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At the Oscars; overtime pay for state workers; a Black History Month parade gone awry

Letters to the editor

March 10, 2010

The winners are ...

Re “ ‘Hurt’ locks it up,” March 8

The sycophantic exalting of the various actor nominees at the Oscars during their joint introduction was enough to give one diabetes.

On the other hand, it was refreshing to hear Kathryn Bigelow, in her Oscar acceptance speech, thanking the U.S. service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, in contrast to James Cameron's demeaning of the U.S. military in his movie "Avatar."

John F. Haggerty
Woodland Hills

The people of the world voted and made "Avatar" the most popular movie in history. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted and all but ignored the movie, instead piling Oscars on a war movie, "The Hurt Locker" -- a story based on "truth" that is being challenged by combat troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So this raises the question: What foreign planet do members of the academy inhabit? Obviously, it is not Earth. Not even close.

Colin Dangaard
Malibu

As I watched Barbra Streisand say, "Well, the time has come," as she announced Bigelow as the first woman to win an Oscar for best director -- and saw "Precious" director Lee Daniels on the same stage -- I couldn't help but wonder when the "time will come" and we'll see a black director win.

Patrick Cervantes
Eagle Rock

Actor, actress and Oscar

Re “Oscar isn’t sexist,” Opinion, March 7

Denis Dutton advocates keeping the male and female variants in descriptions of those who act.


FOR THE RECORD:
Oscars: The first name of film star Jodie Foster was misspelled as Jodi in a letter Wednesday about the use of the term "actress." —

However, he overlooks the fact that the job description is "actor," while "actress" is a subcategory of the real thing. That "-ess" suffix immediately affixes second-class status to the females. Long ago, Meryl Streep and Jodi Foster called themselves actors, and many other women in the profession have since joined them.

What I do not understand is why the Oscars still use that sexist term for women. It would be so simple to have two categories: best actor, male and best actor, female.

Judi Birnberg
Sherman Oaks

Dutton's ahistorical argument is exploded by his own reference to Shakespeare, whose female characters were played by, and were written to be played by, men. There were no actresses on the Elizabethan stage, only actors.

Pamela Hobbs
Los Angeles

When overtime really adds up

Re “Overtime may offset furloughs,” March 7

Thank you for the article exposing how some state employees "game" the system with overtime hours and take home even more pay after furloughs.

I was particularly shocked at the comment by the nurse who got paid $270,000 last year by working overtime. In saying, "We work the overtime; I don't think it's anybody's business," she shows little regard for the rest of us hardworking taxpayers who make far less money yet are paying her extremely generous income.

Robert McVerry
Laguna Hills

If employees of our state agencies are earning more than $100,000 just in overtime, that seems to indicate the agencies need to hire more workers.

Erica Stux
Chatsworth

I myself have worked many hours of overtime in the state system.

Sometimes a state employee is unable to report for a shift. Supervisors ask for volunteers to cover the shift. Safety and licensing requirements need to be maintained.

Many state jobs, especially in prisons and mental facilities, are not the most desirable. Not everyone wants to work them. Overtime volunteers are not only happy to help out but are devoted to their profession.

Debra Bateman, RN
Palm Springs

Not worth it

Re “Staff got raises as speaker left post,” March 6

Stop the madness! Former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass has the nerve to proclaim, "We definitely succeeded in tightening our belt," but then OKs a pay raise for 20 staff members, including an aide who now "earns" almost $100,000 a year.

I'm running for the Assembly in the 47th District to reduce the waste in government. I will not accept a salary when elected. I will serve my fellow taxpaying neighbors, not fatten my bank account.

Ed Nicoletti
Los Angeles

Role models in history

Re “The wrong history lesson,” Editorial, March 6

You were far too kind to the teachers who mocked Black History Month with an odd trio of individuals.

My students have learned about Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Marian Anderson and the Little Rock Nine. Children of all backgrounds admire the achievements of such glorious Americans. They should not be subjected to the bizarre insensitivity these teachers exhibited.

Humor? Not even close.

Ann Bourman
Los Angeles

The actions of these teachers, although inappropriate, give rise to an overdue debate: When will Los Angeles Unified and other school districts across the country put a stop to Black History Month?

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