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We can't afford this budget fiasco

July 25, 2007

Re "Legislators uncork a plan to pick the pockets of the poor," column, July 23

State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez's (D-Los Angeles) celebration -- with two $150-plus bottles of wine -- of what lawmakers consider a budget-passage victory is like Nero fiddling. That passage is based on theft from voter-approved transit funds and cruelty toward the most vulnerable among us. And they'll get away with it because we will look the other way.

Damiana Chavez

Los Angeles

George Skelton correctly points out that the lives of low-income people just keep getting harder and harder. With housing prices sky high, families and seniors who can't make ends meet are ending up in shelters and food lines. Our state politicians need to think about what they were elected to do: provide for the greater good or the greater greed?

Nancy Berlin

Director

California Partnership

Los Angeles

I suggest that the person who submitted the proposal to reduce taxes for the film industry be recalled. This person should go back to school to study simple arithmetic and humanity. To make the rich richer at the expense of the needy is criminal. The irony is that there are many multimillionaires in the film industry -- actors and executives alike -- who could write a personal check to support some of the necessary state programs.

Joe LaRosa

Long Beach

Re "A disappointing sequel," editorial, July 22

The editorial on California's budget stalemate misses the point. The same stalemate and political embarrassment occurs so often that its root cause must lie beyond the actions of a given set of legislators. The two-thirds vote requirement almost mandates stalemate. It produces a rare and compelling political opportunity for the minority -- Democratic or Republican -- to seek political outcomes for which they don't normally have the votes. The almost inevitable outcome is not just embarrassment and late checks; it is an inability to hold any set of legislators accountable. Both sides blame the other for the outcome, and both may be right.

It would be much cleaner to let a simple majority pass a budget. It would more clearly express their view of what government should and should not do. Accountability for the outcomes could be affixed. Voters could then decide if they liked those outcomes or not.

Walter Zelman

Malibu

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