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Letters to the editor

Food for guns; problems at Fremont High; religion and the media

January 04, 2010

Gun control that works

Re , and “Man exchanges 58 guns for gift cards,” Dec. 30

This successful program of trading weapons for gift cards is one that works and works well. This should be done on a regular basis and as often as possible. It brings hope and helps rid our city of this chronic virus of violence that we have all come to accept as normal.

Any gun that is gone offers one more chance for preventing another senseless death. Please keep this going.

Our city thanks the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for its efforts in this ongoing battle against weapons.

Frances Terrell Lippman
Sherman Oaks

Fremont High's problems

Re “L.A. Unified steps up at last,” editorial, Dec. 27

If The Times had made even a cursory effort to do some research on teacher turnover for its editorial on the "reconstitution" of Fremont High School, it would have discovered that keeping good teachers at Fremont has always been a much bigger problem than getting rid of the few poor ones.

Many competent Fremont teachers are asking themselves why they should stick around. It is so much easier for Los Angeles Unified School District officials to blame teachers than to point the finger at the real culprit -- themselves -- for the mismanagement of the school. The district long ago should have eliminated cosmetology classes, instituted real vocational education and elevated academic decathlon to the status it deserves.

But of course, uniforms will cure all the problems at Fremont.

Barbara Stam
The writer is a teacher at Fremont High School.

The Times continues its editorial Band-Aid view regarding L.A. Unified. The only method for improving schools is to break up the district into 10 to 15 smaller ones. This would create local control and local involvement and remove the massive layers of administration that continue to be a drag.

L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines seems like a decent fellow with good intentions, but his vision is too large. Success in L.A. Unified will only come when folks think smaller.

Bill Raabe
Fountain Valley

The challenges of parenting

Re “Starting at home,” Opinion, Dec. 23

At what point do you stop blaming our teachers and our government for the sad fact that some parents are just bad parents? Better oversight and accountability for mandated parent involvement programs doesn't necessarily mean parents will participate in the programs.

Parenting is the most difficult job in the world, and some people are just not up to the challenge.

Nora Castillo

Dale Russakoff uses a tale of three mothers and an eggplant to illustrate a point about encouraging low-income students to engage with their children.

But this parable could also apply to today's multi-tasking or self-absorbed mothers. The first two mothers could very easily be too busy talking on their cellphones and ignoring their children, or very rushed to grab some quick groceries.

These are not just examples from a low-income background. The same thing could take place at Gelson's or Whole Foods.

Laurie Nada

Protecting consumers

Re “Targeting debt ‘fixers,’ ” Opinion, Dec. 26

Assembly Bill 350 will help protect consumers, contrary to assertions made by Ginna Green and Caryn Becker of the Center for Responsible Lending.

As it has done in several other states, the Assn. of Settlement Companies is working to get legislation passed that regulates the debt settlement industry in California. AB 350 would require licensing, background checks, accreditation by an independent third party, fee limitations and mandatory disclosures, among other strict requirements.

Assemblyman Ted Lieu (D- Torrance) has a strong record of supporting consumer interests and should be commended for working to create laws regulating an otherwise unregulated industry in California.

Opposing AB 350 will only hurt the consumers Green and Becker are trying to protect.

David Leuthold
Madison, Wis.
The writer is executive director of the Assn. of Settlement Companies, a trade organization.

Jani's case is unique

Re “A glint of hope in Jani’s world,” Dec. 29

Jani Schofield is blessed with parents who love her and understand that she needs nurturing and treatment.

If the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health is prepared to cover the expense of sending Jani to an out-of-state facility, why is it unwilling to cover the cost of housing and medical services for Jani's parents who, along with dedicated volunteers, are providing the care she needs?

Jani's case is unique and requires a nonstandard response from the mental health bureaucracy.

Evie Tole
Rancho Cucamonga

Invasion of privacy

Re “Selling what the dead left behind,” Dec. 28

A woman in reduced circumstances dies alone, and the county is left not only to bury her but to dispose of her personal possessions.

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