving a military medal, what their political reason would be for doing it, and if that sort of conduct deserves any protection at all. An individual may have freedom of speech, but when it involves lying to get a political or employment advantage, it should be stopped. You can’t scream “fire” in a movie theatre, and this is the same thing. And whether the author of this article agrees or not, I think the majority of the people in the U.S.A. agree with me! Take that, liberal media!

Dan Edward Hubbell
Wichita, Kans.

Opinion-based opinion

Re “Why Reno’s broke, broken” (View from the Fray, May 19):

It looks like Deidre Pike did about five minutes of research before writing this. She completely failed to include that the developer was in negotiation to buy the garage years ago, and she completely left out how the city raised the rent on the garage in the midst of those negotiations. The T-shirt shop owner she referred to also stopped paying rent on his lease, as well, yet I noticed she did not spend 10 paragraphs blasting him. Conveniently, she left pieces of the column out to better make her point. The T-shirt shop owner legally shouldn’t even be in the building. That discussion took place in the very same Council meeting she referenced. She also left out that the actual “hole” for the ReTRAC Bond when all is said and done and the reserve fund is taken into account, is roughly $1.5 million, not $6 million. She also conveniently left out that the back rent is forgiven only if CommRow opens and only if Leal buys the garage for $2.5 million. The sale price of the garage would offset the loss from back rent and not cause the bond to go into default. And sorry, but the reopening of the Fitz in any form would have much greater economic impact to the city in the form of increased property tax revenue and sales tax revenue than the T-shirt shop owner would simply by buying the garage and doing nothing with CommRow. Also, the city owns the land under the garage, not the garage itself. CommRow owns the land improvements, which include the garage. Yet again, Pike’s information is not factual. She should do a little research before writing her next column. Or maybe accuracy is not important.

Mike Van Houten

Garbage in

Re “Franchise disagreement” (Green, May 26):

This is just the tip o’ the iceberg. If “food waste” is a contaminant, why then will Waste Management accept old automotive product bottles? I seriously doubt I would be turned away in Auburn, Calif., with my CRV’s if they were a little sloppy. Many other cities recycle way more than just “bottles.” WM is just skimming the “gravy.” Allowing stuff that isn’t actually recycled at curbside here is just a con job. City O’Reno needs a geohydrologist to figure out how to ‘one-can’ recycling? Waste Management, the cities/county, and the RG-J are just slackin’ on keeping people posted on this issue. In 1999, I found the state of Idaho website very informative on these matters—like no real cereal box recycling happening. Yet check out your local newsbin for Cap’n Crunch and foil cutters. I monitor two parking lot bins that WM “collects” from. There are so many wacko recycle-everythings and “free garbage” people fouling this up, it is pathetic. These “guidelines” should be posted prominently, and published daily in the RG-J and weekly in RN&R.

Steve Klutter
Sun Valley

Help for parents

Re “Stairway to hell” (Feature story, May 19):

Thank you for the great story about heroin addiction in our community. If you are a parent of a child who is a substance abuse user of any kind—not just heroin—Join Together Northern Nevada can help. There is a free parent support group every Thursday night from 6-7:30 p.m. at the JTNN/United Way offices at 801 Ryland. This is a safe environment for parents to get help from each other, and it is run by a licensed counselor. For more information go to JTNN.org.

Laura Newman
JTNN Board, Heroin Awareness Committee Chair

Prohibition failure

Re “Stairway to hell” (Feature story, May 19):

Imagine if we could eliminate all of our nation’s heroin dealers—Switzerland did.

Imagine if we could reduce the number of heroin addicts by 82 percent—Switzerland did.

Imagine if we could dramatically reduce our overall crime rate—Switzerland did.

Imagine if we could eliminate virtually all deaths from heroin—Switzerland did.

How did they do it?

In 1994, Switzerland started an experimental program to sell heroin addicts the drug at very low cost, even giving it to the addicts who couldn’t afford it. In 2008, 68 percent of the Swiss voted to make the program permanent. Have Swiss heroin-addiction rates skyrocketed? No, they have fallen dramatically. So has their overall crime rate.

Will we adopt Switzerland’s heroin policy? Probably not. Too many people, industries and institutions have a vested financial interest in maintaining the status quo of drug prohibition.

Kirk Muse
Mesa, Ariz.