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Readers React
Letters to the editor and readers' opinions.
It's the quality of voters that counts, not necessarily the quantity

To the editor: In response to political science professor Thad Kousser lamenting low voter turnout, registering to vote and voting in California could not be made any simpler, especially considering online and same-day registration, as well as absentee voting. And when people register, they also have the option of requesting that all election materials be provided to them in their preferred language, despite the fact that our political discourse in America is conducted in English. ("Want to increase voter turnout? Here's how," Op-Ed, Oct. 26)

In one of my political science classes, I recall learning that apathy is part of any democratic political process. And while Kousser seeks to "create an electorate that is more representative of our state's diverse population" by continuously having to coax people into voting, my preference would be for a more interested, better informed electorate — even if that means a smaller voter turnout.

Jim Redhead, San Diego

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To the editor: Kousser...

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Hanging a noose is terrorism, not a prank

To the editor: I read this article on "pranks" involving nooses with deep concern for our country and its people. The hangman's noose and what it represents is a dreadful part of our history. ("The ominous symbolism of the noose," Op-Ed, Oct. 27)

But one word is never used in the article: "terrorism." The noose represents a special brand of American terrorism that must be addressed for what it is. It is exactly the same kind of cruel and mindless effort to terrorize a person or a group of people who are considered unequal and different.

Whether it is American in its origin or German, Japanese, Arabic or a part of any other fringe fascist mind-set, it is despicable and should never be condoned by a society claiming to be civilized.

Anthony Lawrence, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: I am a white male. At age 16 I was running from an extremely violent stepfather, who happened to be white.

Desperate to escape, I was hitchhiking from Tampa to New York one night. A black man picked me up and...

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Sending off Times veteran Bob Pool

To the editor: The tribute by Steve Lopez for Bob Pool upon his retirement after 31 years at The Times is well-deserved. ("Reporter Bob Pool, retiring after 50 years, covered the quirks of a metropolis," Oct. 29)

Those of us who lived in the Conejo Valley in the 1970s had the benefit of reading Pool's reporting in the Thousand Oaks News-Chronicle (now the Ventura County Star). We were saddened when he was lured away to The Times, but we didn't lose him; we just gladly shared his abilities and stories with all of Southern California.

Enjoy your retirement, Bob. We all will miss you.

Harvey Kern, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Steve Lopez is Bob Pool. He brings alive the uniqueness, the individuality, the quirkiness of the city.

He writes of a Bob Pool story, "With that little story, a giant city became a small town." This was a moving paean to the value of newspapers and journalists who can spot a story in a pregnant mail carrier.

Thanks to Bob Pool for his 31 years of service.

Steve...

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Will soaking the rick close the wealth gap?

To the editor: Michael Hiltzik wrings his hands over a perceived problem without a solution besides certain tax increases. Believe me, increasing the minimum wage is not going to do it. ("U.S. income inequality is bad, but wealth inequality is a bigger problem," Oct. 24)

We need to provide equality of opportunity to all, which we are not doing. We need to provide fully funded preschool, quality education and quality healthcare to all, none of which we are doing. This will do more than will taking away the wealth of the few.

And in case Hiltzik missed it, these wealthy few are funding medical schools, education and research at levels not previously seen.

Kevin Minihan, Los Angeles

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To the editor: If I read Hiltzik's column correctly, the 99% are now the 99.9%, with the top 0.1% hogging more than 20% of the nation's wealth.

Thanks to Hiltzik and economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman for exposing the explosion of wealth inequality that constitutes "a direct threat to the...

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Tuition inflation: a 21st Century crisis

To the editor: The escalating cost of education is the crisis of the 21st century. While Germany has tuition-free universities, our government is digging a bigger hole for current and future generations to climb out of while reaping profits from student loans, which in turn fuels the tuition inflation we have been witnessing over the last two decades. ("Parents, too, could use a break on student loan debt," Op-Ed, Oct. 24)

Since businesses are the biggest beneficiaries of our education system, it's time for them to step up to the plate. Certainly our tax dollars can be better spent on subsidizing education in fields in which we have a huge shortage.

By providing virtually free tuition for fields relevant to our needs, we would invest in the future of our country.

John T. Chiu, Newport Beach

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To the editor: I certainly agree with Kerry Madden that the interest rate on college loans should be reduced for parents as well as for students. But parents need to be sensible about how they...

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Will soda taxes wean the poor off sugary drinks?

To the editor: Christopher D. Cook would have made a more cogent argument if he questioned why low-income people buy and drink sugary drinks. If you have little money, it is in your best interest to eat what will give you long-term energy and truly quench your thirst, and sugary drinks do neither. ("Big Soda's false populism," Op-Ed, Oct. 27)

It is difficult to inspire change in personal behavior; it is much easier pass a bill to apply taxes on people or corporations. Our culture still has not figured out how to get low-income people to stop wasting their money on cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.

Consuming fast food and sugary drinks is another vice for those looking to soothe their hearts.

Christine Gregory, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: Substitute "National Rifle" for "American Beverage" in "American Beverage Assn." The argument the two groups make is essentially the same; in both cases the American citizen loses.

How long will we be victimized by big money? Voters in Berkeley and...

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