The Dangers of Petting Zoos

Re: “The farm comes to school,” Feb. 10. You’d think that the educators at St. George’s Preschool would be aware that petting zoos are hotbeds of E. coli bacteria, and that numerous children have been infected with the potentially deadly bug after contact with animals.

Infections can spread through direct animal contact or simply by touching the surroundings near an animal exhibit. Hand sanitizer does nothing to prevent spread of E. coli by inhalation, nor through indirect contact. E. coli has been linked to sippy cups, pacifiers and even chewing gum. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as many state departments of health, have issued public-health warnings about casual animal contact.

These displays are bad for animals, too. Forced to interact with a stream of excited and sometimes careless children, animals in petting zoos can become depressed and anxious.

The last thing any parent or teacher wants is for a child to get sick. Avoiding petting zoos and sticking with books, videos and stories is safer.

Jennifer O'Connor

PETA Foundation

Norfolk, Va.


A Vote for Kamar

I first started to really get to know Charlie Kamar when I interviewed him for a fourth-grade elementary school project. Through the years I have come to respect him as a role model for his perseverance and the positive way he embraces life and I feel fortunate now to call him my friend.

Charlie possesses all of the personal attributes to which I aspire: integrity, dedicated work ethic, responsibility to others and an optimistic, positive personality.

Leaving behind a war-torn homeland 20 years ago, he came to this country the way all of our families have done at one time or another to search for a more hopeful future. In the passion he shares during our conversations at his Union 76 station on Foothill Boulevard or over an occasional hot dog at Dodger Stadium, I have seen the reflection of the many immigrants that travel to America with the character and determination that built our country’s foundation.

A couple of years ago a corporate representative noticed Charlie’s exceptional customer and community relationships and nominated him for the Conoco-Phillips Corporation’s “Spirit of Excellence” award, which considers owners from more than 3,500 stations nationwide. It was no surprise to me that he won, or that he was overwhelmed with humility at the recognition. After all, he just sees his exceptional service as the right way to treat people.

I believe that Charlie has what it takes to be an outstanding leader for the people of La Cañada. There are candidates on the ballot with more city-government experience, but as a graduating history and legal-studies major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I can tell you, that is not a pre-requisite for great representation.

Charlie has shown that he has the personal drive to get to the bottom of city issues, the negotiating skills to work toward the most equitable solutions, and an open-door, willing-to-listen attitude. Stop by the station. You don’t have to buy gas to meet with him and you just might find a new friend. Charlie Kamar is running for the City Council because he believes he can make a difference for the residents of La Cañada. I am supporting him because I know he can.

Tucker Heaton

LCHS Class of 2007

La Cañada


Concern about Trucks

An open letter to Supervisor Michael Antonovich: I am growing increasingly concerned about the change in traffic patterns along the 210 and 2 Freeways in the Crescenta Valley. We are seeing a huge shift that is sending a higher number of trucks through our area. I have never seen anything like it in my 50 years living in the Foothills.

Just recently, a collision with a big rig that hit the center divider on the 210 Freeway caused congestion so bad that my family was prevented from visiting me in the hospital. I fear that it will only get worse.

I realize that as a member of the Metro Board, you are tasked with finding solutions to the transportation problems of the entire Los Angeles County. That is why I am perplexed about your voting record to advance the 710 North Extension Tunnel project to the next level by allocating money for public-private partnerships and to move to the environmental stage of the process. To date, the board has not even looked at more environmentally and fiscally responsible alternatives and is pushing the project forward. I don’t understand.

A recent analysis of the 710 North project revealed that La Cañada would see an increase in truck traffic of an additional 850 trucks per hour, plus more commuter cars. This does not sound like the solution that our valley needs.

This week, a series of community meetings called “Conversations” by Metro were scheduled around the county. I couldn’t help but notice that there were no meetings scheduled in Sunland-Tujunga, La Crescenta, or La Cañada so that citizens could speak out.

I applaud the long-standing history you have as a supervisor and the great things you have been able to accomplish for your district. Do the right thing and halt this project before we have fiery explosions inside the five-mile tunnel with no escape, and bumper-to-bumper traffic on the eastbound and westbound 210.

Susan Bolan

La Crescenta


More Voting Suggestions

We received our absentee ballots and it seemed like such an easy choice.

We feel safer and more secure in our community than we have since we joined in 1994. Tested by the most difficult economic times since inception, our city coffers are as healthy as they have ever been. Having suffered the anguish of the seventh plague, we remain safe and intact. City crime statistics remain extremely low. Our public-school system continues to gain national recognition and improve in comparative studies. And, the city landscape, trail system and main corridor are getting more attractive and efficient each year. This seems idyllic to us.

Vote 1. We would like to specifically call out Laura Olhasso’s individual leadership as our mayor during a year of crisis. Her immediate action with the media and state and county governments during the fatal truck crash and mud slides were thoughtful, compassionate, inspiring and effective. She worked 24/7 to assist those directly impacted and she followed up with the county and state for fiscal assistance and review of current regulation. She is a true leader in crisis.

Vote 2. Don Voss has been instrumental in contributing fiscal discipline and planning for the financial security of our community. We appreciate this specific area of expertise on the council, as finance is the life-blood of our community’s ability to operate and serve our needs.

Vote 3. Mike Davitt, as a resident of LCF his entire life, has an intimate knowledge of our community history and culture. He knows what will work and what will not. He has been trained, while on the planning commission, in how our city government operates and he will continue the strategy of small, incremental improvements to public safety and community well-being that our current city council has so aptly implemented.

Our community is most peoples’ dream. We love our community and are appreciative of, and grateful for, the work this council has done to maintain its character and to continually implement small improvements to our lifestyle.

Diane and Jon Moldafsky

La Cañada Flintridge


Support for Olhasso

As long-time residents of La Cañada and active community members, we care a lot about the city and how it is run. We believe our City Council has done an excellent job of handling many issues the past few years, and we are strong supporters of Laura Olhasso in her re-election campaign.

Laura has shown tremendous leadership, judgment and skill during her eight years on the City Council, including two terms as mayor. During this time frame, much has been accomplished, including taking steps to revitalize downtown, to enhance public safety (resulting in a lower crime rate and fewer traffic accidents) and to expand our trails system and parks. The City Council also has shown fiscal responsibility in maintaining a balanced budget and a healthy reserve during the recession. As mayor, Laura capably led La Cañada through some of our most difficult times during the Station fire, mudslides and the tragic truck accident on Angeles Crest.

While we believe it is important that our Council members be able to address issues inside the city, we also believe they must be prepared to deal with external challenges such as the potential extension of the 710 Freeway. Laura has proven that she has the ability to deal effectively with both. Laura is running on a record of achievement, not just rhetoric.

We urge you to support and vote for Laura Olhasso in the upcoming City Council election.

Vicki and Brad Schwartz

La Cañada Flintridge


Republican Point of View

A city-council election is headed La Cañada’s way March 8. There on the ballot will be the candidates and their occupations but unlike a gubernatorial or presidential election, there will be no mention of party affiliation. For a voter with little knowledge of the candidates listed without a party line, it may be of help to understand who on the ballot closely represents their values. That concern came forth for the local Republican organization, the La Cañada Flintridge Republican Committee, which has provided the citizens of La Cañada Flintridge its endorsement of three candidates for city council.

Those endorsements have not gone unnoticed and the Valley Sun published a dissenting letter questioning the legitimacy of the endorsements by the organization.

The use of “committee” in the organization's name has also been questioned, too.

The concerns are unfounded. The organization, chartered in 1993 as the La Cañada Flintridge Republican Club, has, like many local political organizations of all stripes (e.g. Foothill Democrats, Pasadena Republican Club, Pasadena Republican Women Federated, etc.), made endorsements in elections both partisan and non-partisan (e.g. judicial, municipal, school).

As for the recent use of “committee’ in its name, the chair of the local AD central committee and the chair of the county party have given their blessings to the change.

The La Cañada Flintridge Republican Committee is pleased to be of service to citizens who seek a limited, responsible form of government at all levels. More than 100-strong, the committee welcomes Republicans and like-minded citizens to come to monthly meetings held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club. Further information may be found at

Brian M. Fuller


The writer is an alternate member of the 44th AD Republican Central Committee, board director of La Cañada Flintridge Republican Committee, and 3rd vice president of Pasadena Republican Club.

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