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Mailbag: Don’t build homes in mudflow-prone areas

It’s unfortunate when Mother Nature inflicts her fury upon us, causing destruction to homes and placing us in harm’s way (“‘My heart was in the bottom of my stomach,’” Feb. 8).

As for the property destroyed by raging water, rocks and mudslides, much of this could have been prevented.

Needless to say, our society was lacking the wisdom from the beginning; to start with most of these structures should have been denied construction permits. Approving permits for buildings that are subject to destruction by forest fires, landslides and floods is just plain irresponsible.

Cities eager for property tax revenue approve development in these areas knowing the risk for damage is high. Insurance companies might cover them, but the premiums are outrageous.



La Crescenta

Start charging prisoners rent


It is irresponsible to shift the costs to anyone but the offender himself: Where an inmate actually has the financial ability to reimburse the state for the cost of his rehabilitation/correction, I offer the solution that “Prison Responsibility” be shifted to the inmate, rather than penalizing law-abiding citizens with budget cuts that cause a negative impact on our communities (“State is shifting prison responsibilities,” Jan. 30).

Shifted to the offender, the state would save a tremendous amount of money and properly place the responsibility while creating a positive impact on public safety. Not every inmate has the financial ability to reimburse, but there are those who actually do. For those who don’t, bill them for the costs of their incarceration and enforce payment of those costs rather than burden those not responsible for their actions.

Hitting someone’s pocketbook hits the hardest, and, perhaps, the offender would not offend if he had to pay in ways other than just being incarcerated.



Get nuclear weapons out of the U.S., Russia

This month, President Obama will finalize the Nuclear Posture Review that will set his administration’s direction for U.S. nuclear weapons policy. In today’s world, nuclear weapons do not make us safer. They are a liability, not an asset. They are the only threat our military can’t handle. Our weapons won’t stop a suicidal terrorist (“Bill aims to track nuclear materials,” Jan. 23).


A growing number of experts and Cold War-era government officials recognize this and maintain we can strengthen national security by reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons and clamping down on nuclear materials worldwide.

The president’s review should chart a path that will make us safer by further reducing U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, rejecting calls to develop new types of nuclear weapons, and working with Russia to take nuclear forces off dangerous “launch on warning” status.



Sometimes silence is a prudent response

This is in response to Neil Aliksanian’s letter (“Disturbing reaction from the council,” Feb. 6) regarding the reaction from the City Council to the statement read by the Armenian National Committee on Feb. 2.

This lawsuit filed by the Armenian police officers against the city is an active lawsuit. I feel the City Council, which represents the city, did exactly what it should have done — say nothing. I feel Aliksanian misunderstood their silence. I would think that legally, it is just the smart thing to do with an ongoing lawsuit.


As far as Councilwoman Laura Friedman mispronouncing the plaintiff’s name, I think it is pushing the envelope to say this is insulting. When people read my name at the end of this letter, I would bet that about 90% mispronounce it. Will it insult me? No. I am very aware that many names are easily mispronounced — mine being one of them.



Rid education of all its bureaucracy

In his Feb. 5 column, “Things the government ought to cut,” Glendale News-Press columnist Dan Kimber passionately and accurately talked about the waste of tax dollars in the name of education.

Another thing the government ought to cut is the billions of dollars it wastes on a redundant education bureaucracy. It is unconscionable.

Federal, state and county governments spend billions of our tax dollars on a redundant bureaucratic system. These tax dollars would be better used in the classroom. For example, the federal government has a Department of Education and Education Committees in both houses of Congress. In California, we elect a state superintendent of schools, and we have a secretary of education, appointed by the governor.

We have a Department of Education, state Board of Education and Education Committees in both houses of the state Legislature. The Los Angeles County Office of Education is a large local bureaucracy. Local school districts are forced to hire expensive consultants to comply with myriad rules and mountains of paperwork these bureaucrats generate.

A limited government approach would be better. It would maximize the dollars that reach the classroom, better educating our kids. There is no role in K-12 education for the federal government, and the state government role must be drastically reduced and streamlined.

The primary responsibility and most education tax dollars must be given back to locally elected and locally accountable school boards. Then kids will receive the quality education they deserve.



Editor’s Note: McGinnis is a retired Glendale Unified teacher.