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Herpin's uphill fight
J. Adrian Stanley's recent article about Bernie Herpin and Michael Merrifield ("Instant recall," News, March 5) was quite good, showing some, but not all, of the challenges Mr. Herpin has working against his re-election in November.
Yes Mr. Herpin is unreachable for questions or comments, so he cannot claim to be the voice or know the will of the people. Yes he is an ineffective legislator, so he cannot list any achievements or run on a worthwhile voting record. And yes he's a Republican from a majority Democrat district (20,995 Republicans vs. 27,798 Democrats), which alone shows he does not represent his constituents. We learned all this from Ms. Stanley's article.
But she doesn't emphasize the fact that how Mr. Herpin got into office (through the recall) shows he doesn't represent his constituents, and how this is his biggest problem.
Of the 84,029 registered voters in Senate District 11, only 17,943 (or 21.35 percent) voted in the recall; and of these only 8,932 (or 10.62 percent) voted for Bernie Herpin. In fact, more people voted against John Morse (9,131) than voted for Mr. Herpin (8,932)—showing 199 people didn't want John Morse and didn't want Mr. Herpin, either.
When barely 10 percent of active voters put him into office, Mr. Herpin cannot claim to represent his district. He represents only a very small portion of voters in this district, and nothing more.
And when the people vote again this November, in the regular elections, I believe strongly they'll elect Michael Merrifield — who does return phone calls and meet people, who does have a long list of legislative achievements and a voting record he's proud of, who is a Democrat and was several times duly elected to truly represent his constituents.
But all in all, I very much liked Ms. Stanley's article.
— Ryan Macoubrie
The bigger gaffe
In response to J. Adrian Stanley's "Instant recall":
Although Stanley's piece was a balanced article that, overall, treated both candidates fairly, let's be frank. There is a significant difference when comparing Merrifield and Herpin's "faux pas."
The consequences of charter schools, taxpayer-financed vouchers and corporatization of public education have been dire. Billions of taxpayer dollars are being diverted into the pockets of for-profit enterprises riding on the coattails of educational reform legislation. This fact is finally becoming a common concern.
Michael Merrifield's comment, made in a personal email to a friend, expressed his frustration with people who don't care about the effects of charter schools, taxpayer-financed vouchers and publicly supported private education on the larger public education system. Michael has always been passionate about providing an outstanding public education for each and every student; and, as it turns out, Merrifield was right.
Bernie Herpin's public remark, during public testimony — in front of the victims' family members from the Aurora theater shooting — is not comparable to Merrifield's email line. During a committee hearing to repeal the 2013 magazine limit, Herpin said the 100-round magazine used by the Aurora shooter "was maybe a good thing." His statement offers evidence of poor reasoning, extreme insensitivity, and knee-jerk defensiveness; and Herpin was wrong.
Unlike Merrifield's vivid metaphor generated for a private communication, Herpin's comments were literal, public and insensitively delivered. These are not equivalent faux pas.
— Lois A. Fornander
Hunting is so yesterday
In the ongoing battle over gun ownership, one favorite argument from gun advocates is support for the American tradition of hunting. But that's just it: It's an outdated tradition.
First, it's nearly impossible to find any wilderness anymore. Cans and assorted trash are in almost every part of previously pristine places. A recent news story says that even Mount Everest is so littered that future climbers will be required to pack out 18 pounds of junk in addition to their own.
Second, hunting is dangerous — not from animals, but from armed and drunk or hung-over hunters barging around the forests, shooting at almost anything that moves. Some ranchers have even had to paint the word "cow" on their cows.
Third, it's horribly cruel to shoot defenseless animals, which aren't even equipped with Kevlar vests. I always thought it would be more sporting if the deer, elk, etc., were armed and could shoot back. This would considerably increase the adrenaline level of excitement in hunting.
Fourth, sport-shooting at paper targets is perhaps fun for some, but there are many other types of competition as exacting and pleasurable, or more so.
Fifth, you don't really need the meat anymore from hunting or fishing. Do you want to spend hours in a boat, waiting for a fish with an IQ of .005 or less to make up its mind? A suggestion: Simply go down to your food store and ask the worker there to get out three large trout, and stand 15 feet away from you and toss you the fish. Then go home and truthfully brag to your wife, "I caught these fish, Honey!"
— Larimore Nicholl
I approach my 83rd birthday as someone who has spent much of his life as an international and civil rights lawyer, professor, author and activist. The easiest way to summarize the "crisis" in the Ukraine is by hypocrisy.
Although the Russian leaders have their share of it, so do we and our organizations issuing "holier-than-thou" statements. These would include Obama, NATO leaders and Republicans who manipulate, by gerrymandering and voter restrictions, the rights of American citizens while proclaiming the rights of Ukrainians.
Our government has in the past overthrown the democratic government of Iran, invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, violated international law, constitutions and treaties with killer drones in the sovereign territories that we don't like, while placing missiles in Poland, aimed at Russia, assassinating our enemies, and aiding and abetting the occupation of the lands of indigenous Palestinian people. We have much to be forgiven for before we point out the shortcomings of others.
The alternative to saber-rattling is conflict resolution, not conflict creation, and the restoration of the United Nations, which we have replaced with a North Atlantic Treaty Organization that stretches to the Black Sea. Why not try nonviolence for once? It's not only right, but maybe it would work. Violence never has for long.
— Bill Durland