Letters

Letters Laws would hinder freedom

To the editor:

I find your assessment of the three proposed city ordinances disturbing. They certainly are not humorous, nor are they needed. I find them redundant, unenforceable and unconstitutional. Our city council needs to be reminded of the First Amendment to our Constitution. The one that bans the abridgement of free speech!

Redundant. We already have laws that cover public urination and defecation, fighting and violent behavior. We must have a noise ordinance, because a local bar has had to ask for an abatement for bands to play outside.

I have many questions about the rest of these ordinances. Who determines what is profane, vulgar and/or obscene? Do we use George Carlin's seven words? Is a word vulgar or obscene or is it the interpretation of that word by the receiving mind?

The only words I find offensive are those that are used to defame a people, culture or race. Do we leave the interpretation to a police officer, a minister or a panel of people or how about me?

What if an 8-year-old uses what someone considers a dirty word at recess? If I'm helping a friend shingle and a hammer hits my thumb, must I run around to see if there is a 12 or under child in the neighboring yards before I say what is going to come out of my mouth?

What is an unreasonable noise? Who defines it? Can I have someone arrested for playing heavy metal music because I don't like the sound? Can they have me arrested for playing country?

If I attend a council meeting and upset the mayor, can I be arrested for disturbing a lawful assembly? Would the hecklers at last week's Senate hearings been arrested if the hearing had been held in Vermillion?

What kind of act tends to corrupt public morals or outrages public decency? Again, who decides? I believe the public ought to be outraged that these ordinances have been proposed!

I think the council should hold off on voting on these ordinances and direct the city attorney to do some research. I think vulgarity and obscenity issues have already been addressed by the Supreme Court.

If they go ahead and pass them, I hope they put aside a defense fund because they would have the ACLU jumping for joy in Vermillion.

I also believe a good newspaperman would be outraged at this attempt to abridge free speech � could freedom of the press be next?

Cliff Deverell

Vermillion

Enforce laws already on books

To the editor:

As I was reading through your editorials about the proposed ordinance being considered by the city council, I was anticipating an April Fools joke. Suddenly I realized April 1 was a month ago and you weren't joking.

Passing laws just for the sake of having something in the books without enforcement is not good enough. If the council were concerned about noises, it would seem that they need to look into enforcing the dog barking ordinance on the books.

My area has had an explosion of barking dogs. Who is responsible for enforcing laws? Is it the city manager, code enforcement, police or city council? Anyone of these individuals could walk out of their back door or take a walk through neighborhoods and hear them anytime of the day or night.

The parks have signs posted "no dogs in park" but that doesn't stop people from bringing dogs to games when children are around. It would seem like the city would be concerned about dogs in light of what happened to a child recently here in Vermillion.

I would rather put up with a car stereo going past my place, which is seldom, to that of a dog that barks constantly.

Please enforce laws on the books before adding any more to the books.

Kenneth Wurtz

Vermillion

Step lightly

To the editor:

I find it most interesting the city council finds time to debate citation by police for foul, filthy language ��when it would seem equally or more important to clean up the vomit that makes it most charming to walk Main Street.

This is not an infrequent occurance, but daily, which makes your early morning walk revolting.

For later in the day business transactions � step lightly amongst the vomit or a more unpleasant situation might occur.

M. Evans

Vermillion

Fortunate to have Head Start

To the editor:

I hope many of you attended the Head Start open house on Friday, April 30 to see what a fine program we have.

I volunteer at the Head Start Center at the Middle School. At this location I have the opportunity to observe both the Head Start and the Early Childhood Program. Both of these programs are great learning opportunities for our children.

I want to commend the staff for their professionalism, kindness, patience and devotion to the children. We are fortunate to have such fine programs with capable staff. Thanks to all of you.

Marcy Lund

Vermillion

Recognize health care crisis

To the editor:

This week is National "Cover the Uninsured" Week. It is important that we recognize the grave health care crisis in this country, and this week recall that there are 43.6 million people in this country who lack health insurance, including 75,000 South Dakotans. Many, many more are underinsured. And though this issue will be in the spotlight this week, we must continue shining the light on it the other 51 weeks of the year.

Fixing this country's health care system is my number one priority and finding ways to expand quality, affordable health insurance to every American is imperative. Too many South Dakotans live with the fear that their next accident or illness will put them in a dire financial situation because they lack health coverage.

Sincerely,

Tom Daschle

Senate Minority Leader

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