Other icons should be next to the cross
Re "Court allows Mojave cross," April 29
If the cross can be on public land, then the Star of David and the symbols for each and every constitutionally protected religion in this country should be displayed right next to it, in equal proportion and in full view of all to show that this country does not discriminate and honors all religions.
And if a religious sect cannot afford to place its icon there, then the state should pay for it and its upkeep.
It looks like racism to them
Re "An ugly, necessary law," Opinion, April 27
Welcome to the new racism.
Jonah Goldberg simplistically equates the "ugly" of the new Arizona law (which will be felt by Latinos) to the "ugly" of airport searches, IRS policies and the Patriot Act (which is felt by everyone).
Goldberg has written that "tea party" meetings aren't racist. How would he know? It is clear he doesn't understand what racism is.
So government power is tyrannical and incompetently implemented in all forms — except when supporting a conservative cause. In that case, exponential expansions of government power need to be "balanced against necessity."
I would say I'm surprised, but such pitiful hypocrisy is par for the course from Goldberg.
After marching out a number of straw men, Goldberg avoids mentioning the effect this law will have on law enforcement.
This law will make the immigrant population of Arizona, legal or not, reluctant to talk to peace officers when a crime has been committed. It will work against real law enforcement and real crime investigation. Immigrant-on-immigrant crime will skyrocket because victims will not come forward for fear of being investigated themselves. This will give the drug cartels and organized crime a lot more power. They will no longer need to intimidate witnesses. The police will be doing that for them.
Teachers, good and bad
Re "Yes, blame the system," Editorial, April 26
As a teacher for over 38 years, I know how teachers are evaluated and how tenure has been abused.
The current system must be reformed, but I have seen brilliant teachers teaching low-achieving students be evaluated as poor teachers because of their students' progress, while others teaching AP classes were touted as being great teachers. Teaching is really an art, requiring unique skill to get students to buy into the curriculum. That is very difficult to effectively evaluate if one is not in the classroom on a daily basis.
Also, I have seen highly enthusiastic and creative teachers get poor evaluations because the administrators did not like them personally or politically.
The system is poor, but the fixes might be worse.
Respect for a dam builder
Re "Floyd E. Dominy, 1909-2010," Obituary, April 28
I was never a fan of dam builder and Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Floyd Dominy, but I did respect the bureau in an era when dam building was considered rational and presumably a productive environmental change.
As a conservationist, it took me some years to reject dams in principle but not always in fact.
Let's not oversimplify dams as either good or bad. Southern California is overgrown, over-demanding of finite water resources and almost entirely dependent on imported water impounded somewhere outside our watersheds. But if we are going to be critical of dam builders, go back a couple of generations to William Mulholland and others.
And as users of Colorado River water, we all should share some guilt: after the fact of dam construction, let's use water more effectively. Conservation of what we have should be our legacy to the next generation.
The writer is professor emeritus of geography at Cal State Fullerton.
Red Planet reality
Re "Too big a step for mankind," Opinion, April 26
I suggest that you keep in a safe place Simon Ramo's Op-Ed regarding the unsuitability of crewed travel to Mars. It is destined to go down in history along with other myopic predictions, such as Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM in 1943 stating, "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers"; Dr. Lee de Forest, father of radio, in 1957 stating, "Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances"; and the best for last, Lord Kelvin, president of the Royal Society, in 1895 stating, "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."
The issue is not feasibility but national will.
Palos Verdes Estates
I'm glad this guy Ramo was not on the dock when Columbus set sail!
Mary L. Lambert
Ramo is right. There is no reason to send humans into space except for pork-barrel purposes.
What is the continuing scientific use of the International Space Station
What did we find out about the moon by sending men there that we could not have learned by sending unmanned robots at a fraction of the cost?