News and Tribune

March 27, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For March 27


Reader: Poverty is not an easy fix

 

Thanks again go to Barbara Anderson for continuing to educate us with her recent guest column series, and for the work she does. 

Many people just don’t realize how difficult it is to climb out of poverty. It’s easy to say “finish school, postpone children” etc. Those are good middle-class values that we expect from people who are not middle class. 

What about children and youth who have the bad luck to come from a dysfunctional family — some witnessing or victims of abuse? Kids who were never taught even basic hygiene, never got an “allowance” and have no idea how to manage money, much less a household, and who have no responsible role models to learn from. 

Those of us who have been brought up in the middle or upper classes don’t have any idea what it’s like to be in high school and suddenly find yourself homeless. I know of at least two teenagers in that predicament, who were struggling to graduate while “couch surfing” or living in a car. Fortunately, each was eventually able to get into public housing and finish high school, thanks to the New Albany Housing Authority. Without even a secure roof over their heads, how can we expect a kid, or anyone, to succeed in life?

So many people are one illness, one layoff or one major car repair away from losing everything. It’s often one step forward, two steps back. Imagine trying to cobble together a living working two or three part-time, minimum-wage jobs with no benefits because full-time work is not available, or you don’t “qualify.” These are people for whom college is out of the question. At $300-plus a credit hour, even middle class students drop out or are overwhelmed by debt before they even begin their lives.

Being born into whatever family or circumstances is random. It’s essentially a roll of the dice. Some of us are members of the “lucky sperm” club, while others are born into destitution. The capacity to understand this, to see ourselves and our loved ones in the lives of others, is the great challenge we are all called to meet.

— Ruthanne Wolfe, New Albany

 

A warning about animal feeding operation push

 

For those of you who subscribe to your Indiana senators’ or representatives’ newsletters, you noticed how they talk about jobs, education, budgets, etc., of which all are important, but what they are not telling you about is there efforts to protect those Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and CFOs (smaller versions of CAFOs). 

They want to add an amendment to the state constitution to guarantee Hoosiers the right to hunt, fish and farm, which sounds good, except for the wording which says that no law shall be passed to prevent anyone who wants to start a CAFO or CFO from doing so. That takes control away from local communities and means if someone who owns property near your home wants to start a hog or chicken farm, there will be nothing you can do about it.

Other bills will prevent any community from passing any ordinances to regulate existing CAFOs/CFOs, protect them from lawsuits, any liability should the meat, milk or eggs they donate to charities contain deadly bacteria and excuse them should any “particulate matter” blow onto your property when they are spraying, spreading or trucking during “agricultural operations.” 

It seems our legislature is trying to protect the animal agriculture industry at the expense of us citizens by eliminating our property rights and the ability to protect our families from potential problems created by these farms.

I am very concerned about these matters. The residents of a county should be able to decide what they will or will not allow and the state should not be able to decide what regulations are best for each county. We should never give up that right to big animal agriculture operations.

For more detailed information and what we can do to stop this, please contact Hoosiers for Humane Animal Agriculture at H4HAA@Yahoo.com

— James Wilson, Speed