Apple’s record profits; Beverly Hills and the Westside subway, Mayor Villaraigosa’s budget proposal

Apple’s big days

Re “Apple’s profit nearly doubles,” Business, April 25

The article describing the profits of Apple is but one of several such announcements of record profits in many industries that appear in newspapers regularly. This at a time when most of our citizenry is struggling to keep their heads above water.

The discrepancy is so apparent that one wonders at the bewildering confusion of voters during this electoral season.

Russell Blinick


Seeking subway solutions in L.A.

Re “Clear the tracks, Beverly Hills,” Editorial, April 21

Ever since Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) prevented our subway from being finished by pushing though a ban on federal funds for tunneling under Wilshire Boulevard on the Westside, we have lost our chance to have an efficient way of getting around our city.

New York has one of the most efficient transportation systems in our country, and yet we who live and work in Los Angeles continue to wait for our subway to be finished.

Thank you, Rep. Waxman, for making sure that the wealthy would not have to be inconvenienced by some foolish tube under the ground.

Mark Andresen

Los Angeles

Beverly Hills NIMBYs? We thought we were concerned L.A. County citizens and voters doing due diligence.

If the earlier Santa Monica Boulevard station in Century City is unsafe because of earthquake fault lines, why is the Constellation Boulevard location — one block away — safer? One block?

Century City’s business and development interests apparently speak with a louder voice because the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s own figures show that the Santa Monica Boulevard route is less costly to build.

If walking one block is an impediment to ridership — on our snowy days, especially — consider a moving sidewalk.

We are not “determined to pull out every delaying tactic.” How unkind. We are concerned voters who support the subway; we are not the enemy.

Marjorie Blatt

Beverly Hills

If Beverly Hills residents fear that tunneling will endanger their high school students, then they should instead embrace the above-ground alternative that is used in ethnic minority neighborhoods.

David Mills

Los Angeles

Trimming the city workforce

Re “Mayor’s plan would lay off 231 workers,” April 21

I never thought I would hear anything from L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that made any sense, so I was amazed to read his proposal to increase the retirement age of new civilian city employees to 67 and limit pensions to 75% of a worker’s income. Taxpayers can only pray that he will be able to implement his proposal soon.

It’s too bad that he also didn’t include police officers and firefighters in his common-sense approach. We taxpayers can only hope (and vote wisely) that our elected officials will ignore the powerful unions and start cutting the generous salaries, perks and early retirements of their (in fact, our) employees.

Dave Connell

Laguna Beach

With our city’s roads in a state of disrepair, we need more, not fewer, workers in the Bureau of Street Services.

As a part of an aerospace-university team to study how to upgrade the technology so as to improve our roads, I have had the opportunity to observe street services workers as they repair and maintain our streets. These are highly qualified, skilled and dedicated workers who do their best with the funds and equipment they have and utilize the best available technology to give us drivable roads.

The bureau is the last place from which our city should lay off workers.

George Epstein

Los Angeles

Mileage pay doesn’t add up

Re “53 cents per mile drives criticism,” April 21

I was outraged to learn that lawmakers are paying themselves to drive their own cars.

Although our legislators probably won’t pass laws hindering their own behavior, the solution is very simple: The Times should print details, like stats in a sports page, on the spending habits of every lawmaker so we can see the leaders in each category.

When it’s published in black and white (and highlighted with a red border), voters can see which of their elected officials are slackers and which ones are actually doing the job we pay them to do.

Since Colonial days, the most effective method for curbing extravagance has been public humiliation.

David Andrew Lloyd

Studio City

State Assemblyman Jim Nielsen’s (R-Gerber) claim of 5,157 miles driven on state business in February breaks down to about 178 miles per day. That is, if he worked on state business every day of the month, including weekends.

I think state taxpayers are the ones being taken for a ride.

Charles Martinez

Los Angeles

Privacy issues

Re “Cyber security overkill,” Editorial, April 24

The Times expressed the same concerns I have with the cyber security legislation the House will consider Thursday. It is imperative that we balance our desire for security with our right to privacy. That is why I’m working across the aisle, with Republican Rob Woodall of Georgia, to make it easier for Americans to bring legal action against the federal government if it uses personal information in a negligent manner.

The cyber security bill has serious flaws, but a majority in the House is insisting on moving forward. Though I understand the need to increase cyber security, I wish we had taken the time to craft a bill that took a more balanced approach, one that would meld our security needs with Americans’ right to privacy.

Rep. Janice Hahn

(D-San Pedro)

Rubio’s clout

Re “Sen. Rubio helps court Latinos for Romney,” April 24

If Mitt Romney thinks Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will help him “court Latinos” and address their concerns that he has “moved far to the right on illegal immigration,” he may have snuggled up to the wrong Latino.

If any of Rubio’s relatives in Cuba made the dangerous trip and were able to set a “dry foot” on U.S. soil, they would be greeted quite differently by Border Patrol agents than a Mexican citizen attempting a similar journey.

Paul Burns

Granada Hills

Not so solar

Re “DWP’s new solar plan has skeptics,” April 23

In describing the new DWP feed-in tariff plan for solar panels, Ron Nichols, the L.A. Department of Water and Power’s general manager, states that long delays and poor customer service are in the past. Nichols is incorrect.

As a homeowner with solar panels, every two months I receive an electric bill, an amended electric bill and an utterly incomprehensible invoice. The process is wasteful and impenetrable.

Until the DWP culture changes, the city of Los Angeles is likely to continue to lag in the implementation of solar panels in this sunniest of locations.

Michael Jura

Los Angeles


Re “When cars fly,” Business, April 20

Flying cars — great! Drunk fliers. Litter from 100 feet. Kids joy-flying.

GPS and air bags may offer more safety for the drivers of flying cars, but what about those of us on the ground?

Steven Young

Long Beach