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Community Forum: Americans should look past race, victimhood
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Harold Lott's column addressing race issues in America was so misleading and one-sided. He disliked the debate Pat Buchanan and Professor Michael Dyson, an African-American, had on a TV news program.

I disliked the fact that Harold called Dyson an African-American. Aren't we all Americans no matter what our skin color is? When I hear African-American, I feel that whoever says that is branding blacks as less than an American. You can't have half allegiance if you're a citizen of the United States, unless you have dual citizenship.

The only people I see who have entrenched the race relation problems in America for the last 20 years are those who have benefited financially from doing so. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright are top on that list of using wild emotional outbursts to stimulate hatred and keep racism alive.

But instead of condemning these race warlords, Mr. Lott attacks Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. I have never listened to Savage, but I have never heard Rush use inflammatory or violent rhetoric that was racist. Is Mr. Lott attacking them because they‘re white, yet fails to take a closer look at black leaders who perpetuate race and class-envy rhetoric?

The media is also attacking Limbaugh for saying he hopes Obama fails. What they don't tell you is that he wants his socialist policies to fail. What's the difference when the Democrats wanted President Bush to fail? That's all we heard for the last eight years from the media and the Democratic leaders.

New Attorney General Eric Holder cited that we are cowards when it comes to race relations. That is certainly startling coming from our attorney general, since much is being said about legal issues with ACORN and its bullying tactics towards community banks and voter fraud.

Instead of calling Americans cowards for not talking about racial issues, our new leaders should have been calling for Americans to develop stronger responsibility for family and communities. The cowards are those who won't do their part to become proactive toward the vast opportunities that exist in America.

Instead, Mr. Lott attacked Buchanan for bringing up the issue of blacks behaving criminally or dysfunctionally, to say whites don't respond ethically or morally to race issues. That's nuts. Just ask Sharpton when he causes riots in New York against the Jewish community in the name of black justice.

I feel the Democratic leadership has also done much to sustain the victimhood of black citizens. All you have to do is look at entitlements that give handouts, not a hand up. Where are vouchers so parents can put their children in better schools? Where are black leaders for stronger family values and better education to train people out of poverty, not bury them in the victim cycle they can't escape from?

I'm afraid our new administration is using race issue as a cover to hide its liberal agenda and silence conservatives. It's not racist to be against the socialistic stance the Obama administration is moving America toward. It's his policies and political views I disagree with.

Because I disagree with Nancy Pelosi, am I racist against Italians? To me, that's just being an American no matter what your color or ethnicity are.

Jane Browder

SPLOST: Let it die or we'll keep on paying
If voters need any more substantiation to encourage a "no" vote on SPLOST, just let them read the front-page correction item in Tuesday's issue of The Times.

That small correction, far less conspicuous than the original article referenced, points to the very best of all reasons to defeat a renewed SPLOST: Operation of the Frances Meadows Aquatics Center is expected to cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars more than its income every year. That center was built with SPLOST money.

It's been mentioned previously that the hidden demons of SPLOST projects are the continued operating costs that never get discussed. Those costs are funded by your property tax dollars, not with SPLOST funds.

Do we really need another community center requiring continuous staffing and upkeep during this recession? And, for goodness sake, we sure don't need that South Hall County "sewer to nowhere" just to make a few fat cats' property more valuable.

Get your friends to the polls right away and encourage them to vote down an extension of this needless sales tax extension. Local government needs to learn what the rest of us are finding. It's time to tighten our belts and spend less. No SPLOST required.

Craig Cook

‘Yes' on SPLOST will keep our dreams alive
As a former mayor and lifelong resident of Gainesville, I'd like to put in my two cents worth in support of the 1-cent SPLOST.
During my service on the City Council, I personally witnessed how all those little pennies on the dollar added up to millions of dollars of investment coursing through our community. All you have to do is look at those signs reading "Your SPLOST dollars at work" on projects like the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center to know what I'm talking about.

Now as a private resident, I retain a strong and vested interest in seeing SPLOST continue its good works. From a practical standpoint, I prefer keeping the status quo on SPLOST as opposed to increasing my property taxes. But more importantly, as a mother and a grandmother, I want SPLOST to continue to enrich the lives of my family and future generations who live here.

We are on the cusp of fulfilling big dreams in downtown Gainesville with the relocation of our Public Safety building to make way for a new office tower and hotel/conference center along with the redevelopment of Midtown. With passage of SPLOST VI, we can begin to believe.

I also appreciate the positive impact SPLOST will have on the Elachee Nature Science Center, our parks, the preservation of green space throughout our community and quality-of-life projects that mean so much to families like mine in Gainesville and Hall County.

In the midst of this recession, SPLOST gives us plenty of reasons to be optimistic about our future. I hope everyone will join me in voting "yes" for SPLOST so we can keep making this great community even better.

Sissy Lawson

Fair or unfair, SPLOST will ease tax burden
I hope more of our citizens will get down to basics in their thinking about SPLOST. The truth of the matter is that we will pay for most of the things it includes either fairly or unfairly.

The unfair way is to burden property owners with higher tax bills. The fair way is to spread the responsibility over the entire group served, whether they pay any other Hall County taxes or not.

All who benefit from new or improved roads, buildings, etc. should share in paying for them. It seems so obvious to register a "yes" vote on or before March 17. Doing so will continue something that has worked for Hall County in the past and can continue to work for us in the future.

Bill Early

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