Readers Write 3/6

EDUCATION

One way to address the high cost of college for students would be to encourage the use of open source content and textbooks through recognized and reputable repositories. Many peer-reviewed, high-quality textbooks and other materials can be accessed by students at no (or minimal) cost. Some students pay as much for their textbooks as their tuition. Faculty and institutions adopting open source content could save students and their families millions of dollars. A movement to use such materials is growing across the country, and Georgia educators need to advance their awareness, usage and authoring of affordable textbooks.

Margaret E. Holt, Watkinsville

VOLUNTEERISM

Even in this tough time, support remains strong

On Tuesday, Volunteers of America marks the 115th anniversary of its founding as a national movement to help Americans in need. We would like to thank all those who still make this possible today.

Volunteers of America Southeast established a local presence in 1980 to provide residential care for people with intellectual disabilities. We provide programs including services to at-risk children; people facing mortgage foreclosure or homelessness; individuals with intellectual disabilities; those struggling with substance abuse, and families with disaster-related dilemmas. We also work with faith-based organizations and congregations.

The outpouring of support from our local community to help those suffering from effects of the recent oil spill has been truly inspiring. Even in tough economic times, the human spirit still shines. So many have stepped forward to volunteer and donate money and food for their neighbors.

We feel fortunate to be part of this community and will continue to offer opportunities for people in our area to work together, to show that “there are no limits to caring.” We thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

Wallace Davis, president and chief executive officer, Volunteers of America Southeast

HISTORY

Tucker seems unwilling to forgive racial sins

Regarding “Black history told in full” (Opinion, Feb. 27): Promoting racial harmony is not Cynthia Tucker’s long suit. Pouring salt on wounds is her remedy for all ills.

Being reminded of our ancestors’ misdeeds is not going to create an atmosphere of brotherly love.

Jack Franklin, Conyers

POLITICS

‘Birther’ bill indicates state remains backward

Georgia’s lawmakers have now proposed legislation that could ban a president of the United States from Georgia’s ballots if he (or she) does not prove citizenship to the satisfaction of legislators in Georgia.

As a young woman, I left Georgia (my birth state) in the 1960s to remove myself from an environment in which so many were biased toward those who were “different” from them. My birth state continues to embarrass me.

I do not believe that the stated reason for this legislation is legitimate. The underlying reason for this legislation stems from the same narrow-minded consciousness that permeated this state 50 years ago. My disappointment in Georgia’s continuing small-mindedness is palpable.

Elizabeth Hartley Filliat, Alpharetta

Franklin’s district filled with folk who aren’t fans

Regarding “Cobb legislator in right place” (Metro, Feb. 27): I have lived in the area of Cobb County that is currently “Bobby Franklin’s district” for over 20 years. I cannot believe we are truly “one of the top five conservative districts in America,” as one resident surmises. We are busy — but that’s a sad excuse for paying so little attention to the people who claim to represent you and have power to affect your life. I can assure you there are plenty of people here who find him a puzzling and frustrating curiosity.

Each election cycle, I hope for a challenger (ideally, a champion of limited government) who will stay out of my personal business. Someone (anyone), please give me an option. I promise you at least one vote.

Jean Hess, Marietta

TAXES

Businesses that would get hit not represented

The first question I asked after reading the AJC’s recent coverage of the proposed tax on “personal services” was, “Who is sitting on the council suggesting these decisions?”

The 11-member panel included our former governor, four economics professors, etc. In other words, this Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness has included little representation from the small business, service-type industries that would be impacted by this unnecessary taxation proposal.

If the council wants to shift Georgia’s tax code to a consumption-based model, it should be implemented across all industries (in lieu of income and ad valorem taxes). Singling out a handful of service industries to carry this additional burden is no solution to this state’s revenue problems.

Doug Goodwin, Cartersville

ENVIRONMENT

Business of interstates requires signs, not trees

Having seen how capitalism works, I’d have to agree that it is fiscal suicide for any business (large or small) to remain invisible and hope that word of mouth or some other mystic source will bring customers. This has always been an economy based on shouting, and those who shout the loudest have historically won. The interstate highways are no exception to the rule.

Trees cut on interstates are only the ones in front of the signs. This is not about burning down a forest. The interstates are neither parks nor tourist attractions. They are routes of travel. Take away signage, create mass confusion — and cripple business.

Gary Kolar, Atlanta