Opinion
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Readers React Letters to the editor and readers' opinions.
A pilot's bathroom break shouldn't bring down a jet, readers say

The chilling details of Germanwings Flight 9525's final moments have prompted several readers to suggest ways to prevent another tragedy like the one that unfolded Tuesday over France, in which, investigators believe, the first officer steered the A320 jet into the Alps after the captain left the cockpit to use the lavatory.

After past crashes, much of the post-accident attention focused on complicated systems that might have malfunctioned or could be improved to guard against pilot error. But with concern over some recent accidents involving egregious pilot ineptness or malice, more basic questions are now being asked. These letters reflect that.

Larry Gardner of Los Angeles endorses en suite lavatories for pilots:

It's shocking and dismaying that the first officer apparently crashed his plane on purpose, killing 149 others along with him. What I would like to know is why do pilots have to leave the cockpit to use a lavatory?

In modern large commercial aircraft, a small lavatory could...

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Netanyahu's comments don't reflect Israel's treatment of Arabs

To the editor: Your editorial presents a one-dimensional view of the realities of life for Israeli Arab citizens and falsely suggests a potential incompatibility between the Jewish and democratic character of Israel. ("Netanyahu's remarks on Israel's Arab citizens part of a disturbing conversation," editorial, March 25)

Yes, election-day comments regarding Arab voters made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were disturbing and worthy of apology. And yes, there are many challenges facing the Israeli Arab minority with respect to issues of discrimination and equality. But there is no serious effort to restrict Israeli Arab rights. Indeed, Netanyahu's comments were condemned across Israel, including by President Reuven Rivlin.

Furthermore, your editorial fails to mention the numerous government initiatives aimed at bolstering the quality of life for Israeli Arabs, including advancing educational opportunities, supporting efforts to increase employment among women and providing...

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Make California drought tolerant by increasing the price of water

To the editor: Brad Gleason states that farmers are paying, on average, $1,000 an acre-foot for water. This equates to about a third of a penny per gallon. ("Why almond growers aren't the water enemy," op-ed, March 25)

Here in the San Diego area, residential customers pay more than double this amount for water, so maybe $1,000 per acre-foot isn't so bad.

In either case, rural or residential, the cost for one of man's most precious resources (water) is absurdly cheap. Is there anything someone could buy for less than a penny per gallon?

If serious inroads are to be made to deal with the severe drought in California, the cost of water should be used as one of the most effective tools available to reduce water use. Let the law of supply and demand work its magic.

Gary Koop, Encinitas

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To the editor: The real enemy is us.

It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. So how ridiculous it is to ask diners to forgo a glass of water in the interest of conservation when a...

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Fond memories of 'Dr. George' Fischbeck

To the editor: While it was sad to learn of the passing of George Fischbeck, I take joy in having known him. ("'Dr. George' Fischbeck dies at 92; popular weatherman at KABC-TV," March 25)

When I became the weather forecaster for KCOP-TV in the late 1980s, he was the first to call and congratulate me. We would meet several times at the National Weather Service in Westwood since I was not a trained meteorologist.

I wanted a solid working knowledge of weather terminology and how weather patterns worked. He advised this novice that, in addition to being a communicator, to let my personality shine through and that would make up for what I didn't know about the science of weather.

Fischbeck taught us all so much. Yes, he was the same off-camera as on-camera — the quality of a true star.

Judyth Jernudd, Beverly Hills

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A restored L.A. River? It's a pipe dream.

To the editor: There is a hidden cost of having a flowing L.A. River. Every day the city pumps about 23 million gallons of treated water into the river. This water originally was intended to help replenish the aquifer under the San Fernando Valley. ("L.A.'s share of river restoration could hit $1.2 billion," March 25)

We are in a drought, and this water could help with the problem.

Roy W. Rising, Valley Village

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To the editor: L.A.'s tab for restoring the L.A. River could reach $1.2 billion. This money will create a new park and wetlands for birds, among other things.

This revitalized river will run through a county that has at least 50,000 homeless people. That $1.2 billion could go a long way to alleviate this human suffering.

L.A. is a nice place — for the birds.

Susan Stone, Venice

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How to prevent another 'Sodomite Suppression Act'

To the editor: There is a simple way to discourage submissions of outrageous ballot initiatives that doesn't require raising the $200 filing fee. ("'Sodomite Suppression Act' is no reason for radical initiative reform," editorial, March 24)

Proponents should be required to obtain a modest number of registered voter signatures, perhaps 50, to go along with the fee. Proponents and those submitting supporting signatures should be required to provide valid street addresses, either residence or business, and their names and addresses should be available to the public on the Web along with the text of the proposed initiative.

I doubt it would be easy to find 50 registered voters who would want their names and addresses linked in public to the anti-gay "Sodomite Suppression Act."

Daniel J.B. Mitchell, Santa Monica

The writer is a professor of public policy at UCLA.

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To the editor: As a researcher on sexual behavior, I can tell you that the real problem with lawyer Matt McLaughlin's...

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