Letters to the Editor 

Readers sound off on light rail, Snyder's budget and blue-collar Republicans

Laying the rails

There's an adage that says, "If the journey of a thousand miles is to begin, it must begin with that first step" — and the first step in the journey to make a light rail system possible has to begin in Detroit ("Might Rail," Feb. 23). The hub for a light rail system is downtown Detroit's People Mover, which was meant to do more than run in a 2.9-mile circle. There's been talk about Detroit being a "world-class" city. Well, world-class cities, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, D.C., London and Tokyo, to mention a few, have a heavy or light rail rapid transit system. We, Detroit and the southeastern metro area, must seize the moment and make this a reality. This must be done today as private and public grants are in place. The longer we wait, the costs rise and may be more than we can afford later. So, let us come together and work for what's in the best interest of the Detroit metropolitan area. Let's start that journey and take that first step to make it "world-class." —Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit

Start your engines!

Re: Jack Lessenberry's column about Gov. Rick Snyder's new budget ("The Snyder budget," Feb. 23), everyone benefited when times were good; everyone needs to sacrifice now. The state of Michigan has long been structured to run beholden to big business and big unions. The tax structure works against those who want to start and grow a business. Special benefits were given to certain constituent groups to ensure the voting loyalty of unions, business leaders and retirees. This budget is a fair mix of taxes and cuts. It's not perfect, but there is no alternative being offered. Good job in saying what needs to be said. I will pay more in taxes under this budget. I will happily pay more in taxes if we can get this state out of crisis that has been building for 40 years.

A hundred years ago Michigan was the engine driving the United States. It was the most innovative place in the world to live. It's time for a radical change; we can get that engine restarted. —Mark Panetta, Northville

Blue-collar blues

I'm replying to Jack Lessenberry's commentary concerning Gov. Snyder's budget proposal. I'm a retired UAW skilled tradesman and I'm here to tell you that virtually every tradesman that I have ever known inside and outside of the UAW is a conservative, i.e. Republican. These "blue-collar" Republican knuckleheads have voted for decades for the very political party that strives to crush their union and all unions. Of course they voted for Snyder. Now many of these people are going to choke. Surprise, surprise! I am a lifetime Democrat and I support most of Snyder's proposals. Many people may ask "Is he nuts?" or "Is he a hypocrite?" The answer to (at least the second question) is no. Everyone in the state and indeed the nation must make sacrifices if we want to leave anything worthwhile to following generations. And I can handle a tax on my pension for two reasons: I am willing to do my part, and I have lived within my means and can thus afford it.

The night that the governor made his budget proposal I went out to eat with some of my in-laws, including my retired, union, Republican, arch-conservative toolmaker brother-in-law. I walked in and said, "I need a stiff drink because of Snyder" and my brother-in-law snapped, "He's gonna be a one termer!" Surprise, surprise! —Richard Agelink, Pontiac

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