I am writing on behalf of the board of Citizens to Preserve Overton Park (CPOP) in response to your October 30th article, "Privet Pull." Everyone who knows and loves the old-growth forest of Overton Park can agree that the careful removal of non-native invasive plant species, such as Chinese privet and English ivy, is a positive thing for the ecological health of our forest.
It is laudable that the leaders of Park Friends Inc. (PFI) wish to publicly demonstrate solidarity with the PFI member who was recently attacked in the park by two teenagers. However, it is deeply disappointing that the leaders of PFI chose to respond to this incident by privately lobbying Memphis Park Services to "thin out" a portion of the understory of the old-growth forest.
CPOP strongly disagrees with the notion that reducing plant density in the old forest is a viable or desirable way to reduce crime. Manicuring the understory of Overton Park will not make anyone safer; it will only create a brief illusion of safety for those who believe that natural forests are inherently scary.
Even if we assume that PFI's planned understory pruning will be strictly limited to non-native invasive species — which we can't, given that native poison ivy was wrongly identified in your article as an invasive species — the unmistakable message to our community is that the recent attack was somehow the fault of the forest itself. If a mugger jumped out from behind your car and attacked you, would you blame the car and slash its tires in revenge? Or would you blame the human being who made a conscious choice to hurt you?
If unruly shrubs and wildflowers are the only obstacles between us and a crime-free Overton Park, why not take this line of thought to its logical conclusion and bulldoze the forest? The reality is that forests don't hurt people. People hurt people. Let's not spread that hurt around with a knee-jerk attack on the integrity of the old-growth forest of Overton Park.
Naomi Van Tol, President
Citizens to Preserve Overton Park
I am awestruck. A year ago, I did not believe that Barack Obama could win the Democratic nomination for president. I further believed that he could not be elected if nominated. I voted in the primary for the other candidate, because I believed that candidate could be elected. Apparently, I wonderfully underestimated the emotional maturity of the American electorate.
I believed that there was still so much racial intolerance in this country that an African American could not be elected president in my lifetime or possibly ever. I stand chastised and congratulate my fellow voters on their choice. This election is a watershed in the history of our marvelous republic, and I am once again proud to be an American.
Both Parties Suck
In his "Rant" (October 30th issue), Randy Haspel thinks the solution to America's problems is in the Democratic Party.
Neither major party seeks true change. They both want to keep printing paper money, un-backed by silver and gold, contrary to the Constitution. This is stealing from my money's purchasing power.
Both parties will continue to obey the whims of the UN, NATO, NAFTA, etc., at the expense of the Constitution. Both parties will continue to spend more than $500 billion annually to keep our troops stationed in more than 150 countries during peacetime, contrary to the Constitution. Both will continue to misinterpret the constitutional term "general welfare" to include education, welfare benefits, and health care.
Whatever is not specified in the context of general welfare is the jurisdiction of the states. Both parties will lead us into a heavy-handed government that destroys incentives to produce quality goods and services as they "share the wealth."
Blah, blah, and bleat goes the election-opining by the Flyer, as much more important things occur in this world: Philadelphia wins the World Series! I'm sure your readers will join me in congratulating your publisher and nonpareil Phillies fan Kenneth Neill, who deserves a championship team after so many dog years.