TO THE EDITOR:
The problems of the backup of combined sewers due to large volumes of storm water can be partially eased by the implementation of water conservation measures by homeowners.
Reducing the water levels in sanitary drains leaves more space for storm water. And, installing water-saving toilets or placing toilet dams in tanks makes economic sense. Government agencies could provide incentives such as what Denver offered its residents recently: A rebate of $75 for each water-saving toilet purchased to replace an old standard model.
The Metropolitan Sewer District should make repairs on the worst lines first, without waiting for possible changes in funding. And we should all be taking steps to conserve water, whether our basements flood or not, or whether we have combined sewers, separate sanitary sewers, or septic systems in our homes.
Adele Bell, Anderson Township
Irresponsibility led to sewage in basements
The Sept. 14 editorial on the need to fix Hamilton County's broken sewer system was on target. Homeowners need immediate relief from raw sewage in their basements. As the Enquirer pointed out, this is an extremely costly problem to fix, but due to 30 years of neglect and poor public policy, the solution will be even more expensive than if public officials had acted responsibly a generation ago.
In fact, Hamilton County commissioners and Metropolitan Sewer District have worsened the sewer pollution problem in recent years by continuing to serve new development over repairing the existing sewer lines. MSD's "quick fix," which involves pumping the sewage out of basements and into our streets and streams, is as dangerous and illegal as current MSD policy of disregard. We can do better. The Sierra Club recommends that MSD establish and maintain holding tanks in the interim. The contents of the tanks must be pumped out and treated at MSD. This short-term solution prevents sewage backups in our basements, in our streams, and in our streets.
In the meantime, MSD must be held accountable for its actions, developers must pay fair and full fees to add new sewer lines, and sewage-in-basement victims deserve to be compensated for this threat to their property and health. MSD must also help residents with cleanup until the final solutions are complete. MSD must reprioritize its budget to fund these interim measures and work diligently and expediently to correct all sewer overflows permanently.
Andy Betts, Conservation chair, Sierra Club
Right to Life also condemns Hill
Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column of Sept. 5 ("Twisting God's commandment") cries out for a comment. I'm not speaking about his opinion of Paul Hill, who was recently executed in Florida for murdering an abortionist.
We in Right to Life have unequivocally condemned Hill for murder. He is not a pro-life person. In no way does he represent the pro-life movement, rather, exactly the opposite. We point to the fact that the real violence occurs inside the doors of abortion places, where 3,000 developing babies are killed every day. But we won't solve violence inside by perpetrating violence on the outside. Such violence flies totally in the face of the entire pro-life ethic.
Pitts states: "I find it chilling to think the government could force a woman to bear a child." We find it chilling to think that a government would allow a woman to directly kill her developing baby. He gives the pro-life movement "a certain moral weight," but then accuses it of "producing a zealot like Paul Hill."
Finally, Pitts notes that Hill believes that Jesus would have pulled the trigger on his gun. Clearly not in this world, but he has told us that there will be some divine retribution in the next. And that, of course, is totally for Him to judge, and not any one of us.
John C. Willke, President, Life Issues Institute Inc.
Iraq war's different, but the truth will out
Regarding the letter "Bush never predicted cost of war in Iraq," (Sept. 15), while it is true, offering no exact dollar amounts until after its latest round of tax cuts was approved, this administration did offer repeated reassurances that financially Iraq was a very different situation than Afghanistan due to its natural resources which would enable it to "shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction" (Ari Fleischer, Feb. 18, 2003). In March of this year, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz assured Congress, "We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
We were also told this was not a unilateral attack by the United States but a joint effort of a coalition of some 45 nations to invade Iraq and disarm Saddam Hussein, a coalition, according to Donald Rumsfeld, even larger than the alliance joining us in Gulf War I, in which much of the bill was paid by other countries.
As with nearly everything else about this war, the chasm between what we were told and what is actually occurring is not due to some figment of our collective imaginations but the inevitability that the truth will out.
Linda L. Gross, Western Hills
Don't risk my friends in war on terrorism
Terrorism needs to be abolished, but why does it have to be our families and friends who get rid of it? In the article "Cheney: War not over until enemies vanquished" (Sept. 9), Vice President Dick Cheney said: "We will stay in Afghanistan and Iraq to make absolutely sure the job is done. We will stay until we've wrapped up all the weapons of mass destruction, and we've eliminated all of those who are enemies of the United States."
Why does it have to be the United States that destroys this? In the past year, I have had at least four friends go into the military and then get word that they are being sent over to Iraq. I have also read the articles of all the men and women who have died while over there. I do not want to get news that one of those dead could be one of my friends.
I love this nation, but I believe that we are fighting a battle that we cannot win. People are handing over their money so it can get thrown down the drain. They are handing over their loved ones so they can fight against something that is almost impossible to beat. I see this as a personal issue because of my friends.
I want terrorism destroyed, but I don't want my friends or nation to go down with it.
Megan Zeiser, Westwood
Iraq is no echo of Vietnam war
This is in response to the letter ("Bush speech echoed Vietnam perfectly," Sept. 19). The writer compared the Sept 7 speech by President Bush to speeches given by former Presidents Johnson and Nixon during the Vietnam War saying only the location and amount of money is different. He goes on to say we are "Going down the same road to unending bloodshed" and "If you care about the fate of your children and grandchildren, speak up now, before 50,000 more are dead." The writer is wrong on both counts.
The American people are overwhelmingly behind the president and the troops in the war on terror. The same could not be said of Vietnam. Our troops are in Iraq now to protect the children and grandchildren the letter writer speaks of from the threat of another 9/11. The death of 301 United States troops since the outset of the Iraq War are to be mourned and grieved, but the job of our military is to commit to the ultimate sacrifice if necessary to protect the lives of our civilians.
If U.S. military deaths continue at the same rate, it would take over 166 years to reach the letter writer's number of 50,000 deaths. If our military is not fighting to stop the terrorists, that number could be reached in one day with the use of gas, bio-chemical weapons, or a suitcase nuke by a terrorist.
Andy Spaeth, Groesbeck
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