Readers React
Letters to the editor and readers' opinions.
California's drought and the debate over exporting rice

To the editor: It is interesting how David Pierson’s article on U.S. farmers hoping to sell rice to China touches on so many issues. The message overall is that food producers will produce a healthier product when it is economic to do so.  (“Looking to Asia,”  Aug. 24)

Unless someone complains about food additives (ractopamine in pork), contamination (insects in the rice?), poor nutritional quality (skim milk) and unwanted modifications (GMO corn), there is little incentive to change.

Plus, scant mention was made of the reasonableness of raising a water-intensive crop such as rice in a drought-stricken state.

However, just yesterday I bought 20 pounds of Calrose rice that was probably grown in California. It’s tasty.

Richard Anderson, Camarillo

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To the editor: I don’t usually react angrily to your articles, but this one got my blood boiling.

I am so glad that U.S. rice farmers are eyeing the growing (possibly) rice market in China. Of course, they’ll get more money for their crops...

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Freelancers: Free to work as they wish? Really?

To the editor: Sara Horowitz’s opinion piece about freelancers seemed too good to be true. That’s because it is.

First, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. It takes a special breed of individual. Simply being out of a job is not a qualification.  (Re “America’s new way of work,” Opinion, Aug. 26)

The millennials whom Horowitz so reverently chronicles as “freelancers” are likely still living with their parents, have little or no responsibilities and have had great trouble finding real work.

Horowitz states that millennials tend to value experiences more than things. I suspect that’s mainly because they have no other choice.

As for the Bureau of Labor Statistics' failure to track freelancers, it actually does have a category -- it’s called “unemployed.”

 In a perfect world, we could all be freelancers and never have to worry about where our next meal is coming from. As most of us who are grounded in reality already know, this is not a perfect world.

Charles Reilly,...

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Dodgers dispute isn't the city's business

To the editor: The dispute involving Time Warner Cable and other broadcast outlets about how much they will pay TWC to carry Dodger games is a private business matter. The city of Los Angeles has no vital stake in the matter. (“Garcetti asks FCC to eye impasse,” Business, Aug. 26)

If the citizens of Los Angeles were strongly motivated to watch Dodgers games on television, they would write to their cable and satellite providers to demand the service or cancel their subscriptions.

The new owners of the Dodgers are shrewd businessmen who paid too much for the team because they knew that some other cable system would pay too much for the broadcast rights. Right now, TWC is still looking for someone to rescue it from having overpaid the Dodgers. The mayor and the FCC should not be helping TWC do that.

Sooner or later, market forces will lead to the negotiation of a reasonable price.

Michael E. Mahler, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The Dodgers are a key part of the city, as the mayor has...

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Columnist is all wet on 'ice bucket' funding

To the editor: Michael Hiltzik does a disservice to organizations conducting research on “rare” diseases.  ( “A cold look at the ice bucket challenge,” Column, Aug. 20)

It is precisely because the incidence of the disease is low that the ALS Assn. gets a tiny fraction of a sliver of federal research funds, and must depend on what Hiltzik condescendingly calls “stunt philanthropy” to raise awareness and research dollars.
You don’t have to “give a bit more thought” to where your money is going. It’s already going to big-ticket diseases.

Michelle Gee, Piedmont, Calif.

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To the editor: A fad gone viral is very likely to reach people who otherwise might not be giving to any particular cause. If this challenge has caught their attention and made them think about this need, who is a columnist to say that others should give elsewhere?

So-called rare diseases need as much or more attention than more widespread ones, by their very nature.

There are so many useless and even horrifying things that...

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The dangers of nuclear dumps

To the editor: About 60  nuclear power plants with 100 nuclear reactors are operating in the U.S. As time — and global warming and our more-dramatic weather — combine to reduce grid capacity, we must broaden our menu of power sources, looking harder at ever-more cost-effective wind, water and sun. These sources provide diversity and outcompete mined coal.  ( “Nuclear dump accident still baffles experts,” Aug. 24)

Robert Siebert,  Orange

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To the editor: It took only 15 years for human error and laxity to result in an accidental discharge of radioactive material. Do the math, and that’s several hundred accidents over the 10,000 years this material is intended to be isolated. Some accidents will be minor, some not so.

Thomas Bliss, Sherman Oaks

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A sign of the times for the homeless?

To the editor: As I look at the photo of the poignant new mural on skid row, I wonder whether it helps or hurts the plight of the homeless.  (“Sign of survival,” Aug. 24)

It goes nicely with the gentrification around it. Maybe it is a little daring to so boldly point out the obvious. Yet I don’t believe the homeless themselves can afford to give it more than a glance.

Here in northeast Los Angeles, we have been pointing out the obvious too. Homeless encampments have sprung up along the Arroyo Seco from Elysian Park to South Pasadena in Debs Park, the Audubon Center, Hermon Park and along the freeway.

No one thinks this newish zone of encampments — mostly without toilets, running water, roofs, garbage pickup, police patrol or social services — has an easy fix, but it seems to have gotten little notice from our City Council members.

If we commission a mural, perhaps the homeless in northeast L.A. will get some needed attention.

Or perhaps we can all just like the mural.

Jack Fenn,...

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The iPad project gets put on pause

To the editor: Clearly the iPad rollout to  district schools benefited Apple and Pearson, but did it really benefit all the classrooms in all the schools? ( “LAUSD halts contract for Apple iPads,” Aug. 26)

There seems to be a disconnect between district management and those who are in the trenches teaching L.A. kids.

Had the administrators not been so cozy with industry but instead relied primarily on teachers to determine the needs of individual departments and grade levels, no doubt money would have been spent more wisely.

All that can be said of this latest revelation is that industry made out really well and, no matter how much it protests, management is walking around with an ethical black eye.

Katharine Ellis, San Diego

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To the editor: Is it any wonder that L.A.’s schools are in shambles? Deasy, while tap-dancing around his questionable dealings with the iPad program, cannot even spell properly: “I want to not loose…”

A billion dollars for new computers and this guy can’t even...

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To solve, or not to solve, the plastic bag 'problem'

To the editor: George Skelton falls back on the old conservative argument in opposing the extension of the plastic bag ban proposal before the Legislature: If a solution isn’t perfect, it’s no good.  ( “Paper bag fee isn’t justified,” Column, Aug. 25)

The fee on paper bags will discourage their use, and, as Skelton points out, they are reusable. Perhaps grocery chains should offer to donate any profits to an environmental group; then it wouldn’t be a tax.

Tim Swanson, Torrance

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To the editor: Congratulations to Skelton on his outstanding column.

He sets forth the truth behind the ban on plastic grocery bags: Follow the money.

The monied interests behind the “reusable” bags and the grocery stores are all stronger than the manufacturers of the plastic grocery bags and have the money to do all the campaigning against the plastic bags.

Maxine Van Voorst-Potter, Pasadena

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To the editor: Skelton said in his closing remarks: “Leave my plastic monofilament fishing line alone. It lasts...

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The less-told story of the Compton they know

To the editor: There is good news from Compton. And I can understand the frustration from residents of this great city who have to put up with so many false perceptions and stereotypes that shift the focus away from the city’s many accomplishments, especially those regarding educational achievements.

So, ditch that question mark in your headline and give that statement the punctuation it deserves: an exclamation point!  ( “Good news from Compton?” Opinion, Aug. 22)

Stan Seidel, Rancho Palos Verdes

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To the editor: I want to applaud Frederick Trahan and Maria Preciado for this Op-Ed piece. As a native of Compton and a product of its schools, and a current professor at UCLA, I have long tired of the one-sided view that portrays the challenges of the city instead of recognizing the promise and potential of its youth.

A lot of good comes from Compton, and the authors do a good job of retelling our story.

Tyrone C. Howard, Los Angeles

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Sriracha and the smell of prosperity at processing plants

To the editor: Bravo to David Tran of Huy Fong Foods for opening his Sriracha plant for public tours.  (Re “At a fever pitch,” Aug. 23)

Years ago in San Pedro, folks would ask what odor was emanating from Terminal Island. Locals would reply that it was “the smell of money” — thousands of jobs and paychecks at the nearby canneries.

Unlike the city of Irwindale, I don’t think our fair city would have declared the long-gone businesses a public nuisance.

Randy Robinson, San Pedro

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A lifetime of love for language

To the editor: I was inspired by the passion of Richard Dauenhauer, a passion I share in my dedication to the growth and usage of Kiswahili (commonly called Swahili).  (“Richard Dauenhauer: 1942-2014, Tlingit language scholar,” Obituary, Aug. 24)

The study of language profoundly expands the appreciation of the human capacity for imagination to describe an essential focus of their daily life. I offer in closing a short prayer: May God keep him in a peaceful place in paradise.

Pete M. Mhunzi, North Hollywood

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The battle over business incentives: do they work?

To the editor: Your pictures on the Business page tell it all. ( “California vs. Texas,” Business, Aug. 24)

The governor of Texas with a kind of halo around his head, spouting half-truths, while Jerry Brown, whose father was responsible for superior higher education at minimal cost, works to bring back the kind of democracy for which Pat Brown was justly famous.

People from low-income families like myself could achieve educational goals impossible in other states.

Probably I would be turning hamburgers to this day, not teaching in a college, except for the Brown family.

Sam Eisenstein, Pasadena

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To the editor: Objective analyses  have shown that so-called business incentives are ineffective. Such subsidies replace market incentives with political ones.

That a so-called conservative — Texas Gov. Rick Perry — would tout hundreds of millions of dollars in such corporate welfare as “job creation” shows how little he understands or appreciates the free market.

A healthy business climate...

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