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Letters to the editor

On President Obama's traffic-jam-producing visits to L.A.; California inmate wants a sex-change operation; and the fate of the Dodgers is uncertain

April 26, 2011

Spotlight on an issue

Re "Easter week ritual takes on new meaning," April 2

It took The Times, a newspaper clear across the country, to show me what was happening in my own backyard, a few miles north.

What a moving photo of immigrants having their feet washed in Georgia. Kudos to the photographer and writer, and to the editors.

Let us remember why our food is still relatively inexpensive and why people can afford home care for elderly family members.

We are all culpable in the immigration issue, and it is time that Americans admit that — and create programs to integrate guest workers and to treat them with dignity and worth.

Eleanor Sommer

Gainesville, Fl

Presidential traffic jams

Re "Obama's L.A. visit means traffic grief," April 21, and "Obama visit slows some traffic," April 22

Westsiders are in a tizzy about the traffic snarls President Obama causes when he is in town.

These same people were expressing outrage when President Bush decided not to land his plane in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

It is impossible to move any president and all the security and staff around without causing disruptions.

Democratic presidents and candidates do come to West Los Angeles often. The alternative is voting for and electing Republicans — who do not come this way for campaign contributions.

Roy Fassel

Los Angeles

Given the obvious horrendous disruption of activity and the attendant economic loss when we are "blessed" with a presidential visit whose acknowledged purpose is fundraising, one might ask why we need to go to such extreme lengths to accommodate such visits.

He could save us all much time and money if he invited his cronies to the White House and begged for money on his own turf.

Joe Kaspar

Los Angeles

I am shocked and outraged by the lack of respect and understanding as noted by those quoted in your article.

L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl hopes that the president "learned a lesson" last year because his motorcade causes traffic jams. Perhaps the honorable council member doesn't know that the president doesn't personally decide the routes and street closures; he has security professionals who perform that task.

And then there's the person who can't understand why City Hall won't announce the route in advance. Perhaps she is unaware of the threats?

As someone who has sat through traffic jams caused by presidential motorcades going back to the Nixon administration, I say: Grow up, Los Angeles.

Jon Merritt

Los Angeles

The gap between rich and poor

Re "Working outside the walls," April 20

You don't have to go as far as Mexico City to see disparities between the rich and the working poor.

Your reporter's view of Lomas de Chapultepec should remind us that we can see similar gaps in L.A. — with or without walls.

Where I live in the South Bay, immigrant nannies, gardeners, house painters, construction workers, housecleaners, cooks, waiters and taco truck vendors abound. Many of them also have second and third jobs that they somehow manage to squeeze into their work day.

By and large, their labors allow their employers to live comfortably.

While these workers struggle to survive, they often earn enough to send money home and gain a foothold in our prosperity.

Ron Arias

Hermosa Beach

Keeping busy is the key

Re "Work longer, live happier," Opinion, April 20

Katherine Schlaerth generally has it right. Continuing working tends to enhance and extend one's life.

But I don't agree with the definition of "work" as continuing in one's job (whatever its nature) beyond the predicated age 65.

After working most of my life in an uncreative job, which alternated tension with boredom, I find my life now — devoted to learning, writing and teaching — immeasurably happier.

I consider what I do, including writing this comment to The Times, also to be work.

Certainly, some formal work extended beyond retirement age enhances and extends one's life. Creative individuals such as noted artists and scientists appear to live longer.

But, for many of us, the definition of work should be modified to include also "staying active after formal retirement."

Jack Kaczorowski

Los Angeles

Sex change and prison walls

Re "Inmate sues state for sex change," April 20

Millions of law-abiding California citizens who work jobs and pay taxes cannot afford medical treatment for their kids or themselves, and health insurance is out of their reach because they are not rich enough to pay or poor enough for taxpayers to pay.

So why is a convicted killer, serving 50 years to life, being allowed to sue California (and its already overburdened taxpayers) to require us to pick up the tab for a sex-change operation?

Apparently at least 300 inmates in the state prison system are diagnosed with gender identity disorder; will they soon be lining up with their hands out expecting taxpayers to pay for their surgeries?

Our criminal justice system continues to mean justice for the criminals while law-abiding, hardworking taxpayers get zilch.

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