Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan; the death penalty in California; porn at libraries

Balancing the budget

Re "Schools face huge cuts in Brown plan," Jan. 6

I'm a conservative, but at this moment in California's history, I stand in awe of the brilliance of the state's liberal politicians.

By primarily targeting education for cuts if higher taxes aren't approved by voters, they've ensured this never-ending goal is a fait accompli. After all, who is against having more of their money confiscated by government if it helps our kids?

Wouldn't it have been refreshing if Gov. Jerry Brown had instead called for a reduction in California's myriad free money programs, referred to euphemistically by The Times as "social service programs," in an amount equal to the deficit?

Oops, for a second I forgot in which state I live.

Glenn Toth

Playa Del Rey

Life-and-death decisions

Re "Unusual but not cruel," Opinion, Jan. 3

Is one murder different than another? No. Any life taken means there is a family that loses a loved one.

As a mother who buried her only daughter, I know from experience that time does not heal pain but only puts a scab on the wound. A victim (I believe) learns to live with the loss.

My daughter's murder is unsolved. I do not have closure. However, if the murderer is caught, I would not want his life taken in my daughter's name. I have one murder to live with; it would be hurtful to have another murder to think about if a state took a life in my daughter's name.

Dawn Spears

San Jose

This Op-Ed article is spot on. Like the guy who murders his parents and then wants sympathy because he's an orphan, liberals drive up the cost of capital punishment with endless appeals,

then complain that capital punishment is too expensive.

Bob Guarrera

Laguna Niguel

After 32 years in the district attorney's office in Los Angeles, I have concluded that the death penalty should be replaced with life imprisonment without the possibly of parole.

The death penalty serves no useful purpose. It is not a deterrent. It is horrendously expensive, and we cannot afford it.

California taxpayers should know that any attempt to "fix" the death penalty would require even more of our very limited financial resources. We already spend $184 million a year on it. And we've spent $4 billion on it since 1978, according to a study by the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice.

We cannot bring back a murdered loved one. But we can help prevent future tragedies by using our resources in smarter ways.

Gil Garcetti

Los Angeles

The writer was Los Angeles County district attorney from 1992-2000.

Anyone who calls death penalty appeals "frivolous" should think about innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes.

Just last year, three innocent men who had been imprisoned for murder were released after decades behind bars. Franky Carrillo was wrongfully incarcerated when he was just 16 years old. In March 2011, almost 20 years later, he was freed thanks to attorneys at the Innocence Project.

The risk is real. You can't undo death.

Ryan Ray

Valley Village

Libraries, porn and the public

Re "Porn at the library," Editorial, Jan. 3

I used to work in a bookstore. Every now and then I would find a customer looking at a porn magazine (usually tucked inside a respectable publication like National Geographic). I would politely inform the customer that "adult" magazines were for purchase only.

I don't believe that was a violation of the customer's 1st Amendment rights, and my attitude toward porn in the library is similar.

Personally, I'm not offended by most pornography (much of it is childish and boring), but I am offended by seeing computers taken away from people with legitimate needs and by the idea of tax money being used to provide pornography, even indirectly.

If some people are that desperate to see porn, they can use the computers at FedEx and pay for it themselves.

Daniel Smith

West Hollywood

Not all parts of America are intellectually free. Try telling a librarian in the middle of Iowa that you want the Internet filter unblocked. See how quickly the word gets around. Can you imagine an adolescent in the Bible belt trying to get unbiased information on AIDS or sexuality?

I go to a small library in a small town, and there are all ages represented. The only safeguard needed is a small privacy barrier between computers and there is no a problem.

Worry about real issues, such as the dismal state of education in America.

Paris Asta


Rattled by recess appointments

Re "With Senate idle, Obama goes to work," Jan. 5

So congressional Republicans are furious at what House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) called President Obama's "extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab."

Excuse me? George W. Bush made 171 such "unprecedented" recess appointments, including that of John Bolton as ambassador to the U.N.

How long will the GOP get away with such duplicity? It's high time Obama and others in Washington call their bluff.

Liz White

Los Angeles

The Republicans' outrage at Obama's appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tells me one thing: He will win a second term. The angrier they get, the better this president looks in his defense of the middle class.

Does this mean he finally gets it?

Dennis Grossman

Woodland Hills

Marijuana's place in L.A.

Re "Stuck with pot dispensaries," Editorial, Jan. 4

The Times writes: "It would be unjust to treat dispensaries that followed city laws the same as pirate operations." The editorial board has no ability to distinguish between legitimate and pirate pot shops, only assumptions.

If all of L.A. dispensaries had followed the spirit or the letter of the law, we would not be having this discussion. But instead of engaging in collective cultivation for seriously ill patients, storefront pot shops slapped up "medical-wink-wink" welcome signs, ignored their obligation to obtain land use permits and sold marijuana procured from suppliers that they refuse to identify.

Jose Huizar is the only City Council member willing to address this municipal joke. As a resident of Eagle Rock, I want no part of a city that honors ruse, chicanery and drug trafficking over lawful regulations that create safe neighborhoods.

Michael Larsen

Eagle Rock

I live and work in downtown L.A. I was shocked and dismayed when two purveyors of dangerous and addictive drugs opened their doors mere steps from each other.

A person can walk into either of these establishments with nothing more than a doctor's recommendation and purchase all manner of addictive drugs. In addition they both sell tobacco, which has no known medical value, and one of them even sells alcohol, a gateway drug. Yes, I'm talking about Rite Aid and Walgreens.

What sort of message does this send to our children?

Jim Bean

Los Angeles

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