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Saving the Hollywood sign; ballot initiatives; Iceland’s volcano and global warming

Thanks to Hef

Re “Hefty donation for peak project,” April 27

At his news conference, our governor behaved as if he personally wrote the check to the Save the Peak campaign that rescued the area around the Hollywood sign from development.

He really had nothing to do with it. Let’s give a big shout-out to Hugh Hefner for generously giving $900,000 to reach the $12.5 million needed to buy Cahuenga Peak. Put Hef up in front of the sign in his trademark silk robe with a couple of Playboy bunnies.

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Los Angeles just got to keep some more open space. It’s not just about the sign. Many people enjoy that area for hiking and breathing some fresh air.

Hefner rocks my hiking boots!

Marla L’Angelle

Valley Village

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Say what you will about Hefner, he stepped up to the plate in the 9th inning and hit it out of the park to preserve the Hollywood sign, an irreplaceable icon of L.A.

I’m going to thank him by running out and buying one of his magazines. I like the articles.

Kent Norton

Placentia

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I read that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor turned politician, said this was “the Hollywood ending we hoped for.”

I want to know for whom is this ending? We have more homeless, unemployment is rising, education is suffering and our police and fire departments lack funding — and yet we have money for a sign? What is wrong with this picture? Yes, the sign is a monument of Hollywood, but so are the people of L.A. How about taking care of them?

Marcus W. Min

Los Angeles

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Dreaming of clean campaigns

Re “Money and politics,” Editorial, April 22

Welcome to the growing movement for fair elections in California, but how about a little more enthusiasm? The Times makes the case quite clearly that Proposition 15 is a modest but crucial step toward getting our politics to a place where politicians are responsive to public needs more than moneyed interests.

Think of all the political pathologies that fair elections might cure: healthcare reform for doctors and patients, not insurers and Big Pharma; financial reform not written by the financial miscreants; Republicans not owned by corporations and the wealthy; Democrats not owned by unions and the environmental lobby; billionaires no longer claiming office as their birthright.

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Think of the political system we’d like to leave for our children, even if it will take a decade of incremental struggle. And then show some enthusiasm.

Vern Pat Nelson

Huntington Beach

Taking on PG&E

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Re “PG&E’s bad bet,” Editorial, April 23

Thank you for your excellent editorial urging voters to reject the sleazy and deceptive tactics being employed by Pacific Gas & Electric to mislead voters into supporting the falsely labeled “Taxpayers Right to Vote” act.

This proposed enshrinement of PG&E’s monopoly rights will come at the expense of customers’ ability to make their own informed decisions about who should provide their electricity. Squelching competition inevitably results in increased ratepayer costs.

This is all about options, and PG&E wants to eliminate them for electricity consumers throughout the state. Imagine PG&E’s reaction if there was a $35-million campaign directed against it, requiring its ratepayers to approve any rate increase by a two-thirds vote. Somehow it is easy to speculate that the “right to vote” would become significantly less important to the company.

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Voters should reject PG&E’s efforts to buy its way into the California Constitution.

Dan Douglass

Woodland Hills

Don’t blame just the DWP

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Re “Mayor assails top-tier staffers at DWP,” April 23

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s rant against “unidentified high-level bureaucrats” at the Department of Water and Power is dumbfounding.

As a retired DWP employee, I can attest that there has been weak and ineffective management at the utility. But this has been equally true of the general managers imposed on the DWP, most of whom have arrived with little or no relevant experience or credentials. The DWP has been a dumping ground for out-of-office politicians and those with political connections.

It’s sheer historical revisionism to conveniently forget that DWP’s dependence on coal resources was approved by city government and came about largely in response to the federal call for lowering the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. The mayor’s charge of lack of cooperation from DWP management would appear to derive from the unfortunate fact that renewable resources are expensive. Pity the poor DWP manager/engineer who can’t turn lead into gold.

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Walter Hall

North Hollywood

Roosevelt then, Obama now

Re “Roosevelt was right — we need more Americans ‘in the arena,’ ” Opinion, April 23

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Bob and Elizabeth Dole remind us of the words of Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … who does actually strive to do the deeds.”

As I read this, I could think only of our president, who is striving so valiantly to solve our problems. And the critics: the Rush Limbaughs, the Glenn Becks and, yes, many in Congress — the small men who, for power and money, do nothing but criticize, tear down and attempt to destroy him.

Sadly, too many Americans admire the critics, whose negativity serves only to destroy, rather than the doer, “whose place shall never be with those cold and timid souls” but who “spends himself in a worthy cause” because that is what brave men do.

It is time we rethink our heroes.

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Johanna Dordick

Los Angeles

Aviation is doing its part

Re “Iceland’s favor to the world,” Opinion, April 26

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While Greg Goldin’s piece was an interesting perspective on the impact of Eyjafjallajokull on Europe’s transport system, it was almost meaningless. Stopping flights for a few days may have had a positive environmental impact, albeit very small, but the disruption to modern life was huge.

Would Goldin have the same joy if the power industry shut down for a week? The savings in CO2 would be about 18 times the emissions from flights, but the impact would be disastrous.

We need climate solutions that allow us to continue to live our lives but to do so in a low-carbon way. Aviation has taken a leading role in the climate change debate. At recent climate talks in Copenhagen, we set industrywide targets to cap our net carbon emissions by 2020 and halve emissions by 2050 (compared to 2005).

As yet, we are the only industry that has been able to present such ambitious targets. We do not need the help of a volcanic eruption to achieve them.

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Angela Gittens

Geneva, Switzerland

The writer is director general, Airports Council International.

It’s justice

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Re “Convicted Utah killer to face firing squad,” April 24

Some would say there’s no rhyme nor reason to the death penalty.

And then there are those who would have convicted murderers face the same fate to which they subjected their victims.

That Ronnie Lee Gardner chose the firing squad to end his life is not just coincidence — he shot and killed a lawyer — but poetic justice.

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Neil Proffitt

Redondo Beach


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