Thank you for your thoughtful editorial March 9 on the NAACP. Let me set a few facts straight.
We have only had four CEOs in 30 years - a good record for nonprofit organizations. Among them were businessmen, although not from companies as exalted as that of our just-departed Bruce Gordon.
Benjamin Hooks served for nearly 20 years, until he reached retirement age. Benjamin Chavis served for two years. Kweisi Mfume served for nine years, and Mr. Gordon served for 19 months. Each transition has been orderly and well managed, as we expect this one to be.
Mr. Gordon - and other past NAACP CEOs - did not report to a 64-member board; instead they reported to a 17-person executive committee, and until now, each had little difficulty in doing so.
Our board is like all other boards - it sets policy, which the CEO carries out. But our board is different: it is elected democratically by our membership. Unlike any other civil rights organization, it contains seven youth members - high school and college-age - elected by all NAACP youth. The board comes from a variety of backgrounds - long-time civil rights activists, corporate executives, educators, union leaders, and college students.
We disagree that civil rights has disappeared as an issue, and we strongly disagree that a majority of Americans think racial discrimination is a vanished artifact of a shameful past. Our eyes and ears tell us that racial discrimination is an ever-present scourge that harms the lives and futures of many Americans, and we are pledged to eliminate it.
Many organizations provide the much-needed social service that enriches the lives of African-Americans and others. But we are one of the few that provide social justice. That has been our mission since 1909 - and we're sticking to it.
NAACP Board Chairman
Redefine child abuse to allow punishment
Mayor Finkbeiner's proposal to hold parents accountable for their children's actions needs some work. The city should redefine the law of child abuse and domestic violence. I believe we should bring back the old system of physically punishing a child as in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then there were no metal detectors or police in the schools, just hall monitors carrying the "paddle" as a reminder and enforcer for disobedience.
Today it is labeled child abuse or domestic violence. If a parent dares to lift a hand to a child, they threaten the parent with calling the police on them. Take a look at the crime rate back then and now. The system was flawed by making those laws. History will prove it.
I thought the mayor was cleaning up Westfield shopping mall. I took my daughter shopping Friday and the mall was just filled with kids. I'm partially handicapped and I couldn't even find a place to sit down and rest in intervals because kids were taking up the seats. I was offered a seat by young clerks in the stores we shopped. I couldn't thank them enough.
Westfield shopping mall is a place to shop, not a place for kids to go unescorted!
Michael J. Farkas
Jail, not green tags, will stop predators
What a great idea! Green license plates for sex predators. Like they wouldn't think of driving another car, stealing plates, and putting them on their car instead of green ones, or even getting out of the car and walking!
Why don't we use the money we'd waste on trying to make predators display green plates to keep these people locked up instead of turning them loose to prey again? If a law was passed making it a life sentence for the first offense against a child, with no parole, maybe so many repeat offenders wouldn't be on the streets to prey on children time and time again.
And as for the bleeding hearts crying about these predators' rights, they give up their rights when they commit a crime against innocent children.
Where was ACLU in own abuse scandal?
Last year, Ted Haggard was in the news because of his (private) sinful behavior. He was removed from the pulpit, rightly so, and sent packing. (Where's the ACLU when you need them?)
Recently, federal agents arrested Charles Rust-Tierney, the former president of the Virginia chapter of the ACLU, for allegedly possessing child pornography. Mr. Rust-Tierny allegedly (I love that word) used his e-mail address and credit card to subscribe to and access a child pornography Web site. The videos described in the complaint depict graphic forcible intercourse with prepubescent females and one of the girls is described in court documents as being "seen and heard crying," and another is described as being "bound by rope." Apparently Mr. Rust-Tierny had been purchasing these types of videos "over a period of years."
In the past, Mr. Rust-Tierney had argued against restricting Internet access in public libraries in Virginia, writing, "Recognizing that individuals will continue to behave responsibly and appropriately while in the library, the default should be maximum, unrestricted access to the valuable resources of the Internet."
Well, now we know where the ACLU has been.
Red-light cameras are matter of safety
I wish all the drivers who don't mind the red-light cameras at designated dangerous intersections would speak up. It's not a "big brother" nor a money-maker issue. It's a matter of safety and traffic flow.
The best example I can offer is the corner of Secor Road and Monroe Street. Does anyone remember traveling west on Monroe, and trying to turn left on Secor toward Westgate? When the light turned green for our lane, we were lucky to get one car through because the drivers who were still turning left from Secor totally blocked the intersection. Obviously many had entered on a red light.
The accident rate there is lower now, tempers are calmer, and traffic is smoother.
Smokers' civil rights are under attack
I applaud the gentleman who wrote in saying that since smokers are a minority they should stay home. It's about time someone said it, but I would submit that even that doesn't go far enough.
When smokers do go out, they should be forced to sit in the back of the bus. And if they cause "trouble" or look at a nonsmoker the wrong way they should be lynched, or at least tarred and feathered as a warning.
That's how we Americans used to deal with minorities in the old days, before civil rights leaders came along and started talking about minorities having the same rights as everyone else.
Mayor should not be offended by poll
I must ask why our dear mayor is so adverse to public opinion polls. Especially coming from an individual who has been a Republican, an Independent, and a Democrat over the years. A weather vane himself, indeed!
May I quote from Founding Father Thomas Jefferson (another Democrat): "The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." - Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787.
So long live the polls! I am so sorry the mayor was offended by such an honest opinion of the electorate. After all, that is who elected him. A mayor is not a self-appointed office, no matter what one may believe.
Indian Knoll Drive
Regarding the Kathleen Parker column in the March 11 Blade about Hillary Clinton's voice, when was the last story about a male politician's voice presented? Sexism at its finest and from a female commentator. How dull, uninspiring, and disgusting. Kathleen Parker should know better.
A. R. Rinaldo