To drive the 405
Re “Plan to shut 405 alarms hospital leaders,” June 25, and “Gearing up for a lost weekend,” June 29
The temporary closure of the 405 Freeway in a little more than two weeks is causing so much anxiety. I remember a similar fear in 1984, when the Olympics were held in Los Angeles and panic for every driver set in long before the event began.
The worry was for nothing, as the incredible Peter Ueberroth worked with the city and found ways to keep Los Angeles running so smoothly that you wished it was that way every day. To everyone’s relief, the city didn’t fall apart.
To this day I will never know how they did it, but I suggest the 405 planners call Ueberroth. It’s all in the planning.
Frances Terrell Lippman
“Carmageddon?” Even if this moniker for the 405 closure is in jest, it typifies those Angelenos who want what they want when they want it.
This construction is going to help all of us eventually, but judging by the amount of bellyaching I’ve been hearing, no one seems to be willing to be inconvenienced for even two days to get it. Yes, there will be some lost revenue for some businesses, but how much revenue do they lose on an ongoing basis because traffic keeps getting worse?
With all the disasters in the country, Los Angeles is missing the opportunity of a lifetime.
Instead of looking into the problems related to the logistics of transportation and emergency services, the city, state and federal governments should take this as an opportunity to consider an actual disaster. They could take into account the possibility of another earthquake or even a terrorist attack.
This is an ideal situation to avoid problems that have been overlooked in disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
Richard R. Velazquez
Desert Hot Springs
In 1960, as a newly minted Tenderfoot Boy Scout, I joined my fellow patrol members for a day hike from our patrol leader’s house in Royal Woods. We headed east, up the mountain until we came to a futuristic structure: an ultra-modern concrete bridge perhaps 10 feet above our heads. It seemed so out of place.
Years later I realized the ground we had hiked had been excavated to make the 405’s roadbed and the bridge was much higher than we could have imagined the day of that hike.
It’s sad to see an engineering marvel, and a great memory, bite the dust.
A budget for California
Re “Austerity budget is passed,” June 29
I went through one day recently being mindful of what taxes do for me. I took a shower in clean water. I drove to work over well-maintained streets. I worked because I got my degree at a state school.
On the way home, I stopped at a federally insured bank. I bought food that is safe to eat thanks to government regulations. I took my dog for a walk at a beautiful regional park.
Government exists to provide us with tangible things that an individual cannot provide for himself. I am so tired of people complaining about taxes as if they get nothing in return.
I am disappointed that the Legislature passed a budget that cuts services from the poor, the disabled, higher education, courts and parks. They could have been grown-ups and raised revenues, but instead they are allowing California to become a Third World country.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget is an insult to education. He bases the “balanced” budget on unexpected revenue. But no worries: If the revenue doesn’t continue to flow, he’ll cut seven school days out of next year’s calendar.
So the budget will be balanced on the backs of our children. And all the while, teachers better improve test scores because education is important, right?
It’s fourth down and long yardage with two seconds left in the game. The team is trailing by six. The quarterback falls back for a classic Hail Mary pass. The odds are long and the team is tired. It will take a miracle.
I’m not talking about the team in San Francisco or the one in San Diego. I mean the one in Sacramento that is betting on a windfall to balance the state’s budget.
Putting Boeing in its place
Re “GOP interferes brazenly with case involving Boeing,” Business, June 26
Michael Hiltzik is right in pointing out that companies have the right to move wherever they want, but he is correct on little else.
He neglects to mention that in deciding to build a plant in South Carolina, Boeing has not eliminated a single job at its Everett, Wash., plant; in fact, the company has added jobs at that facility.
He doesn’t mention that it is “right to work” states (most notably Texas) that are adding jobs and attracting business, while traditionally union-dominated states are losing companies and jobs.
It is the National Labor Relations Board, not congressional Republicans, that is interfering with a company’s right and obligation to do business in an environment that will bring stability and value to its employees, customers and shareholders.
Hidden within Hiltzik’s column is a truth that is worth repeating. Our American malady is the “race to the bottom,” in which business decisions are made on how best to increase the wealth of the managers and stockholders at the expense of the workers.
If we replace the word “worker” with neighbor, friend, child, parent or relative, we will see the human face of this. Hopefully we will reconsider whether the gains in a stock price or a manager’s bonus are worth the toll being paid by all of us.
Is Boeing hell-bent on punishing its unionized workers? Many believe this to be true.
Maybe the primary platform is to address investor concerns. And who are these risk-takers? Most are ordinary Americans (union workers or otherwise) hoping to realize a retirement of comfort.
The Democrats are silent because their leadership has failed to induce employment potential. They are now extremely nervous about their regulatory agenda and its disastrous job-killing consequences. Meanwhile, other nations gladly accept our exportation of labor.
A job in America, union or otherwise, is becoming a most precious commodity.
Daniel J. McNamara
Re “County chief battles for legacy,” June 22
As children’s social workers in L.A. County, we have seen county Chief Executive William T Fujioka work closely with workers and management to improve our department. It is clear that the people we serve have benefited from having Fujioka at the helm.
Last October we sat down with Fujioka to discuss social workers’ recommendations to better utilize limited resources. Within weeks, workers and management were implementing much-needed changes to child safety investigation, worker training and department policy.
When we improve the way the Department of Children and Family Services works, we help keep kids safe. This is why we opposed the Board of Supervisors’ move to take DCFS oversight away from Fujioka. We hope that the supervisors devote the same level of attention without allowing internal politics to interfere.
Gomez is a Service Employees International Union Local 721 regional vice president. Bravo is the group’s treasurer.