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Business Letters

Re: “He’s surfing a green wave,” How I Made It, Dec. 27:

I was happy to read about my alma mater, UC San Diego, in your profile of Byron Washom, the school’s director of strategic energy initiatives. However, Washom is missing “think globally, act locally.” Commuting to a job 500 miles away does not match the green profile of riding your bike to work.

Tom Brown

Brentwood

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Bonuses hardly appropriate

Re: “Millions for loan chiefs despite losses,” Dec. 25:

The chief executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac put their agencies on the verge of disaster, and for that they are getting bonuses.

This is crazy. No respect for the American taxpayer and greed all over the country.

Arthur Garin

Los Angeles

Disney chief’s pay still excessive

Re: “Disney CEO’s ’09 pay drops 5%,” Dec. 24:

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Annual compensation for Bob Iger, chief executive of Walt Disney Co., dropped to $29 million from $30.6 million. Like the pay of higher-ups in so many publicly held companies, this is insanity.

Did Iger found the company? Did he create some vehicle that created enormous wealth for stockholders? Is he irreplaceable? If not, why does he rate this kind of compensation?

Those who support sky-high executive pay claim that it is needed to recruit and retain qualified leaders. What rubbish. I’m sure we can find a qualified CEO who would work for $5 million (which is still too much).

And while we’re at it, why do so many companies need a CEO and a president -- so that they can overpay two people? It’s time for board members and shareholders to put a stop to unwarranted executive compensation.

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Steve Miller

Encino

Laws needed to enforce use tax

Re: Michael Hiltzik’s column “The tax dodge under the Christmas tree,” Dec. 24:

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As for expecting Californians to own up to their use-tax obligations, come on, now. Never gonna happen.

What we need are strong national and state laws that obligate online merchants to collect the taxes and report them.

As with so many other sensible things, I suspect that’s exactly what we would have were it not for Republicans.

Bruce R. Feldman

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Santa Monica

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Hiltzik apparently feels that Internet retailers shouldn’t be treated any differently than bricks-and-mortar businesses, and that this would provide states with sorely needed additional tax revenues.

Perhaps Hiltzik would prefer that we reward inefficiency and incompetence in state, local and federal government by finding our elected officials additional public revenue to waste, at the expense of those Internet entrepreneurs who employ millions in the ultra-efficient sale and distribution of goods worldwide.

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Marc Berrenson

Woodland Hills

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I love how government and the L.A. Times count money that the government hasn’t yet stolen from those of us who earned it as “lost revenue.” And if they recovered those “lost” billions, the money would not find its way to hire more teachers, more police or anything. It would be squandered by a state government that is out of control.

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John Lieto

Newport Beach

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Michael Hiltzik was right to criticize Amazon.com’s refusal to charge sales tax on its California sales, but the facts are even more egregious than he indicated.

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Not only is Amazon capable of collecting the tax, as he observed, but it already collects California taxes on behalf of Target and other retailers that sell on its website. It won’t collect on its own sales because it wants to maintain the 8.25% price advantage it gets over local merchants who are obligated to charge the tax.

Amazon is also pulling a fast one over California tax authorities that Hiltzik showed Barnes & Noble previously got away with.

Amazon has several facilities in California, including Lab126, which developed the Kindle. But it takes the position that these don’t obligate it to charge sales tax because they are nominally separate corporations.

Unfortunately, the state Board of Equalization has done nothing to compel Amazon to collect tax based on this presence in the state.

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Michael Mazerov

Washington

Healthcare plan won’t solve crisis

Re: “Family loses insurance -- and peace of mind,” Dec. 24:

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Alice Manning’s taxes will go up with benefits not realized until six or seven years down the road.

When will the American public realize it is being sucked into a socialistic distribution-of-wealth agenda? She still won’t be able to buy into this disastrous plan, fined on top of that -- and still no coverage.

Write articles on the reality of what this debacle of a health plan really means.

Linda Bowling

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Studio City

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Thank you for your expansive article about the healthcare crisis in the Manning-Hubbard family.

We citizens need to understand that, like the Manning-Hubbard family, there are millions of families in the U.S. in which one or more of the people in the family are employed, that live frugally, but that can’t afford to put food on the table and pay the premiums for health coverage.

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One can only hope that, now that both the Senate and House have passed healthcare reform bills, acceptable legislation will come out of the conference committee and go to the president for signature. This would be a major step in our society.

Karl Strandberg

Long Beach

Listening to the customer pays

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Re: “Hoping for green holiday, Macy’s refashions itself,” Dec. 22:

Andrea Chang’s piece on Macy’s decision to focus on regional customer needs couldn’t be more timely.

After the holidays, the Fashion Island mall’s carousel will be removed to make room for more stores.

To say that local parents are upset about this is an understatement.

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A hit from the moment it was installed, the carousel has become part of the community and will be missed.

Missing too will be the dollars from parents who prefer to spend their money where their voices are heard and their children are valued.

Patricia Sweeney

Laguna Beach

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Business welcomes your letters. Write to Letters to the Business Editor, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, or e-mail to bizletters@latimes.com. Please keep letters brief and include your address and telephone number.


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