Editor’s Note: Welcome to our letters to the editor page. Here you’ll find reader comments on Advocate articles and other news. We collect readers’ opinions from emails, letters, Facebook comments, and comments to valleyadvocate.com. Want to get in on this? Email deisen@valleyadvocate.com and put “BackTalk” or “letter to the editor” in the subject.

Missing Ballot Question: Amendment 28

In response to “Getting it on the Ballot” (Jan. 4-10, 2018):

I have been reading Meg Bantle’s article, “Getting on the Ballot” in the Jan. 4 Valley Advocate. There appears to be a VERY IMPORTANT BALLOT QUESTION MISSING: AMENDMENT 28: OVERTURNING CITIZENS UNITED. This question WILL BE ON THE BALLOT this November. The 2016 presidential election was the first time UNLIMITED money from the rich and corporations was allowed to partially buy an election. That is what Citizens United allows: Corporations are people and can spend unlimited funds for elections, as can millionaires and billionaires. Because this Tea Party provision was approved by the U.S. Supreme Court, the only way to get rid of it is to amend the U.S. Constitution. Not an easy thing to do as proponents of the 1970s Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) found out. To add an amendment to the Constitution takes a yes vote from 38 states. (As of last year the ERA now has 37 states in the yes column.) So far there are 18 states, including Massachusetts, with Amendment 28: Overturning Citizens United ~ Getting Money Out of Politics, on their November ballots. Hopefully voters in all 18 states will approve this amendment. Then only 20 more states approving the amendment will be needed. I sincerely hope that we in Massachusetts will vote for this amendment. According to our Constitution, which begins, “We the People…,” our government is to serve ALL THE PEOPLE, NOT JUST THE CORPORATIONS AND THE RICH. We truly need to get money out of politics.

— Judy Raphael, email

Paying Money to Get Fit

In response to “The Top 9 Ways to Get and Stay Fit in the Valley This Winter” (Jan. 4-10, 2018):

Hi, Concerning your recent article: The Top 9 Ways to Get and Stay Fit in the Valley This Winter, It occurs to me that all nine ‘ways’ involve paying money to someone. (“Grab a Personal Trainer”)? I’m no anti capitalist, nor a fitness expert, but it seems that as a ‘progressive,’ free paper, you might consider who some of your readers are. More importantly, put a little imagination and research into what it actually takes to stay healthy during winter. Your ‘Top 9’ seems like it refers to a Google search for fitness businesses. Thank you, now I’ll read the adjacent article on $2,000 to $4,000 fat freezing to eliminate flab.

— Chris Sullivan, Easthampton

Understanding the Consequences of Maria

In response to “Puerto Rican Professionals in Limbo” (Jan. 11-17, 2018):

This article helps me understand so much more re: the educational consequences of Maria for both students and teachers, as well as other professions. I have been wanting a follow up article post hurricane. Thank you!

— Roger Dewey, website comment

City Politics as Usual

In response to “Panhandlers Find Loophole in Holyoke Law” (Jan. 11-17, 2018):

Chris Goudreau photo

The City Councilors must know that the mayor and police chief won’t enforce the law. They’re depending on it, I would imagine. They can tell their constituents that they tried to do something about the “nuisance” of panhandling, without actually having to address the conditions that keep people unhoused in Holyoke and the surrounding region. Zero people, besides the politicians, are served by this act. Hate to be cynical, but this is so damn typical.

— Courtney Supple-Benoit, Chicopee