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Letters to the editor

Cal State budget cuts; recycling centers being closed; the options in Afghanistan

December 07, 2009

Hard lessons for CSU

Re “New low in higher education,” Column, Nov. 30, and “Cal State cuts felt on many levels,” Nov. 29

Soon I no longer will teach in the philosophy department at Cal State East Bay because of budget cuts.

I am a product of the educational system of the state of California in its heyday, when California was No. 1. Whatever the schools needed, then-Gov. Pat Brown provided. High school diploma, undergraduate degree, doctoral degree (with fellowships and teaching assistantships all the way) and little student debt. That is the way it should be now for all those who want an education.

In those days, California educated its prisoners and had one of the lowest recidivism rates in the nation. We should ask ourselves what happened.

Vida Pavesich

Sandy Banks' column describing students scrambling from class to class begging professors to let them in, and finding desperately needed classes closed, could have been written -- except for the part about breaking down "crying after hours hunched over the computer" -- in the early to mid-1960s.

My sisters and I attended Cal State L.A. during this time while holding down part-time jobs. The students were challenged by ever-increasing fees, insufficient number of classes and overpriced textbooks. Despite those odds, we managed to receive good training in elementary education and went on to become competent and successful educators.

Our struggle to get a higher education happened years ago. It is shameful that our young people are still fighting that battle.

Ramona Saenz

We appreciate The Times' article highlighting the effects of budget cuts on CSU, but we want to correct the impression that Cal Poly Pomona's history department "may be on the chopping block" as a result of budget cuts. To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated.

The history department, which we anticipate will be here for a long time, has had a significant effect in many ways. We teach thousands of students each year and have more than 250 undergraduate majors, 80% of whom plan to become history teachers. Our well-trained alumni teach at schools across California. Other alumni go on to law and graduate schools and into business. Current and emeritus faculty in the department have 32 books in print.

The CSU faculty -- including those in our department -- has provided vital educational service for the state's students, which of course will require continued support in order to be sustained.

Amanda Podany and Zuoyue Wang
The writers are Cal Poly Pomona history professors.

Seeing red when going green

Re “Recyclers close, ‘green’ jobs dry up,” Nov. 30

We have a recycling center near our house. We have people on bicycles carrying plastic bags loaded with bottles and cans, homeless drug addicts digging through our trash cans, discarded food wrappings and gnawed chicken bones left everywhere, shopping carts rolled up on our lawns.

Before the recycling center, none of this was happening. Now I find out that we the taxpayers are actually subsidizing someone for the "privilege" of having these recycling centers? That's rich.

Mike Clark

I used to just pitch my bottles into my city recycling bin for pickup, but since our family's finances have tightened, we now save the bottles and redeem them for the deposits. When we can, that is: The hours of recycling centers are effectively useless for those with regular working hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays). There are some weekend hours, but the hour-long lines produce full-to-the-brim receptacles well before the end of the weekend.

Before these closures, there weren't enough centers to service the state's obligation to refund consumers their due. And now I read that money was usurped from this program to balance the budget.

Kristi Golden
Mission Viejo

Afghanistan war plan draws fire

Re “On Afghanistan: The president is muffing a chance to show real leadership,” and “Obama’s strategy is sound, but what about winning?” Opinion, Dec. 3, and “Confusion swirls around new war plan,” Dec. 3

Andrew J. Bacevich's Op-Ed article contains an accurate and honest analysis of the situation in Afghanistan. And it is no accident, as he is a historian.

If President Obama really wants to do what is right, he would not continue with this war. The consequences of a pullout would lead to instability in the region and put the responsibility on the nations of that region and other Islamic nations in the Mideast. And that would be the best thing that could happen.

Their involvement will not be seen with the resentment that American involvement is. There is no way that in two or even five years we can prepare Afghan security forces to take control. It is time to cut our losses and get out now.

As a Taliban leader said in an interview on BBC: "If more American soldiers are coming, we are ready to kill more of them."

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