If A = B ...
[Re: The Radford Files, “Logic 101,” April 10-16] I almost never point out illogic in published opinion pieces, the instances of unintended and intentional (rhetorical) illogic being so common. But I do so in this case because the entire point and purpose of Radford's sarcastic article was to decry—illogic! Berating Mayor Marty Chavez' contention that “children are in significant danger of being molested by strangers in libraries,” Radford states that “kids are in far more danger of being abused, kidnapped or killed by their own parents than by any stranger or sex offender in a library or on the Web.”
Radford's allegation displays the same types of illogic and innumeracy exemplified in the common contention that the fact that most accidents happen at home means that homes are more dangerous than other places. The real reasons more accidents happen at or near home are that a) people spend many more daily and nightly hours there overall, and b) much more travel occurs in that zone because homes are by far the most common starting and end points of travel.
Applying directly analogous probability realities to Radford's fallacious objection, the real reasons more young kids are harmed by a parent than by a stranger are that a) most kids clock far more overall day-and-night hours with a parent than with strangers, and b) there are far more kids who have a parent than kids who get involved with a stranger. In Radford's snide article condemning illogical reasoning, his reasoning is clearly fallacious in these two important ways.
The reprint from the Utne Reader [Re: Feature, “ Environmental Justice For All,” April 17-23] that was the centerpiece of the Alibi's Earth Day coverage was interesting but had nothing specific to say about what's going on in Albuquerque. There are critical environmental issues right here at home that bear discussing, and among these is water conservation and water resource management. We are looking at a state-mandated usage goal of 155 gallons per person per day in order to meet permit requirements for the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project, and our daily usage today stands at about 167 gallons per person. We're doing a lot better than we were a decade ago, and Albuquerque is to be commended for its conservation gains over the last 10 years. Nevertheless, we still have a lot of work ahead of us.
One area where we can do a lot better is outdoor watering. Watering of lawns and landscapes consumes some 40 percent of our drinking water every year, and in a desert environment such as ours, that's just too much. To encourage smarter watering habits, the Water Authority is now promoting a program called "Water by the Numbers." It's a voluntary initiative that asks homeowners to pick just one day a week to water in March, two days a week in April and May, three days a week in June, July and August, and then ramp down again in the fall. If it works, it could save us upward of 2 billion gallons this year alone. We also offer rebates for the removal of turf and installation of xeriscaping, as well as classes on efficient irrigation. More information is available at our website, www.abcwua.org.
Public Affairs Manager
Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
Life, Liberty and Taxes
I read Jim Scarantino’s article on “The Fair Tax” [Re: The Real Side, April 17-23] with great interest. I spent nearly eight years in Washington working on tax reform and advocating for taxpayers. Like Jim, I believe America’s tax system is broken. Unfortunately, the political will to seriously reform or abolish our income tax system is sorely lacking in Washington.
The problem is that each loophole and tax shelter now written into the Tax Code was put there because a powerful interest group successfully lobbied to put it there. The home-owners tax deduction is just one popular provision that, rightly or wrongly, will be extremely tough to eliminate in the name of tax simplification.
As if entrenched special interests were not enough of a problem with any fundamental tax reform, the Fair Tax faces the additional obstacle of being untested. On the other hand, more than 20 nations, especially rapidly growing states of the former Soviet Union, have adopted flat taxes. It might work, but making the leap will be a serious challenge.
Rather than focusing on reforming how we collect taxes, we instead need a philosophical shift away from the belief that government is a tool by which one person can live at the expense of others. Indeed, government can insure our lives, liberty and property, but redistributive government policies inevitably destroy wealth rather than produce it.
Simplifying the Tax Code is a good idea, but until we change our view of government, such reforms will remain a distant dream.
Paul J. Gessing
President, Rio Grande Foundation
Vote in Our New Alibi Poll!
Last week the Alibi implemented a non-scientific online polling system wherein users can vote on a question that relates to content in the paper. Each week we'll publish the results in Letters, along with a new poll question.
To vote, log in to alibi.com and look for the green box on the left-hand side of the page. Let the opinions begin!
Last week's question:
Is the City of Albuquerque's recycling program adequate?
26.47 percent said Yes, 73.53 percent said No.
This week's question:
Does Albuquerque have enough police officers?
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to email@example.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.
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