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Support public schools

I'd like to respond to the quote by Bob Williamson ("Well said," June 6). I understand the thought that the childless shouldn't have to pay for public education because they have no children taking advantage of it. But I can't understand the extrapolation that because a taxpayer doesn't have children in the public school system that said taxpayer doesn't benefit from the public education system.

Unless he is private school educated from birth, Mr. Williamson benefited from the public education system. If he goes to the doctor, I'm sure that his doctor has benefited from the same system. Ditto for his lawyer, his employees, his garbage collectors, his congressional representatives, and even his president. I know that my public education was funded by my elders, and I'm very conscious that in my final years, decisions that affect my lifestyle and health care will be made by the children that we are educating now in that same free system.

Carmen Laethem
Pittsboro


Fix mental health

Bob Geary covered an issue in "Ann Akland: Rally and march on May 15 to fix mental health reform" (Q&A, May 2) that was generally ignored by North Carolina media. The erosion of services continues.

The News & Observer on June 11 reports that Wake County will begin charging families for the therapy received by the disabled. The family that was the subject of the story estimated that they will now pay $1,000 per month for services

In 1998, I retired to care for my disabled son. In those days, I earned about three and a half times the income I do today. Because income taxes are graduated, I paid about five times the amount of tax that I do today. There is a negative effect on the North Carolina tax base from the current mental health policy. Unfortunately, the mental health bureaucracy only cares about the mental health budget. It doesn't care about the tax base or the effects on the judicial system—or, apparently, about the individual human tragedies.

Don Ward
Raleigh

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