Bigger houses waste earth's resources

By , LeRoy Davis, Beth Osborne, and Ronald G. Walker

Regarding your Aug. 21 article "Where your home can't be a castle anymore": The problem with building "castles" or "monster" homes is much more serious than destroying "local charm."

The wealthy need to understand that huge houses use up the earth's resources at an accelerated pace; for instance, building materials (we mourn the demise of our natural forests). Then there's water, heating and cooling with fossil fuels, that pollute air without serious planning for alternative clean energy.

With shortages looming in the next decades, the price to support any home will rise dramatically, and the government will have to relieve many more citizens experiencing hardships than it does now. It is time to regulate ostentatious behavior that shows no sense of responsibility for the common good. We already have rules for proper insulation, for percentage of window-to-wall space, for conservation. The next step, limiting the size of houses, should not be too difficult to accept.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Elisabeth Bondy Silverdale, Wash.

An Alaskan's support for Bush

Heather Lende's Aug. 25 opinion piece pretty clearly summarized the minority opinion of Al Gore supporters in Alaska. What they tend to misunderstand is that this election is not just about abortion, gays, national parks, or the NRA.

The 2000 presidential election is about the attitude and vision America will develop, and the direction the country will take to address those and countless other issues we and our children will encounter.

Will we give our citizens, young and not-so-young, the tools and opportunities to develop enduring problem-solving skills and opportunities? Or will we encourage them to expect all solutions to flow from government intervention and restriction?

I, too, like Barbara and "George the Elder" Bush. I like images of a happy, physically active, and affectionate family. George W. and Mr. Gore are both fortunate to come from and to have strong, loving families.

But I'm not voting for a neighbor. I'm voting for a president: the executive of an administration, leader and inspirer of a nation, and a champion of people - not bureaucracies and narrow special-interest groups.

That's why I'm voting for George W. Bush.

LeRoy Davis Juneau, Alaska

Schools can't support vouchers for all

Regarding your Aug. 30 article "In voucher report card, black pupils gain": I am quite frustrated at the press coverage of the study released last week on vouchers. Basically, the results of that study can be boiled down to one point: When students are removed from bad schools and sent to good schools, they do better - even if they are African-Americans.

We needed a study to tell us that? And were we really worried that African-Americans were incapable of doing better in good schools? If that's the case, then I am insulted.

The fact is we do not have enough good schools to house everyone who needs one. So why try to solve the problem by draining the public school coffers to pay for a few kids to go to better schools, leaving tens of thousands of students behind? Why not just use the money to make the bad ones better? It's not easy, but, unfortunately, it is the only legitimate choice we have.

Beth Osborne Washington

Where 'kangaroos' are simply 'roos'

Thanks foryour interesting research on "kangaroo" ("What's that you say - 'kangaroo'?," Aug. 30). In Australia we call these marsupials "roos," and our local slang word for "goodbye" is "hooroo" (or, on lazy hot days, "ooroo").

Ronald G. Walker Queensland, Australia

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