Letters to the Editor

Readers write about flood protection, online decency, and shortening workweeks to save energy.

Homes in flood zones should rely only on private insurance

Regarding Steffen Schmidt's July 9 Opinion piece, "Better buffer than levees": Buyouts are not the answer. The issues are systemic, caused primarily by the poor planning and misguided goals of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The NFIP was designed to reduce the cost of natural flood disasters and promote mitigation efforts in flood-prone areas. The NFIP is not accomplishing its intended mitigation goals and is instead encouraging new construction in flood-prone areas, where the number of homes has soared over the last 10 years and flood damage costs have increased by almost $3.4 billion.

Subsidizing the construction of new homes in flood-prone areas is both irresponsible and unfair to homeowners who build in safer areas.

Buying out homes in high-risk flood plains and on the coasts is a waste of taxpayer dollars and a violation of the homeowners' property rights. If people choose to live in these areas, they should be allowed to do so at their own risk, with private flood insurance being their main recourse in the event of a disaster.

The results would be fewer homes built in flood-prone areas and a stronger private flood insurance market, providing improved flood protection products for all consumers.

Matthew Glans
Chicago

Legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute

In response to the recent Opinion piece on flooding: Good points. We should include permeable surfaces for roads, parking lots, and sidewalks to reduce runoff and keep rainfall "local."

Richard Flamm
St. Petersburg, Fla.

Online compassion outweighs malice

Regarding Courtney E. Martin's July 10 Opinion piece, "Counter cyberbullies with compassion": Most good things don't make headlines, because they aren't "news." News readers may sometimes get the impression that the world in general, or the Internet in particular, are dangerous, bad, places – especially for kids. Ms. Martin highlights the other compassionate and beneficial side of the story usually overlooked by the media for lack of "interest."

I can attest from my own and my friends' personal experience in cyberspace, contrary to what readers of other newspapers and news websites may assume: Such cybercompassion is the norm, and cyberbullying is the rare exception. Articles such as Martin's help remind us of these facts.

Nahum Wengrov
Jerusalem

Four-day workweek hang-ups

Regarding your July 7 editorial, "Help workers lower gas costs": I keep reading news article after news article about how a 10-hour day in a four-day workweek will reduce gas consumption and make employees happier. While I agree with everything that has been said, there are some obstacles that need to be overcome.

There need to be major changes in our society that may not be as easy to overcome in the short run, such as child care.

Day-care centers around the country will need to stay open longer to accommodate these workers' later hours. Also, latchkey kids will be unsupervised longer. The already rushed evening dinner will become even more impossible to accomplish, diminishing what already little time I am able to spend with my children on a daily basis.

I would like nothing better than to labor in a shorter workweek, but in reality, it doesn't mesh with current American ideals.

Michael Gagne
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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