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Letters - 10/19/2008

To the editor:

This weekend, thousands of faith communities around the country will be celebrating the Children's Sabbath as part of the Children's Defense Fund's 17th annual observance. The multi-faith National Observance of Children's Sabbaths movement seeks to inspire congregations and religious organizations to work on behalf of children through prayer, service and advocacy throughout the year.

This year's Children's Sabbath Manual contains many sobering and shocking statistics about children in our country. There is one in particular that I cannot get out of my head and heart: "A black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime." The manual goes on to say that "poverty is the largest driving force behind the pipeline crisis, exacerbated by race. Black children are more than three times as likely as white children to be born into poverty and to be poor, and are almost four times as likely to live in extreme poverty."

At Conyers Presbyterian Church, we have partnered with our neighbors at Pine Street Elementary School with a special Book Buddy Ministry. Volunteers from CPC read with second-graders at PSE every week. Most of the dear sweet second-graders we read with were born in 2001 and many of them are poor black boys. Our prayer is that they will not become a statistic on the cradle-to-prison pipeline.

Some may say that what we are doing is really a drop in the bucket, that the need in our community is just too big to do anything about. One response is to throw up our arms in defeat, another is to roll up our sleeves in action.

Imagine if all the faith communities in Conyers partnered with their closest neighborhood school. That would make lots of "drops in the bucket!" Maybe even enough to make that pipeline flow the other direction. Let's all pray that some day the Children's Defense Fund Manual statistics will read "a black boy born in 2009 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to college." And while we're praying, how about rolling up our sleeves and adding a drop to the bucket?

Cheryl McDermott

Director of Children's Ministry

Conyers Presbyterian Church

To the editor:

I am writing in support of the re-election of Jeff Wigington as Rockdale County sheriff. Jeff Wigington lives here and owns property here. He has spent his entire law enforcement career with the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office. He is a local person with a vested interest in the future of this county.

In this election, the future of the Sheriff's Office is at stake. Jeff Wigington has moved this department forward into the 21st century. We have state-of-the-art equipment, progressive programs, an aggressive enforcement philosophy and diverse recruitment. The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office is a well-respected member of the local law enforcement community, with excellent working relationships with the neighboring law enforcement agencies.

The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office has a group of professional dedicated people to serve and protect the people of Rockdale County. We need the continued leadership of Jeff Wigington. We do not need the Fulton County style of leadership his opponent would bring to the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office. I would remind the voters that Fulton County is the place where Brian Nichols escaped the custody of the Sheriff's Office and killed four people.

Fulton County is the place where the federal courts were forced to take over the jail because the Sheriff's Office couldn't manage the jail properly.

Fulton County is the place where a former sheriff was involved in an investment scandal of public funds that resulted in her removal from office. Fulton County is the place where another former sheriff was removed from office and replaced by a court-appointed successor. All of this happened since 1985, while the current Democrat candidate for sheriff of Rockdale County has been employed at Fulton County. That is the type of environment he has gotten his experience in and we do not need that here.

I encourage the voters of Rockdale County to re-elect Jeff Wigington sheriff of Rockdale County. Your vote is important. We need all of Jeff's supporters to turn out and vote, because this could be an election where a handful of votes will make the difference. Please keep local leadership in charge of your Sheriff's Office.

Vote Jeff Wigington for sheriff on Nov. 4.

Captain Chris Traylor

Rockdale County Sheriff's Office

To the editor:

Recently, you published a letter from Ab Roesel.

Never before have I been motivated enough to respond to such things. But I can't let that letter go unchallenged. Ab, you start off by painting a picture of the current administration with many adjectives, and act as though they apply only to this administration.

Incompetence, cronyism, deception, etc. can be found in part or total, unfortunately, throughout many of our presidential administrations. As to your list:

1) Regarding the Iraq war - partially accurate, partially not. The intelligence was at best faulty, WMDs were found but not in abundance, terrorists did train in Iraq, but a doubtful connection to the WTC.

2) Do you have proof of torture being used? I am only aware of claims from prisoners/enemy combatants. By the way, they are not U.S. citizens, so why do you think the Constitution applies? The Geneva Convention does not apply either. I believe you're just repeating somebody else's words/talking points there.

3) You mention Katrina. Mother Nature is to blame for the hurricane, not any politician. Yes, the FEMA response was not orchestrated well. You're blaming the entire Republican Party for that. Ridiculous. There was a Democratic administration over the city and state at that time. Blame individuals, not parties in that case. And by the way, a military man in the White House might make sure an operation of that magnitude was more efficient the next time.

4) You bring up Valerie Plame Wilson. An event that was thoroughly looked into by the Democratic Congress. Lots of noise. Blown out of proportion by a biased media. She was not endangered. Her career was not ruined. Compare that to the Clinton administration allowing sensitive satellite technology to go to China. How about the Carter administration's inability to free U.S. captives that were held in Iran. Keep things in perspective, Ab.

5) and 7) You mention the subprime mess and the economic mess we are currently in. Do you honestly believe that is the total fault of the Republicans? There is plenty of blame to go around. However, it has already been shown that the subprime mess started during the Clinton era. Bush asked for oversight. The Democrats said no. McCain was one of the voices that later, again, asked for oversight. The Democrats wouldn't allow a vote. Are you aware that Sen. Obama, early in his career, was one of the attorneys that dealt with class action suits forcing the big banks to provide more money for subprime loans?

Obama,and the Democrats, are actually entitled to a bigger percentage of the blame game than the Republicans.

6) Domestic spying - so what? Remember there has not been another attack on our soil since 9/11. We know there have been plots. Do you really object to the use of a tool that has possibly kept America safer?

8) McCain's voting record. You spout a talking point. Do you actually know what he voted for and against, and why? Have you researched Obama's record? Have you?

You allude to Obama's academic credentials. There is a world of difference between intelligence, knowledge, and common sense. I deal with highly intelligent people every week. Many of them, figuratively, don't know to come in from the rain. Intelligent people can fake other people into believing they are knowledgeable if they use the right vocabulary. Many knowledgeable people misapply or misuse their knowledge/skills (CPAs that cook the books, lawyers that find loopholes to set criminals free, safecrackers, to name a few). Many moderately schooled people are wealthy, and many intelligent people are not, simply due to application of common sense. If you're truly an honest person, common sense also should tell someone not to associate with extremists and criminals.

Final point - the mantra of change. People keep mishearing/misunderstanding this word. An illustration. If you change a baby's dirty diaper, and put on a different dirty diaper, you've got change. But you don't have improvement. Change isn't always good. What will change? Why change it? How will it be changed? What is the cost of that change? What will be the ramifications? Will the end result actually be better?

Dave Spencer

Conyers