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Letters to The Editor

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Voter ID is Good

Bruce VanWyngarden's column (Letter from the Editor, December 8th issue), equating voter photo identification with a poll tax is absurd. I live in Ohio, where photo identification is required, and I work at the voting facilities. If you do not have a driver's license, you can secure a photo identification card for $8.50. That is less than the cable television price that even the poorest people are able to afford. Without voter photo identification, people can vote for deceased people, imprisoned individuals, illegal immigrants, and those too lazy to vote.

In all the years that I have worked polling places I have had only one incident where an individual did not have photo ID with him and demanded to vote. That individual was a white doctor who did not want to go home and get his driver's license. He yelled, but he did not vote.

The voter photo-indentification law was passed by a Democratically controlled government in Ohio. For the editor to say it is to discourage blacks from voting and it is the Republicans who are encouraging it is ludicrous. To play the race card on this issue indicates that VanWyngarden is a racist who sees issues as attacks on black people, regardless of the logic.

Voter photo identification is good for blacks and whites, Democrats and Republicans, who want to see fraud eliminated at the polling both.

John Soutar
Troy, Ohio

Trolley Stop

It's good to add John Malmo's firsthand memories of the "turn-around" at the East End trolley stop (Letters to the Editor, December 1st issue) to our growing stock of information about this 1930 structure.

Other information from the Memphis Room of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center shows that, until late 1935, Poplar had an electric trolley on tracks as far east as Florence Street, where the East End trolley stop stands, just west of Cooper. One photo shows not only the tracks on Poplar between Belvedere and Evergreen but the trolley itself in front of the Ritz Theatre, now the Evergreen Theater, at 1705 Poplar. The photo could be from 1934 or as late as autumn 1935, when the tracks out and back and the median strip they occupied were cleared away.

The changeover on Poplar from the electric trolley to "gasoline driven motor coaches" is documented in both The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Press-Scimitar of September 12 and 13, 1935. The parade of 21 new motor coaches on Saturday the 13th would take riders for free "as long as the seats hold out."

Two months later, the papers cheered the "two 60-foot boulevards for east-west motor traffic" that would open shortly — "Poplar and Peabody with the street car tracks removed and the center strip paved."

John T. Dulaney
Preservation Memphis

I read John Malmo's letter to the editor with great interest concerning the Midtown Trolley Landmark. Yes, there were trolley tracks on Poplar. The trolley ran from Main, east to Crosstown (Cleveland), north on Crosstown to Overton Park, east on Overton Park through the Overton Park Zoo to National, then north on National to the National Cemetery. It was called the Number 3 National trolley.

The Number 5 Central-Poplar bus route began at the "turn-around" and went east on Poplar to Galloway, then made the Goodlett Street loop. I worked at Ray Gammons' Pit on Poplar, just east of Hollywood next door to where Rachel's is today. Several of us rode the No. 5 four or five days a week. 

C.L. Stockton
Memphis

Bad Year for Meat

The year 2011 was not a good one for the meat industry. In May, the World Cancer Research Fund advised limiting meat consumption to reduce the risk of bowel cancer. The August issue of The Lancet projected that on the current meat-based diet, half of the U.S. population will be obese by 2030. Also in August, salmonella contamination forced the world's largest meat processor, Cargill, to recall 36 million pounds of ground turkey. The University of Florida places the national financial burden of pathogens in meat products at $4 billion.

Then there were cruelty exposés. A March undercover investigation of the E6 Cattle Company in Texas showed workers bashing cows' heads with pickaxes and hammers. In November, ABC News publicized atrocious egg production conditions at Iowa's Sparboe Farms. Bills attempting to criminalize such investigations were defeated in Iowa, Minnesota, Florida, and New York.

Accordingly, USDA projects that Americans will consume 12.2 percent less meat in 2012 than in 2007. Every one of us can welcome this trend by resolving to cut our meat consumption in 2012.

Morris Furman
Memphis

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