Before Antonio Villaraigosa announced this week that he would not run for California's open U.S. Senate seat in 2016, some were framing a contest between the ex-Los Angeles mayor and state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, previously San Francisco's district attorney, as another episode in the state's north-south rivalry. But if letters to The Times are any indication of public opinion, Villaraigosa might have had a better chance at endearing himself to Northern California voters.
One of the more curious tendencies of Times letter writers is to react viscerally to any news about Villaraigosa. Simply put, many don't think much of the former L.A. mayor, and many of our letter writers would rather not read articles about him. This was just as true during the final years of Villaraigosa's tenure in City Hall, before Eric Garcetti took over in 2013, as it is now.
Here are letters that have come in over the last few weeks commenting on the Villaraigosa campaign that wasn't. Some criticized The...Read more
To the editor: Harvard professor Paul E. Peterson takes as given that testing results indicate the level of learning. He implies that the fact that test scores have improved is proof that the tests have improved education. The only thing that better test scores prove is that students have become better test takers. ("No Child Left Behind and testing help hold schools accountable," op-ed, Feb. 23)
Of course students have become good test takers, with the immense amount of pressure applied to them over dumbed-down multiple-choice tests. A student may not know how to compose an essay, organize an experiment, research and extrapolate conclusions on a historical figure or explain the methodology used in arriving at a mathematical proof — but, when under pressure, a student can tell you it is best to answer "C" on a test because that is the most common answer (an odd piece of trivia that all U.S. students can tell you).
I have been a teacher for 20 years, and I ask my students every year...Read more
To the editor: I have never quite understood why the citizenship issue for president has been so controversial. ("Question Ted Cruz should ask: Can a foreign-born American be president?," op-ed, Feb. 24)
There are only two "types" of U.S. citizens: native born and naturalized. Any and all native-born citizens over the age of 35 are eligible to be president. Someone born outside the U.S. to a parent who is a citizen (with some qualifications) is a native-born citizen; such a person has never in our history been required to become a naturalized citizen, but has always been recognized as a citizen at birth.
It's good that this issue might finally be made clear with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), someone the "birthers" would like and support. (By the way, I think he is clearly eligible.)
David Lynn, Agoura Hills
To the editor: A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-citizen parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act...Read more
To the editor: It looks like Annabelle Gurwitch as a "second generation American," but Jewish nonetheless, has forgotten the lessons of 5,000 years of Jewish history and more recently of World War II: No matter how far you distance yourself from your Jewish roots, the haters in the world will always see you as a Jew. ("Part 'none,' part Jewish, all teenager -- and leery about anti-Semitism in Europe," op-ed, Feb. 24)
Yet, by raising her son without any meaningful Jewish connection, she has left him with only one defense: to hide the fact he is Jewish from a hostile world.
Had she instead chosen to raise her son with his rich Jewish heritage and instilled in him a pride for who he is and where he comes from, she could have empowered him with the knowledge, culture and strength of a community that could someday protect him when he may need it most.
Rena Kreitenberg, Los Angeles
To the editor: I reflect back on the days of the Great Depression in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn...Read more
To the editor: Farmers in the Central Valley find themselves in the path of progress. Their agricultural land is being paved over to make way for tract homes, a trend that Gov. Jerry Brown hopes the bullet train will discourage. ("Critics fear bullet train will bring urban sprawl to Central Valley," Feb 24)
It wasn't long ago when Orange County farmer Henry Segerstrom found his bean fields to be where some people wanted to build a shopping center. Segerstrom, being the visionary he was, threw in the proverbial towel and sold off a few acres of his land. And then he sold some more, and then some more.
Before you knew it, Costa Mesa was the home of South Coast Plaza. Does anyone mourn the loss of those bean fields?
Rob Macfarlane, Newport Beach
To the editor: The "sprawl inspiration" was one of a few major failures in planning California's high-speed rail system.
Given that Central Valley cities wanted badly to have rail stops, the High Speed Rail Authority failed to take steps to...Read more
To the editor: While the marketing that goes into a presidential campaign may be distasteful, the only thing more laughable than the idea that Hillary Rodham Clinton is desperately searching for her identity is the idea that her prospective opponents haven't also hired public relations firms to burnish their image. ("Hillary Clinton's identity crisis," column, Feb. 23)
Clinton may not have her husband's rhetorical skills, but her tenure as secretary of State left no doubt in the minds of Americans about who she is. Turns out they have enough common sense to realize they're better off with a smart, thoughtful president than an under-informed, impulsive one.
I look forward to reading more of Jonah Goldberg's attempts to take Clinton down leading up to the 2016 election. Surveying the field of would-be challengers, it's the Republican Party that has reason to be desperate.
John Wolfenden, Sherman Oaks
To the editor: Goldberg's closing:
"No doubt many voters — and pundits — will happily...Read more