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Foreign students at UCLA; building the I-710 tunnel; the Nazis' collaborators

November 21, 2009

Dollars and students

Re "Two worlds on one campus," Nov. 15

Whoever dreamed up the system of charter and magnet high schools and forgot that they would be competing for the same tax revenue built in a serious design flaw.

That the Daniel Pearl Journalism and Communications Magnet students are reportedly being shunned by a resentful Birmingham High School staff is ridiculous. It's not the students' fault that some bureaucrat at the Los Angeles Unified School District still has some kinks to iron out in the charter/magnet system.

The students do not deserve to be treated like unwelcome houseguests. They should not have to struggle to remain separate. They should be concentrating on their education.

Wendy Hughes
Studio City

What the 'C' in UC stands for

Re “USC leads in number of foreign students,” Nov. 17

I was interested to see that UCLA has somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 foreign students. This, I am sure, makes the UCLA experience better for students and increases the school's national and international reputation.

But if I were the parent of a high school senior who had been rejected by UCLA, I would be less pleased. UCLA, unlike USC, is a state school, paid for by state taxpayers to provide an education for California high school graduates. For every foreign student accepted to UCLA, one California student is denied that opportunity -- even though his family's taxes have been paying for the school.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm not sure we should be so pleased that so many non-Californians are attending UCLA (or the other UC schools.)

Robert J. Schechter
Los Angeles

L.A.'s transit options

Re “In L.A., which is the best way west?” Nov. 15

It would be a tragedy if the initial subway extension did not include a stop at Cedars-Sinai/Beverly Center.

But why not keep it simple? A light-rail spur line from a Fairfax station could be run at ground level or above ground on San Vicente Boulevard with a terminal between Beverly Center and the hospital. If desired, the spur could be continued to the Pacific Design Center.

Anyone familiar with the area knows that San Vicente is an ideal street for an above-ground route. It's very wide with a large median. It has a minimum of retail businesses and homes facing the street and, except for the intersection with La Cienega, practically no pedestrians.

Harry Davis
Los Angeles

There is a way to cut the car culture cord once and for all: build the "subway to the sea" and the West Hollywood extension at the same time, using the money earmarked by the MTA for the 710 extension tunnel.

Taking these billions for the Westside subway, which has widespread support, would be a much better use of money than devoting it the 710, which has widespread opposition.

Take our money, please.

Joanne Nuckols
South Pasadena

Your story claims that expanding public transit in Los Angeles is hard because ours is "a city developed for the automobile whose sprawl makes it difficult for rail lines to cover enough ground to make commuting simple."

I would expect The Times to demonstrate a better knowledge of the city than this.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, L.A. was served by a dense network of streetcar lines, which provided comprehensive coverage of much of the city: from Inglewood through Hollywood and from East L.A. headed west.

In addition, the Pacific Electric Red Cars ran as far east as Covina, as far north as Glendale and as far south as Santa Ana and Newport Beach.

L.A. was built on public transit. If only we could recover more than a fraction of what we threw away.

Ian Munro

Re “Gov. quashed bid for rail fixes,” Nov. 13

As someone who lives in Glendora and was eagerly awaiting the extension of the Gold Line to Azusa and eventually Montclair -- a project that is truly "shovel ready" -- this article describing how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered state officials not to seek federal funds for commuter rail improvements left me fuming.

We don't need a bullet train to the Bay Area, we need a commuter system in Los Angeles that actually works. Enough insanity already. No wonder a majority of Californians think the best years of the state are behind us.

Harold Fujita

Don't forget the Israelis

Re “Getting to ‘no nukes,’ ” Opinion, Nov. 16

That is a laudable title to Gary Schmitt's otherwise martial Op-Ed article.

This leading advocate for the invasion of Iraq is now pushing for harsher sanctions against Iran rather than peaceful diplomacy. He claims that Iranian nuclear ambitions will set off a nuclear arms race in the region, without ever mentioning Israel, the gorilla in the room.

Israel has never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and is believed to possess about 75 to 400 nuclear weapons, an obvious threat to its neighbors.

The road to a nuclear-free Middle East clearly runs through Tel Aviv as much as it does Tehran.

Paul McDermott
Los Angeles

The Nazis' collaborators

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