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LETTERS: Ross’ solar financing plan has fundamental flaw

Las Vegas Mayor Pro Tem Steve Ross has proposed a city government program to finance residential solar panel installation over a period of 20 years (“Ross floats plan for solar panel financing,” Wednesday Review-Journal). As an engineer, there is a fundamental flaw in this concept called obsolescence. There is little useful total experience with the latest solar panels to demonstrate that they will last 20 years, either physically or economically. Furthermore, the obligation to pay back the loan is tied to the property, not the original owner who borrowed the money.

If the panels start to fail and lose efficiency in 10 or 15 years, you will still be paying for them, perhaps along with a set of new panels installed to replace them. Who would ever want to buy that property? Who would want to burden their own property with such an unknown future liability? Even if the panels function for 20 years, it is very likely technical advances and increased production will significantly bring down the price over the next 10 years. How would you feel if 10 years ago you financed a top-of-the-line flat screen TV for 20 years? How stupid would you feel if in 10 years, the solar panels on your roof could be replaced with new ones that are two or three times as efficient, at half the cost?

Mr. Ross’ proposal is about the same as proposing to reduce your new car payment by taking out a 20-year loan. Yes, the payment is reduced, but you are still paying for that car long after you have traded it in and are paying for the next one.

John M. McGrail

Las Vegas

Gun control

I own several guns, but I feel the need to say President Barack Obama does not want to take away anyone’s guns. Possession is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. That does not negate the need for sensible controls, though.

To those who decry President Obama’s executive action on guns, I ask, how has anything that he has done affected you personally? Do you want to buy a gun? Go ahead. Your Second Amendment rights have not changed. The simple fact is that the Supreme Court has ruled again and again in favor of private gun ownership. If you’re mentally ill, a terrorist or a convicted criminal, you couldn’t legally buy a gun before the president announced his plan. But anyone can purchase one illegally at a gun show or over the Internet, with no background check. All he has done is reinforce the law that gun sellers must be registered and must perform background checks.

The Second Amendment has been deemed to mean gun ownership is a constitutional right. It does not, however, guarantee immediate possession. If anything, gun ownership might be delayed by a couple of days, but certainly is not prohibited by anything done by the president. Conservatives constantly call for a return to the good old days of Ronald Reagan, while at the same time castigating President Obama for his alleged views on guns. What those folks forget is that Mr. Reagan strongly supported the 1991 Brady Bill and threw his support behind the 1994 assault weapons ban. An overwhelming majority of National Rifle Association members thought gun owners should pass a criminal background check.

If you are eligible to own a gun and want one, then by all means run out and get one. But don’t complain that the president has taken away your rights. Nothing he has done has changed the Second Amendment, except perhaps in the minds of some people who probably shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.

Jim Graham

Las Vegas

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