Food choices in the L.A. Unified schools; Meghan Daum on Planned Parenthood; cuts in the social safety net

Recipe for success

Re "L.A. can't escape TV chef's drama," April 14

Kudos to former Los Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines for standing up to TV chef Jamie Oliver and not allowing him into our school's kitchens. For reality TV shows to work — and I used the term "reality" very loosely — there always has to be a villain. Guess who that would have been?

L.A. Unified efficiently serves tens of thousands of nutritious lunches each day. There are choices of entrees, they come with fruit and vegetables, not candy or soda, and most of the meals cost less than a dollar. And the meals are made up of food that kids will actually eat.

Oliver planned to improve this how?

Tom Ogden


It doesn't take a celebrity chef to tell that the L.A. Unified cafeteria food is awful when, on the day it invites the media to its food processing facility, the district is preparing chicken wings.

Chicken wings are what you get at Hooters with your beer. They are not a healthy meal choice. They only have a few grams of actual meat and are mostly skin and bone.

L.A. Unified needs to focus on the best interests of the children and feed them actual food, not appetizers.

Marta Allen

Manhattan Beach

On Planned Parenthood

Re "Call it 'Don't get pregnant,' " Opinion, April 14

Thank you for Meghan Daum's column on Planned Parenthood. It is so necessary to inform the public of the facts. I would have liked to read even more statistics on how Planned Parenthood has helped my community and the country.

As a young Catholic woman in a conservative family, I drove myself to a Planned Parenthood clinic. I knew and trusted the name, and I was treated with respect by truly knowledgeable women. I didn't feel comfortable going to my Catholic mother's ob-gyn on my parent's insurance.

Obtaining care at Planned Parenthood was so empowering. My life is better because of it.

Lauren Clifford

Los Angeles

Daum says that the majority of Americans support Planned Parenthood. I do not.

Planned Parenthood aborts more than 300,000 babies a year. It opposes parental notification laws and efforts to allow doctors in certain circumstances to refuse to perform abortions on religious or moral grounds.

Willfully taking human life is not healthcare. It is time to defund Planned Parenthood.

Millie Eberhardt

North Hollywood

Selfish is the new reality

Re "Where aid cuts hit hardest," April 13

I have been increasingly dismayed at the how selfish we've become over the last 40 years. It seems we are immune to the suffering of children who are hungry because their father makes just enough to cover the rent.

What's recent is the callousness of those who, given the vagaries of the markets, might someday also find themselves sinking into poverty. Too many of them have been seduced by the "no new taxes mantra" even though restoring tax rates to those prevailing in, say, 1960 would have little impact on them.

But I guess I'm behind the times. The motto for those more up to date seems to be, "I've got mine, so screw you."

Emil Berkanovic

Los Angeles

I don't mean to seem unsympathetic to the plight of Patricia Dickerson, the Tulare County mother of five who has been hard hit by the recession. But I can't help questioning the wisdom of anyone having five children these days. Today, responsible parents must ask themselves whether they and society can afford more than two offspring per couple. This is especially true when one considers the cost of not only feeding, housing and clothing children but also educating them.

Our society should encourage responsible citizens to limit the size of their families. Perhaps we should even provide disincentives to having more than two or three children.

Jill Anderson

Shell Beach, Calif.

Having 'faith'

Re "Muffled diplomacy," Opinion, April 13

Tim Rutten refers to "expressions of faith," "faith-based efforts in public life," having a "deep faith" and "faith-based diplomacy." I wonder just what "faith" refers to? And what would "non-faith-based" refer to?

I suspect "faith" here means "religious," but there are other kinds of faith that are not religious. There's nothing religious in my faith in the validity of women's reproductive rights.

Is using "faith" instead of "religious" a kind of dodge? Putting an inviting face on a belief? A way of elevating it? A way of avoiding the questions that religion-based beliefs raise? For example, what is the faith that laws making abortion and contraception more difficult to obtain are based on, if not somebody's religion?

Tom Robischon

Los Angeles

Three wars

Re "Paying for war's mistakes," Editorial, April 13

After 10 years of war we should be asking ourselves what we are accomplishing by having the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

I know how we got into these wars; now someone tell me how we get out of them, because I don't believe they make us any safer. And I'm positive the Iraqis, Afghans and Libyans would be safer without us killing them.

Steve Stillman

Redondo Beach

Coachella blues

Re "Don't count on crashing Coachella," April 14

I find it highly insensitive, unsympathetic and racist that Goldenvoice, the company that produces the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, would actually enforce its border and allow only paying customers inside.

The thousands of gate-crashers have good reasons for their actions: They cannot afford the tickets or wait their turn in line, or the tickets are sold out. These "undocumented concert attendees" simply want to listen to the music just like the "paying customers" do. Goldenvoice should show appropriate remorse by subsidizing their tickets, lodging, food and transportation.

Julie Steele

Los Angeles

Our meltdown

Re "Japan elevates nuclear crisis rating to top level," April 12

Your map of nuclear disasters omits the very first such event, which happened right in our own backyard: the partial meltdown at the Santa

Susanna Field Laboratory.

While there is a dispute as to how much material was released, the sodium reactor experiment in 1959 had ill affects on the community. Had it not been for the exposure of a massive cover-up, it would never have been known about.

Are we trying to forget that we are home to the first nuclear disaster? Sure, it may not be good for real estate, but it's something people should never forget.

Christopher Edgar

Canyon Country

2,000 words

Kudos to Daryl Cagle for his political cartoon published on The Times' April 12 Op-Ed page, "The evolution of candidate Donald Trump."

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is worth at least 2,000. It is brilliant in its humor, conception and execution and certainly suitable for framing, as they say.

Probably not likely considered so by candidate Trump, but whomever one's candidate is these days, it demonstrates the level of politics to which some have sunk (er, evolved). What's next?

Mark Rosenblatt


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