Opinion

President Trump, L.A. doesn't want to go back to the days of dirty cars fouling our air

To the editor: I remember my first trip to Southern California in 1963. We were driving with some friends and my eyes kept watering and stinging. “What’s this?” I asked. My California friend responded, “Oh, that’s just the smog.”

Casual acceptance. That’s just the way it is. “This can’t be good,” I replied. “Can’t they do something about it?”

Now, 54 years later, President Trump wants to go back to the good old days, when people with breathing problems had to stay indoors? When your eyes tear and burn so badly that you can’t see clearly when you’re driving? What on Earth is wrong with the White House? (“Trump’s vehicle emissions plan: Make California smoggy again,” editorial, March 15)

More important, what can we do about this kind of myopia? One thing is clear: Those of us who disagree with Trump’s decision to scuttle the fuel-economy rules put into place by the Obama administration must voice our opinions. If we just give up and let Trump have his way on this, we will be in very big trouble. It may get to the point where his mistakes will not be fixable.

Diana Wolff, Rancho Palos Verdes

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To the editor: Are Americans’ memories so short that we’ve forgotten taxpayers recently had to bail out two U.S. auto companies for exactly the kind of wrongheaded thinking that led them to oppose higher fuel economy standards?

The rest of the world is moving in one direction and we are moving in another. China is now having to deal with its own befouled air. Its leaders have been looking to California in attempting to establish their own clean air standards. Whether it’s carbon or just photochemical smog, the rest of the world is also looking at California as the standard.

If U.S. automakers move in the other direction, they will be pushing against global consumers who are demanding more fuel-efficient vehicles. And to be clear, innovation drives job creation. Refusing to see the realities of the marketplace is a job killer.

That’s just common sense.

Michael Solomon, Canoga Park

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To the editor: Deport millions of people and then allow the air to become as carcinogenic as Mexico City’s. By what rational thought process is this acceptable?

More than 50 years of work toward cleaner motor vehicles will not be cast aside to satisfy this administration’s predilection for corporate profit over the health and welfare of the people who make those corporations so profitable.

Unfortunately, not many people remember today what the air in Los Angeles was like before smog laws were enacted, and not many people remember the bitter fighting the auto industry put up to try to thwart those regulations only to go through the pitiful and easily ridiculed motions of cleaning up their products until they were forced to make real progress. Years of foot dragging toward lowering emissions was finally overcome when the auto manufacturers realized that California is not going to blink when it comes to clean air.

It’s a tough job and somebody has to do it, and I’m so glad it’s us.

The unmitigated arrogance of this administration will be met with a wall of truth and sound scientific evidence that is impenetrable. We will continue on as we have in California for five decades.

Lincoln Gable Riley, Los Angeles

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