Letters and Commentary

May 3, 2012
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Offshore Oil Drilling: It’s Back, and Louder than Ever

To the Editor:

Two years ago, at the first nation-wide “Hands Across the Sand” event, thousands and thousands of New Jerseyans joined hands on the beach to oppose offshore oil drilling in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.  One year ago, almost the entire New Jersey Congressional Delegation (Republicans and Democrats alike) stood strong and voted against a proposal to bring offshore oil drilling to the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in three decades.

Last week, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held a final hearing in Atlantic City looking for input from the public on their proposal to run harmful airgun arrays in the ocean up and down the Atlantic Coast pinpointing oil and gas deposits for future oil company extraction.  While the industry term “airgun array” suggests an innocuous impact, these surveys generate intense marine noise pollution that can be heard up to 1,800 miles away.

From Florida to the Delaware Bay, from the beach to beyond the continental shelf, these “seismic surveys” will fire blasts of sound loud enough to penetrate miles into the seafloor – impacting marine life, scuba divers, endangered species, and fisheries for tens of thousands of square miles, including off the Jersey coast.

Last week in Atlantic City we had the loudest, largest group attending a public hearing with fishermen, divers, boaters, business-owners, and ocean advocates lining up and calling out this disastrous plan for what it is: the first step toward offshore oil drilling.

And for what – to reduce gas prices? Federal studies show that even if economically recoverable oil was pinpointed, it would take decades for oil production to come online, and even then would reduce gas prices-at-the-pump by only $0.03 per gallon.  Oil and water don’t mix, and neither does a clean ocean economy (including fishing, boating, diving, and tourism) and Big Oil.

On behalf of our 135 organizations, Clean Ocean Action urges friends of the ocean to submit comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management at http://goo.gl/QlfCG to loudly voice their opposition to these proposed seismic surveys.

Cindy Zipf
Executive Director
Clean Ocean Action

Gov. Christie Must Continue Efforts to Make N.J. a Good Business State

To the Editor:

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council released its Business Tax Index 2012 earlier this week and indicated which states were considered the best and worst to start a new business. New Jersey ranked No. 49 in the nation, behind only the District of Columbia and the state of Minnesota, respectively.

I contend this annual report details just how borderline impossible it is to start a new business in our state.

I have started three businesses in New Jersey since 2001,VendorSeek.com, ImpactDirect, and WebiMax. and am the founder and CEO of WebiMax, based in Mount Laurel.

VendorSeek and WebiMax are two fast-growing tech sector companies that received virtually no recognition from New Jersey.

One of the main contributing factors to the hardship found in New Jersey small businesses includes high taxes and the regulatory burden on the private sector stemming from rising health care costs, energy costs, and lack of lending by financial institutions.

In addition, when I founded WebiMax in 2008, I was unable to secure any small business / Entrepreneurship loans from financial institutions which caused me to cash in personal investments to fund the launch of the company.

WebiMax has been able to navigate the challenging economic conditions and grow to a 150 personnel firm with revenue in excess of $10 million annually.  However, even with our success in three short years, the reality is there has been virtually no assistance from a tax and regulatory perspective, causing us to consider relocating to another state.

Gov. Christie (R-NJ) continues to reinforce his plan to make New Jersey one of the better states to operate a business, however none of his proposed tax relief has taken impact and continues to be propaganda in the ears of New Jersey-based small business owners and Entrepreneurs. I ask how serious is Gov. Christie about helping New Jersey?

Kenneth Wisnefski
Ocean City

Push Back on Attack on Women’s Rights

To the Editor:

Can you believe that in 2012, we still have to marshal significant resources to bring attention to women’s rights ­– to equality, to fair pay and to reproductive health care decisions?  On April 28, I attended a rally called “Unite Against the War on Women” that occurred at the Trenton State House.

With a few hundred nonpartisan men and women, this grassroots effort was organized in less than two months to hold this rally. Why? Because issues we thought we were closing the gaps on since the ‘60s and ‘70s are clearly under attack.

Political and religious extremists want all of us to follow their world-view and limit our liberty to make our own personal decisions.  These attempts to legislate away a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions severely affect all manner of women’s health, well-being, economic standing, ability to earn a living, and status as an equal in today’s society.

Regardless of how you label yourself:  Democrat, Republican, Independent or otherwise, rich or poor, young or old, religious or not, please wake up. Become more aware of the nuances of well-organized, misogynist attacks under way that are putting women’s liberty and freedom at risk. Unbelievably, legislation is being drafted across the country to eliminate access to contraception and family planning.
Political and religious extremists are colluding to bring us backwards.  We must push back.

Joan Gotti

May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month

To the Editor:

As we embark on this year’s Huntington’s Awareness Month we will proudly highlight the expanding list of HDSA Programs and Resources, the ongoing advocacy of the HD Parity Act and the events planned by our 46 chapters and affiliates.

However we believe it’s both essential for the HD Community, and the most impactful way to build awareness with those not affected by Huntington’s to tell the stories of real identifiable people who face the challenges of HD on a daily basis. Some are people with HD; others are caregivers; and we will also include clinicians, researchers and volunteers who have made HD their focus.

Each day during the month of May we will feature one of these “Faces of Huntington’s” on the national website and in email blasts. Please take a moment each day during May to read these stories – they will help reinforce why we all work so tirelessly to improve the quality of life for everyone affected by HD.

Please forward these Faces emails, or a link to them on the HDSA website (www.hdsa.org/facesofhd) to your friends and colleagues, and ask them to pass them on to their contacts as well. These inspirational tales are a powerful tool to help make people aware of how HD affects whole families and the devastation if brings.

If you visit www.hdsa.org/maymakeadifference you will find a selection of other activities that will help create greater awareness during the month of May.

Louise Vetter, CEO
Huntington’s Disease Society of America,
New York, N.Y.

Blue Star Families Recognize Those on the Homefront

To the Editor:

Military spouses are often called the backbone of our military. They do not wear an official uniform, but they support their service member through the ups and downs of military life. They keep the families on the home front motivated, and are continually dedicated to the well-being of the entire military family.

Being a military spouse is behind the scenes career for over 1.1 million spouses around the world. Blue Star Families would like to bring these spouses into the spotlight and ensure they get the thanks they more than deserve.

As a part of Operation Appreciation, we are always looking for simple ways to say thanks to our service members and military families. Because Military Spouses Day is celebrated in May, we thought it would be great to provide a simple, tangible way to thank military spouses for their endless dedication to their families and the mission of our military throughout the month.

To celebrate military spouses during the month of May, Blue Star Families is providing everyone the opportunity to request an Outstanding Military Spouse Certificate for the special military spouse in their life. By visiting our website http://bluestarfam.org/MilSpouseCertificates, anyone can submit their information to nominate the military spouse in their life for this award. Anyone is able to enter and receive a certificate for the military spouse in their life.

An opportunity is also available to request certificates for larger groups such as unit spouses, family readiness groups, or businesses. This is a great opportunity for groups to host a special luncheon, meeting or gathering to honor military spouses in their lives.

Blue Star Families
Washington, D.C.

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