Proposed Texas toll road could be a slippery slope

Regarding the March 23 article, "A 10-lane road to the future," what should the public think about the state taking private lands, then using those lands to get into the motel, restaurant, gas, etc., business? In our system, that is a private-enterprise opportunity, not one for the government.

And where does the government draw the line? Is this the beginning of a new form of government competition with the private sector? Is it the first round of unlimited seizures of private lands for any use whatsoever? What about the huge opportunity it presents for government cronyism, patronage, and corruption?

Let's hope Gov. Rick Perry and his legislative cohorts have thought through their Trans-Texas Corridor toll road proposal and fully recognize the slippery slope on which they are about to embark.
Robert Brandes
Fredericksburg, Texas

I believe that it is a good idea to control truck traffic in Texas, as I have been gridlocked many times in Dallas-Austin-San Antonio on my way to the Rio Grande Valley. However, I don't agree with giving a Spanish company, Cintra, a piece of the pie. There are many large, capable firms in the US that could build the road, and to let the firm collect tolls for 50 years is ludicrous! If it's built in the US, the money should stay in the US.
Ron Moore
Harbor Springs, Mich.

Expats' ironic role for Mugabe regime

Your March 22 article, "In Zimbabwe, people power fails to ignite," says that many ask why the people of Zimbabwe have not stood up against President Robert Mugabe. While the answer is manyfold, one of the major reasons is that 4 million people are living outside the country and as such are totally disenfranchised.

In fact, the only thing they are doing is propping up the economy of Mr. Mugabe's regime. With 4 million people sending money to relatives, the economy is being supported by those who would love to see him gone and normality resume so that they can return to their homes.
Mark Marais
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Differing views on ethics of seal hunt

In her March 18 opinion piece, "Make this year's seal hunt the last," Rebecca Aldworth says "an independent team of veterinarians was escorted to the ice floes by the International Fund for Animal Welfare." This puts their "independence" - hence their conclusion that the hunt is inhumane - into question. The seal hunt has been judged humane by many reputable sources, such as the Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing, representatives of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and the IWMC World Conservation Trust.

Two other points: Tourists visiting ice floes to see seals do not bring "substantial revenue." Nor are seal carcasses left to rot. All parts are used; the meat is eaten by sealers' families, among others.
Joan Forsey

I live nowhere close to the seal hunt, but its images haunt me from a distance. I have therefore boycotted Canadian products for years, and I am pleased that telling an association I work with about the hunt led to a change of venue for its annual meeting - away from Canada. Let us all boycott Canada until it decides to respect the lives of the pups.
Miriam Reik
New York

I've never been to the seal hunt, and I hate cruelty to animals. Whether we are culling the deer, wolf, or seal populations, it should be done in a humane way. However, boycotting Canadian fish products seems an unjust, incongruous, and heavy-handed response. This article reinforced my impression that Americans lack a sense of proportion and fairness. I worry more about the prisoners at Guantánamo than about the seals in Canada.
Keith Stainton

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