Letters to the editor: The Occupy movement’s message; CicLAvia stories; Gov. Brown signs ban on open carrry
The Occupy Wall Street movement lacks neither clarity nor leaders. As Paul Hawken said in “Blessed Unrest,” ours is a movement so dispersed, so decentralized, that it cannot be categorized, targeted and eliminated. In short, it cannot be put down.
The “occupiers” know what we want: a return to democracy. An end to corporate “personhood” and corporate rule. An end to war and militarism.
In other words, a return to Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision articulated in 1967: “A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, ‘This is not just.’”
CicLAvia draws a crowd
Seeing the wide variety of participants and so many types of bikes at Sunday’s CicLAvia was fascinating. If the purpose of the event was to encourage recreational cycling off road, it was a huge success. If the purpose was to support the need for more commuting by bicycle, as a retired transportation engineer, I say it was very counterproductive.
In European countries where bike commuting is prevalent, motorists can count on cyclists to ride predictably. Bikers become predictable by childhood training and experience riding in mixed traffic.
Clearing auto traffic for the CicLAvia event encouraged the participants to ride all over the road. The unpredictability of most riders is what infuriates motorists.
My husband and I took the Gold Line to Chinatown, determined to enjoy CicLAvia on foot.
First scene: the East Los Angeles College marching band, practicing in a Chinatown parking lot. Next was a parade lineup for the 100-years-of-Taiwan celebration. There were a few bicycles. Next was a ferria de moles (a mole sauce festival) on Olvera Street — a smackdown between the Mexican cities of Oaxaca and Merida.
We stepped in and out of galleries, enjoying the occasional rock bands and DJs and all the passionate bike riders.
Walking by the new police headquarters, I wanted to thank the officers. I wanted to thank everyone.
L.A. — a beautiful place with room for everyone.
Putting guns in their place
The last thing a civil society needs is a lot of gun-toting people walking around.
When I see a uniformed police officer with a holstered firearm, I assume he has been screened for a basic level of mental stability and has received extensive training in firearm safety. If I see a private citizen with a firearm in a public place, I cannot make that assumption. I can’t even assume that his firearm is unloaded.
Private citizens walking around with firearms in public places would constitute an extreme public nuisance. I’m glad Gov. Jerry Brown is sparing us from that.
An unloaded gun is of little use for self-defense, the real point of the 2nd Amendment. Brown should find out how the police in the majority of states that do honor the 2nd Amendment rights of their law-abiding citizens deal with large numbers of armed individuals citizens.
If one wants to see the effectiveness of gun control laws as a means of reducing violent crime, look to Mexico, which has restrictive gun laws like those in California.
Murry I. Rozansky
In defense of the PSA test
I started getting PSA screenings three years ago because of a family history of prostate cancer. The following year, two tests showed high levels of prostate specific antigen. After more tests, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was at a very early stage but could have become life-threatening eventually. I underwent treatment and am now cancer-free.
I am very thankful that the cancer was caught early. Going through surgery years later would have posed a higher risk because my body would have been older; furthermore, I would have likely needed an additional surgical procedure to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread to the lymph nodes.
I am positive that there are many men like me who have been helped by having our cancer caught early by PSA screening.
PSA tests are not the problem. They cannot cause incontinence or impotence, though some treatments can. If men are being treated unnecessarily, that would indicate the need for better discriminators. Giving up a primary indicator before there is a better alternative doesn’t seem to be the answer.
Fixing the jails
The abuses described in Times articles are not surprising to lawyers who represent indigent criminal defendants. What is surprising is that L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca acts as if he thought his agency was free of these problems.
Those of us who have represented inmates held in county jails know that abuses occur. Some of these incidents have been reported; however, many of them have gone un-reported, not for fear of fellow inmates but for fear of the deputies in the jails.
Baca needs to speak to and listen to the public defenders and other lawyers who are regularly at the jails representing inmates. These lawyers have heard the reports and often themselves have been subject to rudeness and other mistreatment by deputies. Perhaps most important, these lawyers can identify for the sheriff the deputies who are consistently professional and who can help lead the reform.
John A. Brock
It’s hard to begrudge executives who work diligently to maximize the return on CalPERS investments. The investment fund grew 20.7% during the fiscal year ending June 30, its best performance in the last 14 years.
But it would seem that awarding these executives bonuses averaging 41% of their base salaries, while most retirees receiving benefits under CalPERS are limited to a fixed 2% cost-of-living increase per year, is grossly unfair. After all, the retirement system was established for the benefit of public sector retirees, who often worked at demanding jobs throughout their careers, not for the benefit of CalPERS financial managers.
A little sharing would definitely be in order.
If we fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the residents of Hatteras Island will face rising sea levels and increased hurricane risk. Both factors are already eroding their coastline. Likewise, Texans will face more frequent and intense droughts that are already devastating their economy.
Policymakers must use these facts to plan for the future; so why was there no mention of climate change in your article? Reporting on the symptoms (eroding coastlines and drought) without mentioning the underlying disease
(climate change) is a failure to adequately cover the most important story of the century.
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