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Banning red-light cameras in L.A.; in-state tuition for illegal immigrants; President Obama’s economic record

They’re seeing red

Re “L.A. may give red light to traffic cameras,” June 8

As one of the legions of law-abiding citizens who has received, and paid, one of those insidious photo tickets, I saw red when I read this article. I paid $466 for my ticket, as did several of my friends who were “flashed.”

We now learn that we paid these tickets “voluntarily” because there is no enforcement of them. Really? I don’t remember seeing that anywhere on my ticket. I did see plenty of threatening jargon that had this obedient citizen scrambling for her checkbook. Councilman Dennis Zine said it best: “It’s a dishonest program. This thing really mocks the public.”

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I want my money back. Anyone else?

Terry A. Stevens

Los Angeles

Red-light cameras save lives, and 33,808 people died in U.S. traffic collisions in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studied the effectiveness of photo enforcement in a report published this year. From the report: “After controlling for population density and land area, the rate of fatal red-light-running crashes during 2004-08 for cities with camera programs was an estimated 24% lower than what would have been expected without cameras.

The cameras have a natural source of complaints — the people who get tickets. It’s harder to see the benefits because the people who would have died in the absence of photo enforcement don’t know that their lives were saved.

David J. Barboza

Long Beach

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Confounded by tuition stance

Re “Illegal, and college-bound,” Editorial, June 8

The Times’ editorial board believes students who are the offspring of immigrants who broke our laws and came here

illegally should pay the in-state tuition, while a student who is a legal citizen of Idaho, for example, should pay higher fees?

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In other words, the kids of in-state illegal immigrants should pay less while the kids of legal out-of-state parents should pay more. Have I got that right? Where am I, in cuckoo land?

Carl Moore

Lomita

I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Count has upheld the granting of in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.

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The highest court has reaffirmed the fact that undocumented immigrants have rights. I made that case in the Assembly on May 5 when it passed the first part of the California Dream Act.

The decision adds legal and moral weight to AB 130 and AB 131, both parts of the California Dream Act that will allow undocumented students to receive financial aid for college. These bills should quickly move through the Legislature and go to the governor.

The Supreme Court decision should also prompt the Obama administration to stop the unnecessary and destructive deportations of undocumented students. These students should not live under that daily threat.

Gil Cedillo

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Los Angeles

The writer is the Democratic Assemblyman for the 45th District.

Blame for the economy

Re “It’s Obama’s economy, stupid,” Opinion, June 7

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This is the Republican economy. The Bush administration made it, and the Republican Party’s lack of rationality keeps it going despite the efforts of President Obama and most Democrats.

Insufficient stimulus, the non-confirmation of Elizabeth Warren to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Peter Diamond to the Federal Reserve board, and the Republican voodoo on taxing the wealthiest 1% are keeping the economy soft, helping Republicans’ chances in 2012.

Many on the right want this painful economy and have worked relentlessly to maintain it.

Katharine Gring

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Santa Barbara

Jonah Goldberg ignores the success of General Motors’ turnaround,

resulting in thousands of new jobs and a revitalized GM. Recently, Chrysler paid back its bailout funding in full. And yet Goldberg claims that none of Obama’s economic promises or predictions has panned out.

The basic assumption behind Goldberg’s attack on Obama is that it assumes the president is starting from a clean slate, as if none of what George W. Bush did had any effect on his choices.

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Goldberg also attacks “Obamacare” while ignoring the fact that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney created a healthcare system for his state that’s virtually identical to Obamacare. But I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. Just as Romney

has flip-flopped on many issues, Goldberg flip-flops between fair and balanced punditry and the selective reasoning of a Bible-thumping fundamentalist.

Todd Groves

Santa Monica

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Skeptical of Anthem change

Re “Anthem prefers paper over plastic,” Business, June 7

David Lazarus raises an excellent point. Folks who no longer use credit cards increase their chances of being late on or missing a payment. This will cause their policies to lapse.

The “uninsured” will then be responsible for the cost of medical procedures during the gap period. These poor folks will then have to reapply for insurance at a higher rate, as they will be “rated” for older age, a gap in coverage or preexisting conditions.

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The system is upside down. Medical bills are exorbitantly high. Unfortunately, due to the way the system is designed, policy lapses are a windfall for insurance companies, as new policies are written at higher price points.

This simply means that the original policy wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

Stephen A. Bonick

Beverly Hills

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I’m not at all known for being cynical, but in the absence of an explanation by Anthem Blue Cross of why eliminating automatic credit card payments makes good sense, this move reeks of ulterior motives.

Maybe an Anthem actuary has found a correlation between insurance claim frequency and disorganized “customers” and is trying to pick out the weeds a bit. Maybe there’s some percentage of claims that can be denied for missed payments, adding another few percentage points to the bottom line.

In any event, I think there may be a bigger story.

Thorsten Hoins

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San Gabriel

Religion in the political arena

Re “Shifting sands of religion and politics,” Opinion, June 5

Doyle McManus says that avowed atheists stand no chance in electoral politics. This is an enormously sad commentary on religious prejudice.

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Those of us who have the courage to apply science and reason to supernatural claims and conclude that the universe is natural are despised. Yet those who uncritically accept paranormal assertions, when they are in the context of religious belief, are lauded and win elections.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

Hopefully, American voters will someday internalize the third U.S. president’s words.

Edward Tabash

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Beverly Hills

Let me see if I understand religion and politics. People who profess to believe that the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary (Christians) distrust people who profess to believe that the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith (Mormons), and both agree that people who don’t believe in angels (nonbelievers) shouldn’t be president.

These believers in angels then wonder how the politicians they elect can vote for such irrational policies.

George Miller

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Altadena

Arizona’s case

Re “Isn’t L.A. boycotting Arizona?,” June 5

Arizona is not attempting to arrest or deport any individual here legally. If you are breaking the law by being in this country, you are subject to deportation. That’s fairly simple.

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If Los Angeles is uncomfortable with the current federal immigration policy, perhaps its time would be better spent lobbying its representatives in Congress for change.

Encouraging people to break the law is certainly not in the best interest of the law-abiding citizens of the United States.

Robert Andrews

Claremont


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