Letters for October 4, 2007

Rush to defend
I saw Sen. Harry Reid on TV this morning, castigating Rush Limbaugh from the senate floor. His attempts to intimidate a private citizen and his disregard for Mr. Limbaugh’s First Amendment rights are a brutal and fascist abuse of power. I recommend that you neglect to re-elect Harry Reid next chance you get, in the best interests of Nevada and the nation.

Stephen W. Baum

Smoking law ignored
I own a local sports bar and grill in town. When I read the smoking ban laws that were up for a vote last year, I asked myself why they didn’t also have on the ballot a full ban on smoking in all public areas.

Of course, we all know that answer to this question—the casinos would never allow our government to do something like that.

When the law passed last year, Legends went totally smoke free. We don’t allow smoking in our establishment, and we are suffering for it. There are other establishments around town that are allowing smoking in their restaurants.

Such creative ways of getting around this supposed ban is putting all their food in to-go boxes and telling people that they can eat it wherever they want. Some places close their kitchens for certain lengths of time and then reopen them. Some have just removed their ash trays but still allow smoking inside. And there are establishments that haven’t done anything at all to stop smoking. And the list can go on and on.

I am not bashing these establishments, they are doing what they can get away with, and they should. Small businesses always have to be creative in what they do to survive.

This ridiculous law is filled with so many loopholes that nobody really knows what is OK and what isn’t. Add the fact that nobody is enforcing this ban in any serious fashion and you have a situation where the restaurants trying to enforce the law in their establishments are suffering.

The government should have created a level playing field from the beginning by either allowing smoking or not allowing smoking in public areas. The law was half-assed, the enforcement of the law is half-assed—it makes me wonder why I even try.

Michael Connolly
Legends Grill, Sports & Spirits

Hook’s fish stories
Re “A fish of a different color” (Right Hook, Sept. 20):

I have responded directly to all three of Mike Lafferty’s recent columns on northeast California issues, without reply. He omits and misconstrues facts, certifying him as a right-wing nut.

Instead of liberal-bashing, he needs to fact-check. There is no Gold Hill golfing, it is Gold Mountain. The People’s Republic is Berkeley; tired cliches don’t get it. Sophomoric, lightweight rhetoric to bait and goad others into arguments isn’t journalism.

The pike eradication project is because of a threat to downstream fisheries worth millions, not just planted trout in a fake lake (dammed in 1955). The “poison” is a natural agent derived from plants; the problem before was a toxic dispersant. Locals and fishing interests were consulted and alternatives tried since the last attempt.

To suggest that the pike could be “fished out” is absurd, and has been tried.

Since the pike were “introduced” into Rye Patch and Frenchmans reservoirs previously (and eradicated from the latter), perhaps the “hook” should be given to the sportsmen polluting these waters. You want real fish, try a wild river. Mike’s usual rant about better uses of funds ignores the scope of these projects; methinks his tirades are trash.

Steve Klutter
via email

Help one another
Re “Bum bashing” (Editorial, Sept. 27):

On behalf of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, I would like to express our solidarity with and offer our prayers for James Markham Beasley and the other homeless men who were recently killed or beaten in our town.

These beatings are not isolated instances of hate. They signal the increasing violence toward the less fortunate in our society. They speak volumes about our isolation from each other and our fear of anyone who is different. The sad truth is that our culture is steeped in a go-it-alone, bootstraps mentality, where the destitute are loathed and deserve what they get. And if there’s anything we’ve been taught to detest more than poor people, it’s poor people of color, as the graffiti on the park bench painfully illustrates. Never mind the roots of poverty and homelessness include factors beyond individual control, such as mental illness, domestic violence, post-traumatic stress or having homeless parents.

Reactionary politicians have won elections based on the politics of division. We’re taught to demonize those who are different, whether it’s because they have less money than we do, love someone of the same gender, or speak with an accent. In this milieu, we should not be surprised to see violent behavior directed toward them.

Let us use this violent and bitter experience to remind us of our obligation to look out for each other. Our common good and our shared fate as a human family is of higher value than “everyone for themselves.” Shared community values mean we come together to solve the problems of hate and poverty and homelessness. Out of this sad tragedy, may seeds be sown for us to build a new, beloved community in accordance with the great moral teachings of the world.

Bob Fulkerson