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My Fellow Americans

July 25, 1993

After reading Marlowe Hood's article on the harrowing experience of desperate Chinese refugees ("Dark Passage," June 13), one can only conclude that a re-examination of our immigration policies is in order.

These people have given up everything and risked their lives and health to travel to an unknown land just for a chance to make a better life for themselves and their children. That's what my ancestors did.

If the new arrivals are lucky enough to get a job, they work harder and save more than seems humanly possible, and they generally behave the way Americans expect each other to behave.

Maybe we should put the tongs and their criminal henchmen out of business and welcome these refugees with open arms. I'd be proud to call them my fellow Americans.


North Hollywood


As a graduate of UC Berkeley, I share Larry Gordon's concern about the effect that recent budget cuts have had on the University of California system and the Berkeley campus in particular ("Berkeley Battles the Blues," June 13). However, as an employee of the 20-campus California State University system, I feel compelled to point out that the state's deteriorating fiscal condition has had an even greater impact on the Cal State system.

According to Cal State's presentation to the legislative budget subcommittee on education, since the 1990-91 fiscal year, Cal State's budget has been slashed by nearly $500 million; 5100 positions (academic and non-academic) have been eliminated, and while enrollment demand continues to increase dramatically, 22,000 fewer students were served in the fall of 1992 than had been served in the fall of 1990.

The Cal State system rarely gets the respect routinely given to the University of California but will arguably have a greater impact on the economy of California in the next decade. A recent study completed by Robert Girling of Sonoma State University and George Goldman of UC Berkeley noted that Cal State adds more than $4.5 billion to California's Gross State Produce through payroll and purchases of goods and services, a figure nearly double that of Cal State's $2.3-billion budget. Cal State's primary mission remains that of teacher training, and the system produces three out of four of the state's public-school teachers. However, Cal State also produces 50% more business graduates and more computer scientists and engineers than all other California universities and colleges combined.




Much of the public seems to believe that the most brilliant students attend Stanford, Duke or the Ivy League universities. As a teacher for 27 years, I can assure you that that is not true. While many of my advanced students do attend the more expensive "privates," most don't bother to apply because of financial restrictions. The affluent and the very poor may be able to attend a school such as Stanford, but that university is often beyond the reach of the middle class. The majority of California's gifted scholars attend the University of California, and we must not allow the disintegration of this most-precious asset.




I read "Fathers and Sins" (by Jason Berry, June 13) with sadness and embarrassment. I was a Roman Catholic priest for five years and still feel an association with the clergy. The atmosphere of distrust created by errant priests reflects on us all.

The church will continue to have these problems as long as it takes sexually immature boys from home at an early age and puts them in an environment where they cannot develop a healthy sexual identity. Taking boys from the eighth grade into a seminary is just asking for trouble, and immature high school graduates entering the program are not much better candidates. If men are going to opt for celibacy, it must be a real choice, not an uninformed decision that can easily result in subsequent aberrations.


Long Beach

The Santa Fe cover-ups were the last straw for me. I attend Mass with great difficulty now. Two weeks ago, during Mass, the celebrant asked the congregation to pray that we were worthy of the new crop of priests ordained the day before in Los Angeles. What irony! Are they worthy of us? Can we trust them to be near or alone with our children?

The Catholic hierarchy needs to lead openly a massive cleanup campaign of its clergy and rectify its screening process. And now, more than ever, the papacy must re-examine yet again its celibacy rule, open the priesthood to women and allow marriage as an option to those inclined toward the priesthood. The priesthood is in big trouble. So follows the church.


Granada Hills

Father Lenihan uses church law when it suits him. It's interesting that a person who doles out penance for a living doesn't know how to be penitent. Parishioners of St. Boniface should rid themselves of this man of thinly disguised cloth.



Of course there are Catholics and priests who are manipulated and are led or choose to take actions that hurt others. But similar and even worse things are happening in our society as a whole on a daily basis. I, for one, have reached my limit of Catholic bashing and priest bashing.





Thanks to Doris A. Fuller for her article on Viisha Sedlak and racewalking ("Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout a New Way of Walkin'," June 13). The appearance of a racewalker does tend to attract attention, inasmuch as one must swivel the hips and use a bent-arm swing to perform correctly. I got hooked on it two years ago; it's a mentally disciplining and remarkably satisfying aerobic sport.



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