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Letters to the editor

Monday, September 25, 2000

The U.N. has humane alternatives for dealing with Iraq

Regarding your Sept. 19 editorial about the Iraq sanctions ("Sanctions Must Stay"), you endorse a policy that has brought about the deaths of 600,000 children under age 5.

You hold that those enacting the sanctions are in no way responsible for this situation, implying that we who oppose the sanctions have dangerous and naive compassion. Presumably, we are just too weak to grasp the harsh necessities of the new world order. We lack your magical power to know Saddam Hussein's future threat with this level of certainty and your "strength" to overcome the dangerous temptation of compassion for a half-million babies. But everyone knows perfectly that these babies are absolutely innocent and should not be used as necessary sacrifices.

The "box and key" of the sanctions constitute a simplistic paradigm for which there are many alternatives. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Saddam Hussen must "think outside the box."

To imply that there's just no other way is not an appropriate answer. Military sanctions could continue. A powerful deterrence capability could remain installed. Change in Iraq could come most swiftly through improved relations and increased information via media and cultural detente. Beyond these lie possibilities for real peacemaking which, if funded as well as the military, would surely yield real results.

This has moved well beyond some necessary moral harshness in the name of future safety or cruel-to-be-kind compassion. You would never endorse using nuclear weapons in a situation like this. Yet the sanctions kill as many.

The reasoning in your editorial (that there's just no other way) has revealed itself to be as violent as Hussein's. The United Nations is to blame for putting the blame entirely on one brutal dictator. Saddam Hussein and Madeleine Albright are both wrong. And so is the Post-Gazette.

Franklin Park

A daily struggle

Let's face it: Allegheny County clerical employees are the voices that go unheard. We are the grossly underpaid peons who fulfill the detail-oriented and time-consuming daily tasks so important in maintaining the efficiency of county operations, while the big boys take the credit.

Our morale has hit rock bottom. Our questions in regard to salary are shuffled back and forth between the agency and our union (Service Employees International Union), each claiming the other is responsible. We are struggling to survive amid ever-escalating costs in food, clothing, shelter, taxes, auto and insurance payments and miscellaneous expenses on an average clerical net salary of $1,000 per month. County Executive Jim Roddey should try it.

We are constantly reminded that it is the year 2000, yet our salaries do not reflect it. If the budget is truly the key issue, the county would be better served by retaining and rewarding personnel who are dependable, efficient and conscientious and take pride in their work and by eliminating those who abuse company time.

Time is money, and it takes time and effort to constantly train clerical employees who eventually leave for greener financial pastures with the state.

Mt. Lebanon

Completely separate

In an article about a religious group in Utah whose members were withdrawing their children from the public schools and preparing for the imminent Second Coming of Jesus Christ ("Mormon Sect Shuns Schools," Sept. 13), the Post-Gazette gave that group the name of "Mormon sect" in the headline.

The church named in the article is an independent church with a differing theology and a different leadership than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons.

Many groups have broken away from the main bodies of other denominations, but we would never read an article about the Lutherans calling them a Catholic sect.

I am a member of the LDS church in this area; we are proud of our religion and all it stands for and do not wish to be confused with any other religious entity.


Highland Park

Highland Park

Yes, beware -- of Gore

In the Sept. 19 Post-Gazette, on the front page, there was an article written by Maria L. La Ganga of the Los Angeles Times in which she states, "Women of America, beware: George W. Bush wants your vote" ("Bush Targets Gender Gap").

This letter is in response to that article and the "beware" part. Women in America would be wise to vote for George W. Bush. Having been a daughter, a wife, a mother and now a grandmother who is concerned for her granddaughters, I would advise voting for Gov. Bush because he and his running mate, Dick Cheney, are the only pro-life candidates. Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman are in favor of the killing of babies in the womb in the late trimester -- better known as partial-birth abortion.

A photo placed near that article shows Gore lifting a baby into the air and smiling, and the article stated that Bush didn't kiss any babies even though he said there were a lot of babies in the maternity ward he visited in Arkansas.

Gore kisses his wife, and the ladies think that is a reason to vote for him. How deceived American women can be: Gore does not represent the best interests of women.


The essence of Scouting

As a lifelong participant and observer of the Scouting program (Cub Scout, Eagle Scout, Arrow Chief and scoutmaster), I must take strong exception to Sally Kalson's Sept. 20 column about the gay issue ("For Some Scouts, It's Time to Take a Hike").

I think she completely overlooks or misunderstands the very essence of Scouting. In addition to all its other worthy goals, young boys join the Boy Scouts as a male organization where they develop a strong, positive identification with mature adult father figures as role models.

This identification obviously cannot occur with a leadership having a gay orientation. I have only one question for Ms. Kalson: If she had a son, would she want him to go hiking and camping with and otherwise closely associate with a Scout leader who openly espoused or perhaps bragged about his homosexual orientation and activity?


North Side opportunity

I read with interest the Business article by Tom Barnes on Sept. 6 ("Allegheny Center Sheds Mall for Offices"). As a resident of the North Side and one who works in Allegheny Center, I was happy to know that at last the center is being recognized, if not as a retail mall, at least as an office mall.

Barnes brought up several good points, one being that the mall separates the North Side. I believe one of the main reasons for that is the lack of commercial elements within the mall.

Whether they be located on the outside of the mall (such as where CVS and the banks are located) or inside, shops would attract not only those who work in the mall, but others who may just be "passing through" or visiting the area.

The Children's Museum is apparently going to expand, which will bring many more visitors to the mall area. Do you realize there are just three eating establishments on the mall proper? While they now serve the current workers, adding 200 more workers (Barnes' figure) plus visitors to the Children's Museum could present some real problems. Where do the visitors eat? Shop? Spend time while waiting for transportation?

Then, too, the mall is an unfriendly barrier on the North Side. There is nothing for North Side residents on mall proper, no reason for them to stop. With the exception of Giant Eagle and CVS, where do elderly people who live in nearby high-rises shop? East Ohio Street doesn't have a "good" shopping venue, and having walked along East Ohio Street on my lunch hour, I wonder how safe that area can be for an elderly man or woman.

What the North Side needs, whether or not on mall proper (and why not?), is a general store -- a store like Kmart, Ames, Wal-Mart, something the elderly and low- and middle-income shoppers can afford. This would tear the barrier down, or at least put a door in the middle of it.

The North Side residents are a forgotten people, and those who work on the North Side in Allegheny Center or on the North Shore are forgotten as well. Pack your lunch, come to work, go home, then head for a shopping center to do your shopping.

What a waste and what a missed opportunity for the North Side and the city of Pittsburgh.


Finally, school leaders are standing up to bullies

As a volunteer youth leader, I feel encouraged about the steps that Harrison Middle School has taken to curb bullying ("Bullying Is Not OK in This School," Sept. 19).

Being a past victim of bullying myself, I found that when I reported the problem to an adult either: (a) the student was punished, which usually led to a worse bullying for me from the student; (b) I was told that if I ignored them they would stop, but that only made them bully me harder to get a reaction from me; or (c) nothing was done, giving me the impression that bullying was "normal," which meant to me that it was OK for people to bully me, which did little for my already low self-esteem.

Over time I matured and got over that time in my life, because we were all young then, but that is of little consolation to the students still going through it now. I do not know a student in junior or senior high who has not ever been teased, harassed or spurned. Many adults say it is normal for the age group. Well, the truth is it is normal, but it is not OK.

Until I saw this article, I never saw any steps in the schools to protect the students who are hurting so much that the slightest social tremor to them seems like an earthquake. Both the bullies and the victims are normal people and both need support and care to make a safe journey to adulthood.

I hope other schools also adopt similar programs, because every teen deserves the support.


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