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Letters to the editor

The good life in Baja; the Senate's healthcare bill; a mother-son reunification

December 18, 2009

Sold on Baja

Re “Paradise, and peril, by the sea,” Column One, Dec. 14

Thank you for printing an accurate story on Americans in Baja California. The violence in Baja, while frightening, has been almost exclusively within the drug trade. The random violence we see in the U.S. is unheard of in Mexico. In Long Beach, where I have lived all my life, we have had many shootings over the years, including the recent killing of an innocent girl at a local high school football game. We had a couple of house break-ins down the street last week.

I first went to Baja in 1958 and have been vacationing there with my wife since 1969. We finally bought a house in 1991. We feel much safer in Baja. Time to start packing for our next trip south!

Steve Davis
Long Beach

Debating healthcare

Re “Senate to dump Medicare option,” Dec. 15

I wrote to our senators urging them to vote no on healthcare legislation that requires people to buy health insurance from for-profit corporations but has no "public option" or expansion of Medicare.

A new healthcare system that continues to neglect the people who need it most, while catering to the insurance industry, will become increasingly expensive, ineffective and unpopular.

Eventually it will fail, and an outraged public will rightly blame the Congress and the administration that passed it. Its flaws will be trumpeted by Republicans as proof that government can't do anything right.

There may be a short-term political price for not passing this bill at this time. I believe there will be a heavier long-term price for passing it without a government-run health insurance component.

Ed Carstens
Santa Clarita

Re “Senate rejects drug imports,” Dec. 16

I see that the pharmaceutical industry has spent its money well. With the rejection of imported drugs in the new healthcare plan, my prescription bill will stay costly. Part D of Medicare must have been written by the same people.

I am not sure why the pharmaceutical industry pays for advertising when Congress does its work for it.

Congratulations senators, you gave the pharmaceutical industry a great Christmas present.

Lou Wiener
Santa Clarita

It takes more than food stamps

Re “Hunger in California,” Editorial, Dec. 13

We agree that qualified Californians should have easy access to food stamps.

But it's misleading to suggest that California is at the bottom in providing food support for the poor. California ranks low on this federal measure because it provides cash instead of food stamps to 1.2 million aged, blind or disabled Californians.

Abandoning the policy would increase our participation rate, but aged, blind or disabled individuals would lose the extra cash assistance that helps them buy food. They would then apply for food stamps separately, and many would qualify, but due to complex federal rules, some would not.

We know more work is needed to reach all Californians who qualify. However, we're pleased that our food stamp usage rose 87% from 2004 to 2009.

With help from our county partners and the California Food Policy Advocates, we'll keep working to ensure that all Californians get the nutrition support they need.

John Wagner
The writer is director, California Department of Social Services.

Mother and child

Re “With time and help, a mom may learn to conquer anger,” and “Warning signs are missed; 2 die,” Innocents Betrayed, Dec. 13

Darlene Compton, after speaking at her Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, descended from the podium, grabbed her boy's arm and said, "Shut. Your. Mouth."

Then, it is reported, she went with her son into the bathroom, where he let out a wail.

The Times prints a picture of Compton dragging the child by the arm. This is how shoulders or elbows get dislocated, I think.

Hello, Darlene? Hello, social worker? I do not think reunifying this mother and son is working. Please get that child out of that home.

Paige Greene
Pacific Palisades

Why do we have failing schools and high incarceration rates? Because of parents like Compton.

Unfortunately, in a free society, the most ill-prepared and irresponsible people can have as many children as they want, regardless of whether they can properly care for them, and there is nothing anybody can do about it.

Peter Connolly
South Pasadena

When the social worker took her son away, the first thing Compton asked was: "What will happen to my check?" That speaks volumes.

Russell W. Clampitt
Los Angeles

You betrayed Compton. The stereotype of the black, uneducated welfare mother lives on the front page of The Times.

As an African American woman, I was insulted and disappointed in your reporting. Not only did the paper annihilate any positive image of Compton, it pasted a huge picture on the front page of the paper for the world to see.

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