Letters to the editor-07-10-2013

July 10, 2013 

POPKEY COLUMN

Kempthorne had basis for limiting access

In his July 4 article celebrating the Idaho Statehouse's openness, Dan Popkey wrote, "When Kempthorne overreacted after 9/11, closing Jefferson and State streets and using state troopers to search handbags, citizens objected."

Popkey then asserts that it was because the governor "took a bruising in public opinion" that he reversed his decision. Mr. Popkey does not tell us what information led him to conclude that Gov. Kempthorne "overreacted" and I suspect that it is only his opinion that the governor eased access restrictions solely because of adverse public reaction to those restrictions.

When the Statehouse access controversy erupted in 2002, I wrote a Statesman's Reader's View suggesting that an excellent tactic for the 9/11 terrorists would have been to target "three relatively unimportant states" (West Virginia, South Dakota, and Idaho) because such attacks would further terrorize the people of the U.S. by making them feel that no one, anywhere in the country was safe.

It is true that many citizens were upset by Gov. Kempthorne's decision, but that does not make it a bad decision. I think that it was a prudent decision taken in a time of uncertainty when intelligence about our enemy's next actions was scant.

GARY RANDEL, Eagle

NORTH STAR

Charter school serves as model for excellence

We have all been hearing a lot lately about the financial trouble of North Star Charter School. Many schools are in financial trouble, such as the Nampa School District and the Meridian School District.

What is curious is that none of these schools are in fear of shutting their doors. So why should North Star? North Star is ranked one of the top challenging schools in the nation, by the Washington Post. Only eight Idaho schools even made this list and the other schools are from Coeur d'Alene, Boise, Pocatello or Vallivue.

On the state's website the ISAT scores show what a great school North Star is, revealing most ISATs are in the advanced or proficient level. In closing, as a state and district, we should celebrate the terrific job North Star is doing and try to learn why they are so academically sound, so other schools could benefit from their policies instead of trying to shut them down for financial hardships.

JENNIFER LAME, Middleton

WORLD POPULATION

Zero growth is necessary

World population reached 5 billion in 1987, then 6 billion in 1999, then 7 billion in 2011. Population is increasing at an increasing rate. World Population Day, July 11, was created by the U.N. to build an awareness of the detrimental effects of overpopulation.

At the rate of growth, we humans are expected to reach maximum sustainable population within 50 years. Human overpopulation is already causing food and water shortages, destroying our rain forests, pushing other species to extinction, depleting precious resources, and polluting the planet at an accelerating pace.

Birth control and family planning need to become a global focus, especially poor countries where too many people and too few resources combine for high mortality and wars over scarce resources.

Take a moment on July 11 to ponder and engage others on the seriousness of unchecked population growth. Planet Earth desperately needs humans to "put on the brakes," reproductively speaking. ZPG - Zero Population Growth - is a personal choice today, or an absolute necessity tomorrow. Like it or not, it is a reality we humans will have to face in the very near future.

DOUG VAN CUREN, president, Humanists of Idaho, Boise

SCOTUS RACISM

Supreme Court kills key enforcement tool

Five conservative Supreme Court justices asserted that racism no longer exists in America to justify killing the only enforcement tool of the Voters' Rights Act.

They know full well that most Republican-controlled states are legislating voter suppression laws aimed at disenfranchising African Americans and Hispanics, which is the very reason the VRA was enacted in 1965.

The states' attempts had been found unconstitutional by state supreme courts and the Justice Department, but the SCOTUS ruling trumped their rulings and opened the flood gates. Within hours, those same states gleefully rushed to enact their racist law, unashamedly boasting that their goal is to keep power in the hands of whites. That, folks, is racism in its ugliest form, which makes the five activist justices just as bigoted as the states that necessitated the enactment of the VRA. Sadly, the job of revising the formula to identify and control racist states falls to our do-nothing, obstructionist Republican Congress. So don't hold your breath waiting for fairness since they have everything to gain by doing nothing. The disenfranchised won't get to vote. With apologies to Rev. King and President Lincoln, welcome back to 1965 and 1861.

TEX BEAUCHAMP, Meridian

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