Letters: Amazon, Property Taxes, Education, Teachers, Catholics, E-cigarettes

Will Amazon reconsider?Re: "Dallas to Amazon: Take another look — Downtown still open to welcoming HQ2 — or another company," Wednesday Metro & Business story.Amazon just announced that it is not going to Queens, N.Y., after all. A combination of overloaded mass transit, a lack of housing and numerous complaints from the community have forced the company to back out. But where does that leave the reportedly third place finisher, Dallas? Does Dallas have a chance, or is our education system and lack of mass transit so bad as to not even be considered now? If Dallas is not even in the mix for reconsideration, then that should be a huge red flag to our state leaders, in that they have cut back too much on education and not moved forward enough with mass transportation. I applaud the current push for more education dollars and raises for teachers, but it could be too little, too late.Kevin Davis, LewisvilleThe state is the problemRe: "Lower property tax cap moves to full Senate — Proposal would slow increase but not reduce local property tax bills," Tuesday Metro & Business story.The Texas House of Representatives recently sent to the Senate a bill limiting the increase in property tax for city and school to 2.5 percent. The tax needs to increase because the state has drastically reduced its appropriation. In other words, the state is the reason property taxes need to go up. So if the schools want to raise teachers' salaries, for instance, they have no other resource but to increase taxes. But does the state help the school districts? No. In fact it makes it more difficult to achieve excellence. And to add insult to injury, the state seems to brag about how wonderful this is. Not very wonderful for a school system trying to give your children an excellent education. I blame the Republicans for this as they were in control when the schools were gutted. I thought the Republicans stood for good schools. Evidently not. It is just so egregious and duplicitous.David Shriro, RichardsonDon't forget retired teachersI appreciate your articles on education in Texas but feel that one area you neglected is teacher retirement. Texas' retired teachers have not gotten a cost of living raise in almost 20 years. If you draw teacher retirement, you are not allowed to draw Social Security, even if you paid into it. We do not have a good health care option. To attract and retain good teachers, the legislature need to address these issues. Please cover this issue in your stories on education and keeping and retaining the best teachers.Helen Albritton, CorsicanaCatholics, it is time to actIt is time for Catholics to act. We must communicate, as one body, our concern with the ever-more-evident sexual abuse by priests, bishops and cardinals by their actions or lack of action. This paper has been reporting claims of sexual abuse, starting with abuse of youth, later abuse involving young adults, priests and most recently nuns. Catholics should support the end to the root cause of the sexual abuse, celibacy. In addition we should call for females to be permitted entry into the priesthood.I suggest all Catholics not attend weekend mass the weekend of May 5, the third Sunday of Easter. In the Gospel, that is the weekend Jesus calls on Simon Peter, a married apostle, to "tend my sheep." Effectively requesting Simon Peter to lead his church. If Catholics act in unison, a strong message will be sent both visibly, in attendance in the churches, and financially, with the reduction in collections.Catholics who are adept at social media can spread this proposal to expand the call for action. Let all us Catholics act for the sake of the abused and for the future of our church.Mark Ryan, PlanoRaise smoking age to 21The U.S. Surgeon General has declared youth e-cigarette use an epidemic, increasing a staggering 78 percent among high school students from 2017-2018. Increasing the legal sales age for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21 will help prevent kids from starting tobacco use. However, in the American Lung Association's 2019 "State of Tobacco Control" report, Texas earned a dismal "F" for its failure to increase the tobacco sales age to 21. The American Lung Association in Texas urges the Legislature to pass legislation that would raise the minimum sales age for all tobacco products to 21 years old. About 95 percent of smokers try their first cigarette before the age of 21, and this legislation will significantly reduce youth tobacco use and save thousands of lives, according to a 2015 National Academy of Medicine report.Six states and the District of Columbia have already taken this important step to protect public health. The evidence is clear, state lawmakers need to end their failure to act, and increase the tobacco sales age to 21 in Texas without delay.Holly Motteram, Dallas, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in TexasDrop Doonesbury, tooRe: "The News drops cartoon — Sunday's 'Non Sequitur' included hidden vulgar insult aimed at Trump," Tuesday Metro & Business story.If you're going to drop offensive items from your Comics & Puzzles section, I would certainly recommend you take the same action with Doonesbury. It is a complete waste of space and dollars!Linda Mosley, Melissa  Continue reading...

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