On any given issue, it's rare for letters sent to The Times to line up decisively on one side of the debate. But that's exactly what happened this week, when three controversial topics made headlines: a proposed interpretive center in the Ballona Wetlands, gun control and the priest sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The Times published two letters opposing the Ballona Wetlands construction. And the preponderance of letters we published on the sex abuse scandal and gun control also took one side. We did, however, get contrary opinions in reader responses to those letters. Here are counterpoints on all three issues.
Karen Haack of Los Angeles responds to the letters Wednesday on the Ballona Wetlands museum:
"Those who wrote to The Times in opposition to the Annenberg Foundation's proposed educational center should familiarize themselves with the area. The site involves about an acre (out of roughly 600) at the northeast edge of the 'wetlands' that, as stated in the article, is in poor condition. Technically, it is part of the wetlands, but would never be recognized as such.
"The idea that this is a 'theft' of public land is ludicrous, with the Annenberg Foundation footing the bill to the tune of $50 million to build the facility. This would be a terrific place for an educational center, easily accessible to the public, and would take nothing away from the wetlands. In these economic times, I am grateful that someone would provide the money for this facility. The state, which owns the wetlands, has other priorities."
Gerald Sozio of Los Angeles discusses Cardinal Roger M. Mahony:
"The outrage against Mahony from Times letter writers appears justified.
"But where is similar outrage vented against those in government who denied post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers coming back from war? Where is the outrage against government officials who have stood by and watched our lands destroyed by oil and mineral extraction industries? Where is the outrage against officials who stand aside while big industry pollutes our air, land and water, which contributes to the general decline in the health of so many Americans?
"I say, 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.' And if God can forgive Mahony, then who are we to judge?"
Attorney Jeffrey C. Briggs responds to a letter Thursday comparing marijuana regulation to gun control:
"What part of 'constitutional right' do Times readers not understand? Marijuana use, like driving a car, is not a constitutional right, and thus can be regulated. The right to keep and bear arms, however, has its own membership in the Bill of Rights. That does not mean no limits on those rights, but restrictions on them are given strict scrutiny by the courts.
"We simply can't regulate any of our constitutional rights out of meaningful existence or they all will be threatened. But we can amend them if we want — a big difference, and hard to do, but thank goodness. Understanding that basic concept would move the debate along much faster."