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A few important questions for Harry Reid

To the editor:

If Nevada Sen. Harry Reid held a town hall meeting, I would ask the following questions:

With the national debt at $11.7 trillion, with Social Security and Medicare heading toward bankruptcy, can we afford another government program — this time regarding health insurance — that doesn’t pay for itself?

What are your plans to balance the federal budget?

What exactly do you think your re-election campaign contributors are expecting for the estimated $25 million they’ve given?

Have you spoken with Tom Daschle lately?

David Slater

LAS VEGAS

Greens, trains don’t mix

To the editor:

I read, with interest, Adrienne Packer’s “Road Warrior” column of Sunday regarding the planned DesertXpress high-speed train between Las Vegas and California.

The pros and cons of the two high-speed rail proposals — Maglev vs. DesertXpress — have been discussed extensively. However, several factors mitigate against the construction or ultimate success of either system.

Although the proposed $50 (off-peak) one-way fare seems reasonable, the round-trip fare of $100 still compares favorably with driving. Using an automobile that gets 30 miles per gallon as an example, a round trip of 600 miles from Southern California would cost approximately $70 for gasoline at $3.50 per gallon.

However, consider a family or group of four. The round-trip train fare of $400 does not compare very favorably with the $70 round-trip cost by automobile. How many people travel to Las Vegas alone?

Ultimately, neither project will ever be constructed. Consider the fact that either project’s line will have to cross the relatively pristine environment of the Mojave Desert. The environmentalists — using the Endangered Species Act — will object to the impact on each and every endangered shrub, blade of grass, tree, bird, weed, insect, flower and rodent. The impact on the habitat of the desert tortoise alone should be sufficient to kill either project.

The environmentalists have even voiced opposition to the construction of so-called “clean-energy” solar panels in the Mojave Desert.

Both project’s sponsors are conducting environmental impact studies. Each will produce a draft environmental impact statement. When the draft studies are published, comments will be solicited from the general public and every local, state and federal agency with any jurisdiction over the proposed routes.

Typically, the environmentalists submit their detailed objections at the time that the draft environmental impact statement is published for comment.

If all of the environmentalists’ objections are not addressed to their satisfaction when the final environmental impact statement is published, they will then have standing to file suit in the federal courts to block the project.

Given the backlog of cases in the federal courts (and later appeals), this action alone could introduce multiple-year delays to the projects. Enough delays, and the financial backers will ultimately lose interest and withdraw their support from the projects.

Sy Bensky

LAS VEGAS

Pound foolish

To the editor:

Visiting from Reno, I was shocked when I saw your Tuesday story about the state eliminating funding for the Desert Research Institute’s cloud seeding program.

If my math is correct, based on the figures in your article, Northern Nevada gets more than 21 billion gallons of clean, fresh water from extra snow melt generated by the cloud seeding for only $550,000. This works out to less than three one-thousandths of a penny per gallon for some of the purest water in the nation. It would be a bargain at ten times the price.

Apparently our elected and appointed officials have lost their minds. How short-sighted can they be? Less water means less development and less tax revenue.

They are being penny wise and pound foolish.

This state needs to get its priorities straight or our financial woes will continue to worsen. Maybe we should start by cleaning house in Carson City.

Steve Davis

RENO

Automatic deductions

To the editor:

Your Wednesday editorial, “Free health care for illegals,” offers suggestions to recoup the cost of uncompensated care for uninsured illegal immigrants. One shallow suggestion was to bill foreign countries for these services.

Do you think Mexico will send the United States even one peso? No, we must be more forceful.

Let’s not passively bill Mexico — let’s deduct the cost of uncompensated care from the foreign aid we send every year.

Michael J. Di Bella

NORTH LAS VEGAS

Bankrupting services

To the editor:

After reading your Wednesday editorial, “Free health care for illegals,” I’m waiting for the “activists” to respond with knee-jerk accusations of racism.

I believe what the piece says, and I am not a racist. I watched the demand for public services for illegal immigrants bankrupt the social services, health care services, educational system, justice system and correctional system in California. It’s one of the reasons I moved here several years ago.

I’m now watching illegal immigration bankrupt those systems and services in Nevada. No, I’m not a racist — I’m just stating facts.

Matter of fact, the “activists” are correct when they chant “We shall overwhelm.” The tragic part is that it is simply far, far too late to fix anything.

Rich Callen

LAS VEGAS

What a country!

To the editor:

On the front page of Sunday’s Review-Journal, you showcased how University Medical Center is spending about $2 million per month providing emergency dialysis services to 80 illegal immigrants. The article noted that this cost is double what it was in each of the preceding five years. Brian Brannman, UMC’s chief financial officer, noted that current $24,000,000 annual price tag makes his employees “worried about our survival.”

Then in a letter to the editor in Tuesday’s edition, uninsured Lisa Sabatello wondered why she can’t get treatment in this country while the uninsured illegals can.

And then, this week, I found out that my cancer has returned, and I will have to start very expensive chemotherapy again.

This all ties together for Mrs. Sabatello and me, because it appears that we will no longer have to pay our insurance premiums or bills. All we have to do is go to UMC and say that we have an emergency condition and they will have to treat us.

Wow, now I can cancel my insurance, quit paying my premiums and still get good, quality care at the expense of the suckers — er, taxpayers — of Clark County. I wish I’d thought about this before.

Is this a great country or what?

Bob Ashby

LAS VEGAS

Government help? Ha!

To the editor:

I question all those who were in trouble last November and voted for “change” and the quick answer to their difficulties, from mortgage foreclosure to job loss and credit card debt and lack of health care or cost relief. I also question the car dealers waiting for their $4,500 checks from the federal government for the “cash for clunkers” promotion.

Have none of these people ever dealt with government bureaucracy before?

Even if a program can be passed, and all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed, it still takes months and months for them to be initiated, let alone fulfilled. In the meantime, the individuals still find themselves foreclosed on, still out of work, still losing their credit and facing bankruptcy and still sick with no coverage or cash relief.

Auto dealers are still going out of business because they gave away inventory that sooner or later will probably be back on their lots as repossessions because their buyers really couldn’t afford the payments once the promised rebates were denied or unpaid.

If you are in trouble, never expect the government to bail you out until way past the time you needed help. It doesn’t work that way — and it never has.

KENT RISCHLING

LAS VEGAS

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