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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.

Many conservative economists support a revenue-neutral carbon tax, including Arthur Laffer, an economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan,and Greg Mankiw, an economic adviser to President George W. Bush.

Returning the revenue from a carbon tax to consumers would speed the transition to clean energy without inflicting economic pain on American households. Border adjustment tariffs on goods from other nations that don't price carbon can protect American businesses and give other countries an incentive to follow our lead.

The time is now for Congress to create a workable legislative solution to runaway global warming.

JOY LONNES

Santa Rosa

Picking your battles

EDITOR: I must thank you for bringing levity to my morning coffee last Friday with the story about "Warbler" ("Taking a stand high in the treetops"). Normally I'm slogging through issues such as global temperature adjustments, the state of our union or the state of union pensions. This time you got me with Warbler.

Amanda Senseman from Colorado decided to be another Julia "Butterfly" Hill and save a few dozen trees. It looks like a simple pine tree to me, but she has a book to identify birds. Maybe she has plans for a degree in ornithology? She might even make a few spotted owl friends.

Pick you battles was a useful bit of advice I learned over time. Her decision to "not compromise" didn't suit me well when my old man ushered me out of the house and changed the door locks; a Berkeley literature professor said have a nice day, and one employer actually said, "There is the door . . . and use it."

Youth, ah youth.

My wife suggests I gather a cause with meaning, climb up a tree and pick a name. She suggested among others Squirrel Meat, Pine Cone Muncher and another I cannot use in print.

BILL PREGLER

Santa Rosa

Stick with Luckovich

EDITOR: Count me as one reader who looks forward to the editorial page and any cartoon produced by Mike Luckovich. I had been missing him for the past week or so and intended to write about how much I enjoyed him.

I trust you will continue his fine work and ignore the pox put on your house ("Questionable judgment," Letters, Saturday).

WILLIAM JOHNSON

Rohnert Park