To the editor: As scientists map oil industry-triggered earthquakes in other states, California regulators are ignoring risky activity by oil companies. Underground injection of fracking flow-back and other oil wastewater can trigger damaging quakes, research shows — and oil companies in California inject almost 35 billion gallons of waste fluid a year into disposal wells. ("Quake map puts new attention on Oklahoma, fracking wastewater," April 23)
A majority of California's active oil industry wastewater wells are within 10 miles of an active fault, according to an analysis by my organization and two other nonprofit groups. Yet state oil regulators require no seismic monitoring near injection wells, even as Gov. Jerry Brown supports an increase in fracking and other oil production methods that generate huge amounts of wastewater.
State Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) recently introduced AB 1490, a bill that would prohibit wastewater injection and fracking near active faults. That's...Read more
To the editor: Alex Gibney appears trapped in his own prison of bias when he wrongly asserts that the Church of Scientology did not deserve IRS recognition of its tax-exempt status in 1993. The truth is the Church underwent the most exhaustive IRS scrutiny of any applicant in history to be recognized. ("'Going Clear' filmmaker: Scientology abuses its tax-exempt status," op-ed, April 11)
As the church's longtime outside tax counsel, I am familiar with everything that transpired during the administrative proceedings that led to the 1993 IRS settlement; Gibney has no clue. Not only does the church reject Gibney's revisionist history, but so did the IRS officials involved in the proceedings. Gibney conveniently omits that the IRS issued a statement reaffirming church recognition when this myth first arose. All this information was provided to and ignored by Gibney.
Gibney pretends ignorance of the unprecedented public record, comprising 14 feet, in which the IRS recognized the church as exempt....Read more
To the editor: Harvard public health Professor David Hemenway's research is a prime example of a scientific determination by a show of hands. ("There's scientific consensus on guns -- and the NRA won't like it," op-ed, April 22)
Without giving any specifics on the studies that the experts used as a basis for their opinions that guns are more of a danger than a benefit, Hemenway wants the reader to believe that there is sufficient scientific evidence for stronger gun control. We will never know whether the studies used flawed data or resulted in biased interpretation. Were the experts' opinions, in turn, partially based on their own "surveys"?
The fact that there was not 100% agreement on any of the questions involving the presence of guns in relation to suicide, self-defense, women's homicide and danger in the home should be enough reason to question the studies.
William Vietinghoff, Thousand Oaks
To the editor: I've seen misleading statistics before, but Hemenway's "scientific consensus...Read more
To the editor: Thank you for reaffirming the right of citizens to film law enforcement and recognizing its importance in driving the much-needed debate on policing in our country. ("Affirming the right of citizens to record police activity," editorial, April 23)
My constituent Beatriz Paez had every right to film what she saw in her neighborhood, as did another South Gate resident who captured and made public footage of the deputy U.S. marshal grabbing and smashing Paez's phone, terrifying her and violating her rights.
We must make it perfectly clear that Americans have a constitutional right to videotape law enforcement and should film whenever they want to, as long as they are not interfering in an arrest.
I am calling on incoming Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch to order a Justice Department investigation of the incident and to make sure that all law enforcement officers are trained to respect the right of citizens to videotape them.
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro)
To the editor: Recently,...Read more
To the editor: Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is featured on The Times' Op-Ed page as a hero and a whistle-blower, and some people think he will come to be honored for the fact that he disclosed classified information to several media outlets about the surveillance programs of the federal government. ("With millennials gaining influence, surveillance reform is inevitable," op-ed, April 20)
American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero writes of the generational gap in support for Snowden, with most millennials viewing him very positively, indicating that surveillance reform in this country is inevitable.
It may be that Snowden did just what he should have done as a tough-minded American patriot. My take is that he fled our country to avoid accountability for his actions. In my view, this makes him a coward undeserving of praise or even positive attention.
As a country we need to concentrate on minimizing the damage he did to our national...Read more
Venice Beach wants another go at nude sunbathing, a practice forbidden in the city and county of Los Angeles. But judging by the letters to the editor we received, the law might be out of step with the people on this.
The reaction from readers to a Venice Neighborhood Council motion asking to be exempted from local laws on toplessness ranged from accepting shrugs to a few letters saying Venice faces more pressing concerns. Whatever ends up happening, we can take this as a sign that L.A.'s rapidly gentrifying hamlet by the beach will stay weird.
Patricia Mace of Los Angeles recalls a previous time of legalized toplessness:
This article brought back memories of when nude sunbathing was briefly allowed on Venice Beach decades ago.
The people I knew at the time were all for it, but it wasn't long before the male oglers, all fully dressed, outnumbered the sunbathers. Some would even come close to you, fully dressed, and lie down to ogle.
Topless sunbathing is great; I think people should try...Read more