Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Nov. 26 letters to the editor

JPNA does not condone threats

Jerome Park Neighborhood Association (JPNA) was horrified to hear that Dani Ludwig and Pastor Stephen Prince were threatened online and sent hate mail. JPNA condemns those actions and also had nothing to do with the anonymous flyer that was distributed in our neighborhood.

We were also frustrated by a few neighbors at the Nov. 6 meeting about the shelter who behaved poorly because they thought they had no say in decisions about the shelter. They were misinformed. JPNA does our best to represent our neighborhood’s needs. If you have a concern, come to a meeting or talk to a JPNA member. You can find us through the city website.

I make these next comments as an individual, not a JPNA member: The Nov. 19 Dominion Post editorial stated that not all homeless people engage in drug use and criminal behavior. But unfortunately, a significant subset do. And in the past few years, Jerome Park has been victimized by that subset of people. They did drug deals next to children waiting for the school bus, stole packages off people’s porches, broke into cars and dropped used needles in people’s backyards. We got rid of most of them only in the last year or so.

The proposed shelter was very likely to bring some of those people back into our neighborhood. It was going to be open seven nights a week. It could not exclude anyone nor keep anyone inside if they wanted to leave. It would also have become a magnet for drug dealers, who would have used it as an outside meeting place to do drug deals.

Every neighbor I spoke to, including my angriest neighbors, are in favor of shelters in appropriately zoned locations. But our neighborhood is not an appropriate location and my neighbors don’t want to be victimized again. That’s why there was such an outcry about the shelter. We are glad it found a new home in an appropriate location.

Monica Andis
President, Jerome Park Neighborhood Association

Sabra UMC wasn’t suited for permanent shelter

In response to The Dominion Post’s editorial from last Sunday, Nov.  19, I believe it necessary to correct some misinformation that is circulating concerning the warming shelter that was proposed for Sabra United Methodist Church.

Over the past several winters, Sabra UMC hosted a warming shelter, but, by definition, a warming shelter is a temporary housing solution employed when temperatures drop to dangerously low levels. The Jerome Park Neighborhood Association members unanimously supported this shelter; however, problems arose, and the church decided not to continue hosting the shelter. The recent proposal submitted for Sabra UMC proposed a shelter that operated seven days a week from 7 p.m until 6 a.m. from December until March. This option no longer constitutes an emergency shelter but, rather, a semi-permanent shelter. For several reasons, there are issues with this. Those responsible for the shelter at Sabra UMC were simply not credentialed to operate a shelter, and it was clear that many considerations about the day-to-day operations of the shelter had not been addressed.

Furthermore, the church was not able to provide meals or showers for the clients, which are essential services for any shelter.

As for the flyer that circulated throughout the neighborhood, there is no question that it contained ad hominem assaults against Dani Ludwig, one of the organizers, penned anonymously by someone who undoubtedly hides behind fake identities on social media. Members of the neighborhood association, who also received the flyer, were appalled, especially since it was written anonymously. Those who cannot stand behind their words should not publish them in the first place. I hope the source of the document is investigated by local authorities so that those responsible can be held accountable.

Finally, for those working so diligently to assist the unhoused population, the decision to move the shelter to Hazel’s House of Hope was the right resolution. Individuals can now receive the assistance that they need from those who are trained and equipped to provide it.

Andrea Soccorsi
Jerome Park Neighborhood Association

LWV scorecard based on progressive goals

I was surprised in 2016 when the Monongalia County League of Women Voters partnered with the far-left Mountaineers For Progress advocacy group in order to conduct a candidate forum.

When Carrie Catt formed the nonpartisan League in 1920, she did so to assist in voter registration and advocated for voters’ rights. But today the League has adopted a number of progressive causes, including gun control, supporting the Kyoto Treaty, opposing the Keystone Pipeline, supporting universal health care, opposing school vouchers and supporting campaign finance reform.

So I wasn’t much surprised when the League released its Legislative Scorecard in the Oct. 22 edition of The Dominion Post. This year’s scorecard was based on “25 bills covering the League’s priorities.” The local progressives in the Legislature — Hansen and Walker — received the League’s highest local rating while conservatives — Statler, Warner and Chiarelli — received the lowest.

But for the college towns and a few neighborhoods — South Hills in Charleston, Edgewood in Wheeling and South Park in Morgantown — most of West Virginia is a conservative red. So if I wished to select 25 bills that most clearly identified with the interests of the population of this red state, I would have selected bills associated with gun rights, American exceptionalism, moral absolutism, family values, energy independence and support of fossil fuel projects. This scorecard would have resulted in high scores for Statler, Warner and Chiarelli and much lower scores for Hansen and Walker.

So when you see a scorecard in the paper suggesting that it provides “information which will help all voters feel more confident in making their choices among candidates,” make certain the information provided is based on your priorities and not the priorities of some advocacy group. The League may be nonpartisan but it is by its own admission progressive.

Dennis Poluga