2016-07-21 / Opinion


Dogs Matter Too

To the Editor:

I would like to speak on behalf of our furry canine companions.

Each day upon sunrise we share a permitted morning walk together at the Middletown beaches. Dogs need exercise just like people. It’s essential for our well-being. We value this designated time we have together to bond and meet and greet other dogs, along with their wonderful owners.

It’s annoying to have our beaches policed by visitors and residents who apparently do not like dogs. There is no trouble on the beaches; all the owners pick up after their dogs and are off the beach by the required time allowed.

Our commonality and respect for nature and wildlife is mutual. As a friendly reminder, we respectfully make sure that all new dog owners are aware of the sensitive boundaries on the beach designated for wildlife reproduction.

We’re all here to share in this beautiful area together!

Please, let sleeping dogs lie, and live and let live.

Magic and Karen LeBlanc

Repeal Voter ID Restrictions

To the Editor:

I am very concerned that you may not vote this November. For many, this year’s presidential election does not provide us with two candidates with strong personal integrity. The temptation is not to vote at all. A bad decision.

I am also concerned that a substantial percentage of people who would otherwise be qualified to vote will not be able to vote because they do not possess the requisite identification. Some may say these requirements prevent voter fraud. That is a fiction which has found far too much traction. An analysis by The Washington Post found that among more than one billion votes cast in elections from 2000 to 2014, just 31 credible incidences of voter fraud would have been prevented by ID laws. Yet, as many as 11 percent of eligible voters– some 21 million people–lack the requisite ID. Here is another statistic for you to think about: Nearly 1 in 5 citizens over 65–about 8 million– lack a current, government-issued photo ID, a 2006 Brennan Center study found. Justice Brennan, you may recall, was the author of the famous Supreme Court decision in Baker v. Carr which recites the principal of one man, one vote. I am one of his biggest fans.

Unfortunately, Rhode Island, like many other states, was talked into passing legislation that imposed voter ID requirements. For what purpose? I have written on this topic before. It is a not-so-subtle attempt to disenfranchise the franchised.

I seem to recall then–candidate and now–Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea promising to do what she could to repeal these restraints. I am not aware that anything has improved.

The governor, secretary of state and legislature should get together and repeal these restrictions. In the meantime, a person who appears at the poll without a requisite ID should be allowed to sign an affidavit to be notarized, confirming immediately who they are and eliminate the provisional ballot. Who came up with that idea in the first place?

This is a non-partisan issue. It has nothing to do with whom you favor as president. It has everything to do with how much you value your right to vote and the rights of others to do the same. Lobby your legislators. Feel free to send a copy of this letter to any of your elected representatives.

Joseph M. Hall, Esq.

Not Refreshing

To the Editor:

While I respect Army General Michael Flynn's service to our country, I find it disturbing that he would call Donald Trump "positive and refreshing." After all, hasn't he insulted women, Mexicans, Indians, Muslims, the disabled, a war hero and any journalist who has challenged him? As a person who has worked in state government for many years, I would like to assure him that social service programs in the U.S. that are federally and state funded are not even close to the "socialism" level. On the contrary, they are underfunded.

Alice Ellovich

A Tale of Two Bastille Days

To the Editor:

Sixty members of the Alliance Française of Newport celebrated Bastille Day in a very special way this year. AFN members Bob and Claire Velardi laid a wreath created by member Cindy Dressler at the Rochambeau statue in King Park. AFN member George Antone provided historical perspective about the links between France and our country.

Benedict Leca, Ph.D., executive director of the Redwood Library, spoke about the art of Cézanne as we continued our celebration at the Redwood. We sang a rousing Marseillaise. And we were safe.

Contrast this with 30,000-plus people gathered by the water with their families listening to music and watching fireworks in Nice for their Bastille Day celebration. And they were not safe.

The members of the Alliance Française of Newport are shocked and saddened by the horrific attacks on the citizens of Nice. There has been a strong bond between the people of both of our countries for more than two centuries. Our shared commitment to liberté, égalité and fraternité unites us against the forces of evil that carried out this massacre.

French Ambassador Gérard Araud observed in an interview on July 15, “The French and the Americans are fighting side by side against the same enemy.”

We are keeping the victims of the attacks, their families and all the citizens of France in our thoughts and prayers.

Vive la France!

Mary-Gail Smith, President
Alliance Française of Newport

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