Letters: Why get a Real ID if you have a passport? The hassle’s not worth it

Roughly 40% of the U.S. population has a valid passport, according to the federal government.
Roughly 40% of the U.S. population has a valid passport, according to the federal government.
(Getty Images)

I wish we had read the Jan. 2 article by Catharine Hamm about issues with passport scanning before my wife went to the Department of Motor Vehicles with her passport instead of her birth certificate.

She waited months for the DMV appointment and had to take time off of work to find out that they would not accept her passport as ID.

For goodness sake, why on Earth do they not put that information on their website? If they just told people to bring a certified birth certificate, applications could actually be processed.

The stupidity and incompetence at DMV never ends.


Of course, the DMV webpage continues to tell people that they can use their passport.

Does it take an act of the governor for somebody to put a note on the webpage that says:¨ “We are having problems with the passports; please bring a certified birth certificate instead”?

It should not take six relentless months of effort, and missing work on two days, to get a Real ID driver´'s license.

How many thousands of people showed up with a passport and were turned away empty-handed? How many million dollars more will the DMV waste having all of those people start over from scratch?

It is almost enough to make a person go to another state to apply for ID.

I understand now that the passport verification system is broken, so why not email every person who made an appointment for a Real ID application and tell him or her to bring a birth certificate?

I contacted DMV management in our area but got no reply.

What happened to the governor’s new DMV strike force? Must everyone suffer this way? By the way, they also refused to accept a TSA Nexus card.

What is the point of getting Real ID if you have a passport? I suggest that perhaps everyone boycott Real ID.

David Lerman

Editor’s note: If you are using a birth certificate for Real ID, the name on that certificate must be the same as your current legal name. If you have changed your name because of a marriage, you need your marriage certificate for your current name and any other names. If you have changed your name for any other reason, you will need appropriate legal documentation.

In a letter from Robert Bubnovich on Jan. 19 (“What Comes From Real ID”), he writes that the documents required for a Real ID can all be faked.

If that is truly the case, then the simple solution would be to just fake a Real ID driver’s license and thus avoid the line at DMV.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that. It’s illegal although it might be quicker.

Ed Schoch

I too had to recently replace my California driver’s license and could not get an appointment quickly. (I needed to replace a stolen license.) I went to the office about 40 minutes before closing. That a popular local college game was also taking place probably also factored into in a reduced wait time.

I was done within 30 minutes. It helped that I had done the prep registration online as DMV advises.

Don Heuman
Los Angeles

Say no to Zambia

As an L.A. Times subscriber and avid traveler, I love reading the Travel section, but I am concerned about the Zambia article by Janet Hook (Jan. 19, “Walk in the Wild”). Although Zambia may host wonderful walking safaris, do not go to Zambia. The U.S. ambassador was recalled in December after speaking out about corruption and about a same-sex couple who were imprisoned for 15 years because of their sexuality.

Their policies are repressive, and we should not be encouraging readers to be complicit and aid their economy. At the very least, you should warn travelers not to go to Zambia if they are gay. It is far too risky.

A. Roberts
Los Angeles

The biggest offenders

I always enjoy “On the Spot” because it gives solid information. However, in Jan. 19’s “3 Questions to Ask Before You Fly Again” by Catharine Hamm, the third item about the “cost to the environment” needs a more realistic perspective.

As far as world CO2 emissions go, airplanes account for only 1%. Also, ships (mostly container ships but also Navy and cruise ships) account for just 2%. Therefore, we all should continue to fly and cruise with a clear conscience of not significantly harming the environment.

Of course, the major world CO2 emitter is China, about double the U.S. contribution. And California contributes only about 1% of the world’s CO2.

Richard J. Proctor
San Clemente

Can you please include the importance of how you fly? Flying in business or first class versus economy increases your footprint by several times, as the Guardian notes in an article.

Also, flying low-carbon airlines helps. The new Boeing Dreamliner uses only half the fuel of the old planes they replace; a wee bit of good news for Boeing. Avoiding flying at night also helps, but that’s a more involved discussion.

I really like your comments about trains in California. If the bullet train isn’t going to work, why can’t we have just a regular train that takes five to seven hours to go from L.A. to San Francisco?

Suzanne E. Paulson
Chair, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Professor, UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability
Director, Center for Clean Air, UCLA

Something to cry about

The travel mistakes you’ve run inspired me to send you this:

In Munich with daughters Liz, 15, and Katie, 12, we took the metro to the next site to see on our list. Having studied the map above the exit doors, I knew where to get off.
Oddly, every last person in our car descended at the stop before ours. Fine. There was probably a beer garden there. We staggered to the door, properly awaiting our turn. The train pulled up. But the doors did not open. Instead, the whole car went dark. The engine whirred and shut down.

“Mom! Mom!”

Concrete walls surrounded us. A tunnel light bulb revealed an emergency device next to a window. I grabbed the wooden handle and pulled as hard as I could. Nothing happened except that I was now holding a wooden handle. I had broken a piece of municipal equipment in a foreign country.

“Mom! Mom!”

Then, from down the line of metro cars a light turned on in first one car, then the next, and then the next. Finally, we could see a sturdy uniform advancing on us. He was not smiling.

“Katie, cry! Cry!” I said. (Katie could cry on command, which I’d used only once before when I bought tickets to the wrong sightseeing water bus in Venice, Italy.) I looked earnest: “Entschuldigen Sie, bitte” (“Excuse me, please”). Katie wept copiously. Liz was trying not to die on the spot, the most humiliated teenager in six countries. I have no idea what the conductor grumbled at us (I’d used all the German I knew). But the train whirred, caught and deposited us at the preceding station.

The biggest disappointment? No beer garden there. Not that I would have gone, with underage children in my care ...

Rosalie Maggio
La Crescenta