Greetings from Ukraine
Editor: On behalf of all students from Kiev who visited your beautiful city last December, I would like to send you best wishes for Christmas.
We took with us a lot of impressions, especially after meeting with your open-handed, sincere and hospitable people. We felt as comfortable with your children and adults as if we were at home and it was too difficult to leave you.
We were especially touched that you are glad to hear about progressive changes in our country, Ukraine. We are grateful to you for your support.
Due to these changes, we are now able to communicate more with each other, to exchange culture and ideas. That's why we would like to strengthen our spiritual bonds with your country and your city, which for years has been Odessa's sister city in the U. S.
We would help you with literature in Russian and Ukrainian for those wishing to know these languages and to study these languages seriously in Kiev.
We also are engaged in studying English. At present we have an English teacher from Texas, Jesse Doiron. He is a very interesting person.
Besides language, we study the American way of life, American culture and history during lessons. But unfortunately for the time being, we are short of the literature in English. We can't find any literature on the history of your country and your people.
We believe we need to learn all we can about each other not only to know each other better but to share equally in responsibility for the health of the planet Earth.
The writer is an eleventh-grader and lives at 46 Shota Rustavely Street, Kiev 252005, Ukraine.
Editor: Your Nov. 14 editorial on extending municipal voting rights to non-citizens says that resident non-citizens ''simply haven't taken the time or trouble to make a commitment to their adopted country.'' This is uncalled for -- and a little offensive.
I have lived in this country for 25 years, admire it and am grateful to it. But my inmost feelings -- my sense of who I am; if you prefer -- have not changed to the point where I might know myself to be primarily American and to have no other allegiance or emotional center. I would not therefore be justified in taking an oath of citizenship, proclaiming an allegiance I would not altogether feel. To do so would be insincere. I respect the process of becoming American far too much to pretend to take part in it.
You say also that ''citizenship is an undertaking to bear society's burdens, as well as receive its benefits.''
I in fact bear a number of those burdens. For instance, I pay taxes -- and there are some benefits I do not receive. In exchange for my allegiance, I should receive a right to vote in U.S. elections.
J. G. A. Pocock.
Editor: I do believe that Roger Simon has found someone dumber than the banks. Himself.
The assertion in his Nov. 20 column, ''At the rate they're going, banks can't lose,'' that the banks are making huge profits on their credit card operations is an utter misconception. Credit card interest rates are not tied to short-term interest rates. These loans are funded by a combination of sources which average higher than the 5 percent Mr. Simon mentioned.
Additionally, credit card loans are unsecured, meaning that if someone does not pay a bill, there is nothing the bank can repossess (which is different than defaulting on a home mortgage).
Because of these and other reasons, credit card interest rates need to be at a level which balances the risk.
With more than 6,000 issuers of credit cards in the marketplace, the competition is extremely fierce. Just look at your mailbox every so often. If consumers are not receiving offers for low-rate credit cards, then maybe there is another reason than lack of competition.
Stephen E. Hook.
What Worries Me
Editor: To the 61 percent of the people who voted down David Duke's aspiration to the governorship of Louisiana, bravo!
Still, it is that 39 percent that worries me.
It is indeed sad that our totally inept government leadership has allowed the climate of this country to be ripe for the likes of David Duke.
Editor: The lack of governmental concern for our public libraries is a national disgrace. In other countries, libraries are cherished repositories of civilization and culture and ideals. Here in the United States, libraries and librarians are invariably among the first victims of budget cuts.
And yet, these same libraries offer free information on education, jobs, resumes, high school equivalency diplomas and various forms of tutoring.
In a period of economic upheaval, we need our libraries more than ever. Perhaps our public officials feel safer with a citizenry that has to depend on tabloids and television for its information. Real democracy can flourish only where citizens, armed with the facts, are free to make an informed decision.