Readers Speak

Getting past privilege

Dear Editor,

In a recent edition (July 2) a reader writes, “If all lives don’t matter, then no lives matter. Anything less is racist.”

This has become a frequently cited rebuttal to the peaceful protesters who chant “Black lives matter,” and the Black Lives Matter movement, itself. While somewhat clever, if one’s objective is to dismiss the concerns about police brutality perpetrated against African Americans, it completely misses the point.

The value of white lives and blue lives is not in question. It is black lives that are jeopardized and often lost in encounters with law enforcement, frequently for minor infractions or no infraction.

The definition of white privilege is “the inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.” The definition of racism is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized”.

In the years before slavery was abolished, black families were torn apart and sold off to multiple buyers, black women were raped by white slave owners, blacks were lynched for real or imagined disrespect toward whites. While much has changed, much remains the same. Today, blacks are still subjected to suspicion, discrimination and harsh treatment by law enforcement. They are much more likely to be killed in an encounter with law enforcement than a white person. They are more likely to be incarcerated, and for longer periods of time.

Perhaps the chant should be “Black lives matter, too,” because that is the point. The time has come for meaningful police reform and true equality among the races. Yes – all lives matter, but black lives matter, too, and just as much. It is a fact that is all too often overlooked.

Margaret Nicklas,


Repeating history

Dear Editor,

Everyone seems to be very upset about all the statues being destroyed and along with it, our history. They cite that we should learn from history and not repeat the stupid things that happened. Right here in our little world it seems that even with history staring us in the face that some people want to repeat it, and maybe even expand on it.

For years now a certain group has been pushing for a riverfront hotel. Seems like the push is now back. I guess another great developer has blown some smoke up a discharge hole and is impressing some people.

If memory serves me correctly many years ago Bob Yoder came into town with promises of great things for our town — and our leaders fell for it. They lavished millions of grant money dollars upon him as he was “given” property and free reign to redo our “riverfront area. “He” decided that Warren needed some condos. He didn’t care that people move to Warren for yards and open space. He was going to transform our town into “city” living.

He built condos in the middle of a parking lot with half of their view the backside of the 300 block. No yards. No privacy. And when only a few units of the first building sold he just left the second foundation, with pipes sticking up. Great yard for the condo owners.

He was followed into town by another developer and cohort who promised to straightened out the mess. I feel this is their modus operendi. This person was flowered with grant money and then both developers disappeared. Projects unfinished, but they didn’t leave broke. The properties they were connected with now owe over $100,000 in back taxes. Look at the list in last week’s paper.

Now out of the woodwork comes another “developer.” They are resurrecting the hotel scheme and guess who pops up? Mr. Yoder. Now Mr. Yoder is going to be a great savior and “donate” the land to the hotel developer, land that he acquired by out tax dollars, grant money. And what a deal for him. He unloads some worthless property and most likely expects the back taxes to be forgiven or pickup up by the next developer.

If you were one of the “lucky” persons to purchase one of the “luxurious” condos and the only nice view or outside venue you have is the little park and gazebo by the river, how would you feel now that they plan on tearing out the park and building a hotel? Now you are trapped behind buildings on two sides.

If the hotel is possibly such a great money maker and success is almost guaranteed, why do we need to give the developer land, tax dollar grant money and tax forgiveness for who knows how long. We don’t. This is just another developer looking to line his pockets with cash and bail out. It there truly was a need for a hotel a good developer would put up his own money.

Lou Dussia,



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