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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Peggy McCracken


By Peggy McCracken

Green plant

beats green pill

Prozac for the ladies now comes in pink and lavender instead of green. Well, it's not called Prozac, but it's the same thing, with a new label. It's supposed to relieve those pre-menstrual symptoms that we of the female persuasion blame for our erratic behavior.

Eli Lilly has blitzed the airwaves with commercials for their new "miracle pill" for women, dubbing it Sarafem. And it's marketed to women suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a "disease" that is yet to be officially sanctioned, according to one psychologist.

Dr. Bruce Levine, Ph.D., writes about the new drug in Commonsense Rebellion: Debunking Psychiatry, Confronting Society., according to a press release that came by fax last week. I haven't read the book, but am quoting from the release.

Psychiatric drugs such as Prozac and Ritalin have been much in the news in recent years. Prozac keeps some people functioning _ or drives then nuts, depending on who you're talking to. Ritalin is the wonder drug that allows kids with behavior problems to sit still and concentrate on their lessons.

My grandson has taken Ritalin, and it supposedly worked for him. I think he became addicted to it, because he begged for it in the summertime when there was no need to sit still in school. Or maybe he just liked the feeling of being in control. I think he finally grew out of the hyper stage and now makes a pretty good hand on the flight line, servicing jet planes for the Air Force.

Maybe the drugs did help instead of hinder in his case. And no doubt there are many others who just couldn't function without some help. I know many times I have wished for one of the pink or lavender pills when I felt like killing everybody in sight about once a month. Pre-menstrual syndrome is no joke. God knew what he was doing when he created husbands with gallons of patience.

Dr. Levine worries about what is happening in our society when children in increasing numbers are taking Ritalin. "What does that say about our society…our future?" he asks.

Maybe our society needs to slow down and smell the roses. Do we really need both parents working, three cars in the garage, a bedroom for every child and dancing lessons twice a week? Could neighborhood kids play stickball in the street until dusk, then chase fireflies instead of being harangued by a T-ball coach until they are in tears?

Small towns are becoming havens for Moms and Dads who have had the "good life" in the big city and want to get back down to earth. Their kids will be much better off living close enough to walk to school, gathering at a nearby basketball court to toss a few baskets, dropping a hook in the lake to snag a perch or catfish _ or just sitting on the back porch and watching a beautiful sunset.

I relate to the woman who, flustered by a computer virus, just had to get out of the house. She took a walk, got close to Mother Nature, and found herself calmed and refreshed enough to go back and conquer the problem. I return to reality each evening when I tend my garden, water the flowers, grub up some ugly desert shrub or pick up sytrofoam some kids strewed in the alley.

God knows how much civilization we can stand. Instead of a little green Prozac, try growing a big green squash plant to keep your sanity. And smell the roses as you pass by.

Our View

Don't roll back the taxes, this year

Pecosites will have to choose between rolling back their school property taxes and having the schools spend a surplus this year. The election is scheduled for September.

State law requires that the district set its tax rate at a level that will sustain the budget _ nothing more.

This year, because of the increased values of oil and gas properties, the school district can get by on a tax rate of $1.18 per hundred in valuation.

The current tax rate is $1.50 per hundred.

But that is not the whole story.

The tax rate is also used by the state to calculate the amount of state money that the district will receive in coming years.

By rolling back the tax Pecos will save a little this year on property taxes. But it will lose a lot more than it gained in terms of state funding.

Moreover, there is no guarantee that oil and gas valuations will not drop in coming months. This may be a one-time shot to pump a little extra money into our schools.

Doing so will be painless. Most real property valuations have gone down or at least remained the same recently. Pecosites will pay the same or less this year as they did last. And the school district will have a little extra money to work with.

If there is surplus next year, then rollback the tax rate. Pecos property taxes have been too high for too long.

This year, we ought to put the money into the schools.

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