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The DREAM Act; the lame-duck Congress; Southern California's water needs

December 29, 2010

An arts school dilemma

Re "Access to arts school at issue," Dec. 26

Only Los Angeles would build an uber-pricey arts school and then debate whether it should primarily serve students with a demonstrated aptitude and passion for the arts.

Whether it's pur-

chasing textbooks written by one of its own administrators or keeping teachers with documented inappropriate behavior, the Los Angeles Unified School District exhibits a level of dysfunction that is incredible. Is a lack of resources really the issue?

I think not.

In this period, when better-quality education for all has never been more crucial, it is a miracle that in the L.A. Unified environment some lucky students are actually well educated.

Robert Gotham

Los Angeles

Some scary DREAM facts

Re "Some readers celebrate the demise of the DREAM Act," Column, Dec. 24

Does Hector Tobar think the population can grow forever?

In support of the DREAM Act amnesty, he mentions that fully 16% of L.A. County's workforce is undocumented, many with families. He expresses no misgivings about this large, unending stream of people.

L.A. is hardly so underpopulated that it needs to cram in more people however they arrive. The county isn't growing; only its population is.

Tobar cherry-picks his economic points to justify yet another amnesty: Thanks to the labor of the undocumented, we all get cheaper food, child care and car washes. He neglects to mention that we all get cheaper paychecks as well.

Reliance on an endless stream of cheap labor will ultimately bring a nightmare of overpopulation and wage depression. Scrooge's nightmares cannot compare to this.

Kenneth Pasternack

Santa Barbara

Tobar misses an important reason why many citizens oppose the DREAM Act. Were undocumented students or soldiers granted citizenship through the DREAM Act, would they then be able to legalize their spouses, parents and other relatives through family reunification laws?

As a retired college professor, I have known some of these outstanding undocumented students. But I have also known many more who "gamed" the college system for additional monies available to all students, even when they failed their classes.

Richard Ronald Wood

Vista, Calif.

Not as hopeful as Obama

Re "Obama finds hope after defeat," Dec. 23

Before President Obama pats himself on the back, he should ask himself if he has lowered the unemployment rate and created new jobs. I've been out of work since March and have been to various job fairs with little or no success, so I don't see any progress in hiring.

Perhaps Obama could use his powers of persuasion and ask the various philanthropic billionaires to use their money to create jobs rather than to donate to charities. The American people want to work in order to feel productive.

Every so often I check for the new "green" jobs that are being created, but it's useless for me because I don't have the training to apply for them.

For the rest of his term, Obama should focus on creating jobs. It may give him a good shot at reelection.

Dennis W. Wong

Van Nuys

The Times refers to the activity of Congress following the November elections as a "lame duck" session.

The Senate, indeed, has been lame since way before the fall elections thanks to the unprecedented and abusive use of the filibuster. However, the duck doesn't seem so lame this time around. As The Times notes, there has been "a litany of legislative accomplishments" recently.

Maybe the duck has evolved into an eager beaver.

Marilynn and Darrell Manderscheid

Fountain Valley

On capital punishment

Re "A questionable conviction," Editorial, Dec. 23

I commend The Times for calling on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to commute the death sentence of Kevin Cooper to life imprisonment.

Schwarzenegger was furious with his hometown in Austria when it moved to change the name of the local stadium that bore his name because of his refusal to halt the 2005 execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams. He should have recognized then the way Western countries feel about capital punishment in the United States.

He has a chance now to allow California to take its place among cultures that recognize that state execution is a stain on our moral character.

Execution does nothing to repair the damage done to the victims' families,

and, as The Times has eloquently put it before, it is not about the circumstances of the prisoner; it is about each California citizen and the moral standing of our state.

Eric Johnson

San Pedro

As a visitor from another state whose per-capita death row population is almost as large as California's, your editorial is regrettably familiar.

In Pennsylvania, racial bias, suborned testimony and planted evidence was an all-too-familiar pattern in capital trials in the early and mid-1980s.

There is little ground for confidence that law enforcement practices have improved significantly with the years. A 2003 state study in Pennsylvania found a system so flawed that it called for a moratorium on executions.

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