Readers responded to Charles P. Pierce's April 13 article on Lawrence, the first of our three-part "Hitting Home" series.
Life in Lawrence
The tears are still burning my cheeks. Charles P. Pierce's article ("Working. And Still Poor." April 13) was heartbreaking. The economic struggle that these families in Lawrence are enduring is unacceptable. My temper boiled to read that only two politicians have visited the Cor Unum Meal Center. I am an active volunteer for a nonprofit in Lawrence. It is frustrating that the belief on the street is that nonprofits are affiliated with the government. What upsets me the most is that the community doesn't trust the government to help. Then again, if you were sleeping under a bridge, would you?
This was an incredibly moving and well-written article. It brought tears to my eyes at the indifference in the richest country in the world.
The Commonwealth should remove the sales tax on all items sold in Lawrence so businesses can compete against bordering Salem, New Hampshire, where all the new businesses and jobs go, and create tax incentives to entice new business development. The city of Lawrence should have zero property tax for five years on any foreclosed property to entice revitalization.
I taught in Lawrence for six years in the poorest school in the poorest neighborhood. I've been around poverty for almost all of my working life. I found Pierce's story to be disappointing. I think he could have done a lot more to educate the public about the economy. Think beyond food kitchens and bridges. I wish Pierce had talked about all the people who work two and three jobs and still can't make ends meet.
A great story and great writing. Now if everyone would read Pierce's story, maybe something would change. I think of this issue every day - how can people not see it all around them? I am going to look into our local meal program and contribute; Pierce has already touched one and moved one. It's about time I did something real about this issue.
Single and Behind the Wheel
Alison Lobron drove a great point home (pun intended) about the ways single folks support their married counterparts ("Coupling," April 13). Don't forget that we pay proportionally more in taxes, health insurance premiums, and club memberships than our married counterparts. And in the workplace, singles are expected to fill in the gaps while their married counterparts are legally entitled to time off for family purposes. I guess that makes perfect sense; after all, singles pretty much have no plans outside of work other than to go home and open up yet another can of cat food.
Having just read about Lobron's outrage that auto insurance companies, although they deny it, are setting rates according to the insured's marital status, I have no sympathy. Men, particularly those between the ages of first license and 25, have always assumed the brunt of the insurance burden. The same arguments Lobron used could be applied to young men, with one glaring exception. Young men drive young women around much more than young women drive young men. A case could be made that Lobron's singlehood and dating contributes to the statistical evidence that young men are more likely to incur an accident, simply because they are pursuing single women. She's getting a break.