Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Jan. 23 letters to the editor

Thank you to MLK Jr. Day participants

On behalf of the Community Coalition for Social Justice, it is my pleasure to thank those who contributed to the success of the 16th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Jan. 17.

The Community Coalition for Social Justice (CCSJ) and Main Street Morgantown cosponsored this virtual event with support from the West Virginia University Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Morgantown Mayor Jenny Selin welcomed everyone, and the City of Morgantown provided financial support.

Our theme was “respect.” We thank Bonnie Brown, coordinator of the WVU Native American Studies Program; Pete Giacobbi, vice president of the Morgantown Chapter of the National Organization for Women; Brad Grimes, program coordinator of the WVU LGBTQ+ Center; Rabbi Joe Hample, of Tree of Life Congregation; Anitra Hamilton, president of the Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP; Dr. Tim Nelms, of the Wild and Wonderful Humanists; and Marly Ynigues, chair of the Morgantown/Monongalia League of Women Voters Social Justice Committee, for their thoughtful and wide-ranging comments on our theme.

Music is important to our celebration. Al Anderson was our soloist. Jennifer Connoley led Mrs. Kimble’s Cheat Lake Elementary School second graders and Mrs. Kennison’s fourth graders in their songs. Alexandra Jackson conducted performances by Mylan Park third graders from Mrs. Smith’s and Mrs. Snyder’s classes. Jen Mattern conducted the North Elementary School choir. The WVU Paul Robeson Mahalia Jackson Gospel Choir, conducted by the Rev. Shirley Robinson and Dr. Alton Merrell, sang the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice.”

We appreciate the support of the NAACP. Dr. Florita Stubbs Montgomery presented “Let’s Respect Dr. King’s Words With Actions.” Her insightful critique of the dangers of teaching history that does not include everyone is available at www.ccsjwv.org/ccsj-news.html. You can find more information about CCSJ there. Marly Ynigues also streamed our event on the branch’s Facebook page.

Finally, we thank Barb Watkins, executive director of Main Street Morgantown, for her assistance with publicity, and the OLLI staff: Diane Cale, Jascenna Haislett and Michelle Klishis, who managed all the technology.

Barb Howe

DP’s Warner fact check ‘unprecedented’

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner never misses an opportunity to disseminate dangerous and misleading information about elections and federal voting rights legislation in newspapers across the state. Usually, his pronouncements receive no push back.

On Sunday, Jan. 16, in deference to the First Amendment, The Dominion Post published Secretary Warner’s most recent op-ed on elections. However, the piece was so riddled with misinformation that the DP added annotations in Warner’s piece and ran a detailed fact check right alongside it.

Unprecedented? I have never before seen anything like it. In any newspaper.

Let’s put this in context. Local journalism is struggling in a world of digital, cable and often worthless 24/7 “news” everywhere. We know the DP has been struggling, at least since the pandemic began. They have told us so.

Regardless, our local editorial page shows signs of thriving. The DP’s rebuttal of Warner’s op-ed last Sunday was not just good journalism. In the words of the late Rep. John R. Lewis, it was Good Trouble. I commend the DP for its courage. And I urge you to subscribe to keep local journalism alive.

Judy K. Ball

Support clean steel over ‘dirty’ imported steel

We need to support U.S. steel makers with a carbon border adjustment

Gov. Jim Justice and West Virginia state legislators are working hard to bring Nucor Steel to West Virginia through a bill aimed at bringing a $2.7 billion steel-making plant to Mason County.

According to its website, Nucor has sustainability as one of its core values. In an industry that is very energy intensive, Nucor has committed to a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity by 2030. Nucor’s goals will make CO2 emissions from its steel production go down to 77% less than today’s global steel making average.

In order to help make cleaner American steel like Nucor’s more competitive in a tough international market, it is only fair if foreign competitors pay the costs for their dirtier steel, since those costs will wind up being paid for by the taxpayers, who always seem to foot the bill for cleaning up after dirty companies.

One mechanism for helping companies like Nucor who are striving to clean up their industry is to put a price on carbon pollution coupled with a border adjustment tax. The border adjustment tax would be assessed on imported steel from companies who use dirtier, more carbon-intensive processes when making steel. This would increase the cost of the imported steel to a fair price that reflects the environmental damage inflicted by the dirtier product.

You can help make sure American steel has a level playing field by calling Sen. Manchin and Sen. Capito and asking them for a price on carbon, coupled with a border adjustment tax.

Steven Knudsen
Dana Siler

Morgantown must invest in police department

The Morgantown City Council has allocated half of its American Recovery Act funds on worthwhile projects, including a large investment in downtown-related projects — but no additional outlay for public safety.

Apparently the hope of city council is to move the homeless and others out of the downtown, thereby reducing nuisance and other more serious crimes. But hope has never been an effective law enforcement strategy.

The Morgantown Police Department is 20%-25% below authorized staffing levels. Two of the socialists on city council signed a pledge with the Morgantown Can’t Wait advocacy group to shift one-third of police and court budgets to other priorities. Since 90% of the MPD budget is personnel related, staffing levels are impacted by this pledge.

The morale in most police departments is low, including Morgantown’s, as city councils try to re-engineer law enforcement, and advocacy groups and the national media cast a negative light on law enforcement as a career. Thus, just doing the same old, same old won’t work in trying to recruit quality candidates.

There are 10 West Virginia colleges that offer criminal justice programs. And there are six West Virginia colleges that have a minority student enrollment in excess of 9%, including West Virginia State University — a historically Black college. West Virginia State offers a bachelor’s degree that forms the foundation of criminal justice education.

I suggest that the leadership team of the MPD visit the career services offices at these schools, set up information tables in their student union and speak with criminal justice students. Morgantown should conduct an off-site test — I suggest on the campus of West Virginia State University — on a Saturday in order to recruit applicants from the Charleston/Huntington area. And please use ARA funds to waive the test fee, which may be a hindrance for a financially struggling college student.

Dennis Poluga

Everyone needs to pay attention to legislation

I commend The Dominion Post editorial board for clearly pointing out the misstatements in the op-ed from Secretary of State Mac Warner, published Sunday, Jan. 16. We need more of this type of journalism, using the facts to refute public statements that are clearly untrue.

It is the duty, and hopefully the privilege, of good journalists to keep the public informed in an honest and unbiased manner. Even though I usually disagree with some of the columnists published on the editorial page, I commend the DP for presenting varied points of view, and I would expect the editors to fact check Democrats as well as Republicans if the need arises.

I assume that The Dominion Post will continue its excellent coverage of the 2022 legislative session, and I hope we will be kept apprised of any movement on the part of legislators to give that body any rights that might influence the outcome of an election.

In fact, we all need to be alert for any movement towards the types of voting restrictions that have been passed in several states since the 2020 election. Our secretary of state and our legislators should focus on making it easier for all West Virginians to cast their ballots.

Vicki Conner

Congratulations, Danielle Walker, on MLK Jr. award

Congratulations on your most prestigious award. You have done so much for our city, county and state. I am so proud of you and all of your hard work. You spend countless hours working for all of our West Virginia citizens. Special thanks to you for being the loving, kind, caring and most considerate person that we all know and love.

God has put you on this earth to help everyone in our state and other states that need your help and expertise. I sincerely appreciate you and all that you are doing to make our state a much nicer and safer state for all of our West Virginians and future residents to our state.

You are one-in-a-million and our hard working delegate who works to help everyone, no matter race, creed or color. You are always trying to help anyone in need, no matter how hard you have to work to help our West Virginia citizens.

You are one special lady. May God always bless you and your family, and bring you peace, happiness and good health.

Carol Ann Miller

Hoppy Kercheval wrong about the filibuster  

Although he concedes that “the filibuster is abused these days …,” Hoppy Kercheval argues that “eliminating the filibuster would plunge the Senate, and thus governance, deeper into the mire of tribal politics” (DP-1-14-22).

In so reasoning, Mr. Kercheval reveals that he is oblivious to how deep we have already sunk in the mire of tribal politics. He has not only forgotten what happened last year, but the Trump tribe’s current schemes for the midterm and presidential elections do not concern him.

Mr. Kercheval must have forgotten that in 2020 and on to 2021, the Trump tribe attempted to unlawfully intimidate, coerce and cajole state legislatures and election officials to change the election results.

When that failed, they toyed with a military coup but instead implemented a violent insurrection to try to change the election result in Congress. Having learned from the failed coup, the Trump tribe has now turned to the states in a scheme to legally disenfranchise voters, to change election results and to break the election process.

Federal voting rights legislation, which is languishing in the Senate, could protect the constitutionally guaranteed right to vote and to have each vote reliably counted, but for the obstruction of the Trump tribe preventing a floor vote.

Without the filibuster, the Trump tribe could not prevent 51 senators from cutting off debate, thus giving the legislation an up or down vote. With it, it takes 60 senators to agree to cut off debate and vote.

How can anyone fail to understand that the failure to pass this vital federal voting rights legislation, contrary to Mr. Kercheval’s opinion, will certainly undermine the equitable and peaceful transfer of power? It could even lead to the civil war that certain elements of our society yearn for.

Those who fear the imagined chaos that would result from a Senate without the filibuster are like owners of a burning house who reject assistance from firefighters for fear of water damage to a favorite paperback book.

Richard Cohen

‘Suppression’ not why voter turnout so low

To the hard left, anything short of handing a reluctant voter an unsolicited ballot and delivering it to a ballot box is considered “voter suppression.” We have eliminated real voter suppression, based on race, gender and economic status. But once again, the left has changed the meaning of words to create a strawman issue that supposedly requires immediate government response.

Any U.S. citizen 18 years or older, who is not a felon, can be eligible to vote in any jurisdiction in which he or she is a bona fide resident. Even in the most “suppressed” states, new voters have only to register a few weeks before an election — verifying identity and residence — to vote in person, again verifying identity. Can’t vote on Election Day? Request, receive and mail in (on time) an absentee ballot. Is that really too great a responsibility to bear for the right to vote?

Most, if not all, states coddle the voters by allowing in-person voting for a week or more before Election Day and by allowing voter registration at multiple venues, including DMV and welfare offices.

A study published in 2017 by the Pew Research Center showed that failure to vote was not due to suppression. Commonly cited reasons for not voting included dislike for politics, doubt that votes make a difference, lack of difference between candidates, disliking all candidates, privacy concerns, lack of convenience and inability to make an informed decision. Only 3% cited disability or language barrier

It is no coincidence that nearly all current and proposed laws that make voting effortless also make wholesale voter fraud very easy. The question of whether or not the outcome of the 2020 election was determined by widespread fraud is largely irrelevant. Faith in, and acceptance of, election results can come only if we can be confident that only verifiably eligible citizens vote (once each) and that the integrity of the vote tabulation is verifiably honest and accurate. The alternative is an acrimonious replay of the 2020 post-election turmoil.

Richard S. Kerr