MAILBAG: Arsonist should be sent strong message

How ironic that convicted arsonist Raymond Lee Oyler was just recently sentenced to death for starting the deadly 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters in the San Jacinto Mountains.

That fire destroyed more than 50 structures, including 30-plus homes, and burned more than 61 square miles. You know, maybe just Oyler’s death sentence itself could have had a deterrent effect on the unidentified Station fire arsonist if the story had received page-one placement — particularly above the fold, so it could have caught the would-be arsonist’s malevolent eye even while in the display rack, instead of the page A3 report that it actually got in the Los Angeles Times.

HARVEY PEARSON

Los Feliz

‘Wizard’ show delivers the magic

A local friend invited me to the opening night of the Stepping Stone Players’ “Wizard of Oz” in the Hoover High School auditorium. It was an event of pure joy!

This community theater group has created a professionally done production, incorporating actors from 5 years old to senior citizens, showing us what the very best of local theater can be.

The Scarecrow was the best I’ve seen since Ray Bolger on screen 70 years ago! Kudos to the Glendale community for its ongoing patronage, and to businesses like Lexus of Glendale for supporting the performing arts.

Go grab a ticket and see this great show over the next two weekends. Bravo!

DAVE WESCOTT

Lake Arrowhead

Youth need more positive influences

Recently the newspaper talks about the difficulties of the youth going back to school.

Fewer classes in the community college, fewer preschool and after-school programs and fewer cultural programs because the government can’t financially support these activities anymore.

This can create the risk of a reduction of the education and culture in society, with the result of more youth hanging around on the streets, more drugs, gangs, etc.

For years, as a member of the Church of Scientology, I’m involved in volunteer activities for the youth, and I can say that I saw that the media is very important in making people aware of the problems. This is the first step in changing the condition, but we also need to do something concrete about it.

For example, I’m supporting the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, a nonprofit organization that empowers youth and adults with factual information about drug. Of course, this is only one of the programs that we can use.

If you look at the amount of youth on the streets or in front of the TV for hours and hours because they have nothing to do, you’ll see that they can be influenced by any kind of message that leads to the degradation of society. I think that it is very necessary to make people aware of the value of the simple actions taken by families, educators and associations.

Working together we can provide activities which enable youth to become valuable members of the society. After all, the youth of today will be the government leaders of tomorrow.

TIZIANA BONAZZA

Los Angeles

Defiance is part of country’s heritage

After reading Dan Kimber’s column on the public’s response to President Obama’s speech aimed at schoolchildren, I felt it necessary to defend the position of those who chose not to let their children be present at school for the speech (“Inside look at Obama’s speech,” Thursday).

First, I must state that Kimber’s own short responses attempting to portray the thinking and responses of those opposed to Obama’s methods are not entirely invalid. In fact, during the column I felt somewhat fairly represented. That is, until the end when in a short two paragraphs Kimber attempts to downplay true and valid concerns of real citizens who are in fact being as American as apple pie by being defiant and questioning their government’s motives.

Yes Kimber, while most of the population has lost their vision of what America used to stand for, that does not make their current thinking demented or paranoid. What little of America is left in us is what you see in the glaring opposition that comes from these parents in question.

It seems to me that Kimber does not truly understand that nature of noncompliance, as I am sure such a “proud American” as he has lived a long life of compliance.

The president has no right to circumnavigate a parent’s responsibility and authority over their children. This action, by posing the speech to children at school where valid (or invalid) rebuttals from parents are not present, is the only socialistic aspect that should be noted.

Quite simply, our noncompliance is based on principle, and has nothing to do about the subject matter of his speech. If people are willing to let the president do their parenting for them, we have a much bigger issue to discuss other than why parents were exercising their right to authority over their own children.

EDGAR GHARIBIAN

Glendale


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