Re "Wrong way for public transit," Business, April 1
As a user of public transportation, I read this article with fear for our society for the continued consequences of failing to deal with traffic congestion and the damage it does to our health. Cutting services is the wrong way to go if we are to get ourselves out of this mess. Public education on alternate means of transportation and offering resources for those attempting to pursue them will go a long way toward alleviating our problem.
The public needs to take a look at the opportunities that abound and take a harder look at the long-term impact of not changing. We cannot afford to delay any longer.
I would suggest Chief Executive Art Leahy and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board of directors take the services they oversee to work for a month and then tell us how these cuts will benefit us.
At Disneyland, the monorail has been in use for a long time. When I first rode on it, I thought there would be something like that all over the county.
When I was without a car, I had to ride buses from Alhambra to Downey for physical therapy, and to Los Alamitos to see the doctor. It took me two hours to get to Downey and three hours for the trip to Los Alamitos. Why would anyone choose to do that?
Recently, I had a meeting to go to downtown about a block from Union Station. I took the train from South Pasadena; now that was nice. The ride was less than 30 minutes, and there was no traffic hassle.
People are not going to subject themselves to any more rigor than necessary.
Leahy says eliminating two bus lines and scaling back a dozen more will result in better public transit: "We will reduce the quantity while improving the quality."
Does anyone remember the quotation from the Vietnam war, "We had to kill them to save them"?
Maybe Lazarus should have asked how much money the MTA has spent putting in TVs and speakers that announce stops, which I find really annoying. They make it harder for people to actually think on the bus.
All this high-tech stuff has been killing transit.
Koran burning's fatal outcome
Re "Fla. pastor's protest sparks tragedy half a world away," April 2
What we are seeing in the case of the Dove World Outreach Center and the mob killings in Mazar-i-Sharif is a classic example of how the most extreme elements in a conflict set the agenda and how destructive it is when the rest of us allow them to do so. A large majority of Americans polled last year condemned the burning of the Koran and would love to see the U.S. extricate itself from the war in Afghanistan.
Afghans are understandably sick and tired of war and civilian deaths, whether caused by NATO forces or the Taliban. I hope Americans can hold on to the understanding that just as most of us are not Dove "church" members, so the majority of Afghans are not the violent mob in Mazar- i-Sharif.
One pastor at one church with a few dozen members and no association with a wider denomination holds one provocative event that includes no celebrities, no politicians, no well-known theologians and no cross-denominational attendees. The U.S. media covers the church and United Nations employees are killed.
Yet all across the U.S. mainstream houses of worship are holding Christian-Muslim-Jewish "can't we all just get along" events that frequently include educated theologians, more than 500 attendees and local political leaders. Yet the media coverage is limited to the community calendar of the local paper.
The U.S. media should review the way its "if it bleeds it leads" editorial attitude skews the view Muslims in the wider world have regarding how Americans view Islam. Afghan Muslims should never have known cult leader Terry Jones' name because U.S. media should never have deemed this small-town man worthy of coverage.
So the crazy Christian preacher burns a Koran in the public square, and a mob of crazy Muslims retaliate by slaughtering some perfectly innocent U.N. workers who had nothing to do with the original insult, all of which vividly illustrates one point: Religion in any form is profoundly stupid.
When the "belief" of one trumps the belief of another, neither having any empirical data whatever behind it, we can only expect chaos. And since a large majority of the planet's population have beliefs, it is a wonder that we have risen above the apes without killing each other off.
The killings of the U.N. workers is tragic, but the blames lies totally and entirely on Jones and his idiotic church.
Religion is a very personal and emotional issue. If the Muslims feel that strongly about the desecration of the Koran, then let's respect that. Just because we in the western world have no passion for our religion doesn't mean we shouldn't respect other people's religious convictions.
Jones and his ilk have shown their ignorance, insensitivity and idiocy. It will be "poetic justice" if the governments of the countries who lost citizens in the killing sue Jones and his church. He and his people knowingly do inflammatory things like this, and they must pay.
Re "Villaraigosa to pay fines for taking free tickets," and "Head of tax board admits violations," April 2
In the cases of both L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ($42,000 in fines for 34 gifted sets of tickets) and Jerome Horton, chairman of the State Board of Equalization ($13,000 in fines for diverting unused campaign money), ethics commissions are failing in their stated mission.
These petty fines are pabulum so long as politicians who violate the law are free to pass all the costs on to their contributors. If ethics fines are intended to teach a lesson, they need to be paid from the personal accounts of the violators.
It seems that every article of this type includes a disclaimer by the politician that his violations were "inadvertent," although they all seem to have had one or more attorneys to consult. How are we to have any confidence in the system?
Gary R. Albin
Fan has had it
Re "Giants fans assaulted after game," April 2
Sports provide an opportunity to learn values such as sportsmanship and humility. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case at Dodger Stadium.
Two years ago at a playoff game, even though I rooted for the "right" team, I felt increasingly uncomfortable as Dodgers fans' shouts turned vulgar. There was a feeling that violence would erupt if any other fan rooted for the other team.
Reminding people to drink less and be respectful of those around us are not enough. Having a police presence is not enough. The Dodger fan culture is under siege and needs to be reclaimed.
Only when fans understand what behavior is acceptable will there be a possibility for baseball in Los Angeles to be for families, friends and fans who want to have a good time. Until then, this Dodgers fan has had enough.
Re "Colleges to sharply cut enrollment," April 1
Reducing community college enrollment is another case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
Community colleges are our best hope for the future. They provide affordable, realistic education. It would be better to cut back the monstrously expensive University of California system.