Playing the game
Re "Libraries bleed, games gain," Column, Sept 24
I read Hector Tobar's column with particular interest: One of our children is a gamer, while the other attends UC Santa Cruz and wants to become a librarian. (I will say, however, that the gamer also does a lot of reading, with an avid interest in U.S. history and economics).
Perhaps Tobar should initiate a campaign asking people, especially regular gaming customers, to send letters to electronics giants and game makers calling on them to contribute some of their massive profits toward keeping libraries open.
It's a sad state of society when kids are more literate on Halo than Harry Potter.
I have a console-free household (if you don't count the circa-1973 Atari Pong hooked up to the living room TV) and intend to keep it so, for as long as possible.
Limiting library hours is a bad thing — a sure way to bring about societal decay.
Thanks to Tobar for voicing my outrage.
I am a middle school teacher. I too was disturbed when I found out a number of our students were allowed to attend the midnight release of Halo: Reach and then miss school the next day, either due to exhaustion or to continue playing the game.
I eagerly await The Times' publication of the "least effective parenting" database.
Sharon Klein Hart
Felons as caregivers
Re "Many felons work as state caregivers, " Sept. 24, and "Gov. sees 'crisis' in caregiver program,"
Felons working as state caregivers or in any other job is a positive situation in our economy.
The laws of California and most other states make it difficult if not impossible for a person who has been in prison to find a means to support himself after release. The result is a recidivism rate two to three times greater than that of other modern countries, most of which help felons find jobs after they've been released.
Our policy on that subject does not create greater safety for us; it makes our environment less safe because the person unable to find a job frequently returns to criminal practices to make a living. Numerous studies support this conclusion.
It must be admitted that there is the possibility of former felons abusing or defrauding those they care for or perform other work for, but our policies multiply that possibility rather than reduce it.
I am appalled that an employee union apparently refuses to block criminals in our home healthcare program from working with elderly/sick people.
I am also angry that our Legislature is so weak that it can't put in place standards to protect people.
The weakest and most vulnerable here are not given the slightest concern, in exchange for more union power/dues and donations to Democratic legislators.
The perpetrators highlighted here cannot continue working in this profession.
These people broke faith with society, and although they have "paid" their price, it is inconceivable to think a jail term requires society to have faith in them again.
Every citizen should contact his or her Assembly or state Senate representative and demand that they restrict these people from working in the caregiver field.
In the meantime, every family with members receiving this kind of care should go online and ask that the caregiver — if found to have a criminal record — be removed.
Alan L. Strzemieczny
Given Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's track record, this latest pronouncement of a "public safety crisis" should be met with extreme skepticism.
Under current law, In Home Supportive Services consumers can obtain information on the criminal background history of their providers or prospective providers. But Schwarzenegger has failed to provide needed regulations to guide the counties in implementing this.
If the governor is so interested in protecting elderly and disabled consumers, why has he cut funding for Adult Protective Services and for the social workers that administer IHSS?
Schwarzenegger is using this crime scare tactic as an excuse to cut the program, not to protect consumers.
The writer is communication director for UDW homecare providers.
Execution on hold
Re "Execution delayed by legal issues," Sept. 28, "Delaying the death penalty," Editorial, Sept. 28, and "Murderer's execution OKd," Sept. 25
The state of California, which can't pass a budget, built a shiny new execution chamber and badly wants to use it. However, it is running out of the execution drug it needs and is rushing to execute a man before the expiration date of the drug passes.
How can there be any confidence that a state that can't do much of anything right can fairly, much less humanely, put someone to death?