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A better way of life
I am writing in regards to the commentary entitled "A lot of dreams are being crushed" (Aug. 24). The article not only enraged me but so did the whole concept of House Bill 1183, which would allow undocumented persons to pay the same tuition to North Carolina public universities as in-state students.

To state that the bill "was an effort to prevent the complete disenfranchisement and discouragement of students who have worked hard to learn the English language" is ludicrous.

I am tired of the term "undocumented person." The term is illegal alien. If I were to go to Mexico and learn to fluently speak Spanish, I would not be afforded any special privileges. So why should an illegal be given in-state tuition? I am still in disbelief at the unmitigated gall and audacity of the bill sponsors.

My ancestors came to this country for a better way of life. But, like most of the readers here, they did so legally. So why should people who come to this country illegally be given special privileges? They should not.

Medicaid coverage, food stamps and housing subsidies in the Triangle have skyrocketed for illegal aliens. With 93 percent of illegals being of Mexican descent, this is a Mexican problem. Until this whole immigration fiasco is fixed at the national level, we are closer to becoming the United States of Mexico.

The statement that "The debate is not over; indeed, it has just begun" is correct. And I will do everything in my power to see that it is defeated if and when it once again comes up for a vote.
Nick Blanchard
Raleigh

Locke on light rail
Facts are stubborn things and they throw cold water on Bob Geary's gushy enthusiasm for the Raleigh-Durham light rail project ("Planners muscle up," Aug. 24). We all wish it were true that building light rail will solve the area's transportation problems. But facts are facts. Passengers do not pay for the bulk of their fares on light rail, taxpayers do. Taxpayers pay nearly 90 percent of the cost of light rail systems in such places as Portland and San Diego, while owners of autos pay 100 percent of their share of the cost of roads. Worse yet, light rail is much more expensive than either bus or auto transit ($1.30, $0.50, $0.30 per passenger mile respectively).

Supporters counter with the claim that if the Raleigh-Durham rail line relieves congestion, it will be worth the expense. Here the facts also prove otherwise. Studies in other cities show that if all light rail passengers were formerly driving cars, it would remove three cars in one thousand from the roads. But not all light rail passengers were driving cars. When the fact that nearly 80 percent of light rail passengers were previously using buses is factored in, only one car in 1,000 is actually removed from our roads. In other words, the Raleigh-Durham light rail system will have an enormous taxpayer expense for a negligible impact on congestion.

Solving the area's transportation problems requires a sober look at the way commuters actually behave, not pie-in-the-sky enthusiasm for the latest fad--and money--from Washington.
Michael Sanera
Research Director and Local Government Analyst
The John Locke Foundation

Class warfare
Astonishing. As if the monumentally incompetent cronyism of the present administration isn't enough, these heartless millionaires have removed the stipulation that companies receiving federal contracts to rebuild New Orleans must pay "fair market wages" to their workers. Free market ideologues will argue that such action spurs economic redevelopment. It's actually a bold slap in the face to the working poor who have lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. This straightforward example of class warfare gives us clear insight into whose interests the Washington-Crawford gang is looking out for in the wake of this national tragedy. What's next? Will Bush implement an executive order setting aside the federal minimum wage in the Gulf States for the next decade? Opportunities abound.
Douglas Vuncannon
Durham

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