John Branston's City Beat column (May 27th issue) could not have been more on target. The idea that those in charge of the mammoth budgets for the city of Memphis and for Memphis City Schools decided that the best place to start cutting expenses was by laying off the lowest-paid employees is a joke.
I happen to know that during the last few years of the Herenton administration, literally dozens of high-paying do-nothing positions were created and filled by Herenton cronies. These people in many cases are making six-figure salaries for decidedly "non-essential" positions. I'm not saying this is one of the positions, but the fact that, as Branston reported, the library's director of community outreach and special projects assistant makes $92,000 plus $21,000 in benefits, is indicative that there is much fat to be cut. The mayor and the superintendent need to start at the top, not with those at the bottom.
Walk the Walk
Your editorial in the May 27th issue was on target, so to speak. Those on the far-right fringe and their talk-radio and Fox News spokespeople can't have it both ways. They can't denigrate the government and everyone who works for it on one hand and then claim they have nothing to do with instigating their easily swayed fringe followers to acts of violence such as those in West Memphis last week.
You can't talk the talk and then say you have no responsibility when someone takes you seriously and walks the walk.
John R. Haley
Nowhere to Turn?
On Monday, my husband was at our local Circle K (Goodman and Airways), when he was approached by a young woman seeking money. We have all been accosted by someone at some time looking for cash for a variety of reasons. What made this young woman different was the fact that she was beaten up and had a copy of the police report with her. She had been beaten and robbed while in Southaven and was trying to get back home to Arizona.
Unfortunately, she came up to my husband after he had put his last $20 in the gas tank. Since he carries no plastic, he was unable to help her. She told him that the police had given her a five-dollar gas voucher to go towards getting home. Now, I don't expect the police to get this young woman or any other person back to their home in another state. However, she did tell my husband that the local churches she had been to refused to help her.
The church is the representative of the Body of Christ. As such, the church is to be the example for the community. I am ashamed of the example that was set by our local churches to this young woman. Any of these churches could have given her some money from petty cash or gone to the bank and cashed a check for her. To think that they just let her go and beg when they were obligated by the Bible they teach from to help her is outrageous.
I hope that any future visitors to our small town are not assaulted and left to fend for themselves. Now we know they truly have nowhere to turn.
The recent attempted car bombing in New York City by Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen who was born and raised in Pakistan, reveals the susceptibility of this country to acts of terrorism.
Although the explosive devices planted in New York City did not work, this event serves to point out that New York continues to be a target for terrorism. Other cities could be potential targets for Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists emanating from Middle East countries or by a minority of U.S. citizens with loyalties to these groups.
We have to carefully screen people trying to enter the U.S. from high-threat countries. We have to infiltrate agents into terrorist organizations outside and inside this country. We should report individuals who threaten this country or profess loyalty to countries and organizations that espouse the destruction of the U.S.
We need to tighten up and enact laws that will allow us to document individuals who gain naturalized American citizenship by marrying U.S. citizens and who might be threats to this country. Particular attention should be paid to applicants from countries that house, support, train, and promote terrorism.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, New Hampshire