Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Feb. 7 letters to the editor

Objection to review board disappointing

I was saddened to learn from the article “Council forwards draft to Morrisey” (DP-02-03-21) that the Mon-Preston Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) conveyed, through a letter from their lawyer to Morgantown City Council, their plans to sue the city if a proposed ordinance to create a Police Advisory and Review Board passes.

Not only is the letter a bullying tactic, but the fact the FOP have attended planning meetings but not spoken up or offered input demonstrates a lack of good will and desire to be fully transparent and in partnership with our community.

Police Advisory and Review Boards are growing across the country as communities seek to protect citizens, particularly people of color and those in the LGBTQ community, from statistically charted incidences of extreme abuse and discriminatory practices. A Police Advisory and Review Board not only hears citizens’ grievances but also may review police practices and policies and give insight and advice from a citizen perspective.

Creating a Police Advisory and Review Board with the full participation of the Morgantown Police Department and the FOP has been attempted. However, no comments or input (except a letter of intent to sue) have been offered.

Full participation of the police is important. Participation would demonstrate they are making an effort to listen to citizens and would show they care about finding the best ways to serve our community under the law.

Sadly, the FOP’s intent is to sue. This is an unfortunate way to serve the citizens of Morgantown.

Susan Eason

Couple has great vaccine experience

We got our first vaccines Wednesday at the former Sears location. We signed up online, got called and were so pleased with the vaccine process which was organized, streamlined and speedy. Everyone showed great professionalism and wore smiles beneath their masks.  No wonder West Virginia is at the top of the nation!

Roger and Carol Craver

W.Va. senators opposed to long-term solutions

I’m not sure why this is so difficult to understand and to do. Many people are suffering from poverty in our state and our town. Others have more than they need. Part of the mandate of government is to solve problems. Solutions are being offered in the form of another short-term government payment, and the longer-term solution of a rise in minimum wage and investment in alternatives to the extraction economy.

And once again, our Washington senators are part of the opposition to this solution. They want things to move slowly (unless it benefits the rich, in which case it can happen immediately). They like the old-boys-club mentality of Charleston, where good ideas go to die and nothing is done to change a corrupt system. They act as if nothing should stand in the way of the transfer of West Virginia’s wealth to out-of-state (and international) folks who care nothing for our health, our water or our education system. They are proudly standing in the way of much-needed payments to their constituents, because the deficit matters when money is going to poor folks.

We need to keep pressuring them to return to reality. Call. Email. Write a letter. Let them know that you would really prefer that they represent the needs of West Virginians. Do this as individuals, as clubs and as church groups. Government for the people is only dead if we allow it to die.

Wes Bergen

Why aren’t disabilities prioritized for vaccines?

The COVID registration line is a joke. They cannot answer questions and are limited to only one person. Why do these overeducated ones with zero commonsense make things so difficult? Why are handicapped people not allowed to register unless they are over 65? If a cerebral palsy person cannot cough and cannot walk but is 55 (not allowed to register) that person cannot get a shot. Why can’t our regular doctors or pharmacists, who give us flu shots, simply give them? Why are people without access to computers punished?

Having had a stroke in 2016, I also am now handicapped. My mother is 90 and my brother is 54 with cerebral palsy, so the three of us cannot schedule our shots at the same time. Who do I leave behind? If something happens to the person left behind while getting the shot, am I in trouble? Or if I don’t get them the shots, am I in trouble?

The polite person on the “hotline” didn’t even know where in Fairmont shots were given. I am also responsible for 11 of my very scared and elderly neighbors. None have computers and are counting on their doctors to call them, so between the doctors’ offices and CVS, everyone I know — including me — will have to wait for our shots.

Finally, when calling to ask reporters at all local news departments, I was told each time that an article would be in a Sunday paper. You guessed it — no article, only statistics. Even simple news has become computer only, no news on where to go or what information is needed when you do get through. Again, sorry to say it, but many only buy papers on Sundays, so TV and Sunday papers are what is now used — not computers.

Robert D. Polino

Argument supported by cherry-picked facts

In his commentary (DP-01-29-21), Stuart Rothenberg worries that President Biden will be judged too leniently on the performance of the economy because he is starting his term taking over an economy hurt by the pandemic. Implied is that because he starts at a low point, he can only go up.

However, when mentioning President Reagan, Rothenberg stands this logic on its head. For that president, taking over a weak economy struggling with stagflation is pictured as a disadvantage. Rothenberg blames Carter for the stagflation of the 1970s, “forgetting” that it started during the Nixon administration. He then credits President Reagan with increasing interest rates to bring inflation under control.

However, the Federal Reserve, not the president, is charged with monetary policy, and interest rates were raised when Paul Volker, appointed by President Carter, was chair of the Fed. Inflation reached its peak in 1980. President Reagan was sworn in in 1981, when the rate of inflation was already declining. Mr. Rothenberg’s commentary is an example of cherry picking facts and using incorrect information to reach the desired conclusion, although it is far from the most egregious such example.

Peter Schaeffer

Words are powerful; use them to speak truth

In the midst of Martin Puchner’s article, “Language changes eroded U.S. democracy,” (1/30/21) lies a fact of life that bears remembering: “Even when (Victor) Klemperer’s analysis isn’t directly applicable, his work is a reminder of the weight words carry. Words can distort realities. … change values … and warp how we see the world.”

Using fiction in stories about actual events is not unusual and it has impact; books were inspirational, revelatory, and as such, the CIA found them “the most important weapon of strategic (long range) propaganda.” And Isaiah Berlin (c. 1945) said, “Writers … they deal in the dangerous commodity of ideas … persons who need a good deal of watching” (Duncan White, Cold Warriors: Writers Who Waged the Literary Cold War, 2019).

We are familiar with the words, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” but perhaps less familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright’s quip, “I’m all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.”

Our Constitution’s First Amendment permits and encourages speaking truth to our leaders and our fellow citizens. Let us, in so far as being human in a complex world will allow, pay homage to truth.

Bill Wyant

Can we stop talking about Sen. Cruz?

To Cynthia M. Allen: I saw your column in The Dominion Post (DP-02-01-21) with the headline “Ted Cruz is right; We need term limits for members of Congress.”

I’m not easily “triggered,” as people say nowadays, but that did it for me. Ted Cruz is a traitor and a bigot. He refused to certify the 2020 election despite the Trump administration losing 59 lawsuits while trying to overturn the results. Even after the attempted coup at the Capitol, he stuck with the rioters. He was one of only three people who refused to send Pete Buttigieg’s name to the full Senate for confirmation to the Department of Transportation. Whatever excuse he gave, I’m betting on anti-gay bias.

I know you’re a conservative columnist, and based in Texas, but Cruz deserves to never be mentioned in polite company again. I would support removing him from the Senate.

Barry Wendell

The irony of the war over GameStop stocks

Sometimes when the phone rings, you’re introduced to irony in a new way.

The caller, supposedly from Amazon, informs you a potentially fraudulent transaction has been attempted with the credit card associated with your Amazon account. Just press #1 and everything will be OK.

The irony is that the caller is the true scammer, and no such transaction was attempted, and so no scam was prevented.

That’s not the only irony we’ve heard about lately. The saga of GameStop (GME) stock has been in the business section and in news headlines. Healthy stock markets have short sales to allow traders to bet that a stock is too pricey. To sell a stock short, the trader borrows the shares with the promise of repurchasing them later and sells them. If the stock falls, the trader makes money, but sometimes the stock goes the other way, as Tesla (TSLA) famously proved this year. In that case, traders can suffer unlimited losses, and so called “hedge funds” lost billions on TSLA — remarkably, $38 billion.

Enter GameStop. Short sellers looked at this already beaten down stock and bet it would go lower, but a Reddit “army” bought the shares, making it go up. This causes what is called a “short squeeze” with the hedge fund traders racing to buy the stock that they had sold short.

The irony is that the Reddit army essentially bet the hedge funds would fold, just as the hedge funds were betting GameStop would fold.

But it’s not over. Now the hedge funds are getting more funds so they can beat the Reddit army, betting it will fold. As this high-stakes game continue, we realize only a few will win, because “someone is going to get hurt,” according Richard Fisher, the former Dallas Fed president. “As happens with crowd behavior, you end up having people come in at the end at a very high price and getting burned.”

We don’t know who will win the game, but we do know that the price will eventually come down to earth.

Steven Knudsen