Herman Cain campaign; President Obama’s war chest; teachers trying to reach their students


Cain’s troubles

Re “Cain struggles to right his ship,” Nov. 9

Beyond providing the media with a lurid feeding frenzy, allegations of sexual improprieties lodged against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain serve two purposes.


First, we are reminded of how the GOP downplayed similar allegations against Clarence Thomas to ramrod his improvident appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Second, the Cain imbroglio conveniently diverts scrutiny from Mitt Romney, expediting his coronation as the Republicans’ nominee.

Cain isn’t doing anyone — not the public, his party or himself — any favors by remaining a candidate.

Edward Alston

Santa Maria, Calif.

So Cain calls a news conference to denounce “baseless” charges of sexual harassment. Then, without a hint of irony, he charges that those allegations are the work of the “Democrat machine.”

Is it really possible that Cain doesn’t understand that his nomination as the Republican candidate for president would induce complete euphoria in the Democrat machine?


James McFaul


Obama’s war chest

Re “Obama strategy hinges on lots of cash,” Nov. 7

Does the president expect to buy his way to a second term? Most elections now seem to be popularity contests, not ones based on ability or past work.

We get what we vote for, but the promises made to voters are soon forgotten. I have not forgotten his campaign in 2808 and his failure to follow through.


Kim Cargill

North Hollywood

I don’t mind the fact that President Obama will spend about $1 billion in 2012, three times the amount Sen. John McCain spent in 2008.

I just hope that the Democrats stop crying about the influence of money in politics, and that the president doesn’t promote his campaign spending as jobs created and saved.

Jerry Travers

Los Angeles


Teachers under siege

Re “Pushing teachers to the edge?,” Nov. 7

At my first teaching job in 1970, I was supported by mostly engaged parents, involved administrators and great students. Even less academically inclined students had some degree of respect for teachers and fellow students.

Over the last 15 years, teaching has become very stressful. Administrators are under pressure to produce great standardized test scores. When I visit the high school I taught at, I feel the tension among my former colleagues.

Schools should not focus so much on standardized tests. Do we have to place more stress on our teachers?

John Pawson


Huntington Beach

As a teacher, I can understand the pressure we all feel today as educators.

I work in a low-income area where I often have to pick up my students to get them to school, give up a lunch or two to work with them and stay after school to help them with their homework.

If teachers make sacrifices to help their students, test scores go up.

It’s easier to complain rather than putting the time and effort into the students we were hired to help.

Rick Howard


Pay it forward


Re “CSU faces tough chore: hiring,” Nov. 7

The $650-million funding cut this year to the California State University system, on top of previous years’ cuts, is outrageously shortsighted.

As a Sputnik-era baby boomer, I benefited from my parents’ generation funding of the many schools we needed with bond measures. That was a sensible investment that we, their kids, eventually helped pay off, and now it’s time to “pay it forward.” Logically, this means both higher tax brackets and bonds paid back by the students we educate.

Education should be like roads: a publicly funded service available to take anyone as far as they can go for nominal fees.

Gary Moir

Rancho Palos Verdes


Dodgers and us

Re “Mayor: Sell Dodgers to Angeleno,” Nov. 5

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa suggests that the Dodgers be owned by an Angeleno. Why stop there? Let the team be owned by all Angelenos.

For a little more than $1 billion the whole setup — the team, properties, TV-radio gigs and God knows what else — can be purchased by the city. Any financial whiz can suggest how we might pay for it. For guidance, look to the Green Bay Packers.

Years ago my favorite NFL team was the Baltimore Colts. The owner took his entire operation out of that city in the dark of night. It was an enduring reminder that ownership of assets with such heavy and emotional ties to the common man should reflect that commitment.

Let’s go for it. Buy the franchise now.

Donald Bowles



Baca backer

Re “A sheriff who does what he likes,” Opinion, Nov. 7

Jim Newton writes about L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca: “Unlike the [Los Angeles Police Department] chief, the sheriff is an elected official.... He can’t be fired or disciplined. In effect, he has no boss but the voters, and that means an investigatory commission, no matter how effectively it does its job, will have little leverage.”

He concludes that Baca “is so insulated from normal channels of pressure that he simply does what he likes.” He describes such insulation as “politics.” By politics, he means the voting public.

To negatively frame and thereby trivialize the pressure of the voting public is remarkable. There are many who would prefer a police chief directly responsive to the voting public as opposed to pressure by commissions, which are often populated by egos vying for the political limelight.


Baca, with a doctorate in public administration, knows who he serves.

David Lopez-Lee


The writer is professor emeritus of public administration at USC. School of Policy, Planning & Development, USC

Sane screening

Re “TSA might alter airport screening,” Nov. 7

It’s about time the Transportation Security Administration applied a little common sense to its airport screening.


I am 87 years old and look every minute of it. I have a hip prosthesis that sometimes sets off the airport alarm. Though I carry a card from the hospital confirming the implant, the TSA agents always subject me to further examination. The final indignity — the pat-down — came this week at the Phoenix airport.

Please, TSA, give your screeners the authority to use discretion to accommodate people like me.

Gloria C. Sever


Work longer?

Re “Boomers in crisis — keep on truckin’,” Opinion, Nov. 6


As a 60-year-old baby boomer who will probably have to work for another 10 years and sees the prize of retirement being snatched away, I have a question for Nicole Gelinas and everyone else whose sage advice is that we work longer: Work for whom?

At a time when we are watching our jobs suddenly became “unavailable” (only to us, apparently) and filled by younger (read: cheaper) workers or shipped overseas, what are we supposed to do? Grow micro-vineyards in our backyards? Become day traders? Just how many McDonalds and Wal-Marts are there, and who is hiring?

Try answering that one for a change instead of just lobbing the “work longer” slogan at us.

Enrico Mutascio

Palm Springs