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Letters: If U.S. hesitant to support Ukraine, give them their nukes back

As the Soviet Union dissolved, the specter of nuclear weapons proliferation among rogue actors was a real problem, with some considering it a real threat. In May 1992, the Lisbon Protocol was signed, beginning the process to eliminate nuclear weapons from the three former Soviet states: Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.  

Ukraine by far had the most weapons, in fact the third largest arsenal in the world after the U.S. (No. 1) and Russia (No. 2). The 1994 agreement ultimately codifying disarmament is known as the Budapest Memorandum.   

In the memorandum, assurance is given by Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. that they would help defend Ukraine in the event that they are attacked. For that protection assurance, Ukraine had to relinquish all its nuclear weapons. They were left militarily naked, hoping that the stronger nuclear wielding signatories would come to their aid should the improbable, if not unthinkable, occur — war in the 21st century.  

As the Soviet Union dissolved, the specter of nuclear weapons proliferation among rogue actors was a real problem, with some considering it a real threat. In May 1992, the Lisbon Protocol was signed, beginning the process to eliminate nuclear weapons from the three former Soviet states: Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.  

Ukraine by far had the most weapons, in fact the third largest arsenal in the world after the U.S. (No. 1) and Russia (No. 2). The 1994 agreement ultimately codifying disarmament is known as the Budapest Memorandum.   

In the memorandum, assurance is given by Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. that they would help defend Ukraine in the event that they are attacked. For that protection assurance, Ukraine had to relinquish all its nuclear weapons. They were left militarily naked, hoping that the stronger nuclear wielding signatories would come to their aid should the improbable, if not unthinkable, occur — war in the 21st century.  

Now the unthinkable has happened; Russia has invaded Ukraine, despite having sworn to assist the country in such an event. There is a war raging in Eastern Europe and Ukraine has invoked the conditions of the Bucharest Memorandum. The U.S. and U.K. have responded rather methodically and lackadaisically, stopping just short of sending decisive weapons.   

There is often the question in the U.S. as to whether we should be sending weapons and funding to Ukraine. Why should this be questioned? We gave them our assurance. If we are to quibble about the degree of commitment that our assurance justifies, then don’t be surprised when other countries with which we negotiate give us a similar assurance.   

Bottom line: We are supporting Ukraine because we said we would. If the U.S. doesn’t want to send support, then give them their nukes back.  

Bert Watson, Jacksonville  

JEA spending needs scrutiny

Steam rises from the cooling towers at the Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant in Augusta, Ga.

Like most of Jacksonville, I am disappointed by some of JEA’s recent decisions.  Our citizens’ outcry thwarted the underhanded proposal of JEA’s former leadership to sell the utility in order to enrich themselves. Now it seems the new leadership feels they will have our support no matter what they do, as long as they remain our utility.  

Shortly after the threat of selling out was quelled, JEA announced they were going to build a new headquarters requiring a $72.2 million investment.  

The JEA board is also passing on to us the expanded price of about $3 billion to complete the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in Georgia (their miscalculated folly).  Coming soon will be the enormous price for finding a new way to dump wastewater somewhere besides the St. Johns River, which appears to have at least a $2 billion price tag.  

Then recently, the JEA board announced rate increases for its customers; in the next breath, they announced bonuses for their employees amounting to about $9.7 million. They ask us to believe the rate increases are due to rising natural gas prices, but not to worry, because “someday” those prices will return to normal.  

Not counting the increased price of natural gas, it appears that JEA is around $6 billion in the hole of their own making.   

It is inexcusable that JEA announced a hefty bonus for their employees, adding to their already nearly-insurmountable debts, assuming customers will leave extra money under the utility pillow whenever they need it or they will cut our power off.   

JEA needs to act more fiscally and morally responsible to win back public trust. Hefty bonuses at this time are not a good idea.   

Pat Wojciechowski, Jacksonville 

Southern border vs. Ellis Island 

In this June 2021 file photo, a pair of migrant families pass through a gap in the border wall to reach the United States after crossing from Mexico to Yuma, Ariz., to seek asylum.

I take issue with the Oct. 2 editorial by Frank Cerabino, regarding Gov. DeSantis “shaming” his ancestors. The article pushes the standard left-wing narrative that all Republicans oppose immigration and are racists. Nothing is farther from the truth. He leaves out one simple word: legal.   

When the governors great-great grandmother arrived here from Italy, she chose the legal point of entry — Ellis Island. The government was able to control the immigration process and yes, many were returned to their home countries — because the process was orderly, manageable and legal.

Compare this to today’s immigration crisis on our southern border: Over 2,000,000 encounters in 2022, the vast majority of which avoided the legal points of entry. A large percentage of those also evaded capture. How many have been transported by our federal government to interior cities and states without advance notification? How many have criminal records or are controlled by the cartels? How many have COVID? To top it all off, Vice President Harris says the border is secure.  

My fear is that it will take another 9/11 type of event — tied to criminals or terrorists that entered our country illegally along the southern border — to wake up our country.  

Hopefully I’m wrong.  

Brian Kennedy, Jacksonville 

Brace for hurricane politics

Thursday, October 6, 2022; Fort Myers Beach, Florida; Hurricane Ian damage on Fort Myers Beach on Thursday, October 6, 2022.

As the timeliness of the Hurricane Ian evacuation orders is being reviewed, and as county officials and the governor defend their actions, it’s important to remember the tried-and-true axiom that military planners, surgeons and civil defense agencies sometimes rely on to formulate their operational plans: Expect and plan for the worst, hope for the best.  

The forecasting agencies claimed Fort Myers remained within the “cone of uncertainty” for devastating landfall, despite Tampa Bay being more likely.  Remember “Sharpiegate,” in September 2019, when President Trump — without explanation — displayed a handwritten Sharpie-arrow altered map predicting significant Hurricane Dorian damage to Alabama? Annoyed National Hurricane Center officials vigorously disagreed in a sharply worded tweet, correctly predicting landfall in the eastern Florida panhandle. Much useless acrimony ensued.    

The politics of Ian are sure to make landfall in Florida: climate change, property and flood insurance, federal disaster money for Florida, (the same type of aid that DeSantis — along with senators Rubio and Scott — voted against for the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy) and rebuilding.   

After the analysis of how to improve storm management, the focus must remain on planning for Florida’s vulnerable citizens for the next one.  

Michael Miller, Ponte Vedra Beach 

New way to win elections?

It used to be that candidates for public office shook a lot of hands, visited many businesses, held rallies and worked hard to help people get to know who they were and vote for them. Not so much today.  

What we see today is lying about fraudulent elections, cheating by having unauthorized persons check voting machines, gerrymandering or encouraging violence should they lose. Another horrific action by candidates is hinting that they might not accept the results of the election if they don’t win.   

If this isn’t fascism, then what is? Is this the future of America’s democracy — lying, cheating and violence?  

Who will take the reins and prevent these horrendous actions in the name of winning an election? It’s up to us. Whenever a candidate is heard doing any of the things mentioned above or declaring that they might not accept the results if they lose, Americans must run as far as possible from anyone like that. Otherwise, the United States will no longer have a democracy and elections will merely become a farce.  

Terri Quint, Ponte Vedra 

Create solutions, not stunts

Politicians rely on voters to be ignorant and uninformed or too busy to thoughtfully consider critical topics like immigration. DeSantis’ political stunt using tax money to fly asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard played well among his base. He used “illegal immigrant” and “sanctuary state” tropes ad nauseum.   

However, the only way to fix immigration is for Congress to overhaul the existing law that is well past its prime. Any law that allows the extreme interpretation of the Trump Administration to take children away from their parents at the border (deemed illegal, eventually), as well as Biden’s liberal interpretation of allowing entry to millions of asylum seekers, needs to be redone.  

Marco Rubio was part of a team of eight bipartisan senators that proposed a reasonable overhaul of the law in 2013. It passed the Senate but the House didn’t act on it. DeSantis was a congressman at the time. Since then neither of them has done anything to be part of the solution to our immigration problem.  

Cherie Wilson, Green Cove Springs 

Trump’s ‘historic’ SUV ride 

In this October 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump steps down from Marine One as he arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., after he tested positive for COVID-19.

I love the work of the Times-Union and I’m a supporter. I read “Today in History” every day. “Birthdays,” too. Both are free from controversy and petty, obvious polemics, which keeps them fun. Until this past week.  

Tuesday’s “Today in History” entry included “2020: Infected and contagious … Trump ventured out in an SUV to wave to his supporters.” I mean, come on. To say it was clearly partisan undersells the concept of partisanship. It was a stupid entry, I’m sure alienating to at least some readers, if there are any left from that political persuasion who might pay attention.  

On a personal note, when I contracted COVID, “infected and contagious” (after three vaccines in 12 months), I walked outside every day and waved to my neighbors, too.   

Of all the ridiculous stuff Trump said and did that might deserve an entry into “Today in History,” this ain’t one of them.  

Mike Disch, Neptune Beach 

More homes, more traffic headaches

I would like to know more about two projects on the east and west sides of Powers Avenue. The east side is marked Hardwick Farms, but how many homes are planned there and how will this affect a road not equipped to handle much more traffic than it has now?    

On the west side is a project not identified at all, but (again) it looks like there will be more traffic on a road not suitable for this kind of impact. Was a study ever done to consider what will happen at the intersection of Powers and University where the traffic already backs up? It takes two or three light changes to get out on University as it is.  

Source : Jackson Ville

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