Letters to the Editor

MONEY TALKS

To the Editor:
Ray Hartmann overlooks at least one interesting angle on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals' finding that big campaign-contribution money is actually a form of speech ("Commentary," "Money Doesn't Buy Politicians?" RFT, Dec. 2): Even if it is, might it not be considered obscene? What if it's going around saying something really filthy? I mean, you don't know where that money's been. A few years ago, officials found that a high proportion of the paper currency circulating in California -- the actual bills -- had traces of cocaine on them. It really makes you think. Maybe Californians should launder their money more frequently, for hygiene's sake. Or maybe we should ask our money who it's been shaking hands with.

Jesse Cohn

DOUBLE INDEMNITY

To the Editor:
What is it that Jeannette Batz has against insurance companies?
First, we hear the insipid sob story of a probable felon being turned down for HMO coverage ("Exclusion No. 39," RFT, Nov. 11). Now, it's a couple who leave several thousand dollars' worth of high-depreciation-factor music equipment in a very stealable (but underinsured) car overnight, and who are really surprised when the insurance company turns them down after it all gets stolen ("You're in Grabby Hands," RFT, Dec. 2).

Here's a big shock, everyone -- insurance companies aren't welfare. They are in business to turn a profit. And they don't make profits if they pay out on claims that turn out to be crimes because they know that they won't recover the cash.

If you buy a policy, you should read it first. Then you don't have to be surprised when something happens and you find you aren't covered.

Someone needs to give ol' Jeannette a reality pill. Then we won't have to be subjected to stories of people who cry "victim" because they don't want to work for a living or are too stupid to clean their cars out at night.

Anne C. Young

THE RIVER'S EDGE

To the Editor:
Thanks to Melinda Roth for her article "Of Wetlands and Wal-Marts" (RFT, Nov. 25). My, how time flies. It seems like just yesterday we were up to here in sandbags. Suddenly we all knew about the folly of building and rebuilding in the wetlands (at taxpayer expense).

Even 140 years ago an engineer tried to tell the Army Corps of Engineers that same thing. The pressure to "keep that water away from our businesses" put the levees up and sent the water down to the next town to worry about.

Now if we could just direct some of the team spirit I saw during the Flood of '93 into saving our environment!

Joan Murphy

WILD WEST (COUNTY)

To the Editor:
I read your "Commentary" on our deer problem ("Send in the Doe Boys," RFT, Nov. 25) here in Town & Country. I have always been a big fan of yours, so, needless to say, you really disappointed me on this one.

Your trivialization of our problem out here was too much. Gardens aside (and that's a whole other topic), to me the biggest problem is one of safety.

I was very lucky. My deer collision only resulted in the destruction of the front section of my car. The couple that was killed out here on Highway 40 by a deer collision wasn't so lucky. I found your smart-alecky approach really repulsive.

Joe Keller

To the Editor:
The outcry of some people against depopulating nuisance wildlife, especially to cull deer-herd size in Town & Country, is disingenuous. The fact is that hundreds of wildlife creatures are already killed annually in our community by disease, malnutrition and human intervention, and now many die because deer are destroying the habitat of their co-creatures. Deer/vehicle accidents inhumanely destroy about 80 deer every year, and this problem both escalates and is exacerbated by a deer population already three times more dense than the state Department of Conservation recommends for healthy populations and desirable suburban environments. Dozens of Bambis are killed or maimed by the sudden, severe application of sharp vehicle metal and other parts to deer bodies.

Even the most radical animal protectionists agree: Something must be done about the overpopulation of deer in Town & Country. Most folks tell us to "do whatever you have to do to cull the herd -- we have too many."

Neither torturous death by bumper nor slow starvation in a new location is humane. So, why are these options so preferred by some Town & Country residents to the swifter, less painful alternative of culling the herd using professional "bolting" techniques from the meat-packing industry? And why is translocation (an inhumane, almost always ultimately fatal process of removal to another location so they can be hunted and killed) an acceptable option for those who oppose skilled bolting?

One answer to both these questions is that "do nothing -- let nature take its course" and "translocation" allow their proponents the political, emotional and moral luxury of denial. Unwilling (or unable) to face up to honest solutions to a human and deer crisis that, in 1997, accounted for two human deaths, dozens of human injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage in our small municipality, the denial crowd screams "bloody murder" and "deer holocaust" when elected officials struggle to reach humane decisions. These officials heed not only the diverse voices of their constituents but also the multiple voices of state conservation officials and deer experts so we can authorize the most humane method of depopulating our out-of-control deer herds. The inhumane, lethal alternatives of "death by bumper" and "death by starvation and/or death by hunter in a distant county" seem to absolve those in denial to their own satisfaction of any "blood debt" for the deer.

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