Our obligation to assist
I read “Holiday jeer” (Nov. 15), and it was the first time a piece has moved me so much that I felt compelled to respond. Jama Smith's account of individuals placing prejudicial conditions on their giving was, frankly, disturbing.
Since it seems to matter to at least some in our community, I am a registered Republican with a “ethnic-sounding” name. I immigrated to this country 50 years ago, 30 of which I have spent in Allen County as a (taxpaying!) member of the medical community.
As a lifelong conservative, I can appreciate the argument for fiscal responsibility, and I believe in “giving a hand up rather than a handout.” I have come to learn, however, that this ideology does not always mesh with the realities of those in need, especially children.
My career has taught me that hardship, pain and suffering are equal opportunists. Regardless of our race or political affiliation, we all hurt the same, and we are all equally grateful to receive help when we need it. I have often marveled that there is a thin line separating me from some of my less fortunate brothers and sisters. Regardless of politics, there will always be marginalized people who need our help.
When we place restrictions on who is worthy of our charity, and when we let our worst assumptions become a barrier to helping those in need, we are the problem. It seems the last few years have made some more comfortable voicing these uninformed assumptions, and Smith's article is evidence that this hatefulness must be checked openly and vigorously.
Allen County is fortunate to have unheralded people giving selflessly of their time and resources; it is often the glue that holds this wonderful community together.
So, I urge all of us who can, to give this season – and in times to come – with an open heart and without condition.
Dr. Mohan K. Rao
A differing perspective
Jim Johnson's letter (”Nothing historic about campaign full of promises,” Nov. 13) is written with a droll cynicism that suggests he enjoyed composing it, but he misunderstands the Biden/Harris voter. We did not vote for them because we thought they would soon resolve the dilemmas of climate change, COVID-19 and systemic racism. Rather, the relief we have felt since Biden's victory is the result of finally having a president who at least perceives these issues to be problems worth solving.
Thank you to Rosa Salter Rodriguez for her story about the Amazon project (“Neighbors dismayed by Amazon construction,” Nov. 8). It hits close to home.
I have friends who saw that and thought of me because I have also been dismayed by the Allen County Department of Planning Services. I know the shell buildings near my neighborhood turned into a nightmare for all my neighbors, and the county hasn't done anything to correct its mistakes.
I have emailed and called planning services many times about consulting residents, so this article solidifies everything I know about how the department operates. I emailed the director several months ago to let the department know what's going on around my neighborhood, and they don't care. I have information going back more than 10 years on the developments in my neighborhood. They wouldn't live here after what they've done to destroy my neighborhood.
The planning department's mission statement says it is for responsible development and maintaining property values. I can show, using my neighborhood as an example, that the director and staff at the planning department have no accountability or oversight.
A lot of my neighbors are elderly and don't understand what's happened, but I do. I've tried, just like Rick Ritter, to figure out how earth-moving equipment that shakes your house is legal, and those backup beepers are a nightmare my neighborhood faces 24/7 to this very day. The planning department doesn't care if that kind of noise is happening several hundred feet from your house. In my case it happens at businesses half a mile away. I don't need backup alarms protecting me when I'm in my house more than 1,000 feet away.
I wish more citizens would take action.