Readers React
Letters to the editor and readers' opinions.
Kudos to Carlsbad vaccine documentary filmmakers

To the editor: Bravo to the courageous students at Carlsbad High for their film on vaccines. We should be proud of these scholars and not be condemning them. ("Student filmmakers find themselves drawn into the vaccine/autism fray," July 20) The anti-vaccine crowd, the Holocaust deniers and the flat-Earthers have a major belief set in common. It can best be described as "I know what I know, so don't confuse me with the facts." I wonder what the parents who are needlessly terrified of immunization and refuse vaccines for their children will do when their kids get whooping cough or measles. Maybe they are not even aware that children do indeed die or suffer lifelong effects from these diseases. How sad to be so ignorant. Jerry Lasnik, Thousand Oaks To the editor: Contrast the Rialto eighth-graders assigned to write about Holocaust denialism with the older Carlsbad students who prepared a movie on vaccines, only to be attacked by anti-vaccinators. Critical thinking is rare in our society...

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Who'll stop the killing in the Gaza Strip?

To the editor: Although it is true that too many people are dying, your headline for the print version of this story ("'Too many innocent people are dying'") was unfair because it undercut what Israel has attempted to do: minimize Arab casualties while trying to defend the safety of its citizens. I know of no other country that is so moral that it calls civilians to warn them that the country is about to attack. ("Israel pounds Gaza neighborhood it says is rocket-launching site," July 20) Yes, too many people are dying. The Israelis want no one to die; what they do want is the violence against their country stopped. The Arabs argue about Israel not being moral enough. But where is the Arabs' moral ground? How is it that they don't complain when Hamas puts its weapons in tunnels under homes and schools, acting like they do not care if their people live or die? If Hamas doesn't want people to die, it should agree to the proposed cease-fire, as Israel did. Thank you for every effort you...

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Boehner's shamelessly political Obamacare lawsuit

To the editor: In criticizing House Speaker John A. Boehner's (R-Ohio) plan to sue President Obama, The Times appears to find some merit in the Republicans' claim that the president is stretching the limits of his power. ("House GOP, home of hyperbole and hyperpartisanship," Editorial, July 20) The president's move to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act's mandate is provided as an example, despite a report in another part of the same paper that the act's language is quoted as providing that the mandate will become effective "after Dec. 31, 2013." If the ACA doesn't state an absolute date on which the mandate must be enforced, then it can be read to mean a reasonable time after the end of 2013, when the president determines that implementing the mandate will best serve its purpose. Consequently, Boehner's complaint that the president is violating his constitutional oath to enforce the laws faithfully can only be viewed as specious and motivated by politics and not concern...

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A lesson of MH17: Don't fly over a war zone

To the editor: The tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 could have been avoided if Russia had exercised judicious control over the separatists in eastern Ukraine, where it is obvious that Moscow wants to pull another Crimea. ("If Putin doesn't back down on Ukraine, the world should impose more sanctions," Editorial, July 20) Knowing all this, and the fact that a Ukrainian combat plane was shot down recently in the region, one would think that the commercial airlines flying between Europe and Asia — as Flight 17 was — would have avoided this war zone. What were the airlines thinking, that the separatists would be very discerning and could tell a commercial aircraft from a combat plane? The airlines bear a grave responsibility over this obvious oversight, which was fixed after the tragedy. Too late for Flight 17. Dro Amirian, Studio City

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Turn water wasters with green lawns into a revenue stream

To the editor: The Times' regular reporting on the many terrible impacts of our drought has brought me to the conclusion that maybe it's time, as a society, for us to decide that the common good dictates we must use our precious water for drinking and growing food — and that green lawns are a luxury we can't afford. ("Coalition forms to manage California's groundwater," Column, July 20) Imagine how much revenue would be generated if we ticketed homes and businesses with green lawns. And what a slam-dunk to regulate: You wouldn't have to drive around hoping to get lucky and find someone hosing down her driveway and slap her with a $500 fine. That green lawn isn't going anywhere, and it is all the evidence you need to find water guzzlers. Sarah Tamor, Santa Monica .. To the editor: Is it true the state plans to work with the NSA to fine people who leave the water running when brushing their teeth? Wes Correll, Dana Point

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Death Penalty: What about the condemned's family?

To the editor: Sandy Banks is both compassionate and complex in the way she deals with the death penalty. She describes those who have been made victims: the inmates themselves, jurors and taxpayers. ("California's death penalty isn't really about death at all," Column, July 18) However, one group is missing from her list: the families of the condemned. We have heard many times about the families of victims who, in fact, have an honored place in our judicial system that allows them to testify at sentencing hearings about their loved ones. But what about those other families? They are equally innocent, never having asked for their roles in the story. As horrible as the inmate appears to society, he or she still is tied to a group of people who could well love that person greatly and who did nothing to deserve their experience. Joan Walston, Santa Monica .. To the editor: The death penalty is too serious a subject to be treated so superficially by Banks. She gives some recognition to the...

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The insidiousness of the Hobby Lobby decision

To the editor: That's rich, a Christian activist law firm calling itself the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom. Equally Orwellian phrasing titles the constitutionally dubious Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the Becket firm has cited to obtain ill-considered U.S. Supreme Court decisions favoring Christianity over sound public policy. ("Law firm in Hobby Lobby win is playing key role in religion cases," July 19) For truth in advertising, how about "the Becket Fund for Denying Nonbelievers' Rights to Freedom from Religion"? So what if this firm advocates a Muslim prison inmate's right to grow a beard. That ploy likely will prevail as a bone thrown to non-Christian detractors, but its narrow application betrays the firm's ulterior motive: to set up more far-reaching court rulings to favor the Christian majority. Edward Alston, Santa Maria .. To the editor: The lawyers for Hobby Lobby don't seek religious freedom. As with the recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care...

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For water solutions, ask the experts, not the politicians

To the editor: Here we go again. The Chamber of Commerce wants to build more storage (dams), as if we will have more available water. It wants desalination of seawater but doesn't say where the electricity to operate the plants would come from or where the removed salt should go. ("Biggest dam project in San Diego County history is complete," July 16) I have a suggestion: Let's get teams from universities, the water agencies, environmental representatives and other appropriate people to list all the possible options. Then complete a life-cycle analysis and determine all the costs and benefits for each option, and produce a report in lay language on all the options, impacts and costs. Then decide which ones to put to the public in a bond issue. Having the Legislature craft a bond issue to put before voters will do little except give the state more pork projects. We really need to think before acting. Michael Miller, West Covina .. To the editor: Why does it seem to be the sole...

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Dr. Paul Fleiss and the children he cared for

To the editor: Dr. Paul Fleiss was a generous, wise and kind pediatrician. He devoted countless hours to the La Leche League breastfeeding organization, helping babies to have a healthy start in life. He accurately diagnosed my little girl when another doctor could not find anything wrong. He had a very long career, and many of us are deeply indebted to him. ("Dr. Paul Fleiss dies at 80; father of 'Hollywood madam' Heidi Fleiss," Obituary, July 19) One mistake — his entanglement in his daughter's prostitution scandal — should never overshadow all the good that he did in his lifetime. Rest in peace, Dr. Fleiss. Legions of children have grown up healthier and happier thanks to your efforts. Marianne Coffey, Ventura

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That anti-vaccine utopia? We've been there, and it's a nightmare.

Humanity has benefited immensely from vaccines, and in many ways vaccines have been victims of that success. The backlash to the documentary by Carlsbad High students on the vaccine debate (and don’t let the word “debate” imply a false equivalency), reported in The Times by Eryn Brown, bears that out. A letter we received (more on that later) in response to the article paints a grim picture of a world not long ago where it wasn’t unusual for children and adults to die from polio and other diseases, a reality people today are spared thanks to decades of universal immunization against these plagues. Perhaps because child funerals today are thankfully a rare occurrence and we don’t see too many kids in wheelchairs or on crutches after “beating” a paralysis-causing disease, the urgency of vaccinating our children on schedule is less apparent. Vaccines have been so successful that making the case for continued immunization is like asking an atheist to prove that God doesn’t exist: No, I...

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James Garner, celebrity and class act

To the editor: Baby boomers like myself grew up on James Garner/Doris Day comedies. Our parents had watched "Maverick," and together we watched "The Rockford Files." Then there were the many terrific TV movie performances, commercials, interviews and his engaging autobiography, "The Garner Files." ("James Garner dies at 86; TV antihero of 'Maverick,' 'Rockford Files,'" Obituary, July 20) Years ago my parents were driving home from visiting friends in the San Diego area and decided to stop at an IHOP. A smiling James Garner eventually walked in with his two daughters; he'd been playing in a La Jolla celebrity golf tournament that day. My mom said the entire restaurant became noticeably quiet as Garner and his daughters took their seats. It was obvious, my mom said, that people were spending a lot of energy trying not to look in Garner's direction. Celebrity has to be challenging at times, but Garner seems to have handled it with grace and style — two qualities that came through in his...

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The U.S. can't solve every migrant's problems

To the editor: Our leaders need to be united in responding to the surge of Central American children at our borders. The message to the parents of these children should be loud and clear: People who enter the U.S. illegally will be returned or held in detention. ("Obama seeks Congress' help on the border crisis," July 16) American families and veterans need to come first. It is time to send aid to our own homeless, our own hungry, our own jobless and those who served our country. Our public schools, social service programs and healthcare systems struggle to take care of U.S. citizens. These systems are not prepared or strong enough to take on the castoffs of other nations. Karen Neville, La Puente .. To the editor: It is vital for our government to, once and for all, implement immigration reform with clear rules. If Congress did its job, the blurred lines and misinterpretation that cause parents from abroad to send their kids to the U.S. wouldn't be much of an issue. Last year, House...

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