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Sign Theft Adds Up; E-Mail Attack Is Worse 

The stealing of campaign signs talked about in Chris Dovi's article (“Sign Stealing Alleged in School Board Race,” Web Exclusive, Oct. 29) is an issue. One that costs the candidates between $3 and $4 per sign — and for small campaigns that is a lot of money. However, I wish that the focus of the article had been on the e-mail that was sent about the candidates. The signs, while expensive and annoying, are a prank; the e-mail is malicious.
I work for an institution whose mission is to promote tolerance. I teach teachers and students what happens when a government does not tolerate a portion of its population. I know that there are people in the world who do not understand the ramifications of hating others because they are different from themselves, yet I am shocked that a member of the Richmond community would broadcast religious intolerance in the middle of any campaign.
The First Amendment guarantees that all Americans may practice their religion — all Americans. To have anyone make a negative comment about religion is about as un-American as one can get, and it is especially surprising to have received these comments from someone who fought for this county. History shows that it is essential that we stand up for the right to practice the religious freedoms we are so lucky to have in America. Insults hurled across a schoolyard, graffiti scribbled on a wall, or an e-mail sent to people in Richmond should not be part of the American way of life.
[During] this campaign … Bert and I have met, and waved to, hundreds of Richmonders who care deeply about what happens to this city and this country. Only one person found it necessary to spout evil. Whichever way this School Board election turns out, the people running for office are worthy of our respect, but do hold tight to your signs!
Rena Berlin
Richmond

Editor's note: Bert Berlin, the writer's husband, was a candidate for School Board in the city's 4th District. He lost in a four-way race to Adria A. Graham Scott.

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