Regarding the July 16 Opinion "Environmentalists cry 'fore!' in China": Asia is not the only place where the golf industry has troubled the environment. On the island where I live, Kauai, we have seen reef ecosystem destroyed by herbicide and pesticide runoff from golf courses, archaeological sites converted into fairways, and endemic organisms endangered by golf developments. Is it preposterous to suggest that countries with resources attractive to the golf industry band together for mutual support? If we must have more golf courses here and in other non-Scottish lands, let us build them intelligently.
It is disappointing to see the Monitor, which has supported public schools for many years, endorse private-school vouchers in Washington, D.C. ("Vouchers, One Year Later," July 24, Editorial). There are many reasons to oppose voucher programs, but your editorial overlooks one especially salient point: Vouchers will foster religious discrimination.
The voucher bill specifically allows religious schools in the program to discriminate when hiring. Parochial schools, which are not accountable to the public, would have the right to fire employees for being the "wrong" religion - even though the schools would be heavily funded by taxpayers through vouchers. Religious schools, it seems, want it all - generous amounts of taxpayer support but none of the regulations or oversight applied to public schools. It's just plain wrong.
Barry W. Lynn
WashingtonExecutive Director, Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Most of your story on immigrant smuggling ("Changing landscape of an underground trade," July 17) was factual and unbiased. However, the concluding statements referring to our so-called "demand" for millions of illegal low-wage workers were not accurate. The case for "needing" illegal labor has never been substantiated by anyone other than the employers who cannot find American workers willing to work at the wages they want to pay, and the politicians whose sympathies lie with those businesses. If the government allowed employers to import slaves, the owners would be arguing that their business could not survive without slaves. The so-called "demand" for free labor would never end! But that is not an argument for tolerating access to slaves, any more than it would be an argument for tolerating access to cheap illegal foreign labor.
By failing to enforce our immigration laws and introducing yet another amnesty at the behest of the Mexican government and illegal-immigrant advocates, Congress undermines the rule of law and capitulates to the greed of self-serving employers.
Your July 28 Work & Money article, "When parents buy the dorm," left out a group that's affected by unsupervised dorms in the neighborhood: the neighbors. Last year, the house across my street was turned over to a 19-year-old by his father. To pay the mortgage, the son had four roommates. They were usually polite and friendly, but they had no idea how to maintain a home. The house has a one-car garage, leaving four cars in the yard. The yard went to weeds. Parties lasted late. The police and the parent were repeatedly called to quiet the noise and fix up the yard. Neighbors were concerned they would be victims of declining property values, as our neat, quiet homes were taken over by partying students.
Lee Van Wormer
Winter Springs, Fla.
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