Readers write: Aug. 18

Fire shows need to preserve records

Georgia suffered a terrible loss in the burning of the historic Hancock County courthouse (“Fire guts historic county courthouse,” Metro, Aug. 14) but also of its priceless historical records, some of which have never been microfilmed, and others, copied so badly the film is useless. Hancock was the subject of many important historical studies, in part because it had its early records intact.

When you visit the mess in courthouses like Bibb, Cherokee and Cobb, you are appalled both in lack of access to the old records and the conditions under which the records are kept and the public’s access. Could we not have a system of county record offices/archives as in Great Britain, where public and private records are safely preserved for the public’s use, similar to the Troup County Archives in LaGrange? This system could be paid for with local recording fees and managed, under the Georgia Archives’ supervision, by local governments.

What we lack to make that happen in Georgia is real political leadership and a public that cares.


Ga. should pull out of Common Core

Before I retired, I gave 36 years of my life to the education of other people’s children. Based on what I learned over those nearly four decades, Common Core is a colossal mistake, foisted on Georgia’s children in the name of “improving education.” If only our elected officials could set aside their egos, admit that Common Core will do — and is doing — incalculable harm to Georgia’s school children, and withdraw from that Godzilla of a federal program.

Let’s not forget, or try to hide, the attendant costs imposed on taxpayers. Accountability Works, a Maryland-based advocacy group, estimates schools nationwide will need $6.86 billion for “technology,” $5.26 billion for “professional development,” $2.47 billion for “approved” textbooks and $1.24 billion for “assessment testing” over the first seven years Common Core is in effect.


Wean ourselves of fossil fuels, nuclear

In “Ga.’s energy future looks promising” (Opinion, Aug. 13), Win Porter applauds the phase-out of coal-fired power plants. It is true that by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, we can ward off the worst effects of climate change, such as wildfires, floods and droughts. As alternatives to coal, Porter advocates nuclear power and natural gas to generate electricity. But unlike Mr. Porter, I think nuclear energy is too dangerous (let’s not forget Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster), and fracking pollutes our water and releases methane gas into the atmosphere.

We need to wean ourselves from fossil fuels and generate more and more energy from renewable sources like wind and solar. How can we bring corporations on board to invest more in clean energy? A market-based solution, advocated by many economists, is to place a steadily rising fee on carbon-based energy. All moneys collected from the carbon fee would be remitted to the public in the form of monthly dividend checks, thus shielding families from the economic impact of higher energy costs. The fee would gradually create greater incentives for corporations to innovate, invest in clean energy and create new jobs.


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