The window is not the world's trash can
Many cheers for those Adopt a Highway volunteers that have cleaned up our roads this year of 700,000 pounds of trash. Our town had a group that used to be those courageous folk. Every year we would pass over the same grounds along our river highway, until one year, one of our members was almost struck by a truck. We looked at what we had picked up that year and knew this was about what we had picked up the last year and the years before!
We know if West Virginia had a bottle bill and a tire bill that would require a deposit, our burden would be lessened considerably, but the politicians were reluctant to pass any kind of bill that would help. So knowing this, we abandoned the river road in hopes that they would see the point. Until now, they have not, and the road trash does build as we wait for help from those that would willingly help business succeed but turn their collective heads when it comes to this dangerous volunteer effort.
West Virginians need to be reeducated to learn that the window is not the world's trash can!
Civil forfeiture can victimize small business owners
The Charleston Gazette should be praised for spotlighting how police have abused civil forfeiture laws ("Loot: Police forfeiture," Nov. 20). Under civil forfeiture, someone does not have to be convicted or even charged with a crime to permanently lose their property.
Your editorial was quite right in noting how the war on drugs can "victimize small, defenseless folks." But civil forfeiture extends far beyond the drug war. Terry Dehko and Mark Zaniewski are two small business owners in the Detroit area. Earlier this year, without any warning whatsoever, the IRS seized these entrepreneurs' entire bank accounts -- more than $100,000 in total -- on the mere suspicion their deposits violated a technical banking law.
After holding their money for months, the IRS backed down and returned their money when the Institute for Justice demanded a prompt hearing before a judge. But under current civil forfeiture laws, many other innocent owners will never be able to challenge the government in court.
Clearly, these laws are in dire need of reform.
Institute for Justice