Unrest in Iran; immigrants and immigration reform; an aging prison population; and more.

Taking a stand in Iran

Re “Iranian protesters clash with police,” Dec. 28

The Times’ front-page photograph of an Iranian protester standing defiantly with rocks in hand, bravely confronting tyranny in the fight for freedom, was moving and a reminder of what some of us unknowingly take for granted on a daily basis.

God bless that young man for his courage and for raising the awareness of many who have what he and many Iranians are fighting for.

Paul Shubunka

Santa Clarita

Immigration and public policy

Re “Fixing immigration policy,” Editorial, Dec. 26

We need immigration reform, but we must not grant amnesty to current illegal immigrants under any circumstances.

Reform should include streamlining legal entry and a guest program that is in fact a guest program, not a pathway to citizenship.

If we grant amnesty again, as we did in 1986, we will have the same result -- a continuing flood of illegal entrants who know that hiding out long enough is always rewarded.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Jef Kurfess

Westlake Village


Re “The enduring wisdom of Special Order 40,” Opinion, Dec. 23

I arrived in Pico-Union in the 1980s. Special Order 40, which forbids officers from asking about the immigration status of people they encounter or detain, has made all the difference in the relations between the Central American community and the Los Angeles Police Department.

It is encouraging to read in Tim Rutten’s column that Chief Charlie Beck has delivered a clear message that Special Order 40 will continue under his leadership. This is a very good Christmas and New Year’s greeting for the immigrant community.

Francisco Rivera

Los Angeles

The writer is chairman of the board of directors of El Rescate, which provides legal and social services to the Central American community in Los Angeles.

Solving a cable problem

Re “Spat could turn some TVs black,” Dec. 30

As The Times pointed out, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) proposed that Time Warner Cable and Fox enter into binding arbitration to avoid the loss of Fox programming for our customers.

We agree with Kerry that viewers shouldn’t be inconvenienced while we negotiate. Although we feel strongly that Fox’s current demands for compensation are unreasonable -- in any economy, but particularly today -- Time Warner Cable will agree to binding arbitration to resolve this issue.

In fact, we’ve suggested that any arbitration agreed to be applied retroactively.

Therefore, there’s no reason for Fox to punish Time Warner Cable customers by pulling its programming while we work out an agreement that’s fair for all concerned.

We’re doing everything we can to keep Fox programming in our lineup, but Time Warner Cable can’t do it alone. Avoiding a New Year’s conflict that harms our customers will require Fox to be reasonable.

Glenn A. Britt

New York

The writer is chief executive of Time Warner Cable.

Setting older inmates free

Re “Who’s afraid of elderly prisoners?” Opinion, Dec. 24

David Fathi notes that the prison population increased sixfold between 1975 and 2005, resulting in a sharp increase in the number of elderly people behind bars. Elderly prisoners may not be a risk to society, but let’s took at other articles in the Dec. 24 paper.

The lead story on page one has the headline, “Local crime plunges for 7th year.” This trend extends to other parts of Southern California and several major cities across the country.

It would seem that our efforts to lock up the bad guys does indeed protect society. It does cost a lot to house inmates, but it seems we are safer as a result.

De Alcorn

Sierra Madre


Fathi says elderly prisoners should be released because of budget limitations. He believes that prisoners over the age of 50 should be paroled simply because they are becoming too expensive to care for. Releasing convicted rapists, child molesters and murderers, many of whom were once addicted to drugs or alcohol, can never lead to increased public safety. Besides, local law enforcement is already overwhelmed with parolees who are repeat offenders, usually for the same crimes.

You would think it is impossible for one to ignore the real cost of human injury, time in the judicial system and the financial expense of having these people show up in the nation’s emergency rooms, yet that is exactly what Fathi has done.

Anthony S. Elia

Mission Viejo


Are our legislators afraid of elderly prisoners or are they actually afraid of the prison guard unions? When elderly, sick prisoners are released, these unions get angry, and they contribute millions of dollars to our legislators.

Which is more scary, a released prisoner in a wheelchair or a prison guard union leader? Ask your representative that question. Their fear costs taxpayers.

Elda Soderquist

Thousand Oaks

Tools for fiscal responsibility

Re “Say no to a financial Big Brother,” Opinion, Dec. 25

According to Nicole Gelinas, there’s no point in having a financial consumer protection agency because “five years ago, such a regulator likely would have declared triple-A-rated mortgage-related securities safe.” I guess she cannot envision a world in which a government regulator can actually identify alarming behavior and prevent catastrophe.

Gelinas must also be in favor of doing away with those pesky air traffic controllers. I mean, there’s no way they could actually stop two planes from crashing into each other.

Matthew Bilinsky

Beverly Hills


Gelinas makes some excellent points regarding our regulatory system for financial markets. The problem, however, will not go away easily. We expose financial concepts to our children very superficially and late in their education. By then, their value system and the “entitlement” mentality is already set. Financial lessons should be introduced much earlier.

I believe the key lies in teaching core financial concepts at the same time children learn life lessons such as, “Look both ways before crossing a street.”

Our government does not tell us how to cross a street because we learned that from our parents and teachers. Similarly, we won’t need the government to tell us what to do with our finances if the next generation learns these concepts while they are children.

Prakash L. Dheeriya


The writer is a finance professor at Cal State Dominguez Hills and the author of the “Finance for Kidz” book series.

Keeping order in the classroom

Re “Controlling a classroom isn’t as easy as ABC,” Dec. 14

I would like to commend The Times for conveying how difficult classroom management can be for new teachers.

However, this article reported that graduates of our program said they left feeling unprepared.

In fact, the majority of our graduates leave with the skills to immediately create well-controlled, highly functioning classroom communities within any school.

Different classroom management techniques lead to very different outcomes. Our research shows that when teachers use a lot of punishments and rewards, achievement levels are low and control is a perpetual issue. When teachers use more empowering methods, achievement levels are higher and control is a nonissue.

Instead of perpetuating the myth of the uncontrollable urban classroom and the need to intimidate

students to survive, The Times could have focused

on high-performing, non-

coercive classrooms and identified how they got that way.

John Shindler

Albert Jones

Los Angeles

The writers are professors of education at Cal State L.A.