Regain the High Ground
I will be opposing our incumbent for office due to the widespread corruption and the need to return Congress to a body of citizen leaders rather than puppets of big business and evangelical zealots. I am appalled that the media have not been more confrontive of this deteriorization in Congress and the White House. This is clearly a flirtation with fascism at the cost of tens of thousands of civilian lives and of our integrity as a nation. America has lost the high ground. It is time for action by voters.
Clear the Air
I commend Gov. Blanco and the state Legislature for protecting the public from secondhand smoke exposure by passing The Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act, which prohibits smoking in most public places, including restaurants, beginning Jan. 1. The law will also prohibit smoking on all K-12 school campuses, an important measure that will remove tobacco use from the norm in our school system.
While it is important to work toward policies that require workplaces such as bars, hotels and casinos to be smoke-free, we must also consider the importance of raising taxes on cigarettes in Louisiana. Studies in other states show that for every 10 percent increase in a state's cigarette tax, there is a 4 percent reduction in use by adults and a 7 percent decrease in use among youth.
In Louisiana, it is estimated that 26.5 percent of adults smoke and 9,000 kids become new daily smokers each year. Our legislators should educate themselves about the positive public-health effects of raising tobacco taxes. In the next legislative session, our legislators will have the opportunity to help reduce smoking rates for adults and especially youth by voting to increasing state taxes on cigarettes.
President of the Executive Leadership Council, American Cancer Society Greater New Orleans
He's No Hero
I quote from the article: "He (Congressman Bill Jefferson) has not backed down from the fight" ("With Friends Like These," Oct. 3). I don't know whether or not Mr. DuBos meant to make Congressman Jefferson sound heroic but that's the way it came across to me.
Rather than bravery, I think Jefferson's attitude reflects the arrogance that seems to be a qualification for local politicians -- Edwin Edwards did not run from his fight, either. The big difference is that black politicians like Jefferson always have the tired old "racial discrimination" defense to fall back on when seeking a free pass for their misdeeds.
Jefferson's handlers should realize that presumption of innocence applies only to a person's treatment within the justice system, while individuals and groups have every right make their own assumptions based on what whatever information they feel is accurate.
Thomas D. Freeman
One of the great benefits of being an American is that nobody will interfere with Michael Noonan's right to avert his gaze from This Modern World if he so chooses ("Letters, Sept. 28) nor should anyone prevent me from turning to that marvelous juvenalian satire as soon as I get my Gambit each Sunday. He can put a Bush-Cheney bumper sticker on his SUV if he wants, and I can put a "Worst President Ever" sticker on my Ford Escort: that's what living in a free and open society rather than in a theocratic dictatorship is all about.
Mayor Nagin campaigned as a reformist who would rid City Hall of corruption, but recently, much has come to light to raise some serious questions about this promise.
Nagin's involvement with Imagine Software, Greg Meffert and Mark St. Pierre's numerous companies clearly raises ethical and legal questions. Yacht scandal aside, it is unacceptable that emails are exchanged at City Hall between these Imagine contractors and their employees, strong-arming them into supporting certain political candidates.
While ducking this issue, Nagin announced a new trash service, providing few details. We're reminded of another event oddly lacking in transparency -- the appointment of Mark Kurt as CTO. We've since come to find he's entrenched in the questionable activities of City Hall.
Next, Nagin announced his support of "Cold Cash" Jefferson for re-election, citing he owes Jefferson a favor for supporting him. If these sort of Imagine/Jefferson-type favors exemplify how Nagin runs City Hall, then I think he owes us all a favor too; his resignation letter.