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Opinion: In today’s pages: Sagging buildings, SAG and the AG

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A wobbled editorial board hopes that yesterday’s quake will shake local officials and residents out of their complacency about emergency preparedness. It also wonders how much of the $4 billion that Congress approved for local groups to purchase repossessed properties will actually be used to combat blight in the hardest-hit neighborhoods. And if state lawmakers solve this year’s budget problems by diverting money earmarked for city and county governments, the board says, there’s this consolation: Unlike the previous go-arounds, the state would have to pay the locals back.

A state money grab would throw the city off its schedule for resurfacing streets, and that’s a big deal -- but not as big a deal as slashing school funding, healthcare reimbursements or any of the other state programs needed by the same people who want their streets paved.

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On the Op-Ed page, environmental attorney Al Meyerhoff worries that lax pesticide controls will endanger honeybees and threaten California’s farm industry. Meanwhile, Variety critic (and former LA Times TV scribe) Brian Lowry writes about the debilitating splits within the community of film and TV actors, which he warns are likely to prolong the stalemate in contract talks between the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood studios.

Much like in professional sports, stars draw mind-boggling salaries and journeymen fill out rosters. This widening gap among the haves, have-nots and have-nothing-to-lose has complicated the Screen Actors Guild’s protracted efforts to settle on a new contract with the major Hollywood studios.

Times Columnist Tim Rutten opines about the internal Justice Department report that, shockingly, found improprieties in the appointments of prosecutors and other employees, as well as new writings by New Yorker scribe Jane Mayer about the Bush administration’s approach to interrogating and prosecuting suspected terrorists. These dispatches did not make Rutten any more fond of the current denizens of the White House:

When the next administration and Congress begin the urgent work of sorting out precisely how and why the Bush-Cheney regime systematically undermined the rule of law, there are a couple of things that ought to be kept in mind. One is that their efforts were essentially ideological rather than partisan.

Our readers weigh in about the presidential campaign (and in particular, Barack Obama’s recent jaunt overseas), gender’s influence on math skills, and the public service performed by those bearing the honorary badge of the Orange County Sheriff Department’s professional service responder team.

*Cartoon: Nick Anderson / Houston Chronicle


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