Phone-addicted drivers a menace to everyone

To the editor:

Jim Day’s Thursday cartoon showing a driver with a cell phone sitting with the Grim Reaper could have not been more appropriate. As an 18-year resident of Las Vegas and a police officer, I must say the drivers in this city are out of control.

In the past six months, while off duty, I have nearly been involved in almost two dozen serious accidents. In every case, the driver of the other car has been on a cell phone, was speeding and paying no attention to driving. Had I not had the benefit of high-risk driving training, I probably would not be alive today. Worse, my family has been with me on many of those near misses.

With no emergency equipment on my personal car to conduct stops on these vehicles, I have had to watch in frustration as these maniacs go unpunished. In addition, trying to call for on-duty assistance while staying in sight of the reckless drivers would create a hazard to other drivers.

We live in an extremely narcissistic community where many people have no concern about anyone but themselves. Local right-wingers scream about the “nanny state” and how we should not protect people from themselves. That is an unrealistic and, frankly, ignorant view of current contemporary issues.

I don’t grieve if some freedom loving nihilists leave their seat belts off, use their cell phones, speed, roll their cars and kill themselves. What I care about is these people eradicating innocent people. Ask any traffic cop who is normally killed in traffic collisions, and it’s rarely the people at fault.

The Legislature needs to show some guts and protect us with more stringent traffic laws. The last time I checked, the privilege to drive is not a constitutional right. If one wishes to buy a huge mode of transportation that they can operate with impunity, they can buy a horse.

Ruben Hood

HENDERSON

Peaceful protests

To the editor:

Perhaps Jim Day’s Review-Journal cartoons are so crudely drawn because he is leaning so far to the left most of the time. In his Wednesday cartoon he lambastes “tea party” protesters as Kool-Aid drinkers. Interesting that this left-wing loon chooses to paraphrase one of Bill O’Reilly’s favorite comments.

Tea party protests are a movement of the people, by the people and for the people. It is democracy in action, open to everybody regardless of political affiliation. We are protesting peacefully for as long as this freedom is still available to us.

Last I checked, this is still a country that holds dear those values — at least for now.

Norman Yeager

HENDERSON

Train wreck

To the editor:

Sen. Harry Reid gets Nevada its fair share of federal tax dollars? Where’s the beef?

President Obama on Thursday unveiled his plan for a nationwide system of high-speed rail lines, identifying 10 potential corridors that are eligible for stimulus cash and signaling that more federal funding will follow. Working with Senate Majority Leader Reid, President Obama secured $8 billion for high-speed rail in the $787 billion economic stimulus.

The president has called for an additional $5 billion investment over the next five years and has said that more federal cash, for long-term planning and development, will likely come from the upcoming national surface transportation authorization, which will provide the bulk of federal funding for roads, rail and transit for the next six years.

Nowhere in this plan is the Las Vegas to Southern California high-speed rail line that Sen. Reid touted when securing the $8 billion.

Nevadans really need to ask who Sen. Reid is representing in Washington, D.C. If he were an effective senator for the state of Nevada, he would be able to bring in Nevada its fair share of federal funding.

Since Harry Reid has been a senator, Nevada has ranked at or near the bottom for federal dollars returned to states.

Sen. Reid is good at getting re-election funds when he should be focused on doing the job Nevada elected him to do.

Nevadans should compare Nevada’s share of federal money with other states to measure Sen. Reid’s job performance, not how many times he shows up on TV.

Kevin Harbert

LAS VEGAS

New vote needed

To the editor:

Gov. Jim Gibbons announced he intends to veto a domestic partnership bill if it passes the Legislature (“Same-sex bill in cross hairs,” Wednesday Review-Journal). He stated, “I just don’t believe in it.”

I won’t go into what the governor apparently believes in concerning the sanctity of relationships; his divorce proceedings have made that pellucid.

What needs to be addressed are journalists, such as the Review-Journal’s Ed Vogel, who constantly bring up the fact that Nevadans enshrined legal bigotry against gays and lesbians into the Nevada Constitution in November 2002 by a 67 percent vote. It is not a benchmark; it was a snapshot.

Current polling by Nate Silver at www.fivethirtyeight.com shows that Nevada has now passed the 50 percent threshold in gay marriage acceptance. That is a major shift in opinion — more than 17 percent in a little over six years.

The time for Nevada to protect the security of our relationships and respect the integrity of our families is now. And now a majority of Nevadans would agree. It is just that simple.

Chandler Levrich

LAS VEGAS

Plastic bag tax

To the editor:

In response to your Sunday editorial on Senate Bill 397, which would tax plastic bags, a look into the future:

I went outside to get my newspaper, and there was the paperboy, who said “You owe me a dime for the plastic wrapper, so your paper wouldn’t get wet.” I refused to pay.

After reading my wet paper, I went shopping at the store, and in the fruit section I put apples, bananas, potatoes, celery and meat into those large, clear plastic bags (they’re everywhere).

Then, on to the checkout, where the clerk asked, “Paper or plastic?” Plastic would cost a dime a bag. I looked around and said no, just put the items in the cart, and that I would need some help to my car.

Needless to say, she gave me a bewildered look and said, “We don’t do that.” Finally I pulled some bags from my pocket (from a different store) and said, “Put them in here.”

The final straw was going to the dog park and finding that all the dog poop bags had been removed and replaced by — you guessed it — pay toilets at a cost of a dime.

This is all tongue-in-cheek, of course, but where would the costs of the bag tax end?

Vernon Pechous

HENDERSON

American KGB

To the editor:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a terror warning on the occasion of the April 15 tea parties in some 150 American cities. They are evidently not worried about Islamo-fascist terrorists any longer, but rather about Americans protesting taxes.

The Department of Homeland Security says, to quote:

“This product is one of a series of intelligence assessments published by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch to facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States. The information is provided to federal, state, local and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States. Federal efforts to influence domestic public opinion must be conducted in an overt and transparent manner, clearly identifying United States Government sponsorship.”

We need an “Extremism and Radicalization Branch” to defend us against the terrorist forces of the American right?

As a former refugee from a communist country, this sounds to me like our own, domestic KGB.

Marc Jeric

LAS VEGAS

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