MAILBAG: Fire critics should get facts right

I am tired of letter writers like Maria Smart trying to make the Fire Department look bad in their attempt to support the Police Department (“Editors wrong to admonish police,” June 26). Smart should stick to the facts as they relate to the Police Department and leave the Fire Department out of it; otherwise she should include all of the facts, not just the ones that support her argument.

Maybe Smart forgot about the fact that the new police building cost millions more than it was supposed to, or that there have been several multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the city related to the Police Department. How have those things affected the budget?

I don't claim to know as much about federal overtime laws as Smart, but I would guess that based on all of her omissions there is probably more to that story than is contained in her letter.

Why not let the Police Department solve its own problems without dragging the Fire Department in to it? The firefighters could have taken the raise that they were contractually entitled to, but they chose to help out with the budget. Give them some credit and get off their backs.

GREG HANOIAN

Glendale

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Act of kindness 'wonderful'

I observed a wonderful act of kindness by one of the Beeline drivers last week. When entering the No. 4 bus, I noticed an elderly homeless man sitting behind the driver with his cart of belongings. As usual, I sat as far way from him as possible. When it was time for the man to get off, the driver lowered the bus, got up, helped him take the cart off the bus, said a kind word to him and patted him on the back.

When I got off, I mentioned how impressed I was with his act of kindness. The driver, David Kamau, said he put himself in the homeless man's shoes. What a wonderful thing to witness. I have seen Kamau many times, and he always has a big smile when people come onto the bus.

DON MINCE

Glendale

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mince is vice chairman of the Housing Authority.

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Fitting time for a Fourth of July

“This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and prosper.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933

It is not going to be easy to forget the 233rd birthday of America in the year 2009! America is sick. She will only regain her health when all of us, together, decide she should, because this is not 1933.

What we are enduring could have been much worse. Imagine facing the same problems in FDR's time when everything was an experiment. That is not to say that the worst is over; there is no way to know for some time ahead. It is clear, however, that we will not experience a Great Depression, and in that light, a Great Recession is a measure of relief and an astounding wake-up call for America. More than any other Independence Day, this year is a time for reflection, readjustment and individual soul searching — a time for simple sentimental patriotism.

It took a long time for the greed and corruption bubble to explode in our collective faces! Will America survive? While the dark clouds swirl around us, we must not hide in the basement till the storm passes. Nor should we sit around waiting for Washington to continually bail us out. This Fourth of July, we should start thinking about getting back to basic American values and honest American ingenuity.

It is also the right time to end the practice of ethnic labels. We are all Americans first and foremost. As a “people” we have finally started to close the book on race relations by electing the first black president. Our Los Angeles Dodgers dominate the baseball world.

Winning a 15th national championship, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to be a source of immense pride, mystery and enjoyment.

Sadly, little notice was given to one of the best space missions in the history of the country. What the crew of Atlantis accomplished repairing the Hubble Space Telescope was America at its very best.

All of our armed forces personnel have earned our highest esteem!

Actors finally have a new contract, and with all union contracts now in place, the quantity of product should improve considerably. California still leads the nation in the creation of new “green” companies, with continued opportunities for employment in all the environmental sciences. California will build on this achievement.

All around us people are beginning to understand that it is better to give than it is to take. More people like Marie Burnett of Burbank and her Senior Superstar Showcase at the Joslyn Center are needed more than ever!

We will survive these times, but survival will be meaningless unless we change the way we live. What an amazing country we have, and as we witness the people of Iran stand up for their freedom, we can appreciate exactly what the Fourth of July means to us.

We must fight hard to overcome the bitter, materialistic ways that brought us to the brink of destruction and understand this is a period of awakening; this is a period of redemption; this is a chance to begin again.

If we are not afraid to face ourselves, we will endure as we have endured. So, no matter what, make it a happy Fourth of July.

JOSEPH DI SANTE

Burbank


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