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Survey was meant to manipulate

On Jan. 18, I received a “2014 Legislative Survey” from state Sen. Jim Banks. Surveys such as this inevitably anger me because they put me in a situation where politicians can interpret the answer any way they choose.

Take question No. 3, “With some people claiming that hunting and fishing violate animal rights, would you support or oppose a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing Hoosiers the right to hunt and fish?”

If we are informed, we know that the citizens of Indiana already have those rights. What they may not know is that the amendment is supported in large part by giant agribusinesses. Those firms do not want citizens angered by the stench produced by these huge farms or the water polluted by them to have the ability to interfere, even when the protests themselves are legitimate and in the public interest.

Although I would never say “Yes” to question No. 3, neither can I say “No.” If I do, it can easily be interpreted to mean that I oppose the right of the people to hunt and fish, and I do not oppose that right. Clearly, the survey is intended to manipulate me into an answer that Banks can use to support whatever position he plans to take, and I don’t like that.

I want legislators who will represent me honestly, and if Banks really wants to know my views, he should ask questions that seek out real answers, not artificial ones.

BOB GILBERT North Manchester

State policies wage war on jobs

Our legislature and overall state leadership are simply failing us. The paradoxical course espousing economic development on the one hand and then systematically putting up the “keep out” sign with the other is counterproductive and will cost Hoosiers for generations. Our headlines the past several years have been dominated by unwelcome signs for union workers (right to work), public schoolchildren, and now gay and lesbian residents. You want our state and region to be attractive to young entrepreneurs and the best and the brightest? Then stop leading us down the path of small-minded exclusiveness. That’s not where the best and brightest end up. Voting against your vocal and misguided constituency may cost you the next election, but no one said leadership was easy.

JOEL R. SAUER Fort Wayne

‘Lunch’ column reveals insensitivity

Frank Gray’s column “$15 an hour kills lunch” (Jan. 14) showed a remarkable lack of understanding or lack of even giving a darn about the difficulties and, yes, suffering of those who serve him when he feels rich enough to buy a hamburger. How many times do you have to say $7.25 per hour before it enters the conscious among us that this is just ridiculous?

I have never worked in a fast-food restaurant. I am, however, able to observe how hard those employees work. Many of these people are adults, who through difficult circumstances have no choice but to do this work. They have families to support. Many times they work two jobs. Even if they are “lucky” enough to be able to hold down two jobs, with precious little time for their families, even then, they sometimes have to endure the necessary humiliation of grocery shopping with food stamps. Proud people sometimes have to swallow their pride, because some people don’t think they deserve a living wage.

I don’t know whether Gray goes to church. I don’t know whether he gives to charitable organizations. If he does, I am sure he feels that any money given is for a good cause. If it makes him feel any better, why not give a little less to these worthwhile causes and buy a nice lunch, knowing that he really is, on a very personal level, helping his fellow citizens attain a better standard of living, and at the same time enjoying a good meal with a clear conscience.


FWCS janitor’s honesty heartening

Local coverage of Fort Wayne Community Schools rarely includes any positive activities. Usually I read of drugs and guns. This makes readers believe it is an FWCS problem rather than a problem within all schools (private or public). Why don’t the media ever mention that private schools have as many problems but are not required to report them to the police?

I felt compelled to write a “good” news story that happened to me at Snider High School recently. I lost my wallet at a school event. It was found a day later by a janitor and returned to me with all my money inside. The janitor refused to take any reward. I wanted to thank him and FWCS for all the good thinks that happen every day at every school.