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Letters

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Letters to the editor

Firefighter budget cuts could prove disastrous

I was on the fire department for 25 years. I am not a stranger to the tightening of budget belts.

I have studied this year’s debate over finances involving the Fort Wayne Fire Department, and I am very concerned over the decisions. The department is going to operate with four fewer combat firefighters on duty every day next year compared to this year. These four fewer combat firefighters will probably mean that the squad will be shut down.

The department doesn’t dare shut down neighborhood equipment because of the backlash. There used to be two squads. A fire department squad is the equivalent of a police SWAT team. They cover the city and are in on every fire and normally are the most aggressive and well-trained firefighters simply because they make more runs.

We have had a squad for 50 years for a reason. We were awarded 96 combat firefighters daily in the past for a reason. Since that time we have gained population, area and tax dollars. We need more combat firefighters not fewer. Is it logical now to lower the manpower and weaken the department?

We need all of the experience and firefighters we can get on the fire scene. What kind of a Fire Department do you want? How safe do you want to keep the people of our city? Please allow your conscience to be your guide.

THOMAS McCOMB Fort Wayne

ACA’s legitimacy long since settled

In response to Richard Baker (no relation) (“Charismatic arrogance a dangerous path,” Oct. 27) and so many other letters I’ve seen lately, I wish people would not reiterate information that was wrong to begin with. There are some whoppers being passed around.

People aren’t bothering to educate themselves; rather, they just lash out as though ranting makes their opinion more accurate.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was not laid on the American people by President Barack Obama. It is a law passed by the House then by the Senate then returned to the House for a few amendments before it was passed then signed by Obama.

Obamacare is the law, and a Supreme Court ruling in 2012 affirmed its constitutionality. The court’s 5-4 decision upheld most of the law, including the controversial individual mandate that requires individuals to purchase health insurance or face a penalty.

The fact that the House has tried 40 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act and failed does not make it any less the law, and a president who refuses to engage with a rogue element of the Republican caucus of the House does not make him arrogant.

If you don’t like the law, then run for office and try to change or improve the law. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. And flapping your lips does no one a service, yourself included.

AMANDA BAKER Fort Wayne

Fact-based reasoning missing from screed

Robert Cooper (“With Obamacare, collapse of American dream plain to see,” Oct. 25) offers no direct criticism of the actual components of the Affordable Care Act. Rather, he makes alarmist conclusions about the state of our democratic republic evidently because, as he puts it, “health care for the little people will become society’s burden.”

Setting aside Cooper’s shameful “little people” characterization, I would probably agree with some of the specific policy criticisms that Cooper might be willing to offer. But it is Cooper’s failure to offer those policy critiques and, instead, make position-driven, unreasoned, generalized conclusions that is the problem. The tone and content of his letter is reflective of the biggest problem that plagues our increasingly polarized political discourse.

Robust, passionate, educated debate about the merits and content of public policy is the fuel that powers our democracy. Conclusory, alarmist, overreaching conclusions about the state of our democracy are the fuel that powers cynicism. And, ironically, it is Cooper’s approach that serves to prevent his desired change from occurring.

Political adversaries already know their colleagues’ positions. Continuing to argue for and about otherwise obvious positions, with no attention to substance, serves only to move the interested parties further apart. A policy-focused approach can open up healthy debate about the merits of legislation and allow the legitimate, but problematically unspoken, issues that people in Cooper’s position might have to be allowed to enter the political discourse.

Cooper concludes that, “(The ACA) alone will do more to bring down those pillars of American freedom and responsibility than all the others put together.” No, it will not. But, if that truly is Cooper’s fear, irrespective of how dramatic and alarmist such fear might be, he must offer assistance to his political allies by exposing the policy shortcomings of the ACA. I, perhaps, might actually be one of those political allies. It is his approach that keeps either of us from knowing as such.

CHRISTOPHER L. LaPAN Fort Wayne

‘Trickle-down equality’ benefits more than gays

In case you haven’t come across the phrase before, let me introduce “trickle-down equality.”

Trickle-down equality is why fighting for equal marriage on every level for LGBTQ people is extremely important in protecting our friends and family.

If the law sees a straight person and a gay person as absolutely identical in all matters dealing with the law, what reason will anyone have to get away with discrimination? Fewer people will see it as taboo; fewer people will have a reason to have an opinion about it because it won’t be a matter of opinion anymore. Equality in the eyes of the law will be reflected in the eyes of society. The equality will trickle down.

A strong voice of support from the majority is what will turn this dream into a reality. It’s not just about marriage. It’s about absolute equality, ending discrimination against a long-suffering community in America. It’s about making the United States, the land of the free, safe for everyone. Most of all, it’s about changing hearts and minds.

Make your voice heard in support of marriage equality for all – especially in our home, Indiana. Write a letter, make a phone call. There are plenty who stand with you. Help us dig the path for trickle-down equality. We have a chance for real change.

Let’s take that chance.

LINDSAY SPRUNGER Fort Wayne

GED is the reward for persistent son

My son has been working toward achieving his GED for the last eight years. Nothing has come easy for him. He was not able to walk until he was 4 and did not master speaking aloud until he was 12. He struggled through high school and received a certificate of completion.

Although he has had many hurdles in life, his determination and faith in himself kept him working toward this goal. This achievement was more than a piece of paper to my son. To him, this was a validation that he could do more. He signed himself up with the Literacy Alliance at United Methodist Church in New Haven in 2005. He fell short of his goal the first two times he took this test. Knowing this was his third and final attempt at this particular test, the pressure of preparing was close to unbearable.

My son received guidance and support from several gifted educators at the Literacy Alliance. They not only gave above and beyond what they had to, they cheered him on to success. He has been notified that he passed his GED.

I want to extend a very special and heartfelt thank you to Elaine Gee, Char Getz, Karen Limkemann and Dawn Burnside and many others for their dedication and numerous hours of teaching.

Donny is already signed up for tutoring to pursue his dreams of auto body repair.

His father and I were truly blessed to have Donny for a son, and I think his sisters would agree.

KAREN BURNSIDE New Haven

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