Letters to the Editor Sept. 19, 2020

Joe’s the Man
Dear Editor
A friend asked me why I am voting for Joe Biden. I am voting for Joe’s life, his character, the choices he has made.
When he was a kid with a stammer, he could have retreated into angry silence, he chose to work hard to overcome it, years before we had modern therapies.
When life dealt him horrific blows, the death of his young wife and baby daughter, he could have become bitter, yet he turned to his Catholic faith and devoted himself to raising his two sons.
When his son died of cancer years later, Joe worked hard to keep his promise to Beau to stay involved in our country’s future.
When he became Vice President in 2009, he could have been a ceremonial VP, eyeballs blinded by the flash of photographers’ cameras. Instead, Joe worked hard to rescue General Motors and Chrysler, saving Michigan’s future for our children & grandchildren.
Joe showed himself to be mature, objective and focused when he chose Kamala Harris as his running mate, despite, (maybe because of) Senator Harris’ snappy come back during the nomination debates. Joe, even though she embarrassed him with her remarks, chose this smart, capable, and unafraid woman.
Uncushioned by inherited wealth, unimpressed by glamor or glitz, Joe is my pick. He does not have a cutesy phrase that fits on a baseball cap, doesn’t pretend to be excitingly attractive. In November, I will vote for this hard working, every day, ordinary “joe”.
Bonnie Beltramo
People over profit
Dear Editor,
MTA asks senators to put people over profit and vote no on sand and gravel mining legislation
The following statement from MTA Executive Director Neil Sheridan is in response to today’s Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on an MTA-opposed substitute version of Senate Bill 431, which virtually eliminates local government zoning and oversight authority over sand and gravel mining operations in Michigan.
The current substitute for Senate Bill 431 does nothing to alleviate local government concerns about this egregious and unnecessary overreach into the local planning and zoning process. MTA—with a coalition of organizations representing local government, schools and the environment—had put forth a compromise as a good-faith effort to resolve issues, but those provisions were not included in the substitute. It should go without saying that locally elected leaders can best respond to residents’ concerns and desires for what is right for their communities, and have a duty to balance protecting their residents against impacts on their quality of life with the need for access to aggregate. This bill is a betrayal of the zoning process and could result in detrimental effects to Michigan communities for decades to come. MTA urges senators to place people over profit, vote no on this bill, and allow communities to continue to have a voice in sand and gravel mining operations in their borders. We, along with the coalition, remain ready and willing to work with lawmakers on this issue that impacts residents and communities across the entire state.
Michigan Township Association
Return to learn
Dear Editor
Legislative Republicans announced their plans to ensure the safety of students as learning resumes in the fall.
The plan would invest $1.3 billion in restricted federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to ensure schools can reopen safely with both in-classroom and remote learning options. The Return to Learn Plan would also provide schools $800 per student to implement coronavirusrelated health measures, such as reducing class sizes, adopting a robust distance learning plan, enhancing sanitation procedures, purchasing personal protective equipment, and making building enhancements to improve safety. Resources would be available for all efforts undertaken after the statewide closure of classrooms on March 16.

The Return to Learn Plan would also redefine “attendance” to mean “engaged in instruction” rather than “physically present” to give students the opportunity to learn remotely, have school districts work with local health departments to establish safety requirements for extracurricular activities and sports in addition to regular school safety measures, and provide $80 million to intermediate school districts to assist schools with distance learning plans and safety measures. Our teachers would receive $500 in overtime and hazard pay in appreciation of their dedication to continuing the education of their students during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Education is critical to success, and we owe it to all our children to ensure they can receive a great education as safely and effectively as possible. I strongly support the Return to Learn Plan as a responsible way to use restricted federal COVID-19 funds to help our schools improve safety in classrooms and offer better remote learning options so that all our students can safely return to school this fall.
Ruth Johnson
Senator, 14th district

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