Letters to the Editor: 08-23-2013

August 23, 2013 

Skateboards

For years and almost on a daily basis, I have walked the streets of this town and have noticed something about it.

The thing is that teenagers have descended upon the streets of this town in a form of transportation known as the skateboard. These transportation devices should not be allowed on the sidewalks in the Downtown area of Boise.

They are not equipped to let the person who is walking know that they are coming up behind them. Now there are areas within, and without, this city called skateboard parks, and should be used for these items of transportation.

I would call upon the mayor and city leaders to ban skateboards from the sidewalks of Boise. It would make walking in Downtown Boise a nice experience for the residents of this town and for visitors.

DAN LAWRENCE, Boise

Government

George Will's obsession with authoritarianism suggests a problem that many members of government as well as the general population have that does more to damage freedom, justice and equality under God as well as a government of, by and for the people.

When a person is educated and matures in an educational or church system that represents a power structure, it's difficult for that person to understand a government that has three branches to moderate each other. President Obama did not invent the capitalist system, he is merely stuck with it. For years there have been concerns about universal health care, but it was always put on the back burner. President Obama took action that many people refuse to accept. Congress is more like the Muslims with their Shiite and Sunni divisions that cannot get along with each other.

How many, I wonder, congressional members, as well as the judiciary, were reared in authoritarian structures? I suspect that most members of government are there more for self aggrandizement as well as the job and paycheck and care nothing about the people.

CECILIA B. LANGLAND, Boise

Merit badges

As a former Scoutmaster (13 years), I really appreciate Justin Peters' efforts in obtaining all those merit badges. I only hope he wasn't just chasing merit badges for the quantity. Congratulations on your achievement, Peters.

In the merit badge (MB) program, there's a "hidden" factor that is not too well known. When a scout selects one of the required MBs, most likely he will be working with people within his troop.

Most all other MBs, the MB counselors are from outside the troop. That means the scout has to call the counselor "cold." The scout is now learning how to talk to strangers: explaining the purpose of his call; arrange for the time and place for an interview and planning; locate where and arrive on time for meeting; and how to talk to a stranger face to face.

The scout might be required to write and submit a summary of the MB, all within a time frame set by the counselor. Some of us adults will find these hard to do. Don't forget, most scouts working on MBs are only 14 years old and up.

HAROLD KWAN, Boise

Congress and health care

Dave Churchill's "Obamacare & Congress" letter on Aug. 15 is misleading.

How is it "special treatment" to let congressional staffers keep a benefit they've had for decades, a benefit that the majority of Americans also have (employer-subsidized health insurance)?

I've known a few Capitol Hill staffers. One of them, a good childhood friend, was just a regular guy with a family (conservative, no less) who believed in doing the right thing and worked hard. If he were still on the Hill, why should his family have to pay several thousand more a year for health insurance because of what essentially boils down to an administrative mistake in a complex law ... especially since almost everybody else who already has insurance will see very few changes?

I know it's popular to rail against Congress making special rules for itself. This is not one of those instances, and claiming that it is only fans the flames of anti-Congress sentiment unfairly. If you want to fix Congress, either run for office or apply for a congressional staffer's job and see if you can dampen the partisan atmosphere with a good dose of compromise and statesmanship.

DAVID HARRIS, Nampa

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