Tragedy in Haiti; Google vs. China; healthcare and unions

Looking for Alarcon

Re “Alarcon says his family isn’t safe in his legal home,” Jan. 16

I am astounded that Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon -- who apparently lives in Sun Valley, which is outside his district -- said that his Panorama City home was not safe enough for his child and that someone moved into it with the idea of being a squatter.

I am a constituent, and I agree that District 7 is not as nice as District 2. But we are the district Alarcon was elected to represent. If the district is not safe for his child, what about the other children? Do they deserve less? As our representative, it is Alarcon's job to focus resources on our community.

Could someone break into my residence? Sure. Could they plan to be a squatter? Never, because there is someone here every single day.

Cathie Turner

Sylmar

Haiti from every angle

Re “A temporary refuge,” Editorial, Jan. 16

The Times consistently supports "a path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants who are in the United States. The Times' editorial position is basically an open-borders stance.

So why stop here? Why not let the Haitians who are already in the United States stay here, and in addition, allow all the injured and homeless, who number probably more than a million, to come here too?

Nobody is fooled by this editorial's call to "bring credibility" to the temporary protected status program. The Times is firmly on the left, and the left has no interest in controlling immigration.

Mike Burns

Bakersfield

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I can't argue with the Obama administration's decision to halt Haitian repatriation in the face of the recent devastation the country has suffered.

I know Mexicans who are afraid to return to Mexico because of the economic conditions, political corruption, kidnappings and violent deaths taking place on a daily basis.

What, really, is the difference?

Robert Hall

Los Angeles

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Re “Many injuries beyond repair,” Jan. 17

It is unfair to label as

looters the Haitians who remove food from collapsed stores and distribute it

to their friends and community.

These are desperate, starving people in a place where the commercial infrastructure has collapsed, aid is only slowly trickling in and the bags of rice they are finding will be destroyed in the first rain if not protected from the elements.

These people are scavengers doing important and dangerous work to feed their struggling community, not pillaging looters.

Put yourself in their shoes before you label them.

Tom Lent

Berkeley

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Kudos to The Times' brilliant photographers. They put credence to the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words."

Their photographs of Haiti's damage stand alone

as essays on tragedy's toll.

Tamara Lipson

Long Beach

Google's options

Re “Google’s China problem,” Editorial, Jan. 14

Google's nightmare -- it appears that the Chinese government assaulted its e-mail program, Gmail, in search of corporate secrets and the correspondence of human rights activists -- is not unique. Many other websites are blocked or hacked by the Chinese cyber police. None, however, has caused a sensation like Google has. The situation clearly shows Google's enormous influence.

Google is right to stop cooperating with the Chinese government, but withdrawing from China is another matter. Other small companies or websites have no resources or ability to breach the Chinese firewall. As the world's fastest search-engine company, Google should regard fighting with Chinese censoring officers and malicious hackers as its inevitable responsibility.

The U.S. government's support for Google is encouraging. Other governments and big tech companies should follow.

Derek Chen Te Hsu

Los Angeles

Unions and healthcare

Re “The ‘Cadillac’ compromise,” Editorial, Jan. 16

I guess the point of this editorial is that it is OK for President Obama to cut this deal with unions to delay the tax on their high-cost health plans.

The Times laments that while this is unfair to nonunion folks who have these plans, that is just too bad: The ends apparently justify the means because the unions gave their support to healthcare reform.

The Times also adds that "unions are not alone in taking advantage of the Democrats' scramble to hold on to votes within their party."

Boy, that sure makes it OK in my mind -- not. If this bill is so good, why the need to cut deals to get votes?

How about we tax newspapers $1 for each copy and then exempt all newspapers except those published by The Times? Would that be fair? Of course not.

If this is a good tax, it should be good for everyone with this type of health plan.

Curt Redecker

Lancaster

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While I appreciate the coverage on the proposed funding for the healthcare program, it sickens me to realize that the demands of the unions drive legislative decisions that impact all Americans. Why should unions be given compromises and benefits not afforded to the rest of businesses and workers countrywide?

Unrelenting union demands -- and congressional concessions -- have produced many of the economic challenges states and businesses face today.

As a nonunion taxpayer, I am sick and tired of paying for the luxuries of union workers' lavish lifelong pensions, early retirements, easy workweeks and generous benefits. What is being celebrated as a compromise victory for healthcare funding is just one more nail in the coffin for the taxpayer.

Carol Duda

Laguna Niguel

What's needed is horse sense

Re “At home on the range,” Opinion, Jan. 14

It is obvious after reading Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's Op-Ed that he understands even less about financing and balancing a budget -- as evidenced in his proposal to gather, move and warehouse thousands of wild horses at taxpayer expense -- than he does about the habits of wild horses.

Reports have found the Bureau of Land Management's care and accountability of America's wild horses to be unsuccessful. It is nothing short of stupidity to believe that doing more of the same will deliver a more successful solution.

Continuing to gather wild horses off of land that has been reserved for them since the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 is not the answer. Salazar needs to look at his program. His premise that America's wild horse advocates and celebrities are arguing an unrealistic and environmentally irresponsible campaign is as damning as it is costly to us all.

Nancy Cole Silverman

Studio City

The writer is publisher of the Equestrian News.

The cruisers

Re “Cruise night returns to Van Nuys Blvd.,” Jan. 13

I grew up two blocks from Van Nuys Boulevard in the '60s and '70s and attended Van Nuys High School.

My classmates and I had only one place to be on Wednesday and that was on "the Boulevard." We could even turn off our headlights after the city installed extra street lighting. We never got into any trouble. We ate at the local places, from Farrell's to Bob's Big Boy. Cruise night was harmless fun.

I'm looking forward to getting back down there to relive some great memories, but unfortunately I won't be driving any fancy new car -- just my Toyota Highlander.

But who cares? Van Nuys Boulevard, here I come!

Sue Trock

Valencia

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