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October Letters To and From the Editor

If you don’t believe in fixing the immigration system or you ascribe to the falsity of undocumented Mexicans raping and murdering innocent, hardworking Americans, please take the time to read this week’s cover story.

P.C. Amin, a native of Gujarat, a state in western India, came to the United States in 1970 to get an education and a job. He ended up in Richmond, working for the Virginia Department of Transportation only because, well, he ran out of bus money.

Amin went on to build the region’s largest hotel company. Today, his family operates 38 properties with assets in excess of half a billion dollars. He employs 1,500 people. All told, his hotels pump $10 million a year into local tax coffers. Through hard work and a penchant for homing in on – and eliminating – inefficient operations, Amin and his family-owned business, Shamin Hotels, have turned around a number of hotels that were either bankrupt or in financial duress.

Amin’s story is one among many. Look around the region, find any strip shopping center that is pushing more than 25 years in age and you’ll find immigrants running shops, filling empty storefronts that would be contributing nothing to the local economy if they weren’t there. Many of the immigrants who are already contributing to the economy are undocumented. They could contribute so much more if our government only made it easier for them to do so.

We need the young, mostly working-age immigrants who come here more than ever. The labor force participation rate – the number of adults who have a job or are seeking one – has been declining for years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. One of the big reasons: About 75 million baby boomers, whose working years peaked in the late 1990s, are entering retirement. As they leave the workforce, they become dependent on government entitlement programs. Meanwhile, birth rates have been declining for the last two decades, and there won’t be enough young people entering the labor market to offset the number of boomers leaving it.

It’s called the dependency ratio – and it’s heading in the wrong direction. There will be more 65-plus people drawing money out of the system than what’s going back in. From a policy perspective (certainly not a political one), perhaps one of the simplest solutions is to provide those who want to come here and contribute to the economy a chance to do so. If we stop viewing illegal immigrants as a threat, we might find they hold the keys to our future.

– Scott Bass

What are the rules of the road for cyclists?

I appreciate the Henrico Monthly publication. I read the August article about bicycling [“Different Spokes”]. I’ve had and seen so many “close calls” between bicycles and cars that I think it would be a good service to see an article about rules of the road for cars and bicycles. For example, I thought cyclists had to adhere to the same rules as cars but have had them come up to the right of me at a stoplight so that I could not make a right turn on red when I had the right of way to do so. I do not know if they have the right to do that or not.

Thank you!
Jan Stratton

Cyclists must obey the same rules of the road as motorists. According to Henrico Police Lt. C.J. Eley, cyclists are advised to stay to the right on roadways “in the same direction as traffic.” A cyclist who pulls alongside a vehicle at a stoplight is not violating traffic laws. – Editor

Same-sex marriage story ‘propaganda’

The article on same-sex marriage [“Crossing the Threshold,” September issue] was not only not news, not reporting, but was propaganda and promoting of an ungodly practice.

Before writing me off as a religious wacko, which I am not, I am well thought of in the community as president of a homeowners association, known by Pat and John O’Bannon. If you are believers in Jesus as the Son of God and the Bible being the inerrant Word of God, you may want to read the passages concerning homosexuality in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6:13 (second half) through the end of the chapter.

Also, in Genesis the passages about Sodom (sodomy) and Gomorrah.

This letter is to serve two purposes:

1. If you are believers in Christ, some re-evaluation of your beliefs is in store.
2. The article should not have been permitted in Henrico Monthly. It is not news but propaganda.

I do not condone censorship, but I do object to ungodly propaganda in a family oriented magazine. Our young people are confused enough these days without promoting same-sex marriage.

Richard W. Lessig Jr.