Letters to the editor – June 15th, 2016

Published 8:35 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Reprehensible approach

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I am not a legal resident of the town of Smithfield but am proud to call it home when asked where I call home. I also am equally proud of the efforts of our Town Council which works hard to maintain the historic ambience of the town while supporting reasonable growth.

    The recent performance by the Preserve Smithfield organization is reprehensible. They storm into Council meetings in a totally arrogant manner, professing to be superior in knowledge to the Council in understanding local ordnances.

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    Separately, they recommended that the mayor resign! Their egos far outshine their intelligence, which they appear to feel is that of a supreme being. Their behavior, which could be compared to that of the Gestapo, seems to stem from a total lack of knowledge as to how to conduct rational negotiations. They are absurd amateurs.


    Now, after all of their irresponsible and reprehensible behavior, they want to “work together.” I recommend that the Council refuse any future negotiations with this group until they issue a public apology for their arrogance and behavior and, secondly, that they commit to all future negotiations being conducted in a professional and respectful manner. Absent such agreement-take your egos and stay away.

    Ed Mortimer


Library will cut hours

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Many folks know what the libraries do in their communities; the evidence is no farther away than your own “Second Front.” We’ve expanded services and do our best to reach citizens at every stage of life. My staff works incredibly hard for low wages, and instead of requesting funds for a compensation study, I did my best to compile data from other local libraries to compare wages. This information is public, and was submitted to the County alongside our budget request.

    Despite working with the County to provide programming outlets for their offices, and serving their citizens with already limited staff and hours, we were cut $11,000 this upcoming fiscal year because we had the audacity to ask for cost of living raises.

    We were asked former County Administrator Anne Seward last year to not request a raise in funds, even though raises were given to County staff, with the understanding that they were more likely to happen in FY17. When we asked for raises this year, we were told that we cannot receive raises because County staff members are not receiving them. Let me say that Mr. Wanner’s original budget did have the libraries receiving full funding; the Board’s revised budget is where we were cut.

    According to the contract with Blackwater Regional Library that Isle of Wight County officials signed, the library puts in a fair budget request, and if any of our contracted counties do not meet our request, we have no option but to cut services for that county’s libraries. So, unless the budget gets revised, we’re closing the Carrollton branch on Fridays, and closing Smithfield Wednesday evenings effective July 1.

    Funding for the libraries that is passed along to the County includes some administrative costs, but is mostly comprised of salaries. The libraries do a great deal of fundraising with their Friends groups, and other outside organizations for the majority of materials they use throughout the year.

    Jenny Bailey
    Blackwater Regional Library


Early KKK were Democrats

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I can think of few things more offensive than the notion that KKK members are Christians.

    Yet, last week’s letter asserts that notion. While you might ask a member of that horrible organization and he might insist he is Christian, there is nothing about the beliefs or practices of the KKK to back up such a claim. Every Christian denomination has flatly denounced the KKK, in fact, the opposition to slavery and oppression was a forming principle of many churches, including the United Methodist Church.

    Reading history, it is clear that the KKK was anti-Catholic, and often targeted Protestants and Jews. There’s nothing there to suggest its members are or were Christian.

    However, the KKK was formed in 1865 as a response to the south losing the Civil War, by several Confederate soldiers. Their sole intent was to stop Reconstruction and Republican leadership at all levels of government. Every black member of Congress serving after the Civil War was a staunch Republican, just like Frederick Douglass. The KKK was the military wing of the Democratic Party. 

    KKK members and allies were behind many oppressive acts, including Jim Crow laws, stopping minorities from voting and chasing some Republicans from politics with death threats. That’s hardly Christian practices. These terrorist acts were committed by Democrats, who believed in slavery and the oppression of others.

    There is nothing Christian about the KKK, and any notion that the members of that group are Christian — or are Republican — is absolutely the most patently false statement I have ever heard in my lifetime. Next month, check out the film “Hillary’s America” which debuts in Theaters.

    Dave Lyons