I am both amazed and amused at the continuing controversy surrounding the Ronald Reagan statue in Newport Beach. The Reagan statue fits perfectly in this image-conscious, cliché-driven, self-contradicting city.
The family values president was divorced, remarried and estranged from his children and grandchildren for extended periods of time. The opponent of big government increased the size of state government while governor of California and the size of the federal government while president.
The fiscally conservative president raised taxes as governor and president while also ushering in a trans-generational period of burgeoning federal budget deficits. The free-market capitalist president served five terms — as president of a labor union.
My only recommendation is that the statue be placed prominently in front of the new city hall complex in Newport Beach. The president who famously said that "government is the problem" can see his words in action as he stands before the Newport Beach City Hall complex, price tag: $131 million and counting.
Thomas J. Peterson
Irvine 11 act rude, not illegal
In the United States of America, being rude is not a crime. But that is not the case with the Irvine 11, because while what they did was very rude, it was not a criminal act. Their breach of school rules was dealt with by university officials at UC Irvine.
So why did Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas charge and try the Irvine 11 with a criminal offense? Not to protect free-speech rights because the speaker at the event had plenty of time to complete his speech, and thus his free-speech rights were not violated. Not to keep order because the Irvine 11 each yelled their single sentence and then voluntarily left the auditorium, creating a minor disturbance.
Perhaps Rackauckas perused this case to further his personal political career? In doing so he sacrificed the futures of 11 brave young men by catering to the worst instincts in the population. Rackauckas should be condemned, and the Irvine 11's sentences commuted.
With the convictions of the Irvine 11, Orange County's criminal justice system has sent a message that the Israeli ambassador's right to speak without interruption is more worthy of protection than the right of American citizens to protest the illegal and unconscionable actions of Israel's government. This clear targeting of a minority group should set off alarm bells for those of us who abhor racism and strive for the protection of equal rights for all citizens, regardless of religion or ethnicity.