Kill harvest bill,

•ot horseshoe crabs

Regarding the Jan. 12 story, "Bill would reinstate horseshoe crab harvest in N.J.":

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, is sponsoring this bill.

Greed is a sickness that this nation suffers from, in all walks of life. A little is never enough; we need it all. If the horseshoe crab harvesters in the 1990s and early 2000s had been willing to restrain their activities and limit the number of horseshoe crabs they took, then we wouldn't be witnessing such dramatic levels of shorebird decline today.

I won't even call the horseshoe crab harvesters "fishermen" - because fishing takes skill. Before the ban went into place, I saw horseshoe crab harvesters drive to the edge of the Delaware Bay shore and remove the horseshoe crabs by the truckload.

Please join me in working to make sure this ill-conceived bill dies - before the horseshoe crabs do.

SALLY SMITH

Wildwood

Anti-drug programs

can help families

Regarding the Jan. 25 story, "Presentation advises talking to kids about drugs," about the 15 Minute Child Break program that took place Feb. 6 in Atlantic City and will also be presented Feb. 28 at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology in Mays Landing:

This is a perfect idea. There couldn't be a better place than Atlantic City to launch the program, because the youths of the city are often vulnerable to the allure of drugs and alcohol. This program and others like it will help parents to knock down the barrier between them and their children and to open up healthy relationships.

I have had relatives complete the Multiple Agency Life Line program through Camden's Municipal Drug Alliance. One later was chosen as a guest speaker at the graduation ceremony and was awarded numerous scholarships. Another relative benefited from MALL so much that soon after his graduation he joined Urban Trekkers, a program that focused on helping youths from urban areas build teamwork skills and good relationship habits that set them on the path to success in the future.

I think there should be more programs like these.

ALAN BUTLER JR.

Stratford

Texting while driving

is a dangerous mistake

Texting while driving is not only illegal, but also can be fatal. Every year, 1.6 million accidents take place due to texting while driving, and every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting and driving, according to the National Safety Council and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This means that nearly 4,000 teenagers lose their lives every year all for a text message.

I chose to be stupid one time and answered a text message that at the time seemed like the most important thing. That was until I almost got hit by an 18-wheeler.

Statistics found on the website

textinganddrivingsafety.com show that 77 percent of young adults are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving, when in reality teens who text and drive spend about 10 percent of their driving time not in their lane. If everyone who drives is also texting, a lot of drivers will be in the wrong lane.

Next time you think about texting while driving, stop and ask yourself what is more important, your text or your life?

VALERIE ANZOVINO

Barnegat Township

Payments in lieu of taxes

should be transparent

As the need for more revenue increases, cash-strapped municipalities such as Galloway Township may increasingly turn to colleges, such as Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, as well as other nonprofit groups, to request payments in lieu of taxes. Nonprofit organizations such as hospitals, churches and soup kitchens are exempt from paying property taxes in all 50 states. It is estimated that the forgone revenue from the property-tax exemption may total $32 billion nationwide.

As municipal budgets are stretched thin, mayors and local politicians have called on their local colleges and other such groups to compensate cities and counties for the services they use. Many of those agreements have appeared to be haphazard, secretive and calculated in an ad hoc manner. Moreover, payments in lieu of taxes are not structured as a reliable long-term source of funds. Municipalities and nonprofit groups should work collaboratively to negotiate plans for payments in lieu of taxes that are transparent, equitable and predictable in providing the long-term stability that our community requires.

Any such plans should clearly articulate the methods for deciding which nonprofit groups will make payments in lieu of taxes. For example, amounts might be based on square footage. Another alternative can be to factor in an organization's annual operating income. To go even further, another example could be to seek payments equal to 25 percent of the property taxes that would be owed if the nonprofits' real estate holdings were fully taxable.

Galloway municipal government and local nonprofits should work to hammer out payment plans that are transparent to the public and predictable so future budgets can be set.

KEVIN KRUMAKER

President

Galloway Democratic Club

Galloway Township

Seniors can't afford

to raise their homes

I am a 72-year-old senior, now facing the aftermath of Sandy. I live on a very limited income and can hardly make ends meet.

I have lived here in Brigantine for the past 15 years. Yes, we have had northeasters and high tides, but along comes Sandy and the town is in a panic due to the new required elevation levels. This means homes on the coast have to be elevated anywhere from 2 to 10 feet at a cost of between $30,000 and $50,000.

If you refuse, your flood insurance could go up by thousands of dollars, making it impossible to pay. Already people are abandoning their homes, and the number will grow.

Brigantine will soon be a ghost town. We seniors need help.

ROSEMARY SIMPSON

Brigantine

Women in combat

are too vulnerable

Regarding the Jan. 29 Kathleen Parker column, "The folly of putting women in combat":

Initially, I believed the issue was a no-brainer because it concerned equality. But it is beyond that. It's practicality.

Being a baby boomer, I grew up in the Gloria Steinem and John Lennon age of revolution. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that not many cultures are as fair and free as America's.

The reality is our enemies do not have our morals, laws and boundaries of propriety. They will torture and gang rape without batting an eyelash. I now believe we cannot risk serving up our best females like a party platter. We must protect them. (I say this as a mother of a 20-year-old male in the Navy who is overseas now.)

As we get older, we sometimes adopt the attitude that we don't want to fight anymore. As our energy wanes, we must indeed pick our battles, but we must also realize that not to fight for a worthwhile cause would be the biggest mistake of our lives.

VALERIE CHILLIRI

Mays Landing