Divvying up education funding; George Skelton’s take on California propositions; a ban on open carry of weapons

Special ed funds

Re “Disabled students losing 200 classes,” June 3

Please, please tell me the superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school district did not say, “When you fund some of the special ed things, you’re taking from regular kids.”

I have been hoping against hope that The Times misquoted Ramon C. Cortines, for the sake of the disabled L.A. Unified children whose academic lives hang in the balance.

Perhaps Cortines would prefer we revert to the not-so-distant past and pull resources entirely that allow children with special needs to be productive members of society and reach their potential. Then we can channel even more funding to those “regular” kids.

Maybe I’m naive, but in my world we measure our humanity by how willing we are to support those who struggle the most. I prefer my world to that of Cortines.

Mari-Anne Kehler

Redondo Beach

As a parent of a disabled student, I can assure Cortines that my child is “regular.”

Also, my son has rights under federal law, which holds that disabled students are entitled to a free and appropriate education.

Cortines’ statement that cutting services to this vulnerable population of students will benefit others in the school community is wrongheaded.

Mary Doran


Figuring out the propositions

Re “A voter’s guide on 5 props,” Column, June 3

What do I know about these measures and propositions?

The last vote I made was to elect people who will legislate on my behalf. It’s their job to figure out all these issues. Why continue to pass the buck to the common man?

“Head scratching and eye-glazing” is right. But I have a system. I vote no on all of them.

Manny Rodriguez

West Hollywood

I am surprised at the simplistic view George Skelton takes of Proposition 14.

The so-called voter friendly measure is a way to make sure that only the wealthy run this state. Anyone paying the least bit of attention to the Meg Whitman/Steve Poizner race for the Republican nomination for governor has a preview of what will happen if Proposition 14 wins.

The “party of no” will control this state because Republicans have more money than Democrats ever will.

Dawn Sharp


Skelton claims Proposition 13, the earthquake-retrofitting initiative, will “create jobs and could save lives. What’s not to like?”

I say plenty. Proposition 13 will become another corrupt measure that helps cripple the state’s progress.

Improving seismic safety will of course add value to buildings and should, in fairness to everyone, generate higher property taxes. Rather than winks and nods, Proposition 13 should have been presented as a public safety measure and its costs borne by the general fund.

Until we show some outrage at what passes for government in Sacramento — and wrest control from the big corporations and unions — we will continue to suffer the consequences of each group protecting its own interests and abandoning the rest of us to the gods.

Godfrey Harris


San Diego’s court fight

Re “Church, courts and candidates,” Opinion, June 2

Excellent opinion that I agree with 100%. Some people just can’t understand that the strength of this nation is the right to worship, or not worship, as the individual believes, not as some group commands.

Those are the same folks who always want to forget Jesus’ thoughts about rendering what is Caesar’s to Caesar and to the Lord what is the Lord’s.

Bob Marsh


A passionate 1st Amendment advocate, Tim Rutten, advocates silencing a politically active Christian fundamentalist group.


David Pohlod

Oak Park, Calif.

The campaign of the Better Courts Now group to impose its will on the San Diego Superior Court through judicial elections underscores the absurdity of having judicial elections at all.

The framers of the U.S. Constitution had it right: The only way to ensure the independence of the judiciary is to have the judges appointed, not elected, and to give them life terms.

Federal judges can be removed from office only through impeachment and are therefore free to rule by the law as they interpret it. It’s time to give state judges the same job security and thereby insulate them from pressure groups like Better Courts Now.

Mark Gabrish Conlan

San Diego

Guns, out in the open

Re “Open carry curb,” Editorial, June 3

The Times’ editorial board belittles those lawfully bearing unconcealed holstered firearms as “weekend commandos” asserting “their manhood.”

Even forgetting for a moment that many open carriers are women, this sophomoric attack is unseemly and demonstrates the usual lack of logic deployed by those opposing the right to bear arms.

In 2008, the Supreme Court held in District of Columbia vs. Heller that the 2nd Amendment guarantees “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

AB 1934 is unconstitutional because it would ban open carry while concealed carry remains out of reach for most Californians.

Mike Stollenwerk

Alexandria, Va.

The writer is co-founder of

Bravo for your editorial opposing the open carrying of firearms. Forbidding people from walking around with guns is not about restricting the 2nd Amendment; it’s about creating an atmosphere of respect for life — and keeping all of us better protected.

Nationwide, the idea of civilians carrying weapons makes far more people feel threatened than safe. These fears are, sadly, already being validated. Over the last two weeks, at least three people, including two police officers, have been shot dead by guns carried in public places.

At its heart, open carry promotes a culture of fear — a sense that we need to be afraid of each other, that we are all vigilantes. Banning open carry is a reminder that we live in community; that when it comes to violence, there is no “us” versus “them.”

Kaile Shilling

Los Angeles

The writer is director of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles.

Drone attacks: A June 6 letter about U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan was unclear. It mentioned recent bombings of two mosques in which close to 100 people were killed. Those bombings were carried out by militants radicalized by U.S. drone attacks, not by drones themselves. —

Do drones make us safer?

Re “U.N. analyst faults U.S. drone use,” June 3

Drone attacks in Pakistan are averaging more than three a week, and with each attack mission we are manufacturing a new breed of militants.

I recently visited my family in Pakistan and found deep resentment of the CIA drone attacks. Television stations carry around-the-clock talk shows in which people call in from different parts of the country, and one thing I must have heard dozens of times was how many callers had lost a family member or a friend to a drone attack .

The vicious cycle of militancy is getting traction right in front of our eyes, and unless we act fast, I am afraid it will fan the flames inside Pakistan.

Just last week, in two mosques, close to 100 people were massacred, with more seriously injured. The motives behind this horrific bloodshed have roots elsewhere, but a culture that does not respect innocent life is emboldened when the most powerful country in the world is labeled as “the most prolific user of target killings.”

Dodd M. Sheikh

Redondo Beach