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Opinion

Gov. Jerry Brown’s first year in office; paying for Occupy L.A.; President Obama’s message on the economy

Golden State again

Re “Brown’s 2011: tall hopes but taller hurdles,” News Analysis, Dec. 27

Gov. Jerry Brown acting like a “centrist, business-

friendly Democrat” isn’t such a bad thing. If California stands any chance of regaining its Golden State rankings in education and business innovation, we can’t afford to sit in our corners and bash the other side.

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This couldn’t be more true with our Legislature, where we still have minority-rule gridlock, requiring in most cases a two-thirds vote to increase revenue for our state.

Our once-great K-12 schools have fallen significantly. Tuition increases are pricing our bright kids out of college. Do Californians care? Brown may find out next year if he succeeds in putting on the ballot a half-cent sales tax hike and increased levies on millionaires.

I’m hoping California goes for gold again.

Marcia Schneider

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Northridge

As a longtime independent, I think Brown is doing a good job. His experience and wisdom are exactly what we need.

Contrary to strategist Tony Quinn’s comment, people will remember Brown this year for more than banning shark-fin soup. Brown calls them as he sees them. People realize he is doing the best he can with what he has.

Political scientist Larry Gerston says Brown has not accomplished much. Brown demonstrates good government and balance. These two traits are rarities today in government; hence, his poll ratings remain solid.

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You touch on Brown “signing many laws sought by his allies in labor.” He vetoed “card check” and big-box legislation pushed by labor unions. His

pension reform plan is progressive.

Consultant Rob Stutzman’s statement that Brown “doesn’t have any stick to swing” if he doesn’t raise money rings hollow. Brown didn’t need a big stick to defeat a moneybags opponent in 2010.

Mark C. Salvaggio

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Bakersfield

Paying for Occupy L.A.

Re “Report tallies costs of Occupy camp,” Dec. 24

I suggest the city and especially City Atty. Carmen Trutanich sue Wall Street and get all the hedge-fund managers and other “banksters” to reimburse us for the costs of the Occupy L.A. encampment and its eviction. After all, they received hundreds of billions of dollars from taxpayers after defrauding them, a crime for which no high-ranking Wall Street executive has been prosecuted.

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Instead, we read this: “Meanwhile, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich is considering a lawsuit against the protesters.” Those are the very people trying to focus the country’s attention on the real crime that has been committed.

Jocelyne Fine

North Hollywood

To the leadership of Occupy L.A., may I suggest a name change: “Repay L.A.” The group told the world how responsible and self-sustaining its protest was and is, as it is ongoing. Now it’s time to pay the price for its freedom of expression.

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The movement should feel free to submit a check or money order to the city of Los Angeles. Since I am well aware that there is no traditional form of leadership in Occupy L.A., perhaps the nearly 300 arrested from the campsite should pay the city about $78,000 apiece to cover for the self-regulated mob that they employed to “Destroy L.A.”

Peter Meysenburg

Arcadia

As a response to the campaign by the mayor’s office to place a deficit figure on Occupy L.A. for the police action in November, I would like to point out that those funds went directly to working people, who will pump the same funds into the economy.

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As I see it, the Occupy movement is providing job opportunities, which the mayor is failing to do. This money will go to real people. Let’s see how many jobs we can create.

Michael Henderson

El Monte

How to succeed in America today

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Re “Obama shifts his message on economy,” Dec. 26

President Obama had better be careful of the elephant in the room: manufacturing. It’s a fact that manufacturing and trade unions created the middle class by providing higher-paying jobs for working people.

When President Reagan destroyed the air traffic controllers union in 1981, it marked both the decline of organized labor in the U.S. and the beginning of the decline of the American middle class.

But what is Obama doing? He’s signing free-trade agreements, which help export American manufacturing jobs to foreign countries. If Obama wants to help Americans, he should bring back manufacturing jobs by raising import duties and tariffs on manufactured items.

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This is called protectionism, but it will create and protect American jobs.

Richard Parr

Santa Monica

For once I can agree with a statement made in a political speech by Obama: “Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people.”

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He is right: Simply working hard with a high school diploma is no longer a pass to the middle class and above. What is required now is “hard, smart work” by educated people able to produce value in our technology- and idea-driven economy.

I am willing to go out on a limb and predict that the gaps between the wealthy, middle class and the poor will continue to expand according to how much each group values hard, smart work, hard work or no education at all.

Stephen Fredrick

Newport Beach

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Praising France

Re “French step on genocide of Armenians riles Turks,” Dec. 23

As the son of Armenian genocide survivors, I thank and congratulate the French for making it illegal to publicly deny the fact that the genocide occurred, in spite of numerous threats by Turkey.

One cannot blame the Turkish protesters, whom the government from birth has brainwashed with “their version of truth” that no respectable nation or historian accepts.

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One of the protesters who carried a sign that read “my grandpa isn’t an assassin” may have been right.

He may even be the grandson of one of the several Turks who saved my father from assassination.

My father highly praised those Turks and was eternally grateful.

Bedros H. Kojian

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Orange

Picture stories

Re “Notable deaths of 2011,” Dec. 25

Your gallery of 2011 deaths published on the day marking one of the world’s most historic births was ironic, and a great Christmas gift for your readers.

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In the capsule profiles of notables spanning the spectrum of good-to-bad gradations, we see aspects of ourselves. It was provocative and simultaneously depressing and inspiring. It was jarring, but hopefully your presentation will motivate readers to resolve in 2012 and beyond to live better in what little time we have in this world.

Thank you for your gift — for helping us realize that we achieve our lasting legacy through the values we exemplify.

Calvin Naito

Los Angeles

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Camera shy

Re “LAPD botched use of crime cameras,” Dec. 24

The Los Angeles Police Department was given $200,000 worth of surveillance cameras by the business community in 2006 and let them go to waste because it is too lazy, arrogant or [you choose] to learn how to use them?

LAPD Capt. Horace Frank explained: “We need to do a much better job ... by effecting a comprehensive strategy to monitor these cameras. I can assure the public that we are doing just that right now.” I am not assured.

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Nothing will ever change until public officials, including the police, are held responsible for such glaring gaps in judgment and action.

Bart Braverman

Los Angeles


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