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A pastor who cares for disabled children; John Chiang and Prop. 25; smearing an L.A. advocacy group

Tending to children

Re “S. Korean pastor’s unwanted flock,” June 20

Once again your publication reminds me why I have read and will continue to subscribe to The Times as long as it continues its existence.

I know from personal experience that almost no one cares about disabled kids such as these besides their parents. In the cases described in your article, even their parents don’t want them — and the South Korean government is protesting? What it should be doing is giving this beautiful individual all the support and funding he requires to improve his facility.

That the South Korean government is trying to torpedo this man in an attempt to shut him down is a sin. Pastor Lee Jong-rak is a saint.

Paul Ciriacks

Cypress

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Be careful what you vote for

Re “Far too controlling,” Editorial, June 23

The real lesson to be learned from Controller John Chiang’s decision to withhold legislators’ pay, as Proposition 25 allows him to do, is the problem arising from legislation passed by initiative.

I am an attorney who has represented cities for more than 35 years and written numerous ordinances. Each word is subject to extensive review as the proposal works its way through the process. Not so for initiatives, which are usually drafted by special-interest groups and loaded with enough irrelevant sweetener to assure the public swallows the idea whole.

The only law that consistently results from the initiative process is the law of unintended consequences. The initiative process should be changed to require far more independent analysis and review before a measure may be submitted to the voters.

Stephanie R. Scher

Los Angeles

Proposition 25 eliminated the two-thirds rule that legislators said prevented them from producing an appropriate budget in a timely fashion. Now that rule is gone and they still can’t produce an appropriate budget.

Looking for the real problem? It’s not to be found in the provisions of Proposition 25, nor in Chiang’s enforcement of those provisions, nor in Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of a deceptive budget. The problem is to be found in every California legislator’s mirror. Would that the reflections in those mirrors scream back at the legislators to stop grandstanding and instead suffer the cuts, raise the taxes and make the state livable again.

Gary Hartzell

Manhattan Beach

Trying to dig up dirt

Re “A mysterious inquiry,” Opinion, June 20

The under-the-radar attempt to dig up dirt on the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy is just the latest example of how an extreme right-wing ideology that promotes corporate profits over people has taken root.

The witch hunt bears striking similarities to the concerted attacks against working people we have seen elsewhere in the country, from the corporate-funded push to dismantle public employee unions in Wisconsin to the smear campaigns against Planned Parenthood to the attacks on voter registration efforts.

It’s hard to believe that whoever requested the services of MB Public Affairs has a genuine interest in promoting the public good. More likely, we’re seeing a search for ammunition in the continuing attack on the interests of working families nationwide. But if digging for hints of scandal is the only tool in the toolbox, perhaps that fight isn’t credible.

Michael Keegan

Washington

The writer is president of People for the American Way.

Few thing are more important to our democracy than our civil society, the network of voluntary associations through which we can express our values and work to achieve our goals in the public sphere. Intimidation like the one Jim Newton describes casts a pall on this domain of political participation.

What a perversion of California’s Freedom of Information law!

Ellen Carol DuBois

Los Angeles

Cheating should be punished

Re “Scandal may not shutter 6 schools,” June 22

In an environment where testing rules, teachers teach to the test (even if they don’t actually teach the items on the tests) and teachers and administrators are rewarded or punished based on students’ test scores, is it surprising that cheating occurs?

Our children’s education is at risk because of the focus on all the wrong things. When will we stop thinking that teaching and testing are the same thing? Above all, when will we understand that learning without the specter of punishment for performance is what is needed?

Diana Wolff

Rancho Palos Verdes

The writer is a professor emerita of education at Cal State Dominquez Hills.

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s utter disregard for the interests of its students is once again exemplified by the fact that it is even considering shutting down the Crescendo charter schools. If administrators or teachers in a non-chartered public school got caught cheating in the same manner, no question would be raised about whether the school should shut down.

Charter schools provide alternatives for parents and students in failing districts. Eliminating choices is not the solution, especially since Crescendo has replaced the offending authorities. I hope L.A. Unified will make the right decision in this case.

Kyle Walker

Los Angeles

I am appalled at the message new L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy is sending to our community by allowing Crescendo to remain open after the recent scandal.

Cheating is not something to be condoned, and as a teacher I am amazed that he reached this ill-advised decision. Maybe now low-performing schools will opt to cheat on the state tests so their Academic Performance Index scores can improve.

Elizabeth MacMinn Jamner

El Segundo

Syria’s strongman

Re “Bashar Assad must go,” Editorial, June 22

Our policy toward Syria has been incomprehensible. We have pushed our friends out the window in the Middle East, including Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, while catering to Bashar Assad.

Syria has been an obstacle to peace in the Israeli-Arab conflict, supplying Hezbollah and encouraging incursions by Arabs into Israel. It has been an ally of Iran and Hamas. If there were ever a dictator that the U.S. should want to overthrow, it is Assad, yet our government has been for the most part silent and uninvolved as thousands of protesters in that country have been murdered, wounded, imprisoned or driven from their homes.

The obvious question to ask President Obama is why the Syrian dictator has not been subject to stronger actions.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring, Md.

What’s in a name

Re “Putting hot air up for a vote,” Column One, June 20

Speaking of hot air, I thought no one would have forgotten the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (the USA Patriot Act), a name calculated to be opposed only by someone against the flag, motherhood, God and apple pie. You know, a Godless commie or a God-fearing Islamist.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the Shameless Bombast Office in the basement of the Capitol when naming machinations are in process!

John O’Donnell

Los Angeles

Mining gap

Re “Mining ban at Grand Canyon,” June 21

How is it that our great Congress, the maker of laws, has allowed an 1872 law permitting even foreign-owned mining companies to make claims and have the rights to mine copper, gold, uranium and other metals on federal land without competitive bidding and without paying royalties?

But when it comes to honest, hardworking illegal immigrants who want to make a better life for their families and contribute through the taxes they do pay, members of Congress cannot find it in their hearts to find a humane solution.

Sheila Finley

Santa Monica


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