Letters to the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times

Retired business owner explains store closure

I have read your dramatic article this morning regarding the closing of my business Grocery Surplus and found to be very disappointing. You see we have served Pahrump for over 20 years and chose to simply RETIRE and relocated to be near family. No big story here and our retirement/closure was published in the Over the Hump as they were our preferred advertiser.

Upon our announcement to close we donated thousands of dollars in product to local shoppers and nonprofits in the community, so for you to write a questionable article is disheartening.

As for attempts to contact me, well my number and email have not changed in over 20 years.

Sincerely,

Paula DeWitt

Reader disagrees with columnist’s view on brothels

As a five-year, female (boomer) resident of Pahrump, I would like to respond to Tim Burke’s column, “To keep or to not keep brothels,” in Friday, June 29 PV Times.

On account of full disclosure, I grew up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, in the San Fernando Valley, ground zero of our boomers’ porn. With the advent of technology, every millennial’s bedroom is now a potential porn studio.

As Mr. Burke tells us, brothels, like the valley’s studios, are being put out of business because of the availability of competition.

Mr. Burke is a successful businessman, he understands the importance of supply and demand, which is why I have issues with him having issues with the brothels. So they have become “high-priced themed-rooms experiences catering to tourists.” That does not bother me at all. But what alarmed me was when Mr. Burke declared, “… but for a majority of those outside of our community, legal prostitution is viewed as a black eye against Nye County. That image affects how others view our wives, our daughters, our sisters, our mothers and other female residents.”

Excuse me. I grew up with porn around me and I never became a Traci Lords. Casual sex is ordinary. The free love of the flower children has come and gone. But whatever kind of women (girls?) Mr. Burke meets in his upscale world, I am sure, like me, they are in no danger of becoming knock-offs of legal sex workers. No Paula, not all of us females who eat at Sheri’s Ranch are competition for your independent contractors.

Sincerely,

Janice Gilmour

Non-U.S. citizen military being released early?

Today I was asked why the Department of Defense (DoD), under guidance from the president is “kicking non-USA citizen military members out of the military.” I must admit that the way the story was reported, as a military veteran, I felt ashamed and concerned. Then, after I thought about it, I realized that while I don’t have answers to every military situation, I do have the answer to this one.

I know, during the election year, everyone wants to blame everything on President Trump, or on President Obama, or on the Democrats, or on the Republicans, or on the Libertarians, or on anyone else. However, let’s face the facts and stop throwing blame onto anyone we don’t agree with.

The first question we should ask ourselves and others are: Are non-U.S. citizens who volunteered to serve in the United States military (all branches) being released from the military after (or during) honorable service to our nation? The answer to that question is yes.

The second and third questions we need to ask is why and when did this begin? And, we should also ask who or what is to blame?

Well, I joined the Air Force in July of 1960, while Eisenhower was still president. I don’t recall it happening then. I don’t recall it under President Kennedy either but then I was still a teenager wondering how to survive on $78 per month as an E-2 (A3c).

Then, under President Lyndon Johnson, I recall some non-U.S. citizen members being told that they could not re-enlist because they could not get a Secret Security Clearance. It was well known that everyone in the Air Force (and the other services are no different) required a secret security clearance to have access to the newer weapons, aircraft, ships, tanks, and confidential electronic equipment. There are some military jobs that may have limited access to classified information and a “delayed” clearance is not a problem but “background checks” are normally done on every enlistee or commissioned officer merely to avoid problems later during their career.

I know that some of you reading this are discouraged that you can’t blame President Obama and others are discouraged that you can’t blame President Trump for this practice that has been going on for many years. The practice is still going on because we have more and more classified components within our military services. However, some recent changes by the Trump administration have compounded the problem for new recruits (or those in the delayed enlistment program) by insisting that the background checks be completed prior to enlistment.

There is a lawsuit against the Trump administration to stop this practice so the DoD will not comment on the subject. Unfortunately, for those non-U.S. citizens already in the military, the problem of obtaining a security clearance could still be a major problem.

The real problem is, while we need people who speak languages from around the world, we also need to be able to complete a background check to protect the “secrets” of our nation. Those non-U.S. citizen military members, who join the U.S. military in hopes of becoming U.S. citizens, and come from countries where the FBI cannot verify their backgrounds, cannot be granted secret clearances and thereby can’t remain in the United States military.

As a squadron commander, who was responsible for top secret avionics components for Air Force airplanes, I had to process two such discharges. There is no plot of discrimination, as touted in the recent media reports, but the practice is a reality. And, while I feel compassion for those non-U.S. citizen military members who are released, I also understand the need to protect our classified information.

We who were born in the United States are very fortunate. Those who are from countries where the FBI can verify your backgrounds are also fortunate. Unfortunately, while some well-meaning non-U.S. citizen residents want to serve the United States in the military and they come from countries where the FBI cannot verify their background or they have questionable “family ties” and can’t get a clearance, they will not be permitted to serve regardless of their rationale.

While there might be some military jobs that do not require a classified clearance, it is not feasible to deny promotion to someone based on a security clearance and it is equally not feasible to promote someone and then restrict him or her from their job because they lack a security clearance. This is normally accomplished in the first enlistment of two, four, or six years to allow the time for each person’s case to be completed on an individual basis.

As I said earlier, the system is not perfect and everyone has an opinion but national security remains national security, especially in the military services.

Dr. Tom Waters

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