Bush, Kerry: Focus on recent performance, not old records

Regarding the Sept. 10 article " 'Unfit for Command': a hot potato for booksellers": As a registered independent voter in Minnesota who votes in all national and local elections, I believe there are two areas of this year's election campaign that are completely irrelevant to voters in making their choice.

The first nonissue is President Bush's National Guard service. What is relevant today is how he has performed during the past four years as president and if the voters have enough confidence in him to give him the office for another four years.

The second nonissue is John Kerry's Vietnam War service and his subsequent antiwar protests, demonstration participation, and testimony before the US Senate. I would have thought that Mr. Kerry's past 20 years of service in the Senate would be the most relevant record he could run on. Just as with Mr. Bush, what Kerry did or did not do then is old news and is irrelevant to whether we should choose him as president today.

In addition, Kerry is running on what's bad about the Bush administration and says that a Kerry presidency would not do what the Bush administration has done. But I'm still waiting to hear the specifics - and how he would pay for it.

I would have hoped for more from Kerry and the media at this stage of the campaign.
Peter Ellis
Edina, Minn.

Give credit to Asian microfinancing efforts

Regarding the Sept. 8 article "Fewer Asians live on less than $1 a day": Thanks for reporting the good news from the Asian Development Bank that significantly fewer Asians are living on less than a dollar a day. As you say, access to credit is playing a major role in helping people break out of poverty.

But while the article mentioned microcredit for businesses, it treated it mainly as a banking issue. However, the ripple effects of getting access to the financial system should not be overlooked. Borrowers are mostly women, and their improved income is passed on to the whole family, most especially their children, in the form of better nutrition, healthcare, and the opportunity to go to school. Best of all, there is hope for the future and pride in their accomplishments, something always lacking in handouts.

It's not charity, but rather an investment in people who traditionally have been left out of the economic picture.
Gail E. Neumann

Yale's community efforts not good for all

Regarding the Sept. 14 article "Beset by New Haven's ills, Yale revitalizes city": Perhaps you should consider a second article written with more insight into how New Haven residents feel about Yale University.

Yale is not bridging the gap between itself and the community. In fact, the gap grows bigger every year.

Everything Yale does in terms of community development is done for the purpose of spinning the university's reputation in the rest of the country. Families have lost their homes, and business that have not done things exactly according to the dictates of the university have lost their leases.

Most recently, a shoe store that had been on Broadway St. for years went out of business because the owners did not want to expand their hours, and for that reason lost their lease. Generations of Yale students and New Haven residents bought shoes at that store and were very upset at the cold decision of Yale.

While Yale officials claim that they are making additions to buildings in hopes of benefiting the community, the only people who are allowed to benefit are those in the Yale community, as the people who most need those services can't afford them.
Jodie Sargent
New Haven, Conn.

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