Heroic aid workers
Re "Taliban ambush kills aid workers," Aug. 8
I couldn't help but take special note of the heartbreaking story of heroic aid workers ambushed in Afghanistan juxtaposed with headlines screaming fresh new outrage over the continuing Bell salary scandal and the never-ending tale of greed and entitlement in Frank and Jamie McCourt's divorce saga.
Each member of this fallen medical team could have easily stayed home and enjoyed the fruits of his or her education, wealth and hard work, but instead chose to travel miles from home at grave risk to themselves and their families. Their lives will quickly fade from the headlines while we endure more tales of grandiose haggling over "what they deserve" from the McCourts and Bell officials.
We'll continue to read about those who think nothing of enriching themselves on the backs of others. Thank you for reminding us all of those who sacrificed themselves to give back to the world we live in.
A better use for Chavez Ravine
Re "Dodgers' worth is the sticking point," Aug. 8
The monetary worth of the Dodgers is linked to the value of the development of the land around it: empty space that could absorb a large amount of mixed-use development.
Since the original transfer of property beyond what was needed for a ballpark was questioned in the 1950s, perhaps the deal should be scrutinized again.
Eminent domain law requires that the state be fair in acquiring property, but is there not an argument for the inverse, when public property is transferred into corporate hands without reasonable compensation?
Let the city that nurtured the sports team reap the benefits from future development. Have a competition to create a sustainable, transit-oriented mini-community that would complement and enhance the venue.
Imagine the south-facing slopes beyond the parking lots with terraced solar-powered housing. Grant first options for renting to descendants of the displaced Chavez Ravine families. Sprinkle in some units for baseball players too, so the traffic doesn't sap their hitting strength or pitching focus.
This could be a win-win situation. The McCourts would have less to fight over and could more easily resolve their community property issues.
Fighting global warming
Re "Turn up the heat," Opinion, Aug. 4
The cause is lost. For now.
Nothing will be done until the politicians who have the power to do something about climate change care more about losing their planet than about losing the next election — until they care more about their grandchildren than about their careers.
That time may come some day. Will it be soon enough?
Charles W. Austin
Bill McKibben wants us to get angry about a problem to which he offers no viable solution.
Our addiction to oil is really an addiction to a modern lifestyle based on inexpensive fossil fuels.
In the next several decades green energy will not replace fossil fuels while maintaining anything close to our present economy because inexpensive new technology doesn't yet exist.
During that time the growth in fossil fuel use will be overseas in developing countries, and largely controlled by state oil companies, where McKibben's plan to get angry will be ignored as silliness.
Rather than following the angry plan, let's encourage more kids to study engineering. That's where our energy and climate issues have the best chance of really being solved.
Why drug laws don't work
Re "Cartels thrive despite Calderon's crackdown," Aug. 8
It is deja vu, a replay of the late 1920s.
President Herbert Hoover was elected in 1928 on a platform requiring that national prohibition of alcohol be enforced, since it was the law of the land.
Enforcing Prohibition caused more violence and corruption in our cities, just as the escalation of the drug war does today along our Mexican border.
But it was a blessing in disguise because it woke us up to the futility of trying to stamp out a popular drug. We ended Prohibition in 1933 and have never considered going back.
It was strong medicine, but the only way to end the violence and corruption — and to restore tax revenue lost to Prohibition.
Palm Harbor, Fla.
Perhaps a better headline would have been "Cartels thrive because of Calderon's crackdown."
On Prop. 8, voters' will is all
Re "Reason prevails on Prop. 8," Editorial, Aug. 5
And you wonder why the voter turnout is so low?
After 52% of California voters in the 2008 election voted for Proposition 8 — despite the media blitz against it — one federal judge, citing the 14th Amendment, sets aside the will of the majority of the state of California.
If the will of the people is not to be respected, why bother to vote? Just let those in government run our lives for us — or is that the agenda?