Letters to the editor: President Obama visits L.A.; a teacher who walked off the job; the study on pot and crime

Meeting Obama? Pricey

Re “Obama pays California a visit,” Sept. 27

Why is it I feel marginalized by the man I voted for?

From frog to prince to millionaire, the convocational ball for King Obama comes with a hefty cover charge. The king and his court will grant you an audience for a meager couple thousand dollars. If you want to move up a class you can confer $5,000. There are only legal obstacles that keep you from paying your way to Brahminical equality.


To ensure rubbing the flesh with the modest man of change, you can offer a solemn promise of $35,800. For those untouchables, you can join me standing in the pit for $100.

As incredulous as it sounds, what would happen if campaign manager Jim Messina surrendered the take of this quarter’s fundraising trove and fed a few of the fief?

Jim Willis

Simi Valley

If I had $36,000 to spare (and the wish to spend it on President Obama) I would have been sitting in the Fig and Olive restaurant Tuesday night with him. I don’t, so I sat in the traffic jam caused by him.

Somehow, I guess, everyone shares in the visit.

Wim Scholten

Culver City

Unruly students take a toll

Re “At the end of his rope,” Column, Sept. 24

Every morning at my job at James Monroe High, I pause at the display of artwork by our students and it takes my breath away. At the same time, I understand Manual Arts High art teacher Jeremy Davidson walking off the job because of unruly students. Unfortunately, the first job of any teacher today is classroom management — and in an atmosphere of increasingly impossible odds.

The fact that Davidson opted for a leave of absence instead of resigning is testament to his heart for teaching. There are many like him who sacrifice and carry on for the talent they see and the potential they still dare to tap.

Jeanine D’Elia

Granada Hills

No article about the abysmal conditions at Manual Arts can be complete without noting that just four miles away on Wilshire Boulevard, the Los Angeles Unified School District constructed its most expensive school at a cost of $135,000 per seat.

It’s not that L.A. Unified doesn’t have plenty of money; it’s that it spends too much on monuments. It must be an ego thing.

Arthur Armstrong

Manhattan Beach

Studying the pot dispensaries

Re “Putting pot in its place,” Editorial, Sept. 24

Show me a baseball player with a .200 batting average, and I guarantee you that I can deliver a study proving that player actually batted over .400 — for the 20-day period from July 14 through Aug. 3, in day games, against right-

handed pitchers. Now let me introduce you to the Rand Corp. pot dispensary study.

Crime trends are normally considered over periods of years. But the pot dispensary study included a statistical window of only 20 days.

While The Times seems to raise some questions about the validity of the study, you say, “For all that, we don’t think the Rand analysis is completely without value. It’s a rare attempt to quantitatively measure the impact of L.A.'s marijuana dispensaries on crime.”

If you truly value the study, then The Times should be advocating for new dispensaries in every neighborhood,

James Willis


While I agree that a clearer legal framework is needed, I must take exception with several points.

You say, “Also unclear is the extent to which they’re selling to minors or people with no legitimate medical need.”

I live in Eagle Rock and have frequented several dispensaries. Without exception, the security was stringent. If a minor were to slip by, it would probably be because he had impeccable fake paperwork.

As far as legitimate medical need, that is the responsibility of the doctor writing the prescription, not the dispensary.

Also, it would be a foolish dispensary that dealt adulterated marijuana. Users are too discriminating to stand for that.

What happens to crime when a liquor store moves into or out of a neighborhood? There’s a study I’d like to see.

Joshua Mertz

Los Angeles

Busing tale

Re “The road to understanding,” Column, Sept. 23

Even though school busing worked out well for the students of Noyes Elementary in Pasadena, for me it was not as rosy a picture as Hector Tobar paints.

I had just entered my freshman year at Pasadena High in fall 1970 when the federally mandated integration program began. Kids with whom we had grown up were now being bused to different schools away from their friends. Many families moved to neighboring Arcadia.

Despite the busing, students still segregated themselves. The tension between the ethnicities was palpable, and several of us were beaten up. Small wonder why the quality of education went down the tubes.

Thankfully, we were able to look past our differences at our high school reunions, and we integrated ourselves more than we did in school. But many of us were still angry with a system that shook up our lives.

Cheryl Hamilton Long


Farm work

Re “Ganging up on guest workers,” Editorial, Sept. 23

The biggest impediment to immigration reform is politicians. The immigration system is broken; nowhere is that more clear than in agriculture. The Times’ editorial makes that important point.

Family farmers need a workable program that will allow them to hire legal workers. The Department of Labor’s H-2A guest-worker program is too litigious, too expensive and unfixable. Even Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River), who helped enact H-2A in 1986, admits it’s broken. Lungren stood up for agriculture and offered a proposal that would operate outside H-2A.

However, a House panel moved Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-Texas) disastrous E-Verify bill this week with no solution for agriculture. For too long, we’ve been asking for a solution, but politics stand in the way.

Logically, Americans want a domestic food supply. But without a legal, stable workforce, fruit and vegetable farming in California — and this country — won’t continue.

Tom Nassif


The writer is president and chief executive of the Western Growers Assn.

Latino power

Re “Labor leader criticizes three county supervisors,” Sept. 23

Regarding the opposition to creating a second Latino-majority district for the L.A. Board of Supervisors, labor leader Maria Elena Durazo said, “Those three supervisors … are trying to hold onto a power structure that is outdated.”

I think what is outdated is the notion that only someone from a particular race or ethnic background can represent constituents of the same background.

She also dismissed Supervisor Don Knabe’s Asian supporters because of their relationship with him, and said, “This is not about loyalty to a particular supervisor.” On the contrary, isn’t that what representative democracy is all about — being responsive to and enjoying the support of those who elected you?

Steven Chesser

Seal Beach

Get vaccinated

Re “California leads U.S. in measles outbreaks,” Sept. 22

Because some parents refuse to vaccinate their children, my husband contracted chicken pox at our daughter’s elementary school. His UCLA doctors called it the worst case they’d ever seen and one that could have been fatal.

Vaccinations should be mandatory for entrance into public schools. It is criminal for irresponsible parents to risk the health of the entire community.

Stacy Schneider Malvino

Los Angeles