We’ve got mail

To the editor:

Once again, the residents of Belleville have received requests from the police and fire unions for donations to their unions. This reader wonders why?

The request from the police union indicated the money will be used for the little league PBA team, high school programs, food baskets and to help with the general operations of this union. This reader learned that the phone is paid for by the taxpayers, and PBA headquarters is in the police station. What other expenses are we being asked to pick up?

Police and firefighters are an important part of the community. Most of them are greatly appreciated for their bravery and their bravery and they exhibit courtesy, professionalism, and respect to the public, their employers. A few police members, however, are bullies and arrogant. The police should not assume one is guilty when arresting someone, and should not abuse him.

The average professional receives a salary and benefits of at least $100,000 per year. This is probably more than twice what the rest of us receive from work or pension. They can retire much sooner than the rest of us. Why can’t they fund their own charities and union expenses?

It would be great if they would help start a Police Athletic League Club and, if not possible, volunteer to help staff a new recreation building to show our young people that they are concerned with their quality of life, and that they are paid to protect them, not intimidate them. Each officer can improve community relations by his or her attitude.

The teachers, the public workers, and other groups donate to the town with their money. It should be mentioned, the teachers have to pay for their four years of education and lose four years of income. The police and fire personnel not only get vocationally trained for free for a short time, but are paid.

The second concern is the perception that those who contribute will get better treatment. Putting these stickers on a house or car, gold shields on front car windows, carrying a business card from the police union will prevent us from getting that ticket or a hard time.

During contract negotiations, many local businesses put up signs prepared by the unions: “Support your local police and fire.” Did they feel under pressure to do so?

Do unions financially support our businesses? Decals, gold shields, union cards, stickers all over a car – do they invite special treatment? What happened to “liberty and justice for all?”

-David Harris


To the editor:

I was delighted to read the new USDA guidelines requiring schools to serve meals with twice as many fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, less sodium and fat, and no meat for breakfast. The guidelines were mandated by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act signed by President Obama in December of 2010 and will go into effect with the next school year.

The new guidelines offer a welcome change from USDA’s tradition of using the National School Lunch Program as a dumping ground for meat and dairy surpluses. Not surprisingly, 90% of American children are consuming excess fat, only 15% eat recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, and one-third have become overweight or obese. These early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

In recent years, Hawaii, California, New York, and Florida legislatures asked their schools to offer daily vegetarian options, and most school districts now do.  The Baltimore public school system offers its 80,000 students a complete weekly break from meat.

Parents should continue to insist on healthful plant-based school meals, snacks, and vending machine items.  They can consult www.fns.usda.gov/cnd, www.healthyschoollunches.org, and www.vrg.org/family.

-Kenneth Miller

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