One card opened the door
Re "Patt Morrison Asks | Ken Brecher," April 23
At the age of 7, I was already a voracious reader. My mother encouraged me and bought me books. Unfortunately, she could not afford to purchase all the books I pined for.
Then, one afternoon, my mother took me to the Mar Vista library. I can vividly recall the librarian handing me my new library card. With enormous gratitude I took it from her and pronounced with a smile that all of the books were mine.
In the years since, I have yet to experience a more life-changing moment.
My hope is that all children equally hungry for books, yet unable to afford them, can be recipients of the same gift bestowed on me.
Playa del Rey
Let the good times roll
Re "Brown urges GOP to resume budget talks," April 23
We have been cutting taxes for the rich and for huge corporations for
30 years, and I think we should keep doing so. After all, it's working like a charm.
We have a very large budget surplus. There's plenty of money to fund Social Security and Medicare. The economy is booming. There are tons of jobs for Americans working here in America. Unemployment is at record lows.
Why would we want to change? These trickle-down economic policies have been working like magic.
Gov. Jerry Brown has a big hill to climb to persuade citizens to increase taxes when we read about both the mismanagement of the state college construction funds and state agencies having such generous budgets that they do not need to collect employee advances for salary and travel expenses.
The email that went too far
Re "Not racist? Also not funny," Column, April 23
Thank you Sandy Banks (I have been patiently waiting for a columnist to respond, and my patience has been rewarded.) I am also quite certain that many readers agree with your sentiments.
As you wrote: "But when you're part of the group being maligned, one crude comment or act can unlock that subconscious Pandora's box, resurrecting a lifetime of accumulated slurs and slights."
I remember being at a dinner party, and one of the guests made an offensive religious remark in the most negative manner.
Those words told me mountains about the individual, just as Marilyn Davenport's email told us mountains about her character. If the Orange County Republican leader's constituents don't want her to resign, then shame on them.
My recommendation to Davenport: "Stick to your guns, girl, and don't back down! Don't let the party bosses tell you what to do. Resignation is simply out of the question."
As an official in Orange County's Republican Party, you represent the core values of Republicans and are an example of the party's anchor that will keep things just as they are. Just because a few thin-skinned liberals find your comparison of President Obama to a family of apes offensive is no reason to jump to the conclusion that you and others in the party are racist.
Thanks for speaking your mind. Because of you, O.C. Republicans have solidified their reputation for generations to come.
Thomas J. Peterson
Kudos to Banks for her heartfelt column describing the hurtful, mind-numbing stupidity and racial stereotyping of the GOP leader who sees nothing odd about forwarding a despicable email disguised as "political satire."
Chills went up my spine when I read the quote: "I'm not prejudiced; I really don't think in those terms."
You see, I was raised in Los Angeles during the segregated 1940s and 1950s in a white "I'm not prejudiced but …" family.
Never a day went by in my house without that odious phrase being repeated, followed by some derogatory comment.
Incredibly, Davenport's mind-set is still mired in that sad era of history.
My wife and I are white, suburban and in our 60s. We were deeply offended by Davenport's email.
Hateful attitudes cloaked in ugly humor are still hateful attitudes.
John and Ellen Kelley
Doing without just feels right
Re "40 days, 40 nights, no sugar," Opinion, April 22
I expected to read a story from a Catholic childhood or similar roots. Instead, the author offers a reflection on "power in faith, and sacrifice and discipline" as being "universal tenets for getting closer to the divine."
She is "happy to thank God — in whatever form" for what fasting from sugar brings to her.
How refreshing to read of someone who recognizes the power of the divine without having to own a definition of that divine.
There are great lessons in this simple piece.
Thank you for this discussion about sacrifice and discipline.
Starting with a childhood renunciation of sweets, and later on in fasts from alcohol, bad language and tabloid TV, I also have noticed that no matter what the target, the "sacrifice" was always doable during Lent even if not during other times of the year.
The easiest fasts were from favorite foods; the ones that forced me to take a more thoughtful approach to life were the times when I renounced the use of credit cards.
It's good to hear about the experience from someone else.
Don't discourage the students
Re "Kids, do your own papers," Opinion, April 21
To mock a high school newspaper editor who turns to a professional journalist for advice strikes me as cruel.
Further, I applaud the teacher who assigns interviewing public figures for giving a substantive assignment. Teenagers may come off as distant or cold while interviewing famous adults because they are intimidated and humbled.
As a columnist for a major newspaper, Meghan Daum understandably can't respond to all requests. But I hope she will consider prioritizing requests from young people who are eager to learn from her experience. These serious students need the support and encouragement of successful adults.
I'm glad young people are being assigned to read the newspaper and engage in a deeper discussion. In today's highly interactive society, let's support these interactions rather than mock them.
Rest is best
Re " To sleep, perchance," Editorial, April 21
It's nothing short of outrageous that so much responsibility is placed within the hands of
air traffic controllers unable to defend against droopy eyelids. Sleep is immensely undervalued.
With electronic entertainment readily available at any moment, sleep somehow slips through our fingers. From circadian rhythms to the restorative properties of REM sleep, our shut-eye is as fragile as it is essential to cognitive performance. For example, the risk of car accidents increases significantly on the Monday following the start of daylight saving time.
The loss of a mere hour of sleep can indirectly kill.
Palos Verdes Estates
Oh no, an Edsel!
Re "L.A.'s codependency blues," April 24
It occurred to me when looking at your front-page picture that Dodger Manager Walter Alston and Coach Charlie Dressen were riding in an Edsel. Was that not an omen?