Thank you for taking the humane treatment of animals seriously.

Sincere thanks to Mayor Junie White and the members of Spartanburg City Council who voted in favor of the amendments to the animal ordinance. Councilwoman Erica Brown, who led the committee tasked with researching and proposing amendments, was compassionate, relentless, and makes me wish I lived in her district.

Come July 9 when the updates take effect, dogs living in the city limits will not have to live their entire lives on the end of a chain. I knew such a dog. His name was Charlie, and he’s how I came to care about the awful plight of a chained dog. He’s not alive to benefit from these changes, but there are lots of Charlies out there who will.

Thank you for taking the humane treatment of animals seriously and for acting quickly to set a standard. I’m happy and proud to live in a city that is so responsive to an engaged citizenry. For Charlie.

 

Susan Myers, Spartanburg

 

Closed primaries

Tuesday’s Herald-Journal had a headline on the front page, “State GOP wants to close primaries.” It is about time. Open primaries are a product of fuzzy and illogical thinking.

A primary is supposed to be for the various political parties to choose whom they wish to represent them in a coming election. A political party is an affiliation of voters who generally agree on a set of principles they think are best for the office being sought. Why should anyone outside that party have any say in who will represent it?

A political party could be compared to a sports team that wants to win a contest. Prior a Clemson-South Carolina game, let us contemplate that the starting quarterback for Clemson is chosen by a vote of the Clemson student body. We know the students will select a leader who will give them their best chance to win. But what if they have an “open vote,” allowing the University of South Carolina student body and the population at large in the state to make the Clemson selection? It might come out the same way, but perhaps not. In any case, it would make no sense whatsoever.

Democrats alone should select their candidate, and Republicans should select theirs. Voters who cannot commit to either of these teams should be free to select someone else, or wait until the actual voting process. On rare occasions, some other affiliation puts forth a candidate who wins. That is the democratic process.

 

Roger Meadows, Spartanburg

 

Lack of privacy

I watched with great interest the testimony of Mark Zuckerberg before the Senate Judiciary & Commerce Committee joint hearing. It is my feeling that the failure of Facebook is something that should, in an enlightened society, put it out of business. I also believe that the fact that it is still in business says more about our society/culture and whether we might be considered “enlightened” than it does Facebook’s failures.

The chief reason I am writing is to bring to everyone’s attention what might have been missed by some observers of the hearing. At about 4:18 p.m., Sen. John Thune suggested a five-minute break. All agreed, and the break began. Mr. Zuckerberg left his papers and portfolio at his table and left the room. Within three minutes, there were about six newspeople at his table, taking photos of his papers and portfolio. Soon, more crowded around, and inside six minutes there were 20 or more taking photos; they came like jackals on a carcass.

To the senators: What makes it a more just expectation on the part of the people of the United States that their privacy be protected by the corporations with which they do business than what should certainly have been an expectation of privacy on the part of an individual, Mr. Zuckerberg, in a Senate chamber where a hearing is being conducted on the very issue of privacy? In a court of law, is there not a “bar,” and when one wishes to pass beyond the bar, is permission not required?

Who in the Senate is responsible for this oversight of privacy? Security is not someone else’s job.

 

David N. Evans, Spartanburg

 

Gun violence

Many of us are aware of and concerned about an answer to the gun violence issue. An extremity of stances has been taken by those wanting something done or not done.

It is one of those overwhelming issues in which there is not and never will be an answer that resolves all the gun violence potential. But it is a situation that has significant room for improvement and a far better way of handling. The only ones who will ever be pleased by the truly right or best answer are those who are (1) somewhere between the extremes and who (2) genuinely care about the victims.

In order to point out that guns are not the problem, there are those who liken taking away guns to taking away cars because, after all, “cars kill and maim many thousands every year.” When we consider the primary purpose of guns versus the primary purpose of cars in the first place, this kind of reasoning becomes obviously illogical.

Not to take away from the importance of the gun violence area, but ironically, those who use the aforementioned guns-cars analogy are speaking about and bringing up a far bigger ignored and unresolved problem area in terms of lives lost and families ruined.

 

Gary Harris, Campobello

 

License eye exam

Did you know that South Carolina drivers who renew their licenses are no longer required to take a DMV eye exam? Slightly terrifying, right?

Just last year, the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles streamlined the driver’s license process and eliminated the vision test. While this may save time at the DMV, the thought of hundreds of people behind the wheel who may have trouble seeing is no doubt a hazard.

Even with new technologies making today’s cars dramatically safer for drivers and passengers, we are continuing to see some of the largest increases in crashes and fatalities on the roads — including right here in South Carolina. Preliminary reports from the National Safety Council show that motor vehicle deaths surpassed 40,000 for the second consecutive year in 2017.

It is important that we all try to do everything we can to improve roadway safety. As a result, we encourage lawmakers to support auto safety laws to protect their constituents. Reinstituting vision testing is a simple fix and could potentially prevent a crash or save a life.

The insurance industry is about calculating risk, and we believe not having a vision test is one that isn’t worth it.

 

Nancy Egan, state government relations counsel, Property Casualty Insurers Association