Born in the U.S.A.
Re "President moves to end 'sideshows' over his birth," April 28
If President Obama didn't think up this whole "birther" escapade himself as a way to bring down the Republican Party in the most spectacular and thorough manner possible, then he is the luckiest politician to have ever been elected to office in the great U.S. of A.
On the other hand, if birtherism is in any way the result of Obama's own stealthy doings, then he is a genius surpassing Jefferson and Lincoln.
In any case, he appears to be blessed.
The "doubt" regarding Obama's birth was a drama driven by two factors: One had to do with a short supply of reason and intellect, and the other with an overdose of racism.
It was an artificially manufactured controversy designed to denigrate the first black president. But Obama was modest enough to attribute the controversy exclusively to the first factor. It is a good measure of the man. That's why people around the world hold him in such high regard despite attempts by the radical right to reduce his stature.
His detractors have yet to learn that a good man will not be put down that way.
Happy now, birthers? Next, please turn your attention to determining whether gravity is real, solving the cold fusion puzzle and investigating why Donald Trump and Narcissus have never been seen together in public.
Joking aside, let's move on and, I suppose, not chastise all birthers, as at least a few of them were more motivated by a pro-Constitution bent than being anti-Obama.
In packing up my apartment to move, I stumbled upon my birth certificate from the county health department in Omaha, Neb. It is labeled a "Certificate of Live Birth."
I thought this document had been proving my existence for the last 40 years, but in light of the news about Obama, I'm wondering: Should I order a long-form birth certificate of some sort?
I know I'm not the leader of the free world, but since people seem to be losing their minds in this country, it is reasonable to wonder if the standard of proving one's birth has changed, especially if you're African American.
It's a sad commentary that it took a reality TV star to finally get Obama to release his long-form birth certificate. Hopefully this issue will be put to rest, but the president could have done this months ago.
As Obama stated, we should get back to the "serious issues facing our country." But one wonders how serious he is, as his main focus seems to be traveling across the country to attend fundraisers in his bid for reelection.
Trump is now 0 for 1 on the issues of the day. But only "The Donald" would spin as a positive an event that proved him wrong.
William P. Bekkala
Pricey help at L.A. Unified
Re "L.A. schools chief hires 5 top execs," April 27
The Los Angeles Unified School District's classrooms are hemorrhaging, so let's put our money into the central office. This is the kind of thinking that got the district where it is today.
Spending this money outside the classroom is ludicrous. That money could be used to pay for more teachers. Far better results could be realized if teachers were left alone.
Those philanthropists paying for new positions at the top are aiming their golden bullets at the wrong targets, unless hitting the bull's-eye results in for-profit schools.
Harvey B. Allen
Instead of hiring five top executives (at top-exec prices), how about hiring five top teachers, people who are succeeding in the classroom now? Let the educators who actually do the work develop solutions.
On direct democracy
Re "Enough of 'we the people,' " Opinion, April 27
Tim Rutten writes that citizens increasingly legislate "in tense competition with their own representatives." But he does not press on to ask why this competition exists in the first place.
I sign ballot measure petitions because, since I started tracking, I have noted that my own representative has never voted for measures that I support, but always in line with his party's ideology and various special interests. How can I hold that he represents me?
Perhaps the Constitution's preamble should be revised to read, "We, the special interests of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect corporation."
John H. Geerken
I couldn't agree more that people have been voting on issues that our legislators should have addressed. But Rutten fails to mention that taxpayers have reached a tipping point.
Clearly, any mass reductions of benefits to those in need will adversely affect the "badly frayed social safety net," but I believe that this is a direct result of our legislators passing bogus balanced budgets that were merely smoke and mirrors. A job well done indeed; now we are billions in debt that even our children's children will be unable to pay.
As a taxpaying constituent, I look forward to the chance to vote on the proposed tax extensions. But I will tell you this: Voting to tax myself more is not the solution.
Re "An open court for children," Editorial, April 26
I applaud your support for AB 73 and am deeply dismayed that my fellow social workers and fellow Democrats are opposing it. My input here is based on my 38 years as a social worker.
The ostensible reason for closed dependency hearings — to protect the privacy of the child — runs counter to the notion that "it takes a village" to raise a child. Allowing openness in the entire process ensures that the extended family and the community have the ability to participate in developing a plan that keeps the child safe.
My current work as a licensed psychotherapist with young adults, some of whom were victims of abuse, confirms my belief that the closed dependency process allows denial by perpetrators and saddles social workers with the impossible job of manufacturing that village to raise the child.
Faith and taxes
Re "KCET sells Sunset studio," Business, April 26
KCET selling off its studio to the Church of Scientology made me think about all the property taxes that will now not be paid, as the Scientology business has tax-exempt status.
When is society going to deny the falsehood that all "religions" cannot practice their faiths if they have to share in the burden of property taxes? They are free to cover the landscape with tax-free buildings subsidized by non-members such as myself.
Re "Gov. Brown's miscalculation," Column, April 25
The fact that Gov. Jerry Brown's admission that he offered a "made up" projection on the budget is a surprise to George Skelton indicates that Skelton has never been part of a budget-making process. Anyone who has successfully negotiated a budget knows that you never put your bottom line in a budget that is under negotiation.
Skelton calls it a "very dangerous precedent." It's not a precedent; it's the ancient game of politics.