Tearing down L.A.'s historic 6th Street Bridge; Prop. 8 case moves on; protesting Cal State tuition increases
A bridge too far
Re “Crossing into history,” Nov. 18
Whether it’s landmark buildings, mass-transit systems or entire communities, our city is fraught with “new symbols of Los Angeles” that were built upon a history too eagerly bulldozed and buried by those who salivate over symbols of progress while completely disrespecting our past.
And here we go again with people ready to demolish and sacrifice the historic and cherished 6th Street Bridge in the name of some sort of “forward looking” symbol.
Regarding Proposition 8
Re “Backers win right to fight for Prop. 8,” Nov. 18
The California Supreme Court declared that proponents of Proposition 8 have legal standing even though the attorney general and governor refused to defend the people’s choice to amend the Constitution.
It’s heartwarming to know that the Supreme Court will no longer allow our elected representatives to abdicate their legal and ethical responsibility — that when voters pass an initiative, they expect it to be defended by their attorney general or governor.
As a staunch believer in marriage equality, I’m delighted that Proposition 8 is pushing the fight to the federal level. It’s fun to imagine initiative proponents actually appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court with no valid argument for opposing same-sex marriage stronger than “we’re against it.”
Every argument (primarily the three P’s — polygamy, procreation and prejudice) has been exposed as hypocritical bunk.
The only frail reed still propping up Proposition 8 is the so-called will of the people. And even that tide is turning as the public gets increasingly tired of being told by the divorced that marriage is sacred and inviolate, by the childless that marriage is important for procreation, and the untruth that marriage has never been “redefined” in its history.
Money issues at the Cal States
Re “Tuition hiked at Cal State amid clashes,” Nov. 17, and “Cal State faculty walk out over salary dispute,” Nov. 18
One can’t help but see the irony in two days of news regarding the California State University system.
One day the students are out in full force protesting a 9% tuition increase, and the next day faculty protest their non-raises for the last few years by having a one-day strike.
Compare these stories to those of a few campus presidents receiving record salaries, and one can understand why the
Occupy movement was born.
Of course, these examples really are not the story; they are only the fallout from the last 20 years of merging special interests and government. Therefore, it is only natural that the 1% will have tremendous growth and power at the expense of the 99%.
Those students who caused the clashes with the trustees at Cal State Long Beach about another increase in tuition are barking up the wrong tree. The trustees have no power over how much money is available to the Cal State system; that is determined in Sacramento.
Our Legislature controls the purse strings; that is the place to protest.
I was flabbergasted as I read that Cal State tuition would be $5,970 a year plus campus fees. When I started at UCLA in 1946, the fee was $14 a semester, and I didn’t have to pay even that, as I was a veteran.
What in the world is going on?
America’s nuclear options
Re “To save money, look to nukes,” Opinion, Nov. 16
Michael O’Hanlon is right to target nuclear weapons projects for budget cuts.
But there is more that can be done to save money in this area without compromising our security.
First, we should reduce nuclear warheads to lower levels, well below the limit of 1,550 deployed warheads permitted under the New START treaty. A study by three Air Force strategists has argued that we can deter any nation from attacking us with nuclear weapons with an arsenal of just 311 deployed warheads.
Second, we should reconsider the need for the so-called nuclear triad, the mix of air-, sea- and ground-based weapons that currently makes up our nuclear deterrent. A good place to start would be canceling early plans to buy new nuclear bombers, which would save at least
William D. Hartung
The writer is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.
Yes, budgets are tight. But the reductions that O’Hanlon proposes would be seen as further evidence of America’s desire to get out of the nuclear deterrence business.
This is hardly a plan for a more stable world.
Deterrence is not a math problem; it depends on what our adversaries think will be sufficient to deter them, not on what we think they should think. Asserting we can make significant cuts without weighing their impact on friends and foes alike ignores the fact that our nuclear arsenal serves a broader purpose than just deterring a Russian nuclear attack and trivializes the complexity of deterrence.
In a world where Iran seeks nuclear weapons, China is expanding its ability to counter U.S. military power, Russia is increasingly hostile to U.S. foreign policy objectives and much of the world sees America in global retreat, a more intellectually rigorous assessment of the impact of further nuclear cuts is warranted.
David J. Trachtenberg
The writer was a deputy assistant secretary of Defense from 2001-03.
Atheists who fight
Re “There are atheists in foxholes,” Editorial, Nov. 17
Maintaining that atheism is a faith and calling for atheist chaplains to be included in the military parallels the physical feat of a Cirque du Soleil performer. It allows for a word (God) to include its very opposite (no God).
Imagine the atheist chaplain ministering to his flock to make sure that in a moment of weakness they do not “backslide” into believing in God, and when the shrapnel starts flying, moving from foxhole to foxhole reassuring the men that there is nothing out there and that they are quite alone.
Yet democracy allows for a certain amount of silliness. What is proposed is relatively harmless. Just let us not get into equal numbers.
To those who assert that “there are no atheists in foxholes,” be advised you are also asserting that belief in God is based on one’s fear of dying.
There’s nothing rational or noble about that. It’s pure animal fear. It is, in short, quite egocentric.
The truth is that there are atheists in foxholes, and, it seems to me, that atheists in foxholes are somewhat more courageous then the believers who find themselves in that situation.
It’s free speech
Re “Protest buffer zone is imposed,” Nov. 16
San Marino Police Chief John Schaefer, reflecting on a city ordinance that will limit protesting outside the homes of corporate executives, said, “We have a lot of people who fit the profile to be the victims of this type of crime.”
Perhaps someone should read the 1st Amendment to Schaefer. Maybe then he will learn that picketing is not a crime. A police officer’s job is not to protect the rich at the expense of the Constitution.
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