Fighting fire from the skies

Re "Winds drive Southland wildfires," Oct. 22

Another year, another terrible fire situation, another season when the authorities will not utilize the Russian IL-76 water bomber, one of the best firefighting airplanes. If you have lost property, have been forced to evacuate or are an injured firefighter, you need to ask the authorities why they continue to refuse to allow this aircraft to assist in combating the conflagrations in California and elsewhere.

Alan Dean Foster

Prescott, Ariz.

Wouldn't it be common sense for Orange County to designate these canyon areas wildlife refuges and not permit development? Siting million-dollar homes in fire-prone canyons doesn't make a lot of sense. I've lived in the area for 11 years, and I can't remember one year when a canyon somewhere in Southern California hasn't burned, threatening lives and property. Why not restrict development to those areas outside of fire-prone canyons?

Patrick Curry

Irvine

Payment for parenthood

Re "Mercenary motherhood," Opinion, Oct.16

As an advocate for relative caregivers and as someone raising two grandchildren, I could not agree more with Mary Callahan. Relative caregivers should receive at least the same public resources as foster parents do, but instead, thousands are struggling to keep their families together. It shouldn't be this way. Studies show that children do better when allowed to stay in their community with their relatives. They're more likely to stay in school and out of jail. So if we do a better job, why are we the ones being punished?

Debra Lee

South Los Angeles

Foster parents are not paid to be parents. A mere $600 a month does not come close to meeting the true costs of raising a child. Foster parents -- wonderful individuals who care for the most neglected children in L.A. County -- must go through rigorous training and background checks, meet state licensing requirements, child-proof their homes and put up with constant visits from social workers who check up on the child's welfare. Foster parents are true heroes and are not paid parents at all. Is it not reasonable and responsible for the state and counties to help pay financially for the tremendous emotional outpouring from dedicated, loving foster parents?

Sil Orlando

Executive director

Optimist Youth Homes

& Family Services

Los Angeles