Example 1: Writing a letter in favor of a proposed action
To the Editor of The Herald:
The U.S. House of Representatives has recently proposed a law (H.R. no. 396) that will ban the sale of cigarettes from vending machines. This is a landmark piece of legislation that everyone in our community should support right now.
Many people don't realize it, but vending machines are one of the main places that children are able to purchase cigarettes. In fact, it is estimated that 10% of all cigarettes purchased by minors take place at these machines. If this new legislation goes into effect, it will not only make it more difficult for youth to break the law by buying cigarettes, it will lower the chances of young people smoking in the first place
There are many reasons (besides the legal ones) why we should try to curb smoking by our children. 1) Research shows that most people who smoke started when they were underage. 2) Many people fear that smoking cigarettes serves as a "gateway" to harder drugs. 3) Smoking is a very expensive addiction (particularly for a teen who makes minimum wage) And, finally, 4) smoking can cause many life-shortening or fatal health problems (such as lung cancer and emphysema). Our young people would not smoke before they are really able to understand or accept the long-term consequences.
The vending-machine bill has been proposed, but now it needs to be passed. Your voice will count here. We encourage you to write or call the representative for your district (for those of us in District 8, that's Congresswoman Fisher) and let her know that you support her as she tries to get this legislation passed. The more support she gets, the more likely it is that this bill will become law. Contact Tobacco Free Youth for further information about this important issue.
Jonathan Friedman, Director
Tobacco Free Youth
123 Forest Road
Example 2: Writing a letter opposing a proposed action
To the editor of the Lawrence Journal World:
Bulldozers began moving dirt last week at Lawrence High School and the Centennial Virtual School, but city commissioners and school district officials have been bulldozing this community for months with an athletic facilities expansion plan that is fiscally irresponsible, unnecessarily redundant and probably illegal. Our elected officials have misled the public, violated zoning codes and set taxpayers up for a $10.3 million loan that will take 10 years to pay off and cost taxpayers $2.25 million in interest.
Why was the public repeatedly told that this project could be built with leftover bond money when those funds don’t even represent a third of the proposed budget?
Why is it necessary to build two separate football stadiums at a cost of $4 million?
Why is it inconceivable to parents that both teams could play in a shared stadium at FSHS? The situation would be no different than it is in swimming, where both schools compete at the Indoor Aquatic Center.
Why are city commissioners allowing the school district to build a stadium for 4,000 spectators at LHS without also requiring the district to provide the 1,300 parking spaces required by city zoning ordinances?
Why did the school district repeatedly assert that the proposed facilities would only disrupt neighbors a few nights a year when it clearly intended to lease the fields for nightly city softball, baseball and soccer games?
We need new leaders with a clear vision, a commitment to fiscal responsibility, and the ability to balance community and educational needs.
Jerry Schultz, Bob Tryanski, Jeanne Klein and 10 other signers,
Example 3: Writing a letter opposing a completed action
To the Editor of The Herald:
I am outraged by the County Commission's recent decision to terminate the lease of the Head Start program at the County Court House. With this decision, a much-needed, already under-funded program may simply have no place to go!
Head Start is a fantastic program. It makes sure that poor and other at-risk pre-school children will have the nutritious food and special attention they just may not get elsewhere. It gives these children a true "head start" in a world where they may not get many other chances. And there is plenty of evidence to show that Head Start makes a big difference to kids later in life.
The Commission's recent decision to oust the program to make more room for a ''state Gifts Shop" is ridiculous! If the leaders of our community would like to run a store to sell Kansas-made goods, I'm all for it. However, neither my Kansas pride nor my greed run so deep as to wish to take away the breakfast of 30 hungry three-year-olds. And I am deeply saddened to see that the County Commissioners value profits over people.
This decision is shameful to all who live in Dade County. The County Commissioners should reconsider the situation and revoke their decision immediately. I hope all readers will let the commissioners know how they feel about this terrible situation by calling them at 913-432-1200 or writing to them at the County Court House.
3960 Mount Hope Drive
Example 4: Writing a letter opposing a completed action
To the Editor of the Lawrence Journal World:
Are we to praise our City Officials and their crews for hauling away all of the remnants of a homeless site on our river east of the Northern Santa Fe Depot? Is this supposed to be retaliation for notifying our City authories of yet two more deaths on City premises--these of an 18-year-old and a 29-year-old--in their "sophisticated" (J-W, Nov. 1) homeless campsite down by our river?
Do we really think clearing out this makeshift campsite (four City dump trucks full) will solves our City's (and nation's) homeless crisis? --Or lessen the number of vulnerable people dying way before their time for lack of treatment and shelter in our community? Are these people being punished for suddenly coming into eyesight of our authorities by having reported these unfortunate --(and preventable) deaths?
How many homeless deaths will it take for this caring community to come up with constructive answers?
Perhaps the best we can do before winter sets in is to designate SOME area where the building of makeshift wood and cardboard shelters will NOT be razed--and some of us even might be willing to help in its rebuilding...
Perhaps these deaths and the devastation of their only "shelter" will spur us on to building that warm and decent shelter--able to serve more than the 31 hapless people now sleeping on thin mats, wall-to-wall, at our present homeless shelter --with winter coming...