Common Writing Challenges
Letter to the Editor
Opinion letters to an editor of a newspaper get right to the point. There is little space available for a reader's view that rambles on and on. State your point simply and clearly and then briefly give the reasons or support for the point.
• Your editorial of March 15 arguing for an extension of the tax on gas-guzzling cars neglects the effect it will have on the economy and jobs.
• You misinterpret the president and mislead your readers in your editorial opposing his policy on trade with Cuba.
• I agree with your newspaper that Tuesdays are not the most convenient day of the week to hold voting, but I do not agree that Sunday is the better option.
• For once the Tribune-Dispatch is right: two extra lanes should not be added to King's Highway. We do not need another freeway, which would only encourage more people to drive and to neglect public transportation.
• Yesterday the ambassador of Japan came to our city to inaugurate a new facility that will create jobs here and bring important manufacturing techniques and technology to our state. Why was this not covered in your newspaper?
Is the city doing anything for ordinary people with the tax revenue they collect from us? One would think not if the city streets are any indication.
Take our winter streets, for example. Three days after a major snow storm, not a single plow has pushed its way down our street, and one car has been stuck in the middle of the right lane for two days. I did not bother to report this to the Department of Public Works. I did that last year to no effect.
The summer streets are not much better. Last August the final pothole resulting from the spring thaw was finally filled in. Nothing seems to be urgent unless it has to do with how the city can collect more revenue from its citizens.
The most lamentable inaction regarding city streets, however, is the need for a traffic control signal at the intersection of Breen and University Drive. A traffic light was approved for this intersection last year after many serious accidents and a neighborhood petition that received significant media coverage. We are still waiting.
Your endorsement of Priscilla Anders for governor is perplexing given her poor record as president of this state's flagship university.
It is a plus, as you indicate in your editorial, that we have a governor who can bring more businesses to the state, and you point to the investment she brought to the university and the construction of two new facilities as examples of the kind of business-oriented person she is.
You neglected to mention, however, that she also left the university in debt, resulting in sharp tuition increases that will take effect after the gubernatorial election.
Have you considered the legacy of a Priscilla Anders administration for our state? I suggest it will be tax increases to pay for unnecessary spending.
The city has an ordinance that specifies that dogs must be on a leash when not on a pet owner's personal property. Exceptions are city dog parks, the fenced in areas that are reserved for dog exercising.
Unfortunately the leash law is not enforced. I walk daily along River Trail and I frequently meet unleashed dogs whose owners are not observing the leash regulation. This is especially true in the early morning when dog walkers make the incorrect assumption that they will not run into any other walkers at this time of day. Yes, it is true that the vast majority of dog owners do observe the rule, but it is very annoying that some pet owners believe that their Fido is an exception to the ordinance.
I believe that the city should crack down on these dogs without leashes, and that your paper should name the pet owners in violation of the ordinance, and publish the fines for the owners and the consequences for the dogs, so that other pet owners will know that the regulation is a serious one.
In the June issue of Local Commerce, you erred twice in your article “Business Leaders Confer.”
First, the photo you published is from last year's Pineport Business Leaders Conference, not the recent one in May.
Second, your article states that Lorraine Harper is the first woman president of the Pineport Business Leaders Conference. Not by a long shot. Pineport Business Leaders Conference was founded by Edna Eriksson, the daughter of Swedish immigrant parents in the 1920s. Eriksson was the first president.
Please publish a correction.
You disparage the educational systems of other countries in your editorial “Education: America's Might” because some of them have a role for rote learning in their systems. How naive! Did you look at any of the international education statistics before you wrote your editorial? Or did your teachers tell you not to bother with the facts before you spout off an opinion?
The US ranks seventeenth among developed nations in education. Some of the countries your criticize surpass the US in the areas of math, science, reading, and foreign-language education. Teenagers in Shanghai, China, one of the countries whose education system you bash, lead the world in math, science, and reading.
“The US encourages students to think critically,” you write. Really? One must have facts and the accurate background to issues before formulating an educated opinion, and the majority of American school kids are uninformed: an embarrassing number of them cannot even find Canada on a globe.
Yes, America has some superb, elite universities. Unfortunately, they are not the future of America.