2006-09-08 / Columnists

The Progressive

September Song
By John Paul Culotta

As the summer season leaves, I am usually relieved. Autumn has always been my favorite season. Hot, humid, muggy weather is not for me. I do not enjoy air conditioning or huge electric bills. I prefer the fall colors. In the fall, we anticipate the excitement of family holidays that will come in the winter season. We begin to plan the festivities. I was married in October. Children are thrilled or dread the new educational season. Young men and women leave home and go to far away colleges and universities causing joy and anxiety for parents. The world begins to return to normalcy in September.

Late summer and early fall is usually the season for tropical storms and hurricanes in this region. As we recall last year's season, we understand the horror of governmental ineptitude and corruption at all levels can make any horrible emergency worse. As we begin this hurricane season, it is note worthy that many insurance companies are dropping home insurance clients in areas that may be effected by weather disasters. There needs to be an investigation by state officials as to the criteria used by insurance companies.

This nation needs to examine the suitability of building in vulnerable coastal areas. States need to examine the costs to all because the wealthy insist on living on beachfront property. Coastal areas should belong to and be enjoyed by all of our citizens. Our federal government, that subsidizes flood insurance, for people who insist on the conspicuous consumption that beachfront homes give them, should examine how to reduce the cost to the American taxpayer. Wealthy people should bear more of the cost for the privilege on living on our coast.

As schools reopen, the furor that arose last by the city's Department of Education (DOE) banning of cell phones arises again. Two of the Democratic candidates running for governor oppose the ban. Many, if not the majority of parents, oppose the ban. Our city council appears to be trying to settle the issue with legislation. The teacher's union opposes the ban. Some parent advocacy groups are taking the city to court over this issue. Many other cities and counties across this country do not ban cell phones in schools. In the past, most school personnel ignored the ban. It is incredible that the DOE would be so adamant regarding the ban. Security is the concern of the parents and during the Columbine incident of a few years the parents of students who had cell phones were able to give information to police as to the activity in the school. These same parents were also aware as to the condition of their children. Parents and children need to be able to contact each other in the event of a terrorist attack, electrical or weather emergency. Our government always claims we should be ready for any emergency. Cell phones are a toll we can use to be prepared and feel in control.

In September we celebrate Labor Day, in recent weeks the media has commented that American wage earners' remuneration has not keep up with the increase rate of inflation. This nation and our leaders must recognize the importance of labor union for the citizens of this land.

In October we celebrate Columbus Day. On this day, we recognize the contributions immigrants made to this country. It is imperative that we establish an immigration policy that does not leave this country to social and economic decay or terrorist attack. We need to establish a comprehensive, sound, and humane immigration policy. Exploitation of immigrant labor must cease.

In the fall voters will be asked to elect a new congress. This election will be perceived as a referendum on President Bush's handling of Middle East, terrorist threats, our economy, and other social issues. Please vote!

On November 11 we recall the end of World War 1 and the contributions of the men and women who served or are serving in our armed forces. President Bush frequently uses the military as a backdrop to his speeches. He often praises their sacrifices. At the same time, many military families are being denied the benefits they are entitled to because of the incompetence of the military personnel in calculating pay and benefits. I have recently been informed that people who are serving also when they leave are denied educational benefits if they did not sign up for that entitlement at their enlistment. Lip service to our veterans is not enough.

Fall beckons. We must again face the issues of educational reform, immigration, the role of labor in our economy, the conduct of our leaders in Washington and state house, and the proper way to honor those who serve this nation. Our September song should be a cry for justice.

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