Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the Angora fire in America's Lake Tahoe area, immigrants to the US who used to be legal, women's ability to cook on a grill, and what makes some people drive more than others.

In Tahoe area, many rules and regulations for homeowners

I write in response to the June 26 article, "Tahoe blaze puts focus on homeowners' prevention efforts." The summary quote of the article reads, "The wildfire shows that residents need to minimize the risk on their own properties, analysts say." Homeowners in the Tahoe area are limited in how much they can clear the areas around their houses because they are so regulated by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA). People can't even have dirt around their house; instead, there must be pine needles, woodchips, or grass, which is not natural to the area.

No homeowner in the Tahoe basin is allowed to cut even one tree on his or her property unless approved by TRPA. The only trees that are usually able to be cut are those that are a hazard for the home because they may fall or cause foundation or deck damage.

I lived in the Tahoe area for eight years, and the regulations are why I left. I always felt that it was not a matter of "if" but "when" a fire would happen. The Forest Service has been clearing some areas, but it is too little, too late. The Angora fire was not the fault of the Forest Service or the homeowners.

Dave Von Derau
Member, Woodfords Volunteer Fire Dept.
Woodfords, Calif.

Immigrants who used to be legal

Regarding the June 25 article, "Key to reviving immigration-reform bill: tight border": My concern is the vast number of people in the United States who are illegal because their visas expired years ago. They more or less hide out, still working, still paying taxes, but not current on their standings and here illegally. Many are afraid that if they go to renew their visas, they will get into trouble and be deported.

Many people come here on a work visa, the visa runs out, and then they still work here, reaping all the benefits of the US, but they do not want to become citizens. They just want to use the system. These people are from all countries, not just Latin American ones.

M.L. Chapman

It's not just Ken who tends the 'barbie'

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the June 25 article, "Why can't a woman 'man' the grill?" As a 20-year-old female, I take great pride in the fact that I am perfectly capable of grilling my own steak!

I grew up on my family's cattle ranch where barbecuing was at least a semiweekly event, if not every other night.

Growing up, I always watched my dad and brother and took note of their techniques. The summer before I headed off to college, my dad and I barbecued together a number of times, and he taught me how to "man the grill."

While at school, there have been a number of times when I have enjoyed firing up the grill to prepare juicy steaks or delicious hamburgers for me and my roommates. As much as I enjoy grilling, I can also appreciate a man that is willing to do it for me, but I am always quick to point out that I am perfectly capable myself.

It is encouraging to hear that 6 out of 10 women are grilling – the more the merrier! I hope you all enjoy some delicious steaks this summer because beef is what's for dinner.

Amanda Rankin
Caliente, Calif.

Jobs, fuel-efficient cars spur some to drive more

I appreciated Randy Salzman's June 26 Opinion piece, "Get Americans to drive less: Raise gas taxes," about using market forces – through a gasoline tax – to help us reduce oil consumption. As he pointed out, I notice that as I ponder purchasing a Prius, my fantasy includes driving more miles, with the hope that I use less gasoline.

Michael Benning
Wayne, Pa.

Regarding the June 25 article, "More US commuters drive solo": It is no surprise that more are driving alone. In many professions, there is always the need to be able to hop in the car and go now. Moreover, even minimum-wage employers are asking employees to work odd hours and mixed schedules, so that even employees at the same location cannot carpool without adding hours to the day.

As for global warming, I slow down and use a brand of gas that lasts longer than the one I had been using. I get a quarter tank's worth of extra mileage on every fill.

Dan Lozer
Le Mars, Iowa

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.

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