Need a dog? Try a shelter
Re "Good dog? Homeland Security might have just the job for you," July 17
Is it any wonder our nation is sinking deeper into debt when Homeland Security's inspector general thinks $4,535 on average is "a reasonable cost" for each untrained dog purchased to join our customs and border protection efforts?
I recommend the inspector general assign a team to do a search at the local animal shelters and on PetFinder.com, where they will find thousands of retrievers, shepherds and other working breeds for a mere $100 or so adoption fee.
That would equate to a savings of $13,605,000 over the next five years for the 3,000 dogs they plan to purchase from breeders — and would also give smart, hardworking dogs a second chance at life.
I am not in favor of using animals for any form of work.
These dogs are put in danger constantly. If they sniff for bombs, there is a chance they will get blown up. If they sniff for drugs, there is a chance they will be shot. Some of them will be screened for "the ability to disregard blows from a stick." I couldn't imagine giving a dog to someone who told me the dog might get hit now and again — and will have to put up with it.
This is just another example of how we use
and abuse animals in our society.
Wielding the budget ax
Re "Chiang hitches wagon to an ax," July 16
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's spokesman, Aaron McLear, thinks that 3 1/2 years "is more than enough time [for John Chiang] to figure out how to do his job" — as though Chiang's job description includes taking advantage of state employees.
Ha ha. Very funny, McLear. The Legislature has had decades to learn how to come up with a budget, yet it and the governor still can't figure it out.
It is time for Californians to get serious about constitutional reform, which could end this state's budgeting deadlock.
State workers are not pawns. They did not agree to fund the state deficit from their personal savings, as Chiang knows.
In this battle, Chiang is David fighting Goliath.
I am rooting for Chiang.
The $64,000 question
Re "A rich political question," July 17
Few of us begrudge the successful accumulation of wealth through hard work, wise business practices or smart financial decisions, however unpopular.
But when wealth is gained at the expense of integrity and moral certitude, then something is seriously wrong.
Carly Fiorina got rich as she (unapologetically) drove U.S. tech leader Hewlett-Packard into the ground. How would she do with the federal budget? Would she care?
Meg Whitman apparently feels it's OK to use Goldman Sachs' advice to profit personally at the expense of her company, to the tune of $1.78 million. Would she feel the same way about abusing her position as governor?
Wealth has nothing to do with it. The real question is: Do we really want these women running our state?
Deaths in the desert
Re "Immigrant deaths in Arizona desert soar with temperatures," July 17, and "Mexico arrests shed light on migrant-kidnapping outfits," July 18
It's a tragedy that 40 illegal immigrants have died of heat-related problems so far in July.
Add to this the kidnappings of migrants on the Mexican side of the border by heavily armed bandits, as reported by The Times, and the failure of our federal government to enforce border controls, and you see a cynicism beyond belief.
How many more of these unfortunates must be tempted in our direction before we realize that lax border enforcement can be deadly — very deadly?
Perhaps Arizona's SB 1070 is more humane than the current federal administration can appreciate.
Re "The Arizona effect," Opinion, July 16
Maria Elena Durazo's poll of Latino voters produced responses that might have been expected. The question the executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor didn't appear to have asked was how Latino voters — legal California residents — feel about unchecked illegal immigration and the resulting competition for housing, services and jobs. I would like to hear an answer to that question.
No sympathy for a lawyer
Re "Chill the lawyers," Opinion, July 15
The case against Lynne Stewart couldn't be more clear, despite Petra Bartosiewicz's apologetic article on her behalf. Stewart represents all that's wrong with our legal system, and her strident anti-American activities have finally come back to haunt her.
It is to our society's benefit that she has been judged in a post-9/11 context, and not the contrary, as Bartosiewicz suggests. With supporters such as Ramsey Clark and George Soros rallying to her side, it's no wonder the government took another long look at her case and decided that 2 1/2 years was far too lenient.