Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

May 16 letters to the editor

Ignoring racism in history not the answer

Cynthia M. Allen worries about “… an unrelenting effort by a powerful few to frame everything … through the lens of race” (DP-05-12-21).

Candidates for a school board race in a “wealthy, well-educated and white” Texas suburb defeated candidates who wanted “critical race theory” taught. I’m not shocked.

When I tell people I grew up in the 1950s and ’60s in “the South,” on the west side of Baltimore County, they say, “That’s not the South. It wasn’t segregated.” Only it was.

My parents bought a new house in 1953 for less than $12,000, $100 down, $75 monthly for 25 years. There were two requirements: You had to be a veteran and you had to be white.

Our brand-new elementary school had no Black students until 1959, when I started fifth grade, and even then there were not more than five of them.

The places we went nearby — Gwynn Oak Amusement Park, Milford Mill Swim Club, Price’s Dairy — were all segregated. At my high school, Woodlawn, there were five Black students in my class of 400. At Forest Park High, across the line in Baltimore City, there were 22 White students out of 400 in the senior class in my year.

Yes, I took advantage of my white privilege, and I still do when it suits me, but I acknowledge it, which is something. Throughout my school career, the history of the Black population was never taught. We had no contact with Black kids. Our neighborhood didn’t integrate until 1968, by which time I was in college. Affluent, educated white people near Fort Worth don’t want their children to know the history of their country. Fine. It’s not right.

And the unsigned cartoon with the article about “woke” schools making people stupid, is, well, stupid.

Barry L. Wendell

How to divide W.Va. with one less representative

Single-delegate districts may pose a dilemma for some delegates because they must serve all their constituents, not just those who voted for them. In today’s polarized politics, that may be difficult. At a minimum, it will require statesmanship rather that political careerism and blind philosophy.

State senators will not face that dilemma as they will share the responsibilities of legislative agency and representation with another senator in the same district.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, we will have only two representatives going forward. To date, the only analytical redistricting map I’ve seen is the one suggested in WVU’s Daily Athenaeum in 2018. It divides the state into northern and southern districts with a line following the southern boundaries of Wood, Ritchie, Doddridge, Lewis, Upshur, Randolph, and Pendleton counties.

The northern district includes 28 counties (population 904,993), and the southern district includes 27 counties (population 910,864) of a total 2017 estimate of 1,815,857; about as close as arithmetic will get us, using county boundaries as the line between two districts that have their own general characteristics.

Our two congressional representatives will face expanded constituency workloads. Today, three representatives each serve about 600,000 people; our two future congresspeople will each serve about 900,000 people. That increases their constituencies by about 50%, a considerable increase in the face of political polarization and difficult issues.

I favor a north-south split because each district has unique characteristics in addition to the general issues facing the whole state.

With substantial hard and soft infrastructure problems looming, West Virginia’s redistricting for state and federal legislating should be of paramount concern to all of us. I hope those concerns will register in Capitol halls in Charleston and Washington through a thoughtful and equitable redistricting process and outcome for all West Virginians.

Bill Wyant

Biden plan funds mine reclamation efforts

 I am a resident of Morgantown, writing  to raise awareness pertaining to the issues West Virginia has with abandoned mines, and a potential solution to it.

Abandoned mines have plagued the mountain state with issues like flooding and acid mine drainage (AMD). A great example of these abandoned mines is the Richard Mine. This mine seeps thousands of pounds of AMD daily into Deckers Creek right here in Morgantown. This effectively compromises aquatic life by raising the acidity levels of the stream and can be noticed by its orange color. The AMD drainage from the Richard Mine contains metals such as manganese, iron and aluminum, and discharges at a rate of 292,000 pounds each year.

West Virginia and its coal fields have been plagued by issues caused by abandoned mines, but there is a potential solution to these ecological disasters.

President Biden’s “build back better” plan includes a plan and a task force to reclaim abandoned mines, and provides assistance to the communities that have been affected.

The goal of the plan is to clean up local economies and communities from the impacts of mining through a task force. This task force will address the backlog of reclamation and remediation needed to restore impacted communities and create 250,000 unionized job opportunities.

I urge the people of Morgantown and West Virginia to call their representatives and inform them of this issue and ask for their support of the American Jobs Plan. If this plan is supported, we can revitalize our communities, economies and environments for a brighter and cleaner future here in the Mountain State.

Eric Snyder

Disinformation, lies threaten our democracy

A nation cannot progress if truth and fact do not matter. These are the core tenets of democracy. Disinformation — funneled through social media, emboldened by radical groups and even a political party that has embraced it — does not bode well for a democratic country. Political representatives, local leaders, civic organizations, parents, teachers and the whole community must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy. As Rep. Liz Cheney said, “Freedom is powerful and fragile. We must speak the truth.”

Disinformation is not limited to politics, but crosses over to science and even reaches the school steps. The anti-vaccination movement is gaining momentum nationally and internationally. Ordinary citizens are more worried about bread and butter than all this political grandstanding.

The Biden administration’s people-centered COVID relief message is successful. The American Jobs Plan is also a people-centered approach, creating jobs and much-needed rebuilding of the infrastructure, benefiting all states.

The vaccination roll-out to target herd immunity must also involve local, parish and health care leaders, and public health messages aired frequently to reach the masses. We need to help teachers and parents guide young minds to develop critical thinking to discern right from wrong.

A joint effort is needed to reestablish reality.

Syamala Jagannathan

Recent brawl a sign that bars should stay closed

The brawl that happened on High Street was uncalled for. Maybe the bars should have stayed closed. The Uber driver was an innocent bystander. He shouldn’t have been beat up and his car damaged. He was not part of the fight.

What is wrong with people nowadays? Are they losing their minds? It’s not only in Morgantown — it’s all over the country.

People are shooting people when a disagreement happens and some of the shootings happen because the person doing the shooting should not have been able to own a gun in the first place.

If these people can’t control themselves, then they should stay out of the bars and, when they see trouble start, get away from the trouble as soon as possible.

Find all the people involved in the fight and make them pay for the man’s car they damaged. If people can’t act like they have some sense, then the bars need to be closed.

Ralph Correll