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Making a difference

To the editor:

Dan Shaw’s “Letter to the Editor” on Thursday, Aug. 21, did it. I, for the first time in my life, feel the need to respond.

I’m chairman of the Town of South Boston’s Industrial Development Authority, but this response is mine and mine alone.

I’m astounded that a professional man of good character has chosen to express such a negative attitude about downtown South Boston. His criticism of those who are attempting to make this town, our town, a better place to live and thrive is misguided at best, and, in my opinion, just plain mean-spirited, at worst.

He devalues our friends and neighbors, many of whom own and operate downtown businesses as merchants and restaurateurs. These same neighbors are also members of the Board of Destination Downtown South Boston; they serve on town council and the planning commission; they are town administrators and council members, and they are volunteers who help out at the festivals, music events and parades.

They all choose to invest their energy and experience to better the community, to repair, rebuild and reinvent the areas that need attention. They choose to retain and expand our tax base. They strive to make downtown a better place for those who live here, visit here or want to relocate and make this town their home.

Thank heaven they don’t share Mr. Shaw’s view.

And what about the many citizens, local and out-of-town, who choose to spend their money in downtown South Boston. Thank heaven they don’t all shop and dine at Walmart.

If Mr. Shaw truly believes that “giving up” on small towns like ours is the answer, then I suggest that he visit such places as Greenville, South Carolina, or Mt Airy, or Jefferson and West Jefferson in North Carolina. There, positive-thinking citizens came together and turned these towns around into destinations that their citizens are proud to call home. 

Yes, it took work and time, but mostly it took a vision and a commitment. These towns, like ours, were once totally dependent on the tobacco, textile and furniture industries. They refused to “throw in the towel.” They thought positive; they got creative. They got together and reshaped their future.

I invite Mr. Shaw to join us on these committees or councils and use his energy and experience to help make a “positive” difference. 

Thomas R. Elliott Jr.

South Boston


Common sense

To the editor:

What is common senses? We cannot compete with China. We need to look at the people here in the USA. 

I only have a 12th grade education. People today push education, but whatever happened to good common sense?

Willie Ewell 

South Boston