Reporting on homeowners associations in The Star is not representative of my experience, and for that I am thankful (Dec. 25, 1A, “HOAs from hell: More horror stories”).
I appreciate the five HOAs of which I have been a member, and am appreciative of those who have sacrificed their time to take often thankless leadership roles.
My experiences over the past 40 years have been almost universally positive.
These HOAs have protected my property values, served my and my neighbors’ common needs and enforced rules to which we all agreed when we bought our homes. Some of the rules I did not agree with, but I complied because that is often required when living in community with others.
My real estate agents gave me copies of HOA rules before closing so I could make informed decisions about moving into neighborhoods.
Unlike in The Star’s reporting, the problems I have had involving HOAs had more to do with neighbors who decided the rules didn’t apply to them and they could do whatever they wished.
My advice: Don’t buy a home without one.
Kids and smoking
Adults choose to smoke cigarettes. Children are exposed to tobacco smoke involuntarily.
At children’s checkups, parents questioned about whether there are smokers in the home often reply no if the smokers smoke outside. That might help, but is it enough protection for your children against secondhand smoke?
The public knows the consequences of smoking during pregnancy: stillbirths and reduced birth weight. But what about the consequences of exposing your children to smoking?
Exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with respiratory infections such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia, impaired lung function, ear infections and increased risk of asthma. Kids with the highest risk for asthma are preschool-age children exposed to secondhand smoke.
There are even concerns that parental smoking can stunt the growth of lung function in childhood. Even small exposures can be harmful, so the only way to limit health risks for both parents and children is to quit smoking.
Studies show that parents are smoking less around children.
As a pediatrician, I hope this trend continues.
Babies and children do not have a choice about secondhand smoke, so let’s make the healthiest decision for them.
Jayme Kwak, M.D.
Why did President Barack Obama wait until the last month of his administration to radically alter the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians (Dec. 29, 1A, “Kerry accuses Israel of hindering peace process”)?
The recent actions of the United Nations, which would not have been taken had it not been for tacit backing from the United States, overturned what little negotiating balance existed between the parties.
This action by the U.N. and the inaction by the Obama administration have given a clear advantage to the Palestinians and will force Israel to negotiate from a point of weakness.
This shows a complete lack of political courage on the part of Obama. He had eight years to make this radical change in American policy toward Israel, but instead he chose the last month of his term.
He didn’t want to do the heavy work involved in bringing about peace. That would take too much effort.
Instead, he changes the policy as he is walking out the door, leaving a mess for his successor to clean up and conveniently avoiding the wrath of the Jewish voters who so willingly supported him.
Reflection for all
It is ironic that the author of a letter to the editor of Dec. 27 implies that there is one correct religion in this country and if you don’t “reflect” the correct religious values, get out.
Fortunately, this is not Iran, where government dictates religious belief. It is the United States of America, where the largely Christian Founding Fathers (and Mothers) guaranteed the freedom of religion in the Constitution — an unalienable right to liberty for all people.
The Constitution doesn’t guarantee just your religious freedom. It also guarantees that to the other person.
The idea of Donald Trump being considered the new normal in American politics is terrifying. I believe Trump values nothing that does not contribute to his insatiable need for self promotion.
He is disdainful of American democratic traditions and values. He would junk them in a heartbeat for personal gain. He is an autocrat at heart, which is why he admires other autocrats, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
We are all aware of the famous maxim: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”