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Readers React: Mentally ill homeless, busted unions: Remember what Reagan gave us

To the editor: George Skelton summons too many misty, water-color memories of Ronald Reagan to emphasize the differences between Reagan and today’s GOP presidential candidates. (“Reagan would be amused and troubled by this GOP field,” Sept. 14)

As governor, Reagan presided over the statewide deinstitutionalization of mental patients and a new era of homelessness. The former head of the actors union also kicked off his presidency by busting the air traffic controllers’ union, thus setting in motion the last 35 years of anti-unionism, wage stagnation and the declining middle class.

Reagan wasn’t really a saint. He just looks saintly compared with the 16 Republicans who have taken his brand of conservatism to its ludicrous extreme.

Cort Casady, Manhattan Beach

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To the editor: I enjoyed Skelton’s column and Reagan speechwriter Ken Khachigian’s reflections about what the Gipper would think of this political season. Stu Spencer, his chief campaign strategist, speculated who might be his favorite candidates.

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One candidate was glaringly omitted: Ben Carson. He has the same humble, thoughtful, nice-guy demeanor that we loved in Reagan, with the addition of a few dozen IQ points to boot. Like Reagan, he is not saddled with a politician’s baggage and is beholden to no one.

I think Reagan would be very impressed with the way Carson clearly presents the conservative solution.

Connie Veldkamp, San Clemente

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To the editor: Skelton writes, “As president, after all, he signed an amnesty law.” Well, signing that particular 1986 immigration bill into law was Reagan’s biggest mistake.

If Reagan had signed a law that provided more selective legalization without citizenship, it would arguably have resulted in more Republicans subsequently being elected to office nationwide and yet kept a lot of immigrants that Donald Trump has called the “good ones” around, especially in California.

It also would have set the compass for today’s comprehensive immigration reform solutions.

Harvey Pearson, Los Feliz

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