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Friday's Letters to the Editor

Teens and alcohol

EDITOR: The one discussion that I have not seen addressed since Alyssa Byrne's death is the discussion about young people and drugs (“ 'Buddy' system pitched to teens,” Monday). The advertisers of alcohol have so effectively targeted young people that teenagers (and most young adults) think the only way to have fun is to have mind-altering drugs at all parties. (Alcohol is a drug; in fact, it is the No. 1 date-rape drug.)

So, why aren't we having the most important discussion? To early elementary-aged kids, the word “party” has at least 15 to 20 great possibilities. Say that word to a teenager and there is only one response: party=alcohol.

A “buddy system” only works if the buddies are sober and have functioning minds. I think Byrne's death gave us a teachable moment, but I think we are avoiding the most important lesson.

KATHLEEN TOBIN

Petaluma

Feral cats

EDITOR: Feral cats have decimated the bird population because irresponsible cat owners have abandoned them knowing someone will adopt them and perpetuate their carnage. Consequently we have an imbalance of nature fostered by feral cat advocates who are willing to consider birds expendable. It's a sad situation and not likely to change for the bird's sake.

JIM BOTSCH

Windsor

Taxing carbon

EDITOR: In his state of the union message, President Barack Obama said: “For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.” We should answer the challenge with the market-based solution of a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Between the record heat and numerous climate-related disasters that unfolded in 2012, it's clear that our nation must take steps to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming up our planet.

Lacking a legislative solution, the president has said he will be forced to turn to regulation. It is time for Republicans, who abhor regulation, to embrace a climate bill that relies on a carbon fee to discourage the continued increase of burning carbon-based fuels.

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