EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 4, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Zoning changes threaten property rights

To the editor:

The Sustainable Communities Initiative/Regional Planning Commission vision includes under “strategies to overcome anticipated barriers”, “New Hampshire’s strong tradition of individual and property rights and the resultant resistance to planning and zoning”

With FBC zoning, the rights of the community prevail over those of the individual. Planners prefer the highly rigid and constrictive FBC because they can administer it more easily with less input from you or your representatives on the planning and zoning boards.

More importantly for individual and property rights, traditional or conventional zoning supports constitutionally protected private property from being taken without just compensation, whether the taking is by eminent domain or because of overly burdensome land use regulations devised by bureaucrats and enforced under the police powers of the state.

These same constitutional protections are not applicable with FBC zoning because the outcomes are predetermined in and development plan devised by unelected technicians other administrative government employees who are paid to administer it.

FBC also costs twice to quadruple that of conventional zoning.

Martha Spalding

Salem

Philosopher’s life offers lesson for today

To the editor:

I was listening to a religion program, and they were referring to the philosopher Epictetus many times. That prompted my curiosity to do some research about him. Epictetus was born in Hierapolis in Phrygia in 55 AD. He was a slave woman’s son and therefore himself a slave. He had little chance for education, as he passed from one owner and city to another, until he found himself the property of Epaphroditos, a powerful member of Nero’s imperial court.

Epaphroditos allowed him to attend lectures of Musonius Rufus and later freed Epictetus, who was an avid reader. Eventually he settled in Nicopolos, where he became a famous philosopher and drew to his lectures students from many different parts of Greece.

When Nero was persecuting Christians, many Christians were questioning why forgiveness should be given to evil people like the Romans. Many struggled to understand why evil people deserve forgiveness or why anyone does. If God was truly just, he would pluck up the evil ones and cast them straight into a pit to rid us of the scourge. In my humble, naïve and simple opinion, the answer is the incomprehensible, baffling, gift of God’s grace.

Epictetus sometimes advances beyond Christianity. He denounced slavery, condemned capital punishment, argued that criminals be treated as though they were ill, advocated a daily examination of the conscience and announced a kind of golden rule: “What you shall suffer do not make others suffer.” He advised men to return good for evil, and defined philosophy as an attempt to elevate oneself so as to see in every direction. From such an elevated state, life seems to the philosopher a ridiculous confusion: men plowing, toiling, disputing, suing in the courts, lending at usury, cheating and being cheated, running after gold or pleasure; over their heads a cloud of hopes, fears, follies, and hates while each in turn is drawn away by Charon, the messenger of death. Philosophers satirize the rich for their greed and avarice, and the poor for their envy.

Epictetus believed that we don’t own anything. He advised to never say about anything that “I have lost it,” but to say “I have given it back.” Is your child dead? He has been given back, according to Epictetus. Is your wife dead? He would say that she has been returned.

In Epictetus’ thought one can detect a mixture of Greek philosophical, mythological and Christian principles. There is no proof that Epictetus was ever baptized a Christian, but he lived a Christian life better than most of today’s nominal Christians. The history of civilization leads to the conclusion that most of today’s 250 religious denominations promote simony and they don’t pray but ululate and bray.

Theodore Tolios

Bradford

Act quickly to fix city’s problems

To the editor:

As a candidate for mayor it’s important to not only discuss what is good and what is broken in our city but you should show that you will commit to fixing the problems and how you would fix it. The issue of appointments to boards and commissions as discussed in this paper’s article and editorial is a serious issue and hurts the city in many ways.

I have been witness to the many ways one should not fill the city’s boards and commissions. So I have thought about how to fix this problem; this is what I would do. In my first 100 days I will ask local/statewide organizations that relate to the specific board or commission to host citizen trainings. I will advertise these trainings and encourage all those that want to sit on those boards; and those that currently do, to attend. This will give willing participants a basic knowledge of the work they would do. For example: Having the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission conduct training for the Licensing Board.

At the same time I will send a home-rule petition to the City Council to change the charter so that the mayor would have 60-90 days to send an appointment to the City Council for confirmation for any and all open or lapsed board/commission terms. Once that time frame is exhausted the City Council president would then recommend to the City Council an appointment for the open position from any person who has applied for the position. The council president also will have 60-90 days to make a recommendation. This will at least make it a matter of urgency for any mayor to fill all vacancies on boards and commissions and it will also create a fail-safe in the case, when like today, the mayor fails to act or acts irrationally.

This is the type of action my administration would take and how we would address the problems our city faces. Identify a problem, get people training, and address the issue. This will make Lawrence better.

Dan Rivera

Lawrence