Letters: On diesel taxes, Israel, Civil Rights Commission

The Detroit News

Trucks should pay for road damage 

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a loaded 18-wheeler causes about 10,000 times the road damage of a passenger car. Ergo, Michigan’s diesel fuel tax should be much higher than the gasoline tax.

No doubt the most road damage in Michigan follows the auto industry corridors between auto manufacturing plants. We need to export the fair share of our road damage costs to the rest of the nation via the Michigan diesel fuel tax. Neighboring states may want, and need, to do likewise to maintain a level playing field. The auto industry may whine about being made the conduit to recover legitimate transport costs to the rest of the nation. OK, whine. But nothing more.

Vic St. Amand, Midland

Jewish leaders can take care of themselves

Bankole Thompson argues from a false premise in his Monday column ("Jewish leaders should speak out more," Aug. 26). Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were not banned from Israel. They were welcome to visit with the other 72 congressional representatives who visited in early August. Tlaib was also allowed to visit her grandmother on humanitarian grounds, but made her grandmother a political pawn instead.

FILE - In this July 15, 2019, file photo, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, right, speaks, as U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. listens, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. Reps. Omar and Tlaib plan to host a news conference Monday, Aug. 19, 2019 on travel restrictions to Israel and Palestine, after they were denied entry into Israel last week. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

According to their published itinerary, Tlaib and Omar weren’t even planning on visiting Israel, but “Palestine.” Their tour guides were Miftah, an organization that has spread anti-Semitic blood libels and reprinted neo-Nazi screeds for years.

Rather than patronize the Jewish community by deciding what issues should be important to us, Thompson should speak out on Tlaib’s and Omar’s anti-Semitism and the anti-Semitic attacks of Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan.

Jews have survived for over 3,000 years without Bankole Thompson’s advice, and we will continue to be fine without it.

Harry Onickel, Ferndale

Credit civil rights director for good work 

Under the leadership of director Agustin Arbulu, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights has investigated the Flint poisoning of a black city’s water, racial profiling by Grand Rapids police, the labor conditions of farm workers, the threat to public education by privatization and charter schools, the recent racialized closing of two Grosse Pointe schools, as well as complaints brought by women in the workplace and members of the LGBTQ community.

Agustin Arbulu

I was disappointed in Arbulu’s behavior and his need to be reprimanded by the Civil Rights Commission. Such attitudes are unacceptable.

I am, however, more dismayed that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has seized on this complaint intervening in the commission’s process, to seek his firing — an assault on its crucial independence which must be free to investigate matters sensitive to the incumbent administration.

For example, a possible investigation of the Benton Harbor High School situation may have been in the works, where under-funding by massive tax captures and characterization have virtually dismantled another black city’s public education.

The governor has over-reached her authority of independent bodies once again. 

Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, Detroit