Profits over people
Re “Blast at W.Va. mine kills 25,” April 6
Controversies over the role of government are in the news daily. But there is a strong consensus that government has the responsibility to police our society to limit abuses.
The Times reported that last month alone federal mine safety and health officials cited Upper Big Branch coal mine operator Massey Energy three times for ventilation problems, once for drill dust and once for inadequate air quality. In the last year federal inspectors have fined the company more than $382,000 for violations.
Now, at least 25 lives have been lost in an explosion in a Massey-owned mine in West Virginia. Why was this mine not shut down? Why is money more important than human life?
This same criticism can be applied to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which fell asleep when policing Wall Street -- the cause of so much current human suffering.
David N. Hartman
Archdiocese's next leader
Re “Vatican picks Latino to succeed Mahony in L.A.,” April 7
The Catholic Church will remain blemished until accountability is achieved for its sexual abuse transgressions.
Cardinal Roger Mahony has somehow escaped answering questions about what he knows. Most of his constituents have succumbed to his feeble responses. It seems the highest posts in the church escape the law by wearing the cloth and the title.
Archbishop Jose Gomez portends a timely and accessible choice to lead the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Let us pray he will come in with genuine honesty and compassion to create a far more credible church with obvious integrity, leading the faithful as intended.
Ronald L. Wallace
Re “Progressive, conservative; the face of Opus Dei,” April 7
As someone raised in Catholic schools who spent years preparing for the priesthood, I've been waiting with naive hope that the successor to Mahony might be someone who could actually move the L.A. church forward.
I should have known better. The last thing Los Angeles -- or the world, for that matter -- needs right now is another sexually rigid and out-of-touch Catholic leader.
Although I applaud Gomez's progressive stance toward the poor, that is what we should minimally expect from a bishop, for that is what the gospel demands.
The gospel does not, however, demand close-mindedness, fear, discrimination, denial and disdain. Those are the values that have brought the church to the mess it's in now. Must we wait yet another generation for courageous and visionary leaders?
Uh oh, now I'm worried. While in San Antonio, Archbishop Gomez "denounced" a Catholic university because it invited the pro-choice Hillary Rodham Clinton to speak and denounced another university when it invited a Benedictine nun because she advocated the ordination of women. A local Catholic high school was forced to end its relationship with a group that happened to also support Planned Parenthood.
Sounds like the same old tired rhetoric -- with the goal to keep women in their place at all cost.
Oh well. It's their exclusive club, and they can have it.
Who's the demagogue?
Re “Mayor calls for agency shutdowns,” April 7
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's threat to close down non-essential city agencies two days a week certainly looks like a retaliatory move against the City Council for its reluctance to approve the Department of Water and Power's requested rate increase.
I find the mayor's statements comparing the City Council's action to "the kind of scare tactics you saw around the healthcare debate," and "the kind of demagoguery you see in Congress" to be particularly disingenuous.
Isn't it the mayor who is doing the fear-mongering -- affecting the livelihoods of city employees, while impeding constituents' access to parks and libraries and other general fund services?
This is demagoguery for sure. But from whom?
Re “Freelancing it as a way of life,” April 3
When my grandmother was a child, she did piecework for the garment industry in order to earn pennies a day to survive. Today, it's desperate white-collar workers who are being exploited by freelance jobs -- a new version of piecework.
Employers are also thrilled about increased "productivity" among remaining full-time employees. In my grandmother's time this was known as sweatshop labor.
Re “Expenses for pet projects upheld,” April 7