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Waves of sentiment and anger over Gulf Coast

Re “FEMA’s Woes Were Merely the Beginning,” Sept. 18

President Bush’s agencies are working exactly as he had planned.

Under his leadership, FEMA has gone from a well-regarded professional agency to an international disgrace -- unable to execute its own plans. The Environmental Protection Agency has seen an exodus of career professionals resigning in protest when Bush put polluters in charge. The Department of Education has outsourced our children’s future to a new billion-dollar private industry beholden to the underfunded, unconstitutional No Child Left Behind Act. The Department of Defense hands out many billions of dollars in no-bid contracts to companies that donate overwhelmingly to Republicans campaigns.

This woefully incompetent and corrupt federal government is no accident. Republicans control all three branches.

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DARREN HARDY

Santa Barbara

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Conservatives seem pleased about the opportunity to expand the economy and corporate profits by developing Katrina-damaged areas through a “Gulf Opportunity Zone.”

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As a middle-class taxpayer, I am reluctant to finance reconstruction of an area in which, clearly, nothing at all should be built. Why doesn’t the government sell “Gulf Opportunity Zone Recovery Bonds,” which those excited about potential profits could buy? The bonds, of course, would be paid off with profits from the zone. Or is that too risky?

GABRIELLE PRYOR

La Canada Flintridge

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All the pundits -- Republican and Democrat -- are asking where the funding for the hurricane victims and the Gulf Coast rebuilding will come from. Boy, it sure would have been nice to have a federal surplus right now.

PAUL BRUYN

Huntington Beach

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The Sept. 18 story, “The Unvanquished: A Cop’s Story,” was the latest in a long string of articles covering the personal trials of hurricane victims. Each was as poignant and gut-wrenching as the last, each written as if the subject was a close personal friend. Emotionalism may not be the hallmark of a great reporter, but it has definitely resonated these past weeks, and is appreciated. The Times has made me cry, daily. Thanks.

VIRGINIA DRAKE

Escondido

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Re “A Cat Fight Over Pets’ Peril After Katrina,” Steve Lopez column, Sept. 14

No one is saying that pets are more important than people, but it is because they are so important to people that any effort made to rescue them is worthwhile. If I had lost everything I had, being reunited with my pet would go a long way toward making me feel human again.

ROBIN YOUNG

Pomona

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