Thank you for the Dec. 3 article "Property taxes rising nationwide." What seems to be missing in every article on escalating property taxes that I've read, however, is the root cause. Government at all levels is simply too large, and too intrusive. The time may be right for the government's employers - we the people - to take back the employer's role of determining who does what and how. Politicians and bureaucrats are called public servants because they are supposed to work for us, not the other way around. That we have allowed them to wriggle out from under our supervision has been to our detriment.
If we really want to get our taxes under control, we have to reassert our control over the government employees we hire. That means that we have to become involved in our governance at every level, instead of leaving the decisions up to a class of people who have long decided how much they will take from us to pay their salaries and fund their activities.
Port Townsend, Wash.
Regarding the Nov. 29 article "A generation weighed down by debt": After graduate school at Harvard, my husband had accumulated $40,000 of student-loan debt, and after making a decision to pursue nonprofit and community work, he went much further into debt. And then he married me, a poor, single mother, and our debt became one.
A huge percentage of our income goes to debt repayment every month. It affects where we can live, how close we can be to our families, how we provide for our son, how many children we will have, and what kind of security we will have as elderly people one day. We're not getting out of this debt any time soon because we are not willing to choose employment that actually opposes the very ideals - and people - we love.
As a student at Sonoma State University currently enrolled in a course on global environment, I found the Dec. 2 article "Heat wave risk rising with emissions" very interesting. I was surprised to read that the study mentioned in your article claims that it is the first of its kind to tie human-influenced global warming to extreme seasons, like the summer Europe experienced this past year. In just one semester I have learned that global warming is brought on in part by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.
If the US keeps on burning fossil fuels and cutting down our forests at the current rate, global warming is just going to keep getting worse. I find it ridiculous that our own government rejected the Kyoto Protocol, a worldwide process that will dramatically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases on a global scale. If the United States refuses to accept the Kyoto Protocol, then what sort of example are we setting for other countries?
We need to think about the future of this planet, the future of mankind. We need to address this problem now and not leave it for future generations to deal with.
Rohnert Park, Calif.
Regarding the Dec. 2 article "North American birds on the decline," which cited some complaints about the negative effect of wind farms on birds: It seems that no matter what kind of nonpolluting device the energy industry develops, people will find some way to tear it down, or insist that it not be built in their backyard.
We can wait until the whole nation is terminally short of energy, or we can begin now to learn how to solve the problem with devices like wind farms that already have an ecofriendly history here and in Europe.
Mike Van Winkle
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