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Local government fails to enforce housing laws; Kennedy comparison tasteless; Guns didn't blow up federal building


Local government fails to enforce housing laws
This letter was inspired by your recent story about Blackwell housing Cover story, May 30.

If there is a crisis in America it is in the demise of local government. Vacuums created by failure to act locally have been filled by federal agencies.

Consider housing: Virginia has well-crafted laws requiring local executives to ensure that all property owners adequately maintain their buildings. Meanwhile, HUD will spend 31 million of your dollars in Richmond this year because city managers did not enforce those laws years ago. There are more than 20,000 substandard and 2,000 vacant buildings in Richmond. Only 5 percent of substandard buildings are owner-occupied. If absentee owners were required to maintain their buildings, real estate prices would plummet. Obviously, there would be abundant, affordable housing if only local courts and executives required owners to maintain their buildings.

And notice how quietly the financial burden has shifted from the owner, where it belongs, to the taxpayer. Communists would be envious. Consider Project Exile: It has been most effective in reducing Richmond's murder rate: 54 percent in five years. Again, filling the void of local failings, federal courts and prisons stepped in.

Richmond's courts and executives need to be replaced with competent, law-abiding officers. Otherwise, simply return the city charter and go home. That would eliminate one level of taxation with little loss of service.

Behold your new America.

Sam Forrest

Kennedy comparison tasteless
The feature article on Virginia's first lady was very interesting Cover story, June 20.

However, Style exhibited poor judgment and mean-spirited insensitivity in the highlighted comment defaming the memory of the deceased Mrs. Kennedy. ("She's no Jackie Kennedy seeking adulation.")

I can't imagine Mrs. Gilmore enjoyed such tasteless "flattery."

William J. Cox

Guns didn't blow up federal building
Jorge Miguel Benitez's show sounds interesting, and I'm certain that it's well-intentioned Art, June 20. Perhaps you could explain, though, why he began painting guns in response to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Wouldn't it have made more sense to start painting fertilizer and/or diesel fuel?

After you explain that, perhaps you could explain how taking guns away from peaceful people will cut down on murders and other crimes committed by criminals.

Roy B. Scherer

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