Re. "School board stands by Hubbard," Oct. 14: If I were a member of the Newport-Mesa school board, I would keep my mouth shut regarding Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard's upcoming trial. Once the trial is over, that would be the time to make comments of support, if he is found innocent.
In my opinion, the board violated its fiduciary responsibility when they voted 6 to 1 to let him have five months off with pay, which totaled $125,000 for him not to work. He could have met with his attorney in the evenings, or on Saturdays, or he could have taken personal leave days when meeting with his attorney.
That way he would still be working for that huge amount of money he was paid while on leave rather than not working.
Corona del Mar
Addressing religious doubts
I was disheartened by the advice in Saturday's "God Squad" column, regarding a son's questions as to the existence of God ("The God Squad: How to deal with son's doubts about God"). The suggestion to respond to a son's doubts and questions about God, with "moves" (answering questions with questions) is deceitful. The response to the questioning of a God should be that belief in things which are not provable is called faith, which is different than belief in things that can be proved. The analogy of "seeing a watch proves that there's a watchmaker, and seeing the world proves to me that there's a world maker," is infantile, even to a 12-year-old. I suggest being honest in answering a son's questions. How about replying with, "some things cannot be proved, and that's where faith comes in."
Regional gardening, please
Recently you published excellent gardening columns by Ron Vanderhoff. He is extraordinarily experienced and knowledgeable about plant material and Southern California gardening.
Then I read the Oct. 15 article by Sean Conway with its advice useful for gardening in New England and Northern Europe — inappropriate for our climate, plants and practices. His photo and advice is inaccurate and wrong for this climate. Our climate is Mediterranean, semi-arid with dry summers and mild, wet winters. Most of Conway's article tells what to do with bulbs and perennials before frost arrives. Really!
There are many people and organizations that understand the ecology and plants of Southern California that could give you advice on a good columnist: the California Native Plant Society (www.occnps.org), UCI Arboretum, Tree of Life Nursery, Theodore Payne Foundation and Vanderhoff himself.
Corona del Mar
Students blocked speech
Re. the Irvine 11: When someone prevents the expression of an opposing viewpoint, he is not exercising his right of free speech. He is violating the free speech rights of others. That's not hard to figure out as long as you recognize that the right to free speech applies to everyone.