Letters for May 19, 2011

Made us laugh

Re “Tattoo you” (Feature story, May 5):

I can’t help but notice the number of blue-haired ladies in the city streets, coffee shops and casinos along with the seemingly endless proliferation of beauty salons in just about every strip mall and rezoned residential area in town, and I was wondering if perhaps it’s about time to propose a moratorium on beauty salons. At least put them all in one place. Personally, I think it’s pathetic.

W.A. Soares

Don’t tax record profits

Re “We’ll pay you to exploit us” (View from the Fray, March 31):

If it’s driven, eaten or worn, it has to be mined or grown. Everything in life is dependent upon mining. There is not a minute in your life that goes by where you are not dependent upon something related to mining. Let’s not tax mines out of business simply because the liberals are jealous of the hard work and risk involved with the mines in our state. Nevada gold mines are the main balance in the economy here, subsidizing the government with tax revenues which are too high at present and should be reduced, to keep the mines here.

Mike Arp

Birth of an economy

Re “We’re No. 10” (Upfront, May 5):

The recent article, “We’re No. 10,” addressed the need for a state-wide statute requiring comprehensive sexual education in Nevada’s schools. I would like to take the opportunity to clarify where Nevada ranks on this pressing issue. The headline is only partially correct.

The teen pregnancy rate is the sum of all live births, still births, abortions and miscarriages to teenagers (calculated as a rate per 1,000 teen girls). The most recent compilation of these statistics for Nevada was done by the Guttmacher institute in 2005, based on information from National Vital Statistics along with their own research and estimates. According to this compilation, Nevada had the second highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation.

The teen birth rate, which Dennis Myers refers to in his article, is an easier statistic to collect and includes only the number of live births to teenagers. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, Nevada indeed had the tenth highest teen birth rate in the nation in 2008.

While I was grateful to be interviewed for the story and to talk about this important subject, Myers did not take the opportunity to question the statistics cited or probe the perceived discrepancy that would become the story’s headline. Had I been asked to reconcile his statistics with the others cited in testimony on the legislative record, I would have happily clarified the distinction between the measures.

Looked at together, Nevada’s teen birth and pregnancy rates are still well over the national average. Long-term studies have found that comprehensive, factual sex education is effective at lowering rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Teenagers deserve to have accurate information. Without it, how can we expect them to make good decisions about their health and protect their futures?

Teens who become pregnant or are parenting face additional barriers to completing their education. These challenges result in lost income for teens, lost future employees for businesses, and consequently, a dramatic economic hit to our state. Medically accurate education gives Nevada students the tools and information they need to become productive citizens who are contributing to the state’s economy.

David Bobzien
Assembly District 24

Editor’s note: We were aware of the Guttmacher study. However, we preferred to rely on the Centers for Disease Contol figures for two reasons. First, Guttmacher—formerly called the Center for Family Planning Program Development—has policy goals as part of its operations. It is, in fact, an arm of the Planned Parenthood Federation. While its goals—like those of Assemblymember Bobzien—are laudable, its figures are subject to challenge because it is essentially a lobby trying to influence public policy. It’s a little like getting figures on smoking from the Tobacco Institute. We wanted figures that are less assailable on political grounds. Second, the CDC figures are more current. The Guttmacher figures are 6 years old.

All of us sing about it

Re “Lights out” (Editor’s Note, May 5):

I agree with you about music bringing back memories of childhood, etc. But you didn’t mention the emotional power of music. I play the drums in the Truckee Meadows Community College musicals that you guys write about every now and then, and I’ve been a musician for some 40 years, but I still get chills when I hear David Gilmour’s guitar solo on “Uncomfortably Numb,” even though I’ve heard it millions of times! I cry sometimes when I hear Joni Mitchell. I can’t sit still when I hear’60s/’70s soul or even hip-hop and play some pretty aggressive air guitar or drums when I hear bands like The Who or Metallica! I don’t know what my life would be like without music, but I’m sure it would feel pretty empty!

Thanks for your message!

Rob Shader

Killing meters

Re “Really smart meters” (Green, May 5):

Energy savings? That is false. In fact, studies have shown that smart meters not only don’t save energy, they can increase its use. But the worst part is they are a major public health menace. I spoke with a previously healthy 30-something man this weekend who has developed heart attack symptoms three times (three costly emergency room trips) from the smart meter on his home. When the smart meter was removed, these ceased. However, now the neighbors’ meters are bothering him, and he is having to flee his home and try to find a place with no smart meters. Is this America or the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany? Have we gotten so fat and happy that we allow people to steal our health and freedoms without a whimper? The smart meters on my home (two of them) have wreaked havoc with my health and the health of family members and pets. I advise taking all possible actions to stop the installations, including fencing off the meters, locking them up, signs, and going on the record. See your doctors and get letters. Insist that your legislators take a firm stand or vote them out of office. Get your town to ban them or vote them out. This is about survival.

Susan Brinchman
La Mesa, Calif.

Whether underground

Re “Yucca tale flourishes” (Upfront, May 5):

Thanks for the informative article. Even without the rumors and dubious claims you’ve cited, I think some of us may have been a little confused even by some of the stock video clips we sometimes see on the local news to illustrate almost any story on Yucca Mountain. My recollection of those clips is that they seem to show a huge facility that could, for all I know about such things, be nearly ready to go. However, the last sentence of your article puts the level-of-completion issue into a perspective we can all understand better—cold hard cash.

Gary Marks

Good question

During the Democratic primary season, the Obama campaign posted his birth certificate on the web and that was that. Except for Republicans, who used it to concoct the most Byzantine conspiracy theory of all time, making complete fools of themselves in the process. Why would Obama want to get in the way of that? The smart strategy was to let it fester for years, which he did.

Rich Dunn
Carson City