Readers React
Letters to the editor and readers' opinions.
Black Friday and the gap between rich and poor

To the editor: What a revealing juxtaposition of articles on the front page of The Times. ("Black Friday highlights the contrast between rich and poor," and "High-end home sales are surging in Southern California," Nov. 23)

Above the fold in Monday's paper, we learned that the market for multimillion-dollar homes is surging in the Southland. Below the fold we read about the poor who stand in long lines for bargains on Black Friday.

This illustrates the fact that America now has one of the most unequal distributions of wealth in the world among developed countries. In fact, the concentration of wealth at the top now rivals that of 1929.

Like the top-heavy ferry that tipped over in South Korea, this cannot last.

Bob Lentz, Sylmar

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To the editor: This article, though interesting, ignores the reason more people of all means are pushing back against the retailers (and their enabling shoppers) that are hijacking our national holiday of Thanksgiving. It's not about prices but purpose and...

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Gov. Brown's forced austerity for UC hurts students

To the editor: Thank you for George Skelton's article on the conflict between Gov. Jerry Brown and University of California President Janet Napolitano over funding the UC system. Skelton hits the right note when he argues that both are holding students hostage. ("Gov. Jerry Brown has plenty of weapons to fight UC's Janet Napolitano," Column, Nov. 23)

I think Skelton should be far more critical of Brown's commitments. Draconian cuts to UC have crushed countless dreams of upward mobility.

As the Public Policy Institute of California has shown, in the last 10 years, the state has slashed $1.6 billion from higher education. In a 2011 PPIC statewide survey, 68% of respondents opposed such cuts.

Brown's posture as a contrarian is a sham. His austerity for higher education has created an alarming rate of indebtedness among Californians — even as he refuses to trim bloated prison budgets that have resulted in harsh racial inequalities.

We need to invest in our state by cutting administrators'...

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Obama's immigration order is a good start on reform

To the editor: Regarding your story on immigration reform, your headline made me so furious that I had difficulty bringing myself to read the actual article. Of course President Obama cannot solve our entire immigration problem with one executive order, but it is a start. ("Obama's action on immigration leaves millions still facing deportation," Nov. 21)

Maybe you should have written about the Republican action to address the issue. How's that working out for the millions of people here illegally?

Peggy Jo Abraham, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Continuing "to live with the fear of deportation" is not the only possibility for those who won't benefit from Obama's action. Two alternatives are either leaving the country voluntarily or initiating the process that should have been done upon entering the first time.

Mark Stephen Mrotek, Carson

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To the editor: After reading today's front-page piece on immigration reform and another piece in the Business section about how the president's...

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Help teachers' unions help students

To the editor: In his final column for The Times, Jim Newton had this to say about teachers unions: "Unions play an important role in protecting the livelihoods of their members, but they don't represent children." ("A journalist's recipe for fixing L.A.," Op-Ed, Nov. 23)

Has Newton forgotten that the needs of children are protected by the parents and teachers who care for them? Has he forgotten that in a life-or-death situation, the people who are most likely to save a child are the men and women who are with that child in his moment of need?

Teachers are the people who act in the place of parents each day. In that capacity, they might demand special help for a disabled child, insist that Child Protective Services be called, or make certain that the child receives enough food or a pair of glasses. And this is in addition to providing safety and instruction for the children each day.

The teachers union protects teachers' ability to carry out all those activities and more.

The people...

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Restore the Salton Sea with ocean water

To the editor: The Times writes: "The price tag for stopping the sea from further shrinkage is estimated in the billions of dollars.... The 'day of reckoning' for the Salton Sea is close at hand." ("'Looming environmental crisis' at Salton Sea prompts plea for help," Nov. 21)

One solution that would not cost billions, and could in fact lead to a positive return, is piping in ocean water via the Colorado river bed and the channel that filled the Salton Sea in the first place. The water would have to be filtered to keep out unwanted marine creatures.

Energetically, the movement of the water should not be costly, since the Salton Sea lies lower than sea level.

A positive return on the investment can be expected once the Salton Sea becomes a productive resource, a recreational destination and an attraction for synergistic development. The cost of rescue also has to be compared with the ongoing financial drain that a dying Salton Sea would impose.

Siegfried Othmer, Woodland Hills

Follow the...

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Rage in Missouri over grand jury decision

To the editor: The U.S. Supreme Court's much-reviled decision in the matter of Dred Scott (1857) remains the stark reality in America in 2014: Black persons have no rights that a white police officer is required to respect, including the right to life. ("Violence erupts after grand jury fails to indict Ferguson officer," Nov. 25)

To those bemoaning the widespread demonstrations against this obscene outcome of the grand jury circus in Ferguson, Mo., I am reminded of James Baldwin's observation so many years ago: "To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage."

Mark Brodin, Newton, Mass.

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To the editor: Whether to find evidence or avoid a preliminary hearing, normally a prosecutor uses a grand jury to pursue a matter believed worthy of prosecution; but this one appears different.

Explaining why Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, St. Louis County Prosecuting Atty. Robert McCulloch...

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