Letters to the Editor: Feb. 25, 2014

In deriding state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi, CFN sniped that she is a dentist and not an educator, as if the two things must be mutually exclusive.

Barresi co-founded and helped lead two widely respected charter schools in OKC: Charter Independence and Harding Charter Preparatory. Both are distinguished for their academic excellence.

In fact, US News & World Report, Newsweek and a number of other publications have ranked Harding as among the top high schools in the nation.

Although CFN appears to believe otherwise, a person can do more than one thing.

Barresi has been a dentist and an educator. Tom Coburn is a physician and a lawmaker.

Ed Shadid is a surgeon and a city councilman. The Gazette’s own Bill Bleakley is a newspaper publisher and an attorney.

— Phil Bacharach,
Executive Director of Communications, Oklahoma State Dept. of Education
Oklahoma City

Why is this still illegal?
I’m writing about Tim Farley’s story “Prohibition, not pot, is the problem” (Feb. 10, Oklahoma Gazette online).

I’d like to add that the cannabis legalization issue is not whether cannabis is completely safe for everybody, including children and adolescents.

It is not. The issue is freedom of choice for adults. Children have died from eating peanuts and peanut butter, but we don’t cage peanut growers, sellers or consumers.

And the voters of Colorado and Washington state have decided that we should not cage cannabis growers, sellers or consumers.

Oklahoma adults have the freedom of choice of whether or not to consume legal alcohol. Shouldn’t they have the same freedom of choice regarding

legal cannabis?

— Kirk Muse Mesa,

Making it rain
We must write our elected officers about a more permanent solution to the fiscal crises (which have merely been postponed for a few months). We should sell to the world’s tropical rain forest owners the expertise for harvesting their land much more profitably (and sustainably).

This is discussed at rain-tree.com/ facts.htm, which has links to various rain forest organizations who might supply the experts.

If we take a quarter of the profits for a certain number of years, it would yield $1.4 trillion a year — twice the federal deficit.

It might mean temporarily raising the debt limit, but only for the last time. Perhaps — with the surplus — it could then shift some of the onus for Obamacare from individuals and businesses onto the government.

As for the issue of subsistence farmers, there is a discussion of this at rainforestsaver.org.

Regarding the cutting down of trees for firewood, one can contact Solar Cookers International.

— Alex Sokolow
Santa Monica, Calif.

Just butt out already
Here is my unsolicited opinion on smoking/vaping on state property. Nobody is thrown into the cold, just required to wait and do this somewhere else.

Smoking has its obvious health hazards for both the smoker and bystanders. Its odor is repulsive for many, and the litter is unsightly and smelly. Cigarette butt litter lurks at every park and public entrance because far too many smokers feel that it is also their right to just drop them on the ground.

As for vaping, defending your right to blow vapors of nicotine and other unknown substances around enclosed spaces probably isn’t going to go well. E-cig smokers don’t even know what they are inhaling and expelling.

You still have a right to do it elsewhere.

Many of us simply want to pursue our happiness conducting ourselves on state property without the health hazards, stench and litter associated with what you’re defending.

— Troy Scott
Oklahoma City

Defining ‘elitism’
In a recent letter, Nathaniel Batchelder states that Republicans are angry that Obama was twice elected president and that Obamacare is the law of the land.

He also states that Republicans are elitists because they oppose Obamacare and other government programs intended to help the poor and disadvantaged.

Mr. Batchelder’s statement that Republicans are angry is correct. We Republicans are angry because Obama promotes economic policies that have a proven track record of failure.

His “stimulus” package, subsidies of green-energy ventures and overregulation of all aspects of the economy have done little or nothing to boost the economy or create jobs. The economic gains we have seen since the recession ended have occurred not because of Obama’s policies but in spite of them.

The demand by Obama and other liberals that more taxpayer money be spent on antipoverty programs is another source of Republican anger. The decades-old “war on poverty” and its array of social welfare programs have not eliminated poverty in America.

In fact, they have made it worse by creating a culture of dependency and learned helplessness.

Opposition to continuation of these failed policies is not elitism.

As for Obamacare, the rollout has been an epic failure, and there is little reason to believe that the entire program will not be ruinous to the American economy and reduce health care access and quality for most Americans.

The true elitists include Obama, Kathleen Sebelius and congressional liberals who are imposing Obamacare on the American people while exempting themselves from it.

If Mr. Batchelder decides to hold his breath until Republicans put aside their anger over these issues, he will turn mighty blue!

— David R. Wrights III
Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves
the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be
mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at
okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the
editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

Phil Bacharach

This article was written by an Oklahoma Gazette contributor. To reach an editor, please email jchancellor@okgazette.com with this story's headline in your subject line.

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