Letters to The Editor – December 26th, 2018

Published 3:03 pm Monday, December 24, 2018

It was up to Mexico

Editor, Smithfield Times
Will someone please tell our glorious leader that he shouldn’t be fighting with Congress over the border wall. He should do as he promised and go to Mexico and insist they give him his $5 billion. This shutdown is all on him. And shame on congress for not continually reminding him of his promise.
Mike Hall

An end to gerrymandering

Editor, Smithfield Times
Gerrymandering undermines fair elections, but Virginians have a chance to fix that — if the 2019 General Assembly lets them. Please consider adding your voice to the call to establish an independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw our election districts, rather than continue to let the legislators draw their own.
The call is urgent now, because the legislature must act in the 2019 session if this reform is to be in effect when all General Assembly and congressional districts must be remapped after the 2020 Census.
A bipartisan committee of former legislators and election law experts has drafted an Amendment to our state Constitution that would establish a commission of 3 Republicans, 3 Democrats and 4 independents to draw new legislative districts in 2021. The amendment requires that the commission would work in the open and adhere to fair criteria, such as not favoring any party or candidate and respecting city and county boundaries as much as possible. Amending our Constitution takes two years, which is why the Assembly must start the process in the upcoming session.
This reform that will end gerrymandering and restore fair elections, where the competition of ideas determines the winners. Competitive elections make candidates hear the voices of ordinary voters, not just the super-partisans who control party primaries. And that leads to legislators who are in search of bipartisan solutions, not polarized talking points.
Brian Cannon
Executive Director

Projections wrong?

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Editor, Smithfield Times
The Isle of Wight school administration is assuming its consultant Cooperative Strategies’ 899 projected new students should be added to its present 5,500 student membership, resulting in 6,400 students in 10 years, overwhelming the school system.
The 2030 Weldon Cooper population projection indicates fewer students over the last 10 years, not more, with the lowest birth rates in US history dominating fertile females. Millennials are 18-38 year in age in 2020 and 28-48 in 2030. We will have public student memberships in the 5,000s, declining toward 5,000, not 6,400. It’s a totally opposite conclusion than the school administration’s, and a serious misunderstanding.
For the way Cooperative Strategies projections should be used and understood, consider the following as a paradigm: Suppose beginning in 2020 there are on average 362 Isle of Wight live births per year (Weldon Cooper) coming into the K-5 school systems and 90 students per year (Cooperative Strategies) coming from new development into the K-12 systems and 473 Windsor, Smithfield and private school graduates. The 362+90, or 452, coming in is less than the 473 going out. That’s a declining system. No school growth, public or private. More goes out than comes in across the 2020-2030 decade.
Virginia Code 15.2-4202 requires counties to use Weldon Cooper numbers over other estimates. The 2030 Weldon Cooper population projections are supported by the lowest birth rates in the history of the United States (US Census Bureau) and the lowest population growth rate in Isle of Wight’s last 60 years (Weldon Cooper). The $78 million school renovation and expansion program needs to be seriously reevaluated. Seriously. We do not want the Board of Supervisors mistakenly funding unnecessary school improvements and expansions. Reconsider, please, Superintendent Thornton. It would make a nice start for the New Year.
Thomas Finderson

‘Thank you’ to community

Editor, Smithfield Times
On behalf of the Angel Tree Committee of Christian Outreach Program, I would like to thank The Luter Family YMCA, Wharf Hill Brewing Co., Ringo’s, and Bojangles for graciously allowing us to use their establishments as a venue for our Angel Trees. Also a big Thank You goes out to the kind and thoughtful members of this community for providing a gift/s for our Senior Citizens whose Holidays have been made brighter through their generosity. Thank you so much! And to this lovely place we call home, Thank You to all who provided assistance in any way. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New year.
Marlene Stanton
COP Volunteer

‘Thank you’ to supporters

Editor, Smithfield Times
I write this to thank the good people of Smithfield and Isle of Wight for their support in the Smithfield Kiwanis recent Toy Store project. To put the bottom line up front, in the true Christmas spirit, they — make that, many of you — reached deep and donated more than $4,000 not to buy your own family presents, but to give those less fortunate than ourselves a Merry Christmas. Your donations, along with corporate donations, ensured that 71 children of our community would awake on Christmas Day to a tree with prized gifts beneath it.
For those who stood in line at Ringo’s, Daddy’s BBQ, and The Cockeyed Rooster, saw our tub with the Toy Store logo, then reached back into your wallet or dropped some of your change into the tub, thank you. For those who received our letters requesting support, know that we are fully aware that you were already inundated with Christmas requests. Thank you!
No other time of year seems to bring out the best in us like this joyous season. So, as you watched your own children, grandchildren, husband or wife open presents, we hope you savored those moments. Hopefully, you also took a moment to remember those who you didn’t see, those whose expectations were likely less grand, those who received the benefit of your anonymous generosity. On behalf of them, playing with their toys today, you have our most sincere thanks. Allow your unselfish acts to bring you more joy. You deserve it. Thanks again for making it a Merry Christmas, if not for all, for more than it would have been.
Jerry Healy
The Smithfield Kiwanis Club