Inbox — June 15, 2011

Letters to the Editor

In the June 1 cover story “Meet Up, Break In,” a quote was incorrectly attributed to Ninjalicous, a Canadian urban explorer who died in 2005.

Fast Food Stamps
The Coalition for the Homeless is a nonprofit created to advocate for the homeless in Jefferson County. We are sorry to see that the proposal to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits or food stamps to be used for restaurant meals has gotten caught up in uninformed controversy that has nothing to do with what is best for those on food stamps.

After thorough investigation, the coalition strongly supports the use of food stamps for restaurant meals. Our reasoning is that food stamps can only be used for restaurant meals by three special populations (homeless, disabled and elderly) who either do not take advantage of the program or make unhealthy choices with their benefits because they do not have cooking facilities or are unable to cook for themselves.

Many are afraid that restaurant meals are more costly than groceries and could result in clients running out of benefits more quickly. It is important to know that the restaurant meals program requires reduced pricing that should help with this concern, and many homeless persons have said that without the program, they do not use food stamps at all, so this would be additional funding for them.

Many also feel that fast food restaurants that participate in these programs have many unhealthy options. It is our opinion that people often make poor food decisions, and that is not limited to restaurant meals or people on the food stamp program. Unhealthy options are just as available in groceries as in restaurants, and some people may be able to access more healthy options in a restaurant if they do not have the ability to cook.

Finally, we understand that implementation would require costs to an already strapped state budget. However, our review shows that the costs are not great and are limited mostly to the first months after the program’s start. To this end, the coalition would like to commit our time to educate local restaurants, especially those we feel would be convenient and offer healthy options for homeless, disabled and elderly clients in Jefferson County.
Natalie Harris, executive director, Coalition for the Homeless

Shell Game
Is there anyone — even among a group so slow to get it as the punditry — who still believes the “religious right” is anything more than the most obvious contradiction in terms in the nation’s history?

First, they drove a born-again Christian out of the White House and replaced him with a movie star who was the first president ever not to attend church regularly and who — unlike Jimmy Carter — never lifted a finger to restrict abortion, instead expending his energy removing food from the plates of the poor so as to have more money for wars.

Through sex-addicted televangelists, impeachment manager Henry Hyde’s 10-year-long affair and the Palin family’s “Do as I say, not as I do” circus, the commentators have politely genuflected to the fairytale that sexual licentiousness is somehow the left’s vulnerability.

Partisan morality was nothing more than a shell game, and now the high-priced commentators, cliché rattlers and Democratic Leadership Conference cave-in advocates must concede this and bid the cultural lie of family values a suddenly appropriate farewell of: “Hasta la vista, baby.”
George Morrison, Original Highlands