Virginia City railroad subsidies? What about Amtrak?

To the editor:

Recently, the Review-Journal reported that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., thinks that federal support of the Northern Nevada V&T Railroad is a waste of the taxpayer money. I agree.

I will gladly pay the fare to ride on the V&T. But I don’t want some desk jockey bureaucrat taxing me for not riding on the V&T.

Here in Las Vegas, nobody in Northern Nevada or Arizona was taxed to build or operate the Las Vegas Monorail. And as far as I know, it has never received a federal bailout. What screws up in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas.

But simple solutions do not apply. Can Sen. McCain explain how and why the American taxpayers have subsidized Amtrak for the past 47 years?

Amtrak has only one almost-profitable route: Boston to Washington. It serves eight states. It is a regional rail line, and in an ideal world, it would be paid for by the individuals, businesses and local governments that benefit.

The rest of Amtrak is a money-bleeding basket case. Its only purpose is to provide a substandard service to cities and states all across America, so our representatives and senators will continue to vote for the annual bailout.

Two Amtrak routes cross Arizona: The old Southern Pacific (New Orleans to Los Angeles) and the old Santa Fe (Chicago to Los Angeles). Neither comes even close to showing a profit. Sen. McCain is a hypocrite to vote for Amtrak’s subsidy year after year after year, then whine about the V&T.

CURTIS F. CLARK

BOULDER CITY

Good Santa

To the editor:

It seems each year a growing number of people are downplaying the importance of Santa Claus. I would like to express my concern over this.

There has long been some opposition to teaching children to believe in Santa Claus. However, the Claus tradition has religious origins that can be helpful in teaching children of all ages the values of humility and giving.

The legend of Santa Claus can actually be traced to St. Nicholas of Myra, a bishop in the early Christian church who was known for his generosity and love of children.

One of the most famous stories of the generosity of St. Nicholas says that he threw bags of gold through an open window in the house of a poor man to serve as dowry for the man’s daughters, who otherwise would have been sold into slavery. The gold is said to have landed in the family’s shoes, which were drying near the fire.

This is why children leave their shoes out by the door, or hang their stockings by the fireplace in the hopes of receiving a gift on the eve of his feast day, Dec. 6, or on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

St. Nicholas is associated with Christmas because of the tradition that he had the custom of giving secret gifts to children. It is also conjectured that the saint, who was known to wear red robes and have a long white beard, was culturally converted into the large man with a reindeer-drawn sled full of toys because in German, his name is “San Nikolaus” which almost sounds like “Santa Claus.”

In the spirit of St. Nicholas let us all make each day of the year like Christmas.

John Rogers

LAS VEGAS

Big mess

To the editor:

The war in Afghanistan will end badly. The Taliban know that sooner or later U.S. forces will leave.

The war in Iraq is even worse.

It was in our interest to keep Saddam Hussein in power because that way Iraq and Iran would be enemies.

Now, all we did was take power away from the Sunni and give it to the Shia.

The Shia of Iraq are very much in love with their Shia brothers in Iran.

When we pull out of Iraq, they will thank us for all the money we poured into their country and bid us good riddance. Iran now has more influence over Iraq than we will ever have, and we put them together.

ANTHONY TIDEI

LAS VEGAS

We already pay

To the editor:

In regard to the new law forcing patients and insurance companies to pay for Clark County Fire Department services:

Just to be clear, I pay for Fire Department staff, I pay for Fire Department training, I pay for Fire Department equipment and vehicles, I pay for Fire Department gas, I pay for Fire Department overtime, I pay for the county commissioners’ salaries — and now I have to pay them if they have to transport me in my time of need? Under this logic, I would have to pay for the police to respond to a robbery at my house, then I’d get a bill for them having to transport the criminal to jail.

If the county does not want the expense of transporting patients, then don’t do it. Let the private industry do it, and then they may actually have to hire additional staff, creating more tax revenues for the county. Stop expanding government and actually help the private sector instead of creating additional burdens and costs.

We need to vote out every commissioner and start fresh, Democrat or Republican.

We should refuse transport by the Fire Department, as this was originally a power play for revenue years and years ago that has now come to fruition.

This medical assistance ploy is the reason we now have expanded the Fire Department to staffing levels that we would have no need for if we just took into consideration fire calls.

JOSEPH REELE

LAS VEGAS

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