How to end Occupy L.A.; defending the death penalty; raising the state gas tax

The solution? Jobs

Re “Putting the move in movement,” Oct. 27

So people want to know how to end the Occupy movement. I have a suggestion: Go down to an encampment and offer someone there a job. Offer them good jobs, full time if they need it, at reasonable pay with reasonable benefits. If you have no jobs to offer, consider lobbying your representatives to create some jobs.

Yes, I said those evil words: Government should create jobs. Otherwise, how do we staff our public schools, libraries, DMV offices and so on?

If the businesses with cash salted away would go to one of these encampments and hold job fairs, those camps would clear out in a hurry. The money those young people would be able to spend would create still more jobs. Taxes would flow in. The deficit would go down.


That’s the answer to putting the move in the Occupy movement.

Sharon Toji


Testing ‘cruel and unusual’

Re “Death penalty: valid yet targeted,” Opinion, Oct. 26

David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew Grossman distort the Supreme Court’s reasoning in applying the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishments” to the states. They make much of the “due process” afforded to those who receive society’s ultimate sanction, noting that those opposed to the death penalty now advance its cost as an argument against it.

But there is no mention of the benchmark the Supreme Court applies in 8th Amendment cases: “The evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” Perhaps this is because the authors chose not to participate in this process.

Arthur H. Weed

Santa Barbara

Though most people support the death penalty, many would probably oppose a system in which most sentences were not carried out in less than five years.

Unless a death sentence could be carried out in under a year or two, it is moot. It is hardly justice for a murderer to be executed 20 or more years after the crime, when many jurors and victims’ loved ones have moved on or died.

Saddam Hussein was hanged less than two months after his conviction. That’s real capital punishment.

Sol Taylor

Sherman Oaks

Rivkin and Grossman, in their quest for an affordable death penalty, fail to discuss or even acknowledge that there have been more than 100 exonerations of condemned individuals.

They do not address the fact that these individuals, in many cases, had their convictions upheld by numerous courts and would have been executed had they not been afforded the process described.

Jennifer Friedman

Los Angeles

Gas taxes, oil company profits

Re “It’s time to raise the gas tax,” Column, Oct. 27

George Skelton acts as if the economy is healthy and unemployment isn’t a serious problem. He proposes a fuel tax the same day Exxon/Mobil boasts of a third-quarter profit increase of 41%. After seeing recent prices at their gas stations, it appears that they may be overcharging.

Overburdened taxpayers should not be nickeled and dimed to death to make up for population growth and bad foresight by elected officials.

I’d drive to Sacramento and tell Skelton what I think in person, but I can’t afford the gas.

Kyle Laurent


Maybe there’s a way other than tax increases to fulfill transport needs in California. How about photo-enforced speed limits?

Motoring through a suburb of Washington in Maryland earlier this month, I found signs for speed cameras on some major thoroughfares in the area. The cameras appear to be catching on in other states.

I dare say most Californians drive well over the posted speed limits, especially on freeways, and that our habit is so deeply ingrained that it would not be stalled by new cameras. Photo enforcement would bring plenty of money to those jurisdictions that choose to use it.

William A. Harper

San Diego

Slavery and Texas’ secession

Re “Texas debates Confederate license plates,” Oct. 25

Those advocating for Confederate license plates may want to review the “declaration of causes” of Feb. 2, 1861, which laid out the reasons Texas seceded from the union.

It says: “We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various states, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.”

Would a Texan (or anyone) want to promote that proclamation as his or her heritage?

David Jones

Los Angeles

I wonder how those Texans in favor of putting the stars and bars on license plates would feel about Germans putting swastikas on their plates to “honor their veterans and educate the public.”

Mike Siegel

Van Nuys

Cancer’s gift

Re “Cancer’s most isolated patients,” Column One, Oct. 26

I was delighted to read of the special ways cancer affects young people, who are at such a unique developmental stage in life. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 23, and it has shaped the person I am today, 30 years later.

I was moved to tears by the movie “50/50.” It brought back some painful memories and did a great job addressing the complexity of receiving a cancer diagnosis just as life is beginning to take off.

Strange as it may sound, my experience served me well as I reached middle age and dealt with my parents’ aging and death. I have been deeply grateful for my recovery.

Maria Hooyenga


Pot and crime

Re “A bummer for Rand,” Editorial, Oct. 26

Contrary to your editorial, there is nothing “counterintuitive” about the Rand Corp. study’s finding that crime increases near recently closed marijuana dispensaries. What else would one expect when the city closes hundreds of taxpaying businesses, rendering their employees jobless, leaving behind vacant storefronts and relegating their patrons to the black market?

What is truly counterintuitive is the pretense of our public officials that the criminal prohibition of marijuana, unlike that of alcohol, might somehow reduce crime.

Dale Gieringer

San Francisco

The writer is vice chairman of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws board of directors.

Vietnam again?

Re “Africa deployment will be short, lawmakers told,” Oct. 26

The Obama administration’s justification for sending 100 military “advisors” to Uganda sounds eerily familiar to that put forth 50 years ago to justify similar involvement in a small foreign country; one need only substitute South Vietnam for Uganda, Saigon for Kampala, and Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam for the adjacent countries cited by the administration.

President Obama has readily accepted plaudits for pulling our troops out of Iraq, saying that remaining there is no longer in our national interest. I fail to see how sending our troops to Uganda with an ever-present danger of escalation of our involvement is in our national interest.

Ray Davies

Simi Valley

Library magic

Re “Libraries can’t run themselves,” Opinion, Oct. 26

Thank you for your important article by Regina Powers concerning the importance of libraries.

Our society is dumbing down with texting and tweeting, and needs libraries more than ever. To be in the quiet atmosphere of a library, surrounded by literature that goes back through the ages, is a

powerful, almost sacred feeling.

Librarians are there to help us all — especially children.

Ruth Rosen

Santa Monica