Letters to the editor – June 29th, 2016

Published 8:02 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Golden Era of existence

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Despite what we see and hear in the news, life is better than it has ever been. We live longer than ever before, and we reside in the most peaceful and prosperous time in our species’ history.

    According to the World Health Organization, global life expectancy remained unchanged at 30 years old from prehistoric times until 1900. However, global life expectancy has more than doubled to over 70 years old over the last century. In prehistoric times, approximately 15 percent of humans died of violence deaths; and although the 20th century was the most brutal period in recent history, less than 1 percent of the world population died in war or by other violent means. Notably, wartime deaths have been less than 0.001 percent of the world population for over 30 years. In prehistoric times, humans lived hand to mouth. According to the World Bank, the percentage humans living in extreme poverty dropped steadily from 85 percent in 1820 to 15 percent in 2015 — despite a seven-fold increase in population.

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    People suffer and die from war, violence, accidents and illness. Each day a billion people on earth do not receive enough food. As we continue to root out and end suffering in all forms, today I am simply grateful to live in a golden era of human existence. Let’s keep up the good work.

    Tim Lavallee
    Committee on Peace and Social Concerns
    Williamsburg Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends


Impeach half the court?

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Today, June 23, I was both pleased and flabbergasted at the Supreme Court decision (a 4 to 4 split) that allowed the 5th U.S. Circuit Court ruling to stand, that President Obama abused his powers of office (which he knew it when he did it, by his own words) that circumvented the U.S. Congress on immigration laws. Twenty-six states joined in the Constitutional court challenge.

    The dumbfounding part is the fact that all eight Supreme Court Justices took the same oath of office to “support and defend” the U.S. Constitution. Four of them supported the separation of powers by the three branches of government, but four did not.

    This brings to Question, should not the four Justices who voted against the U.S. Constitution be impeached? Possible?

    John Adams stated that we are “A Government of Laws, and Not of Men.” This basic statement brings to the forefront the Nov. 8, 2016 Presidential Elections. If the U.S. Supreme Court is divided by Justices that are liberal or conservative and the next president will be appointing the next Justice, then the election bolls down to two choices, even if you choose not to admit it. Do you support the U.S. Constitution or not? Sounds harsh but an honest question. I, and my forefathers, chose to be Patriots, and General MacArthur’s final roll call at West Point on May 12, 1962, sums it up best. In part: “Duty, honor, country.” These three words should be marching orders for all Americans. Our future depends on it.

    Earle Southard


The library budget

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Concerning the budget granted by the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors for the Blackwater Regional Library: As a former branch manager of the Smithfield Library, I everyone understand to that no library staff person has ever been considered a county employee. Not once in my 26 years of employment at the Smithfield Library did I ever get a raise when county employees did. Never was I a recipient of any benefits or perks that county employees were granted. The money provided by Isle of Wight. This money provides for the multitude of services offered by the libraries as well as the salaries of the staff, and the amount submitted by the county is returned in many ways by what the Carrollton, Smithfield and Windsor Libraries provide to the people in their communities.

    The library staffs’ incredibly low salaries were not included in the study recently done on the county level, so of course, no library staff members received a raise last fall based on this study, but many county employees did. So why are the library employees now being treated the same as the county employees when it comes to raises?

    The request for money to give raises for the upcoming fiscal year to county employees was removed from the budget. I understand the financial reason for that decision and agree with it, but I don’t understand the concept that “if the county employees can’t get a raise, then the county library staff can’t either.”

    Unlike county employees, library employees haven’t had a raise in quite a number of years, and they deserve one now. By removing the $11,000 dedicated to salary increases from the library budget request, just as the county employees’ funds for raises were removed, is the Board of Supervisors now suggesting that library staff are county employees? Are they now committing to include library employees in all the raises, benefits and perks in the future that may come to the currently recognized county employees? I realize money is tight, but the $11,000 needs to be put back in the library budget so that raises can be given to the library staff without cutting hours again.

Emma Jean Brady