Don't rush to judgment on police
What ever happened to the phase, "You're innocent until found guilty in a court of law"? In case you don't know it, that goes for police officers too. Sure, there are bad police officers, just like there are bad judges, lawyers, ministers and even presidents. I could go on forever in this list, but most of them are good American people doing their job.
Those who are demonstrating around the country have probably had a run-in with the law at one time or another and it didn't go their way. And if they haven't, what are they doing on the streets demonstrating anyway? Then there are those who join the demonstrations so they can destroy private property and steal what they can. They are called thieves.
If Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, had been white, would all these demonstrations have happened? I'm neither white nor black. I'm brown, a Mexican American.
Robert Martinez Sr., Omaha
Safety for bicyclists was struck down
Currently, Nebraska law does not offer protection of a bicyclist within an intersection when mounted on his or her bicycle, even when it is part of a bike path. So, to retain any rights of way, the bicyclist must dismount, even when that intersection is regulated by lights or signs.
Thanks to the Nebraska Bicycling Alliance, which recognized this safety issue. With the aid of three attorneys who ride bicycles, Sen. Rick Kolowski of Omaha introduced Legislative Bill 39. The bill proposed changes to bicycle laws to protect bicyclists both on trails and highways. But the bill never made it out of committee.
Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue introduced LB 641 with similar language to LB 39. Garrett's bill would, in effect, provide right-of-way protections for bicyclists while on a sidewalk or bike trail. Incredibly, the committee passed an amendment that removed bicycles from the list of protected devices in those intersections.
May is National Bike Month, so bicyclists should remind their children that they have no right of way while mounted on their bicycles in intersections, thanks to Sens. Jim Smith, Lydia Brasch, Beau McCoy and other Transportation & Telecommunications Committee members who failed to advance legislation that would make it safer for bicyclists.
Why reward lawbreakers with licenses?
What part of "illegal" do some elected officials not understand? It appears that a majority of the Legislature favors giving immigrants in our state illegally the advantage of having state driver's licenses.
Illegal immigrants already have been responsible for draining Nebraska taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars for welfare, health care, education and incarceration costs. Now, legislators like John McCollister and Jeremy Nordquist want to reward them by giving them driver's licenses.
These legislators are accommodating a lobby that represents an illegal industry worth billions of dollars in the U.S. — under-the-table, lowcost labor provided by illegal immigrants. Thisis no different than if they were accommodating drug dealers, bookies or people in any other illegal activity.
They want to give this advantage to so-called Dreamers who have been given a legal status by executive order of President Barack Obama. Many Americans and members of Congress say the president's order is not a legal act. This has been confirmed by two federal courts and now awaits a third court decision.
Mustangs win big with new hire
Final score (on the hiring of award-winning teacher Matthew Eledge): Millard North 100, Omaha Skutt 0.
Face up to trucking's road costs
Larry Johnson, president of the Nebraska Trucking Association, indicated (March 13 Midlands Voices) that commercial trucking wishes to add its voice to the call for increased investment in Nebraska's roads. He states that even the Nebraska Trucking Association is willing to pay its fair share. Such a statement should call for a public accounting of what is the actual roadway cost of their operations and what percentage payment they have been making for it.
Such questioning in the past has been met by such sweeping statements as commercial trucking paying 44 percent of the total taxes and fees paid for all vehicles in Nebraska. This figure warrants definite scrutiny and specially when neglecting to indicate whether it includes that payment made by pickups, light trucks, etc.
As to commercial trucks representing only 10 percent of all vehicle-miles traveled in Nebraska, Johnson is essentially talking about heavy trucks with an axle load of 18,000 pounds versus automobiles with an axle load of 1,800 pounds or less. Highway engineers will point out that axle load is the main factor producing wear and breakdown of roadways and bridges, and that this effect doesn't increase linearly but exponentially with loading.
Past road tests do confirm that heavy trucks cause roughly 95 percent of all highway and bridge wear and breakdown. A practical approach to collect trucking's fair share of road costs would be yearly tax and fee increases until they cover a proportional share.
Omaha streets have never been worse
I've driven the streets of Omaha for over 50 years and must say our streets are in the worst condition I have ever experienced. I'm not going to lay this at the feet of our mayor, though. Our pothole problem has been decades in the making. Temporary cold patches that blow out with the next freeze-and-thaw year after year have brought us to this point.
This is the first full week in May with very little inclement weather, and our thoroughfares are in inexcusable repair. I can understand secondary and neighborhood streets not patched, but we should not have to drive major streets with potholes so big and deep that they bottom out a full-size truck.
I have witnessed drivers weaving in and out of traffic to avoid hitting the holes in their lane, which leads to dangerous driving situations. I would suggest to the administration and street maintenance department that they forgo any planned street projects until all the potholes have been repaired properly.
William R. Gottsch,Omaha
Kudos to city on Pacific potholes
The wait was worth it. The chuckholes that dominated Pacific Street west from 90th Street have been eliminated by a beautiful job of blacktop resurfacing. And hats off to the city for using a contractor (Omni Engineering) that does a great job in a most timely manner.
Cursive or not, it's about legibility
Is cursive still worth it? I don't know. What I do know from the two pictures in the May 5 World-Herald is that these children will have a hard time developing good-looking, readable printing or cursive unless someone works with them to teach them to hold a pencil correctly.
Holding a pen or a pencil between the thumb and the first two fingers allows maximum movement up and down, side to side. This also allows the writer to produce letters without moving the hand off the paper, giving the writer more stability and balance. This way of holding a pencil is not natural and is something that must be practiced.
There are several grips that can be purchased cheaply that can be added to pencils. This must be something that has fallen to budget cuts. Parents and grandparents can still purchase them from educational stores and websites. To me, a teacher, it doesn't matter if my students print or write. What is important is that I can read it.
Stephanie Goltz,Plattsmouth, Neb.
Musician shows his humanitarian side
The 100,000 fans who snapped up tickets to the six Garth Brooks Omaha concerts justifiably admire his musical talent. I admire him for another reason. He is a giving, caring person.
I, along with five other Omahans, joined 400 Habitat for Humanity volunteers to build houses in earthquake-devastated Haiti as part of a Carter Work Project. In one week in 2011, we built 100 houses. There on the worksite were Garth Brooks and his wife, Trisha Year wood. We saw them every day because the house they and their team were building was right next to ours.
Despite the oppressive heat and humidity, Garth was there hefting walls into place, scrambling up into the rafters to nail them in place and doing the hundreds of tasks it takes to build a house. In the evening as we were working our way through the chow line, it was a surprise to see Garth ladling out green beans to us tired workers. He was always friendly and willing to pose for photos with the Habitat volunteers.
I admire Garth and Trisha for their monetary support of meaningful causes. I admire them more because they are willing to give of their time and themselves.