Take out lawns,plant gardens
It's already looking like it's going to be hot and dry. I wonder if children will enjoy the abundant water we all use.
As responsible citizens, let's try and limit some of our water use. In Boise, many of us use chlorinated drinking water on our lawns, all for aesthetics. Maybe this year some of us will get rid of a front or back lawn.
The city and United Water should be providing incentives. Some will say, "It's a free country." Yes, and our children will be paying for that attitude.
Imagine the nitrates not migrating into the water table. Imagine the space saved in the landfill by not sending two garbage bags of grass clippings weekly.
Most mowers mulch; it is the poor man's fertilizer. Imagine cleaner air from less mowing. Putting drinking water on a lawn I can't eat is insane.
Turn a lawn into a garden. Paying for a green lawn with nothing to show for it is crazy. A garden is the only reason to consider putting drinking water on dirt. If putting tens of thousands of gallons of water on a lawn is keeping up with the Joneses, I'd be happy to lose that race.
KEVIN W. MANESS, Boise
New policy should focus on families
Our immigration system is broken. Families are being torn apart. It affects families in Mountain Home; it affects families in Idaho; it affects families throughout the country. It affects my family.
I live in a mixed-status family: my sisters, my dad, and myself are citizens; my mom is a permanent resident; and my two brothers are undocumented. My dad came to the U.S. in the 1980s to work in the agriculture industry here in Idaho. The rest of us joined him in the late 1990s. When I was growing up, my peers would make fun of me because I didn't have documents.
My dad was one of the IRCA beneficiaries and it was because of this that in 2006, my mom, my two sisters and I got documents - but my brothers did not. Although we've built a life here, we continue to fear that our family could be separated.
Our congressional delegates should transcend politics and focus on family unity. Congressman Labrador is one of the key lawmakers shaping the immigration reform bill in the House of Representatives. We need him to be a champion of policies that keep families together, not just in Idaho, but across the country.
VICTOR CANALES, Mountain Home
Reform must correct problems
According to Webster's New World Dictionary, emigration means, "emigrants collectively," and reform means, "(to) correct."
Now that the federal government and others are working on a "sweeping immigration bill," I wonder if it will really make things better for "all" emigrants or just those who put on the most visible demonstrations and yell the loudest.
Will the special status given to Cubans be made available to all emigrants or will exceptions be made for those with political and financial clout?
Will the "W" Visa program include emigrants from Europe, Asia and Africa as well as those from North and South America?
Emigration is a "hot topic" and has caused deep divisions on all sides.
Therefore if we don't make reforms that make it better for all who are affected by these changes then the "law of unforeseen consequences" will create worse problems.
REY ARCHULETA, Nampa
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
Let states decide
The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in two separate cases regarding the overall issue of same-sex marriages. The issue is divisive although a majority of Americans who have responded to various polls seem to favor it.
The problem I have with this overall issue is one of federal versus state power to define and regulate marriage.
Traditionally, that power has been wielded by the states due to the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that reads as follows: "(t)he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
I found no power enumerated under Article I of the U.S. Constitution which could be construed to empower the federal government to define or regulate marriage and no authority which established same-sex marriages as a constitutional right.
Thus, I hope the U.S. Supreme Court will refrain from recognizing same-sex marriages in either of these two cases and allow the states or the people to decide this issue.
To do otherwise will eviscerate the 10th Amendment and render our federal system a form of government in name only.
ROBERT BLEVINS, Garden City
Nature defines what's 'normal'
DOMA for straights. Domestic partnerships for gays. Only 1.7 percent of the population of the United States, or about 5 million people, are LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay or transgender) (Gary Gates, Huff Post April 7, 2011).
The LBGT community is a tiny fraction of the 313.9 million population of the United States.
Mother Nature has already defined normal repopulation: accomplished by male and female union. Cows, horses, chickens, human beings have babies via male and female. Same sex unions are sterile by nature. For thousands of years male and female human beings have officially been united in customs called marriage. Webster defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman and their offspring carry the name of the father.
So what's the solution for LBGT?
Sorry, the institution of marriage has already been taken by tradition and heterosexuals. Call it something different because the terms and situation is totally different.
Call it a domestic union. Legislatures can develop the Domestic Union Act with a code of laws that protect LBGT rights. The ceremony would go something like this: I now pronounce "you Tom and you Phillip domestic partners." You can't mix apples and oranges. Separate the two.
TERRY DALE, Eagle
ONLINE SALES TAX
Crapo, Risch make right call
On March 22, Sens. Mike Crapo and James Risch voted in favor of the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), which levels the playing field between Idaho's local shops and online-only retailers.
An outdated Supreme Court ruling currently bars Idaho from having online retailers collect sales tax, as brick-and-mortar shops already do.
As a result, the federal government is giving e-commerce as much as a 10 percent market advantage over its Main Street counterparts.
The MFA, however, forges a path for a freer marketplace by empowering states to decide whether to have online retailers collect sales tax as brick-and-mortar businesses already do.
This isn't a new tax. There has always been sales tax owed for online purchases; there just hasn't been a mechanism in place to require online-only retailers to collect it.
Despite pressure from special interests to maintain the status quo, Crapo and Risch voted for the interests of local job creators, eliminating this damaging loophole that punishes small businesses and unfairly expands government intrusion into the free market. By getting rid of this taxpayer-funded subsidy, Crapo and Risch have helped level the playing field for Idaho small businesses and strengthened America's free enterprise system.
STEPHEN DEMAURA, Americans For Job Security, Alexandria, Va.