Letters to the editor for Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014
December 15, 2014
Net neutrality should be an issue we can all agree on
An open letter to Rep. Amodei, Sen. Heller, and Sen. Reid —
Net neutrality should be a bipartisan issue that all could agree upon. All consumers of the Internet want fair and unfettered access to the websites of their choice. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing revolving door from corporate lobbyist to governmental agent fairness is not about the people, but rather their own private interests.
Currently, former cable lobbyist and FCC Chair Tom Wheeler and other key decision-makers aren't listening to the millions of Americans who have spoken out in favor of net neutrality. That is why my letter is addressed to those that are supposed to represent their constituents (that means citizens, and not your own corporate backers).
The big Telecoms, such as Comcast and Verizon, are lobbying hard against net neutrality, not on the behalf of their consumers, but rather for their shareholders' bottom line, and FCC is dragging its feet on the decision of net neutrality hoping to find a sneaky way to give giant telecoms new powers to slow down our favorite websites whenever they like.
Big Telecoms want new rules that would make our Internet more expensive, while slowing every website that can't pay expensive new prioritization fees. This would be disservice to the American public and would be a blow to a democratic government. Without the ability to have continued net neutrality, it will eliminate our ability to have free discourse across the Internet. Bottom line, freedom of speech would be eliminated.
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Find better solutions to prevent tragedy
Nothing is more tragic than the unnecessary loss of life, especially as a result of a serious problem between law enforcement and the public in our country. What can be done to help alleviate this divide?
First, the media should not be adding fuel to the fire. Instead, the message the media should send to the public is: When you are stopped by a peace officer, do as you are told and say: "Yes, sir" or "No, sir." Police officers have a difficult job and put up with a lot of abuse from the public. They can be put in danger at any time in the normal course of their work.
Regardless, enforcing the law against selling single cigarettes is an overreach; there are far more important ways officers should be spending their time. Certainly, no one should die as a result of selling a cigarette on the street. What have we become as a society?
There are better ways than a lethal choke hold to control someone resisting arrest. Trying to subdue a 350-pound man is very difficult by brute force. Why not use mace or some other chemical? Nets or ropes could be thrown to encircle the resistor's legs and arms to immobilize them.
With all of the talent and brains in this country, better solutions should be found to prevent such unnecessary, tragic deaths.
Time to vote Reid out of office
Sen. Harry Reid's blunders have resulted in permanent injury to the United States Senate, contributed to the defeat of Senate Democrats and damaged Nevada Democrats.
A hyperpartisan Democrat, Reid's 2013 decision to detonate the "nuclear option" in the Senate was a naked attempt to stack the federal courts. It ruptured relations with Republicans.
To protect Senate Democrats from controversial votes, Reid became "obstructionist in chief," refusing to consider bills passed by the House. In sidelining popular bills, Reid gave Senate Democrats no achievements thereby losing 9 seats and their Senate majority.
While railing about the "Koch Brothers," Reid's own Senate Majority PAC spent $26 million using desperate measures against Republicans.
Reid maneuvered Democrat candidate withdrawals; intervened in Republican primaries; and his PAC produced negative ads deemed "deceptive," "nonsensical," and "false" by fact checkers.
In Nevada, Reid broke his promise to recruit a "credible" Democrat candidate against Gov. Sandoval. Reid's failure contributed to suppressed Democratic turnout and a Republican sweep.
Reid's popularity has fallen to 21 percent favorable (Gallup). After their drubbing, Senate Democrats vented against Reid but retained him as leader with six voting "no." Reid insists he will seek another term in 2016 — during which he would turn 82. It's past time for Reid to go.
Understanding use of force
In response to Bo Statham's Dec. 11 commentary, I believe that the media and the public have not been informed as to how law enforcement is governed in the use of force.
As a law enforcement officer for 25 years and a professor of criminal justice for 15 years, I feel the need to explain a key element involving use of force incidents such as we recently witnessed in Ferguson and Cleveland.
Law enforcement use of force is judged according to Supreme Court case "Graham v. Connor." In that case the court articulated how a law enforcement officer is to consider use of force. The court stated an officer must take into account whether or not the suspect poses an immediate threat to the officer or others, whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.
Here is what the court said in its decision: "The reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with 20/20 hindsight. The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments-in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving-about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation. The test of reasonableness is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application."
Split-second decisions regarding use of force have to be made by officers and the courts understand that fact.
Don't let Congress cut pensions
Congress is negotiating to cut the pension benefits of some multi-employer pension plans in an effort to address estimated short-falls at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) in the distant future. This is being done behind closed doors and in a rush before Congress is slated to go home at the end of the week.
I urge your newspaper to publish an editorial stating this is the wrong course to take and stop all action on multi-employer pension plans until public hearings on specific legislative solutions are held in the new Congress.