Nice work — if you can get it

To the editor:

The Las Vegas City Council City wants 52 percent raises and huge car allowances for part-time jobs? Let’s break down these numbers.

Currently, the pay for a City Council member is $45,400. Working 30 hours a week, every week of the year, that works out to $29.10 per hour. That’s not bad for a part-time gig.

Remember that they have also been receiving cost-of-living adjustments.

When the complete raise of 52 percent is achieved, using the same math, the wage rate will work out to be $46.16 per hour. Now, that’s really not bad for a part-time job. Throw in any vacation time or working less than 30 hours, and these numbers climb even higher.

If these city jobs are part-time, what about the time spent at their usual occupations?

Our poor City Council members have to be getting by on very little sleep and no social life in order to get all of this hard work done. It must be hard work — they want nearly $50 an hour to do it.

On the car allowance issue of $500: I guess since they’re government employees, they feel entitled that their car loans, insurance, gas and repairs be paid for by us.

At the end of all of this, the taxpayers simply get handed the bill.

Steve Kunda

LAS VEGAS

Voting rights

To the editor:

Your recent editorial regarding laws that require voter identification at the polls has resulted in a spate of letters from your readers. One letter, published Oct. 3 from Mr. Darrell Sikes, claims there is no “right to vote” written in the Constitution. Mr. Sikes claims he has “read the Constitution many times” and, “can assure you that your right to vote is not there.”

I would suggest Mr. Sikes go back and try reading the Constitution again. It may not be in the original body of the Constitution, but the 15th and 24th amendments deal directly with the “right to vote.” Both the 15th Amendment and the 24th Amendment start with the phrase, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote … ” Sure sounds to me like a right to vote.

The 24th Amendment is also applicable to a discussion of the Review-Journal’s belief that it is OK to require voters to show some sort of government identification — i.e, a drivers license prior to voting. The amendment states that the right to vote cannot be “denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.” In essence, the government cannot charge a citizen a fee or tax to exercise his or her right to vote.

Since I must pay a fee for my driver’s license, I would suggest that unless the government is ready to supply voters with some sort of identification free of charge, such a requirement would be no different than a “poll tax or other tax.”

Mark Mikowski

NORTH LAS VEGAS

Drop-out laws

To the editor:

The Review-Journal reports that, “A new state law passed during the 2007 Legislature increased the age students are legally allowed to drop out of high school to 18 from 17.”

The goal is to reduce dropouts. But this drop-out “problem” needs historical perspective.

At the turn of the 20th century, less than 5 percent of youngsters went to high school. The movement to keep youngsters sitting endlessly in classrooms is an historical aberration. Consider the fate of the child below had his state taken that approach:

Started school at age 8. Returned home in tears after three months. Teacher called him “addled.” His mother took over. At 12, he persuaded her to let him apply for the post of newsboy on the Port Huron-to-Detroit train (left at 7 a.m., returned at 9:30 p.m.). He sold fruit and produce from Port Huron to Detroit and evening papers on the return trip.

Total formal classroom instruction: Three months. Productivity as an adult: 1,000 patents. (“Edison: The Man Who Made The Future” by Ronald W. Clark.)

Institutionalization to age 18 is not in every child’s interest, as the biographies of many great Americans who lived before the era of compulsory schooling will attest.

Here’s a better plan: Reduce restrictions on teens by letting them “test out” of school and go to work full time. Many would prove competent beyond all our expectations.

If they want to go back to school some day, they will be much better students.

Tom Shuford

LENOIR, N.C.

Mother Nature

To the editor:

In his letter of Oct. 2, UNLV professor Stephen Rowland claimed that columnist Walter Williams’ doubts about the danger of carbon dioxide were completely without merit. He then pointed out his great knowledge of the Cambrian Period, (millions of years ago) when carbon dioxide destroyed ecosystems.

My question: Who was driving the SUVs and doing the polluting back then? Or was this just the result of Mother Nature, as hundreds of responsible scientists have claimed?

ROBERT MANGINI

LAS VEGAS

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