Circus entertainment is not humane

Regarding your article "New circus trick: Make elephants vanish from ring" on the rapidly evolving battle over the use of elephants and other exotic animals in the circus (March 6). This is surely one of the cruelest forms of animal abuse.

I am confident that within the next few years, we will see the passage of legislation against this archaic form of entertainment. More than 250 municipalities around the world, including many Canadian cities, have already taken action. Unfortunately, perhaps because of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's heavily financed opposition, America is lagging far behind in showing its compassion. Few of us would ever keep our dogs chained or our cats caged 20some hours a day, yet that's exactly how circuses treat their elephants and tigers.

Do these magnificent creatures not deserve at least as much freedom - and respect - as our pets?

Simon Chaitowitz Washington

Not all of California is fighting sprawl

Your March 3 article "California nearly 'sprawled' out" was right to decry the loss of farmland throughout California's Central Valley. However, for Tulare County, in stark contrast to the rest of California, providing jobs for the people who live here is the greatest challenge, not controlling sprawl. Despite a booming national economy - and a positively hyperkinetic one elsewhere in the state - the unemployment rate in the county is currently 15 percent, nearly four times the national average. It has persistently hovered in the mid-to-high teens for decades.

Tight zoning laws are in place in Tulare County to control the expansion of urban areas. Abundant and rich farmland has made this county the second-largest agricultural producer in the nation; our economy depends on its preservation.

Bringing jobs into the valley would actually work against sprawl. Residents could work close to where they live, instead of commuting to Los Angeles or Silicon Valley.

Bill Maze Visalia, Calif.

Tulare County Econ. Development Corp.

Your article "California nearly 'sprawled out' " catalogs the environmental degradation, traffic congestion, vanishing farmlands, etc. associated with runaway growth in California.

Unfortunately nowhere in the article are readers informed about what is driving this growth: immigration. Nationwide some 60 percent of population growth is from immigrants and their children. In California - where one in four residents is foreign born and half of all enrollees in elementary school are children of foreign-born parents - over 80 percent of the growth arises from immigration. Californians - and the country - will find no relief to the consequences of continued population growth until Congress removes its blinders and passes an immigration moratorium. In the meantime we are all condemned to being 'sprawled' out

Tim Aaronson El Cerrito, Calif.

Sacagawea dollar coin will succeed

Regarding Dick Meister's opinion piece "New dollar coin? Keep the change" (March 3): The reason the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin didn't win widespread approval was because it wasn't needed but the Sacagawea is needed. Just try to stuff a crinkled dollar bill into a vending machine and you'll see just how much the dollar coin is needed.

When the first dollar coin came out in 1979, a candy bar was a quarter and a bottle of soft drink was about the same. Now a 20 oz. softdrink is about $1 and the candy bar is about 65 to 75 cents - just perfect for the new dollar coin. And the fact that it saves the mint (and therefore me as a taxpayer) money in production costs is an added plus.

Richard L. Hall Reston, Va.

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