Immigrants’ rights; GOP candidates and healthcare reform; Atlanta’s curtailing of mass transit

Defects and a dump

Re “Grief prompts quest for answers,” April 1

How true it is that the migrant workforce gives the most, receives the least and then is blamed for the problems of an economy that it upholds.

So it is not surprising that a small band of immigrant women and men could lead true environmental protection for children’s rights versus an industrial giant and its ability to intimidate.

After all, it is the migrant worker who actually does real work -- the virtual oil of our economy, farming -- rather than the virtual work of hedge funds, insurance debt collectors or hate-speech radio moguls.

Bart Villa-Mcdowell
Long Beach

A few years ago, I drove up to Avenal to fight a ticket. It’s the courthouse near Kettleman City.

What I observed there that day, watching the city’s business played out, was so deeply disturbing I couldn’t stop talking about it.

It was a “Grapes of Wrath” Depression-era place -- where there were those with power, and those with absolutely none.

I thought then it must be agribusiness interests that maintained that system.

Follow the money.

Who has the most to gain? Who has the most to lose? Why else wouldn’t state and federal agencies care? Money.

There are many stories to be told about this place.

Another might be: If the water is contaminated, what does that say about the crops that are watered with it?

E. Armendarez
West Hollywood

Making health reform work

Re “You can’t have it both ways,” Editorial, April 1

Thank you, thank you, thank you for pointing out the glaring inconsistencies of the GOP arguments against the recently passed healthcare reform bill.

Meg Whitman’s argument that she wants to keep insurers from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions while nixing the new law’s requirement that all individuals carry health insurance is either naive or deceitful.

By following Whitman’s proposal, people would defer buying insurance until they absolutely needed it -- when they got sick.

The pool of insured individuals would consist entirely of sick people, and premiums would skyrocket.

The whole point of any insurance is to spread risks and costs broadly among a large population -- sick, healthy, young, old.

By eliminating the mandate to buy insurance, she would hasten the collapse of the insurance system itself.

It seems to me that what these politicians are all saying in veiled terms is this: They don’t see the value of a healthy workforce or a healthy population.

Sick people apparently should pay for their own healthcare -- after all, they are responsible for their predicament.

Nora Hazi
Pacific Palisades

Just don’t call it health insurance!

It is a tax.

True insurance exists when the risks are equally distributed within the pool of people to be insured.

Those who continue to pontificate on behalf of President Obama’s plan -- including The Times -- err in not giving recognition to this basic principle.

The individual mandate is nothing more than a tax, imposed primarily on young, healthy individuals who are far less at risk of illness than older persons.

By the way, I’m in my 70s and have a number of chronic medical conditions.

Edward A. Shaw
Laguna Beach

Mass transit messes

Re “At the end of their run,” April 1, and“Metrolink workers plan to reject tests,” April 1

Please tell me this story was an April Fool’s joke.

A working-class suburb of Atlanta, one of the most traffic-choked cities in the nation, is eliminating bus service?

It wants the residents to keep working so they can spend money and pay their mortgages, which means sales tax and property tax revenue, right?

How does it expect the residents to get to their jobs without a bus?

Atlanta’s not a compact city.

And here in Los Angeles, we have a transit system that faces gutting, looming fare increases and a heavy demand for transit that would likely be even higher if there were more park-and-ride lots.

Perhaps transit service would improve if every city and county employee whose job does not require him or her to go out into the field was required to ride public transit to and from the office.

We need more transit, not less. Clayton County is making a big mistake.

I hope Los Angeles does not follow suit.

Tessa Lucero
Canyon Country

In reference to the article about personality tests for Metrolink workers, I find the union’s intransigence very telling.

Do the unions care only about their own?

Unlike the private sector, where people have been fired mercilessly, unions keep objecting to any kind of sacrifice to keep their jobs -- even at the risk of putting the public in danger.

Vince Hamon
Los Angeles

John Yoo and torture

Re “Yoo feels at ease among opposition,” March 29

It’s pretty obvious why John Yoo likes living in Berkeley.

He can delude himself into thinking that most of those who disapprove of his actions are “self-indulgent, pot-smoking hippies.”

He imagines himself a quasi-martyr living among these “troglodytes.”

He may be a bright lawyer, but his introspective properties are clearly deficient.

Robert Von Bargen
Santa Monica

It is good to know that Californians can sleep well at night because John Yoo, professor of law at the University of California’s Boalt Hall law school, believes he is the “shining beacon of capitalism” -- while employed by the state of California, accepting state funds for his salary and accruing time for his taxpayer-funded retirement.

How does one spell “hypocrite”?

Frank A. Ferrone
El Cajon

Torture usually leaves psychological scars that never heal and that subject its victims to lifelong illnesses and abuse, and can even lead to suicide.

Yoo excluded this important aspect from his definition of torture in order to make torture more acceptable to the Bush administration and to advance his career, despite the fact that the effects of torture on human psychology have been well documented during the past 100 years.

Luis Suarez-Villa

A death sentence for Alcala

Re “Alcala victims’ family endure a life sentence,” March 31

So Rodney Alcala has been sentenced to death yet again. I’ll be very surprised if he does not die of natural causes.

It would seem that in the state of California, one way to enhance your longevity is to brutally murder several women or girls.

I walked into an armed robbery once -- and for a few minutes knew stark terror. I can hardly imagine what those girls and women felt.

In this case, the law has been an obstruction to justice -- and will probably continue to be so.

Outrageous. Completely outrageous.

David A. Ewell
Huntington Beach

What it can take to make a sale

Re “Salesman in chief,” April 2

President Obama is again proving that 1920s vaudeville star Frank Crumit got it right.

His hit song: “There’s No One With Endurance Like the Man Who Sells Insurance.”

Tony O’Doherty
Bermuda Dunes, Calif.