Just don't block traffic
Re "Political protesters may face jail time in L.A." Feb. 11
Protesters have the right to march on sidewalks and public places so long as they do not block traffic or cause a public nuisance. The protesters in your article knew they were doing something against the law. Why are they now alarmed at the consequences?
I am personally irritated when protesters block traffic for hours on Wilshire Boulevard. Why can't they get a permit and do it lawfully? Allowing these protesters to inconvenience the rest of us while trying to force their views down our throats is a special kind of tyranny many of us would like to avoid.
Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich is not trying to stop protesters; he is trying to enforce the law and protect public safety.
Trutanich's attempt to silence political speech in Los Angeles is embarrassing given what is going on in Egypt right now. Trutanich would have been a perfect fit in the Hosni Mubarak regime. His fantasy for "predictability" is Orwellian doublespeak for "control."
My advice to the L.A. City Council would be to repeal or suspend the prohibition against blocking a sidewalk or street until Trutanich commits to enforcing it responsibly.
Leona Valley, Calif.
Trutanich needs a primer on how protected speech has evolved over the years. I will thank the Supreme Court's 1989 ruling in Texas vs. Johnson if I decide to burn a city flag outside his office.
If I thought there was even a small chance that snarling rush-hour traffic on Wilshire would help to pass the DREAM Act, I'd be out there too. But I'm considerate; I know how frustrating it is to be stuck in traffic; and I'm afraid people sitting in the middle of Wilshire refusing to get up might actually cause resentment and make it harder to generate support.
The protesters are acting out their anger under the guise of advancing a worthy cause. Keep it on the plaza and you're exercising your rights. Block traffic and you're breaking the law.
The downside of new media
Re "The loser? Journalism," Opinion, Feb. 9
Dedicated readers of newspaper and magazine journalists should thank Tim Rutten for concisely summarizing the degradation of vital public news sources that is a tragic side effect of the Internet "revolution."
In the past, even "objective' print journalism reflected the point of view of the author and sometimes the publisher. But these points of view were unique to the source, often enhanced the story, and were easy for experienced readers to filter as they formed their own viewpoint on a particular topic.
Most "content" produced for commercial websites is edited to suit one common objective: to increase traffic and ultimately sell advertising space. This homogenizes and degrades the information presented.
What a shame. Where will the public now find the information needed to understand the world?
Excellent piece by Rutten on the decline of journalism in our so-called information age. The sad thing is that future generations won't even notice that their reality is created and manipulated entirely by a small group of oligarchs. All media will be integrated into an endless stream of "infotainment" that only a hermit in a cave can escape.
Then again, there was a time when William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer could get the country into whatever war tickled their fancy and stimulated newspaper sales. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Listen to the scientists
Re "EPA chief rebukes GOP assault on Clean Air Act," Feb. 10
The first time Congress has overturned a scientific finding? What if Congress had overturned the decision to administer the polio vaccine? Or the invention of rubber? Or if it had decided no, indeed, planes cannot fly, while the rest of the world developed aircraft?
Overturning legislation based on the science of climate change would be equally ridiculous. Science is a way of arriving at truths of the natural world. It has given us the automobile, plastic, satellites and MRIs.
With a track record like that, why are people so intent on rejecting it for the climate?
It's ridiculous that the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has proposed a bill that would for the first time ever legally overturn a scientific finding.
To Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.): Rewriting the facts on climate science does not solve the climate crisis. America deserves better.
Americans need to know English
Re "English-only? Press 'no,' " Editorial, Feb. 9
As an immigrant who came from Italy at the age of 5 and became an attorney and author, I found your editorial to be absolutely lacking in logic.
If a person cannot understand ballot issues because of his or her inability to comprehend English, then that person cannot really understand the issues. Political campaigns and debates are conducted in English. The editorial flies in the face of the requirement that to become a citizen, one must demonstrate the ability to read and write English.
I fail to see how the immigrants of 50 years ago managed to assimilate without any special programs while still preserving their mother tongues, and yet this generation of immigrants seems to have a problem doing so.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wants to require all citizens to read and understand the Constitution in English. He should start with his own party.
Christine O'Donnell didn't know the 1st Amendment. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) didn't know what the Constitution says about the census. And two other Republican congressmen violated the Constitution by casting votes without being officially sworn in.
Shouldn't lawmakers raise the bar on themselves and candidates first?
A smooth course
Re "Veterans wary of renovation of West L.A. golf course," Feb. 7
I want to clarify the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System's partnership with U.S. VETS and the use of the Veterans Administration's Heroes Golf Course.
The primary purpose of the golf course is to serve as a VA-approved therapeutic recreation for veteran patient groups. It is also open to veterans and on a limited basis to the public.
U.S. VETS, a nonprofit enterprise that manages the golf course, submitted a development plan for the long-term operation that included a complementary partnership with UCLA. Discussions are ongoing, and the proposed development plan is not yet approved.
It is important to note that the VA has the ultimate responsibility and full authority for the operation of the golf course.
The VA is fully committed to ensuring that any approved development plan will support veterans first.
The writer is director of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
Re "Conclusions on teachers confirmed," Feb. 7
The University of Colorado analysis states that about 50% of the Los Angeles Unified School District teachers that The Times' value-added study divided into five equal groups could not be reliably distinguished from average. The Times headlines its article, "Conclusions on teachers confirmed."
What would the percentage have to be to result in the headline, "Conclusions on teachers invalidated"? One hundred?