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Letters to the editor

A greener DWP; battling Mexico's drug carters; saving the salmon

March 19, 2010

It's a sandy slope

Re “Dune detente could end,” March 12

When I was a kid in the 1960s, I loved to slide on waxed cardboard down the dune in Manhattan Beach's Sand Dune Park. My mom, who also grew up in Manhattan Beach, ran free on the dunes in the '30s.

I'm saddened to hear that now the dune may be closed. My grandpa, Ralph Dorsey, Los Angeles' chief traffic engineer, worked tirelessly on the Manhattan Beach City Council and as mayor to expand recreational opportunities. He'd be dismayed to see kids and adults shut out of Sand Dune Park. That's not how Manhattan Beach used to work.

Our family has a house near the top of the dune, and we sympathize with neighbors who are concerned about overuse. Luckily, there's a sensible middle ground: Allow the dune to be shared, with some well-thought-out regulations. Let's keep recreation open to all!

Kathryn Gray
Manhattan Beach

Money and a green DWP

Re “DWP rates could go up 8% to 28%,” March 16

This rate hike exposes the "Green L.A." program for the hypocrisy that it is. If it were truly a program to increase green power in L.A., the Department of Water and Power would not have asked for an exemption from the state-mandated "buyback" metering of residential solar power.

The mayor and the City Council wish to protect their cronies at the DWP, which is one of the more inefficient and poorly managed municipal power companies in the U.S.

Mr. Mayor, if you want to do something to try to stimulate residential greening, rescind the DWP exemption to "buyback" and institute differential rate metering, so that I will pay less and put less demand on the grid when I do my laundry at 10 p.m.

If you were endorsing these precepts, you would have my support to increase power charges. Short of that, I see this as more of the same old gouge-the-customer-but-don't-rock-the-DWP boat.

John Miller
Los Angeles

Re “Greening the DWP,” Editorial, March 17

The plan is not transparent? How naive.

The only operative phrase is "keeping money flowing from the utility to City Hall." The rest is smoke and mirrors.

W. L. Sibley

Who's buying the drugs?

Re “How Mexico gets it wrong,” Opinion, March 16

There's one significant factor missing in John M. Ackerman's Op-Ed article, and it's almost never part of our discussion about violence south of the border: The North American appetite for drugs is voracious, and the weapons used by the drug gangs are generously provided by willing American arms dealers. Because we arm the cartels, and because we buy the drugs, how do we get off criticizing Mexico's government?

It reminds me of a saying by an itinerant rabbi in ancient Palestine (whose name was Jesus): "Physician, heal thyself!"

Emery J. Cummins
San Diego

No one in the Mexican government denies that strengthening public institutions and the rule of law are key in the fight against organized crime, or that the armed forces alone cannot achieve success in the fight against drug traffickers. A more transparent and effective rule of law has to have -- and will continue to have -- a preeminent role as Mexico and the U.S. seek to deepen police and judicial reform and build stronger border communities.

But we cannot swap law enforcement for social programs or an effective judiciary as if we were switching TV channels. Traffickers need to be pushed back to create space for social programs and reforms to our justice system to take root.

Instead of insisting on trite U-turns in the strategy against organized crime, Ackerman should be evaluating the best ways to mesh law enforcement with the strengthening of institutions, the rule of law, economic opportunities and social resiliency. Multi-tasking in the fight against this scourge is the only option.

Arturo Sarukhan
The writer is the Mexican ambassador to the United States.

Taking stock of salmon

Re “An upstream battle,” Editorial, March 12

Your editorial on the control of salmon-eating sea lions missed the mark. It is accurate that California sea lions contribute to the decline of endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest -- in fact, I've worked in a bipartisan manner to address this issue. However, removing the four Snake River dams would not save salmon.

Dam removal would result in lost power generation, higher energy prices and thousands of lost jobs -- all for an extreme action that science hasn't shown would lead to fish recovery. That's why there is overwhelming bipartisan consensus in the Northwest against Snake River dam removal.

Instead, we need collaboration and broad agreement on a fish recovery plan that is grounded in science, not politics like your editorial.

Doc Hastings
The writer is a congressman from Washington state and the ranking Republican member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

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