Letters for April 8, 2010

Teenagers are expensive

Re “Working class heroes” (News, March 25):

While the article covers teens’ struggles to enter the workforce, it’s important to recognize that these continued high unemployment rates have consequences that stretch far beyond the pocketbooks of America’s youth.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in 2009, our teen unemployment rate averaged a high 24.3 percent. These unemployed teens are deprived of the valuable “invisible curriculum” that comes from reporting to a supervisor, showing up on time, and working with others as part of a team. Research from Northeastern University found that teens without job opportunities—especially economically disadvantaged teens—are also more likely to drop out of high school or get tangled up in the criminal justice system.

A high minimum wage environment—like that created by the 40 percent increase in the federal minimum wage between July 2007 and July 2009—has contributed to this teen unemployment crisis. And states like Nevada have mandated wage rates even higher than the federal level. A survey of labor economists by the University of New Hampshire found 73 percent in agreement that wage hikes like this decrease the number of jobs for entry level employees.

Michael Saltsman
Employment Policies Institute
Washington, D.C.

Send convicts to Iraq

Re “We’ve spent over $711,343,548,694 on the Iraq War” (Feature story, March 18):

I have or have had nephews, uncles and friends in this and other wars and also in some of our prisons. I have also lost family to prisoners released from our great system. And in my opinion, instead of making our prisons vacation homes for our convicts, [gun-wielding convicts] need hard core time in jail! Remember when boys got in trouble, and the police would give them an option: jail or the Army? Now, the military doesn’t want you unless you have graduated or have a GED. Take a look at our prisons; they’re more vacation homes than anything. How many of those so-called gangsters out there doing drive bys or retaliation shootings do you think have diplomas or GEDs? Everyone complains there’s no money to control this. Well, I wonder what would happen if you sent them to Iraq to defend our country! They want to shoot at somebody, let them shoot at the real enemy. Our prisons do not reform anyone, and we all know that. Maybe fighting for a cause will! I’m sorry if I sound angry, but I guess I am.

Annett Saavedra

Trail mix

Re “No … kidding” (Greenspace, March 18):

The Peepoo would work for backpackers, too. They’d still need to carry a trowel, or use a rock or some digging tool. We’ve had to used squatty potties in China, Cambodia, Burma—oh, how we take flush toilets and toilet paper for granted! Read Deuteronomy 23:12. Happy trails to you.

Thelma Reindollar

Funny caption contest

Re “Write the Caption!” (Feature story, April 1):

The male ego’s notion of eight inches.

Mark Murray

You must be at least this tall to take this ride.

David Toll

Learn from the experts

Re “Student government abolition sought” (Upfront, April 1):

Hope they succeed. We should abolish student government in high schools, too. This is supposed to be a free country, and everywhere we look, we are seeing government encroaching on our lives and placing a crushing economic burden on us. Student government uses taxpayer money to teach students to look at professional politicians as the ultimate leaders, instead of as the parasitic, power-lusting, incredibly destructive followers that they actually are.

Susan Lloyd

Watered down

Re “First, you have to talk” (East of Eden, March 25):

An opinion article such as Jen Huntley’s has to be responded to. This entire Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement process is not about getting along with your neighbor, it is all about legal blackmail and extortion by the tribal, environmental and governmental interests. The fish die-off in 2002 Jen referenced has been proven to be unrelated to water deliveries to the Klamath Reclamation Project, but the anti-irrigation groups still bring up the die-off as supposed proof of agriculture’s “negative” impact on fish. You have to also follow the money trail, and you will see the paid for agendas that are promoted by the KBRA and dam removal process. Taking out dams with our current economic crisis is absolutely insane! Any benefits hoped for by taking out these four dams is only guesswork at best. The possible environmental disaster predicted by existing federal government studies on removing these dams, can destroy fish habitat for 100 years, clear to the ocean. You simply cannot flush 22 million cubic yards of “toxic” sediment down the river. You have to remember this sediment is the same “stuff” these interest groups claim is in the river causing all the poor water quality and killing fish, but now it is OK to send it down the river. Agriculture is not responsible for poor water quality—Mother Nature is, because of the natural occurring phosphorus in the basin along with a huge, shallow Klamath Lake. Sure there are more studies being done, but their outcome is pre-determined in favor of removal. The Klamath Basin has always been considered a conservative community. The agendas being pushed in this process have originated from the liberal environmental interests that want all dams out at any cost. The population throughout the Klamath River Basin, is against dam removal and the KBRA, as written. If the KBRA was in effect this season, there would actually be less water available for farmers. I am a local concerned stakeholder in this process. A Basin-wide settlement is a very noble cause, desired by all involved, but as written the KBRA and Klamath Hydro Settlement Agreement do not even come close to achieving this goal. Huntley is totally correct when she labels Troy Fletcher and Steve Kandra “storytellers.”

Tom Mallams
President, Klamath Off-Project Water Users Association

Beatty, Oregon

Your fault

Re “All her fault” (Letters to the editor, March 18):

Most of the women I know would be more than happy to sit on our cute little butts and watch Days of Our Lives, although, I for one, will pass on “submissive.” Here’s the real problem: finding “a real man” who can handle being the head of anything, much less another human being—man, woman or child. Let’s define “man”: Strong, smart, willing to work and support a family, able to fix what is broken, be backbone of the family. Tell me, how many men do you know that can stand in these shoes? Know any that can hold a job, support a family, mend a broken fence, keep a car running, fix a broken pipe, unplug a sink, mow the yard? Not many, so you can blame women but until you beer-drinking, TV-watching, couch-potato men can step up to the plate, we women will be out there doing what it takes.

So Mr. Reese, all I have left to say to you is “get a job,” and if you abuse your wife or children because of your inadequate life, I have a word of advice for your wife: Get out!

R. Evans
via email