Another take on Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Meghan Daum on Rick Santorum; the lure of Hollywood for kids and parents

A bad jam session

Re "Caltrans in its own jam after I-10 debacle," Feb. 17

My husband and I were stuck on I-10 near Palm Springs on Feb. 12. It took more than two hours to go

25 miles. I guess we were lucky.

The real losers in this debacle will be the businesses and property owners in the Coachella Valley. Just when it seemed that the area was beginning to see some life, the trauma of getting stuck on that road will keep many travelers from returning.

A task force needs to investigate how this happened, why no agency (including the Highway Patrol) stepped up to correct the problem and what can be done to ensure safe and reasonable traffic flow going forward. The future of the Coachella Valley depends on it.

Toni Reinis

Marina Del Rey

It takes more than ribbons

Re "Moving beyond pink ribbons," Opinion, Feb. 15

The fallout from the Susan G. Komen for the Curesituation goes far deeper than the Planned Parenthood fiasco, focusing attention on the bigger picture of the charity's finances and mission, and hopefully bringing more careful scrutiny of charities in general.

Komen needs to be honest about its mission. If its primary goal is finding a cure, more than 15% of its funds need to go toward research. Otherwise,

Komen needs to be honest with families that struggle to trust charities with their money.

Komen Chief Executive Nancy Brinker's $417,000 salary in 2010 is disturbing. Brinker certainly is not alone among high-paid charity CEOs, but by characterizing her founding of Komen in such personal terms, she has held herself to a higher standard, one that makes taking a sizable salary unseemly.

Lorraine Gayer

Huntington Beach

I wish Peggy Orenstein had mentioned other organizations like Breast Cancer Action, which educated me in 1998 — when I was diagnosed with two Stage II non-metastatic breast cancers — about all the things most people are just now discovering.

It does little good to say we should support "other, less well-known groups doing effective advocacy on breast cancer, groups that don't shy away from looking objectively at the science of screening, that more aggressively push investigation into the causes of cancer (such as environmental links) and refuse money from corporations whose mission, products or policies are antithetical towomen's health," if we don't name them.

Susan Nash

Idyllwild

The real threat from Santorum

Re "The personal isn't always political," Opinion, Feb. 16

We should admire people — especially commentators like Meghan Daum — who take constructive criticism as an opportunity for self-reflection. I thus respect Daum's reexamination of the appropriateness of remarks she made regarding Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

I agree that the Google "definition" of Santorum's name is over the top, as is the criticism of his family's actions following the death of a newborn son. However, Santorum clearly believes that he has divine entitlement to judge — and thus potentially to legislate — the sexual and reproductive lives of millions of consenting adults.

Under these circumstances, Daum's characterization of Santorum as a "weird, pious wackadoo" seems restrained.

Paul F. Wood

Claremont

Daum capably defends her characterization of Santorum as a "pious wackadoo." People like Santorum and his supporters attempt to commandeer the power of the state to impose their theology on the rest of society.

When those of us who wish to live free of their religious beliefs criticize them for wanting to destroy our freedoms, they claim we are bigots. This is the bullyish crybaby syndrome.

Daum also points out that she has been equally critical of Democrats, reminding us that she compared Hillary Rodham Clinton to an old sofa. Though I disagree with that comparison, I am more worried about stopping people like Santorum from obstructing what the rest of us can do with each other on sofas — and in bed.

Edward Tabash

Beverly Hills

Snared by the stardom dream

Re "Buying into a dream," Feb. 17

Getting parents to pay thousands of dollars for their kids to have a shot at show business is a scam as old as the hills. Dream weavers such as those in "The" take advantage of families' greatest vulnerabilities: their children.

My immediate showbiz family includes famed actor Russ Tamblyn ("West Side Story"). A number of years ago, an extended family member was approached by one such organization about her son. Before committing, she contacted us. She was advised to "run in the other direction" but chose to ignore our advice — and paid a very dear price for it.

You can't protect people from themselves, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

Larry Tamblyn

Palmdale

Yes, the scammers who run audition or acting schools for children are rotten people who need to be dealt with. But I find it hard to have sympathy for parents who spend thousands of dollars because some stranger tells them their kids have the talent to be stars destined for fame and large paychecks.

The cliche "a fool and his money are soon parted" must have been written with these parents in mind.

Ray McKown

Los Angeles

Ballot insanity

Re "Little initiative for change," Column, Feb. 16

I cringe every time the pamphlet of ballot initiatives comes in the mail. Do more than 10 people in California actually read the wording?

Why are the backers of the initiatives allowed to pay teenagers, housewives, homeless people and others to sit in front of markets and accost shoppers for petition signatures? I've had more than a few of the signature-gatherers tell me their initiatives will lower taxes, insurance rates and gas prices, plus other wonderful thing we all want. The people who sign want only to get rid of the pests and get on with their day.

This is no way to run a government.

Diane Silver

Lancaster

Wag those tails

Re "A tale of two dogs," Editorial, Feb 16

I recently started walking dogs at the Lange Foundation, a nonprofit shelter in West L.A. Almost without exception, the dogs I encounter there are sweet-natured, good-tempered and affectionate. They come from crowded shelters.

When I first began walking the dogs, I wondered how they ended up in shelters. Over time I learned the answers. Their owners moved away, divorced, got sick, developed allergies, lost their jobs, lost their homes or died. Some dogs were the victims of hoarders, puppy mills, abusers or neglecters.

More than 6 million dogs and cats are euthanized annually in the United States, a fact that makes the majority of breeding immoral. I promise that those who go to a shelter will fall in love with not one but many waiting animals.

Melissa Klaskin Levy

Los Angeles

No compromise

Re "Contraception compromise," Editorial, Feb. 14

One does not "compromise" on liberty, matters of conscience or the dogmas of religion. The objections of theU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishopsto the president's contraception coverage mandate are well taken by those who value the Constitution.

President Obama issued his unilateral "accommodation" without regard to conscience laws, not just for the Catholic Church but for all who cherish religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

This "accommodation" is an accounting shell game. Nothing is free.

Camilla Broderick

Los Angeles

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