Immigration and the GOP candidates for governor; Texas’ textbook guidelines; the high cost of red-light cameras

Taking sides

Re “On Immigration: We must take decisive steps; our economy and budget are at risk,” and “On Immigration: We need common-sense solutions, without divisive rhetoric,” and “Fighting back on immigration,” Editorial, March 27

Your editorial on immigration says that furious Republicans declared bipartisanship at an end after the Democrats passed healthcare reform.

Which bipartisanship was that? The bipartisanship that led one senator to say that if the Republicans could kill the healthcare bill, it would destroy the Obama administration? The one that led the GOP to use every technical device and rule it could to prevent the bill from going forward? Or the one in which it mischaracterized the provision for end-of-life planning as “death panels”?

These are important questions to answer if we are to gauge the costs of providing better healthcare to the country.

Donald Schwartz
Los Angeles

Jerry Brown ducked the invitation to contribute -- I think that was cowardly. But Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman wrote opinion articles, and they were wrong.

Without the underground economy of both undocumented workers and others, L.A. finally sinks into the sea (at least economically). My guess, after watching the underground workers for years, is that they contribute far more in revenue than they use in state benefits.

What do we do with the undocumented? No answer from Poizner and Whitman. We can’t let them get sick, because then we will get sick too. We can’t ban them from schools, because then we condemn our society to Third World status.

The answer is most likely amnesty and strong border security too. One thing George W. Bush got right.

I am old and remember a great California -- we got that way by spending money, and we can’t spend money without taxes. So as much as Republicans say they hate taxes, that is the solution.

William Winters
Los Angeles

The author of the editorial writes, “Immigration reform is politically unpopular, but it is right and is necessary.”

I have to ask, what is right about entering the U.S. illegally? What is right about those illegally here demanding entitlements such as education, healthcare, welfare, etc?

Reform is not necessary; the courts need to enforce the laws on the books. The necessary thing is to secure our borders.

John Broecker
Lake Forest, Calif.

With unemployment raging across our nation, we should give amnesty to lawbreaking immigrants? I should hope not.

Whitman’s article opposite The Times’ editorial made much more sense than The Times pushing amnesty for lawbreaking illegal immigrants.

Frank Myers

What about the parents who have American kids? If the parents have no legal right to be in the U.S., and their kids do have it because they are U.S. citizens, what do you do then? Do you deport the parents and not the kids?

What about the parents whose sons and daughters serve in the U.S. military, some of whom die fighting for their country? Do you deport their parents?

Immigration is a complex issue, but both Republican candidates for governor focus on the superficial aspects. Their goals were to score political points with Republican voters. However, neither offered much in terms of solutions to a very complex issue.

Maybe Jerry Brown did not contribute an Op-Ed because he knows there are no easy answers.

Domenico Maceri
San Luis Obispo

I think I’ve figured out a way for Whitman to prove to us that she’s capable of fixing the state’s problems. She should run a company in a manner modeled after the Constitution of the state of California.

The board and all employees will be elected by the users (not the shareholders, and one vote per user regardless of the amount they spend on your services).

It will require a two-thirds majority of the board to raise rates, but the users can demand whatever services they want and vote to change the company charter any time they want.

All employees and board members can work for only two terms.

To any who say the state or any other government entity should be run like a business, I would like to hear an explanation of how the restrictions that have been placed on the government might work in a business environment.

Craig Arnold
Long Beach

Learning, the Texas way

Re “Textbook cases,” Editorial, March 28

The Times correctly pointed out the impact of ideology on textbook content in Texas.

As a result, students are given a misleading and often factually incorrect or incomplete version of history, social science or science.

Perhaps the bigger fear is that the Texas version of texts will have an even greater impact on textbooks throughout the nation because of California’s budget crisis. In this current crisis, California won’t have new textbooks for several years. That means that other states won’t get to pick between California and Texas versions over the next few years. Texas “wins” and students “lose” by default.

Also, it means that perhaps our own students won’t be learning from texts that contain content on our country’s first African American president or the Environmental Education Initiative.

And that’s a short-term financial benefit with a potentially catastrophic impact on our future.

Mark Gold
Santa Monica

In the Soviet Union, the future is known; it’s the past that is always changing -- old Soviet dissident joke. Now it’s a new American joke. And there is nothing funny about it.

When political correctness trumps truth, the battle is already lost. The media were lost decades ago. Textbooks seem like the next logical choice.

Karen Scherrer

Your editorial summed up, pretty accurately, the sad state of affairs with textbook publishers in the Western U.S.: They are neglecting to “produce engaging books.”

Then it is left up to the teacher to go out and pull in “real” history and give the students the actual picture.

Sometimes the truth is brutal, but if we insulate our students from it, they cannot take their places as citizens of the world.

We’re taking passion and content away by watering down these textbooks; content and passion are the prime movers for education and learning.

Chester Chebegia
Long Beach

Red ink and red lights

Re “Red lights bring little green,” March 27

Red-light cameras have turned into major counter- productive gadgets. Actual collisions at the intersections are truly rare.

Nevertheless, hundreds of very expensive citations are issued, and the big argument drifts off to which level of government gets its part of the ticket fees, which can top $500. This is a true waste of public resources for so little -- if any -- benefit.

Carl Olson
Woodland Hills

According to your article, “the program helps reduce accidents.” Yet the City Council considers the cost too high to create safer streets?

Why not cut gang-prevention programs and let the gang members have it out, instead of letting motorists have it out? Gang members mostly kill gang members. Red-light runners maim or kill other drivers.

Here we drivers thought the city was doing everything to maintain safer streets. Has the City Council gone completely mad?

Robert Aronoff
South Pasadena

The price of job perks

Re “Pampering aplenty,” March 28.

The article about absurd job perks for “lucky” employees at companies such as Zynga was ironic. These are the types of articles that were written about bloated, failed dot-coms 10 years ago, and about other bloated, failed corporate behemoths more recently. We all know how most of them ended up.

How about a little more journalism sprinkled in next time? For example, is Zynga profitable? How does it make money off its online social games?

Suggestion to Zynga: Forget the gourmet meals and acupuncture treatments and just make employee No. 701 a webmaster. It will make all the rest of your pampered employees look they are actually doing something.

John Cibulski