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LETTERS: Answers found in Declaration of Independence

To the editor:

For quite a while, I have been wracking my brain to understand what has been going on in Washington, D.C., and how it can be resolved. I found the answer in one of the founding documents of this great country. It is contained in the Declaration of Independence for the original 13 United States of America.

The first two paragraphs pretty much say it all. The second paragraph starts with the admonition that all men are created equal and entitled to the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The next several lines answer the how: “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men (people) deriving their power from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”

The Declaration of Independence should be mandatory reading for all Americans, along with the Constitution of the United States. At this time, our only legal recourse for change is through the ballot box. We can change this power grab of Washington by the simple act of voting out those who are more concerned with getting than with helping the people.

All those politicians took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, though many are not. You get the government you deserve.

GORDON SOEDER

LAS VEGAS

Desert tortoise protection

To the editor:

The ignorance on the part of the Clark County Commission regarding the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan and fees paid to mitigate the taking of desert tortoise habitat for human development is deplorable (“A costly crawl for county,” Monday Review-Journal). As of the end of September, 84,125 acres of former desert tortoise habitat have been destroyed for urban and other human development in Clark County.

Since the tortoise is a species protected under the Endangered Species Act, the law provides a mechanism for destroying tortoise habitat on private land through the development of a conservation plan and assisting the tortoises in other ways to compensate for the destruction of their homes and the issuance of what is called an “incidental take permit.” The incidental take permit issued for Clark County in 2001, which also covers the municipalities in the county, requires that a $550-per-acre fee be paid to fund conservation actions to benefit the tortoise. This fee is not indexed for inflation and is paltry compared to fees paid in other areas under similar circumstances.

By the county holding the incidental take permit, individuals do not have to obtain their own permit, thus saving much time and effort. It is appalling that certain commissioners are so unaware of the reason and rationale for the conservation plan and fees, or that they think fees paid by individuals and developers as part of the incidental take permit specifically for tortoise conservation could somehow be siphoned away to be used for unrelated projects in violation of the law.

The Commission has a legal requirement to meet for protecting desert tortoises to facilitate development in the county — at least some of them need to study up on their responsibilities.

ROB MROWKA

NORTH LAS VEGAS

The writer is the former environmental planning manager for Clark County overseeing the Desert Conservation Program and is now a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Christmas stamps

To the editor:

Regarding Ron Boudreaux’s Nov. 23 letter about the U.S. Postal Service’s holiday stamps flier: Instead of going to the complaint page at USPS.com, Mr. Boudreaux should have gone to the stamp ordering page. There are all varieties of Christian stamps to choose from: “Holy Family Christmas,” two versions of “Virgin and Child Christmas,” “Poinsettia,” a “Global Wreath,” plus the “Hanukkah” and “Kwanzaa” choices.

The Christmas stamps have always been available and still continue to be offered. So Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

DENISE L. HART

LAS VEGAS

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