Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the emergency response to the California fires, the need to thin forests, the importance of an educated populace, and the donated team T-shirts in Africa.

San Diego: A model for disaster response

In response to the Oct. 25 article, "In fire's path, lessons learned": I want to emphasize the importance of distinguishing between community support and government support. My family is essentially scattered over the county and has been affected by forced evacuations, very poor air quality, and the worry of wondering whether or not their home would be destroyed. My wife and I are living this nightmare with the rest of the residents in San Diego County.

Yet the furthest from anyone's mind is wondering where Federal Emergency Management Agency is and when they will be here to help. The community is reacting to this disaster in an effort unmatched elsewhere. Here in San Diego, we have leadership without the federal government's involvement, although President Bush has declared San Diego County a national disaster.

The citizens of San Diego should be a national model. It's one the federal government would be prudent in using for responding to national disasters, and one that citizens of other communities could benefit from.

Bob Chase
Encinitas, Calif.

Thin the forests if necessary

Regarding the Oct. 24 article, "California's age of megafires": The US Forest Service has been concerned about the kindling on the forest floor. This is the reason they want to allow logging companies to thin the forests. We need to be aware of environmental concerns (we donate to Clean Water Action, for instance), but we also need to have a discussion about priorities. If thinning the forests would help with fires, let's do it. It would provide jobs and save people's lives.

Julius Glinter
Milford, Mich.

Everyone benefits from an education

Regarding Thomas Hunt and James Carper's Oct. 25 Opinion piece, "Don't make public schools a state church": The authors make a significant error in their recent commentary advocating tax abatements for parents who opt to send their children to private schools. The same argument has been made by those choosing to remain childless: that school taxes should not be paid by those who do not have children attending the schools.

Everyone benefits from an educated populace. Those children who attend public schools today are the doctors, the scientists, the lawyers, the artists, and the statesmen of tomorrow. Those who would refuse to pay school taxes on the grounds that they do not use the schools should then also refuse all benefits available to them that public schools have provided.

Elizabeth Mauldin
Lupburg, Germany

Donated T-shirts don't help

In response to the Oct. 24 article, "All those T-shirts of losing teams? Off to Africa," regarding discarded baseball jerseys and other such clothing donated to Africa by World Vision: It sounds like a wonderful thing that is a great benefit to poor African children, but it is not. The gift of these shirts and other articles of clothing actually add to the situation keeping Africa in dire poverty. These undercut the necessity for traditional cloth weavers and clothing manufacturers in Africa.

The only people benefiting from this business are the wholesalers of clothing and the wealthy businesspeople. It would be better business if people had not counted their chickens before they hatched. They should have waited until they knew who won before ordering clothing that would be discarded. Perhaps then the shirts would not cost $30, taking into account all the years of lost games, and would be only $20 – a win-win proposition for all.

Caroline Scott
Newtonville, Mass.

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, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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