Regarding the article ``Michigan Plan to Reform Schools Stirs Local Debate, National Interest,'' Oct. 8: It seems to me that something is drastically amiss as we plan our new tax systems. Michigan wants to replace the property tax with a sales tax to fund the schools, and the federal government is discussing a replacement of the income tax with consumption taxes.
It seems reasonable to want to be rid of the property tax, but a sales tax is even more regressive than the property tax. It's not fair that the poorest in the land give a greater percentage of what they have to fund government programs. Far more fair is an income tax that takes from all according to their ability to pay.
The country needs to start worrying about how to get education right rather than how to get it so comparatively cheaply. I believe people don't mind paying taxes, as long as they are levied fairly and spent on things that genuinely benefit the country, state, or locality. An equitable income tax is the answer. Hugh Foster, Manitowoc, Wis. UNESCO prize to Mandela, De Klerk
I appreciated the article ``Shared Nobel Marks South African Progress,'' Oct. 18. I regret, however, that one important event was not listed in ``Steps Toward Reconciliation.'' The Nobel Prize was the second major award for these leaders' steadfast commitment to a democratic South Africa.
In February 1992, in Paris, Nelson Mandela and Frederik de Klerk received from the director-general of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Prize for Peace Research. Each was presented with a check equal to $75,000, a gold medal, and a UNESCO Peace Diploma.
Both men said that the award encouraged them to continue their negotiations. Note the importance of the date of February 1992 in the chronology of their efforts. John E. Fobes, Asheville, N.C. Former Deputy Director-General, UNESCO A mother nurturing fatherhood
Many thanks for the interesting series ``Fathers in the 90s,'' Oct. 7, 12, and 14.
Most of my sons' childhood was spent with me, their mother. I was their primary parent and provider (out of necessity, rather than choice). I became acutely aware that society had abandoned children, and I yearned to see qualities such as gentleness, caring, and responsibility expressed by men. As an at-home child-care provider I was available to my sons, and they, in turn, had the opportunity to learn to nurture. It is true that ``any of those other things [career, money, toys, gifts] are irrelevant compared with the time children spend with their fathers,'' or, I might add, their mothers.
It is gratifying to see that men wish to develop their full potential and to see fatherhood and marriage strengthened. Robin Pryor, Piedmont, Calif. Save the ancient redwoods
Regarding the editorial ``Computerized Ecology,'' Oct. 12: A number of environmentalists have used satellite images and on-the-ground mapping to get accurate pictures of what old-growth forests are remaining. Yet in violation of basic principles of conservation biology, the Clinton forest policy would fragment the larger blocks of old-growth forest habitat (by road-building and logging) even in the biologically diverse Klamath/Siskiyou area of northwestern California and southwestern Oregon.
Despite the bleak prospects (even under the new administration) for the forest ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies, there is a glimmer of hope in the position of Jim Lyons, assistant secretary of agriculture, regarding the last redwood wilderness area (near Humboldt Bay, southeast of Eureka, Calif.). Mr. Lyons has indicated interest in HR 2866, proposed by Rep. Dan Hamburg (D) of California, to negotiate the acquisition of up to 44,000 acres of the 72,000 acre greater Headwaters Forest ecosystem. Almost all of this area is owned by Maxxam Inc., which has increased the logging rate of the ancient redwoods.
It is time to protect these ancient redwood stands, streams, and wildlife corridors, as well as to create jobs through rehabilitation of damaged watersheds in the area. Bruce Campbell, Los Angeles