At long last we present our annual Summer Fiction issue, a collection of short stories and poems from our readers, some of whom have never seen their work in print before. It’s an exciting time and we can all meet the writers at our reception after work on Thursday, August 20, at Tre Piani restaurant in Princeton Forrestal Village. Please mark your calendars.

And please note that we are taking our annual midsummer publishing break, with no paper next Wednesday, July 29. We will resume regular weekly publication on Wednesday, August 5. We are confident you will have plenty to read between now and then.

#b#‘Shameful’ Cover#/b#

How shocked I was to see the cover of your July 15 edition of U.S. 1. Your choice of a page one graphic for your story on a Viagra for Women is shameful.

By choosing a graphic of a 1950s woman with a headache, you made light of women who have a sexual dysfunction. For erectile dysfunction, would you choose a graphic with a “Ward Cleaver” character giving the excuse of having a backache?

While the graphic was reproduced from Joanna Kempner’s book of the same title, the subject of her writing is “Migraines and the Politics of Gender and Health,” not sexual dysfunction.

Your support of this double standard is deplorable.

Janelle Wilkinson

Ringoes

Editor’s note. We considered exactly this issue when choosing the cover image. In fact, as the people quoted in the cover story contend, female sexual dysfunction has been caught up in the “politics of gender and health” just as migraine headaches have. Our intention was not to support the double standard, but to expose it.

#b#A Loophole Created in a Black Box#/b#

NJ’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) came out with a proposal that will make sweeping changes to environmental policy (DEP Docket No. 05-15-04). The way for the public to learn about the proposal was to see a few small-sized announcements in newspapers about the public hearings that took place on June 22 in Trenton and June 25 in Long Branch. The proposal creates a loophole through which industry can gain permits, without significant review, to develop currently protected areas and bypass presently active legislation: Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Coastal Zone Management Rules, and Stormwater Management Rules.

We attended the June 22 hearing, and there we heard testimonials from a variety of experts about the effects this relaxation of restrictions will have on riverine life and watersheds, with an emphasis on the increase in flooding vulnerability. The president of the NJ Sierra Club, the lawyer for the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, and other dedicated scientists and volunteer helpers all concurred on one thing: this will be a giant step backwards for New Jersey, its flooding difficulties, its access to clean water supply, its creatures, its people, as well as human dwellings and other property. The attending riverine experts were scientists who know the places and habitats to be affected. They cited massive data, all of it conclusively and convincingly damning the impending pro-business improvements.

A small handful of curious citizens attended — fewer than the speakers. Three from the Navesink area testified forcefully to the increase in flooding dangers to life and property resulting from permitting more, not less, destructive development practices. Who were to hear these impassioned individuals? There was no media of any kind in the room. It was a black box. For us, it is disheartening to note that the commissioner of DEP was himself not present at the hearing. The proposal was informed by unnamed stakeholders, who also did not appear to be present.

To put things bluntly, some unnamed stakeholders worked with the commission to come up with a way to bypass legislated rules that impact our environment. While the aforementioned rules were established through due legislative process, the commission is now positioned to be able to approve its own proposal. To what or to whom do we have recourse before the new measures are approved by Bob Martin, the DEP commissioner? We have the freedom to contact his office’s attorney, Gary J. Bower, by mail or E-mail, by July 31.

Is this democracy? We think not.

Sarah Spitzer, Jennifer Harford

Princeton

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