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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Ruben Salazar's daughter on her father's killing; Jonah Goldberg on debt deal; L.A. County's pastic bag ban

August 12, 2011
  • A sheriff's deputy aims his gun outside the Silver Dollar Bar where newsman Ruben Salazar died in 1970 after being struck in the head by a tear-gas canister on Aug. 29, 1970.
A sheriff's deputy aims his gun outside the Silver Dollar Bar where… (Raul Ruiz )

Doubts in Salazar case

Re "Finally, transparency in the Ruben Salazar case," Column, Aug. 5

Although I'm grateful that the mysterious circumstances surrounding my father's death remain a matter of public interest, I must protest Hector Tobar's column.

Last October, my family met with L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca; we were allowed to view eight boxes of original material, which we worked through for several days. Later, researchers got access. We all felt that important questions were still left unresolved.

Given Tobar's limited research (he says he got access to "documents in a digital form," and he doesn't question whether anything was withheld), his declaration that "just about everything I saw smacks of an accident" is disconcerting. Transparency has not been achieved. Baca must make the original, unredacted material available to all.

Tobar should exhibit a more rigorous approach to the details of a tragic incident that has left enduring scars in both my heart and the hearts of the Latino community.

Stephanie Salazar Cook

Honolulu

Enough blame to go around

Re "Wake up and smell the tea," Opinion, Aug. 9

Jonah Goldberg praises the "tea partyers" as "the forces of sobriety" who "held their noses while spending ramped up for a decade under Bush." (Where were their voices then?) He calls Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) ridiculously unworkable plan "a serious budget." And he blames President Obama for his "paranoid venality" and his "massive increase in federal spending."

Research by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows the blame for the deficit belongs not to Obama, but to George W. Bush, a fact that gets little attention on the political ramparts these days. The total cost of new policies under Bush: $5.07 trillion; under Obama: $1.44 trillion.

Goldberg should tone down the bombast.

June A. Maguire

Mission Viejo

Goldberg simply ignores the facts when he states that some liberals "think" Standard & Poor's downgrade is a direct result of Washington's inability to raise taxes to pay for the massive increase in federal spending.

S&P couldn't have stated more clearly that one of the main factors for changing its rating of U.S. creditworthiness is its assumption that Bush's tax cuts will remain beyond 2013 because Republicans in Congress resist any measure to raise revenues.

Unfortunately, we have no reason to question S&P's assumption.

Sandy Davidson

Los Angeles

Goldberg is right about the Democrats and Republicans. Both parties blew chances to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis in a timely and productive way. As a result, we now face political and financial chaos. Traditional Republicans are being chased by the tea party fundamentalists, and the White House is trying to put a lid on the three Ds: soaring debt, the credit downgrade and a free-falling Dow.

But Goldberg, a gifted writer, should focus more on what's truly ailing America: our sluggish economy. More than 20 million Americans are out of work or underemployed. When you factor in their families, at least 45 million people are suffering financially. How does anyone — Democrats, Republicans or the tea party — plan to save this Titanic?

The 2012 presidential talking points are already etched in stone. I wonder if there's enough tea to soothe America's ailing economic beast.

A.L. Cynton

Laguna Beach

Consequences of plastic bag ban

Re "Shoppers run into plastic bag ban," Business, Aug. 6

I agree that plastic bags should be banned to help our environment. However, I strongly disagree that supermarkets should charge 10 cents for each paper bag.

Having worked for one of the big three chains for more than 33 years, I know that customers are already being charged for the bags they use as part of the "expenses" of the store. In other words, the stores are double-dipping when they charge for bags. Those paper bags cost about 3 cents each, so again the stores are making an additional profit.

When will the gouging stop?

Eric Garnier

Ventura

Basic plastic bags are not good for the environment, but just getting rid of plastic bags doesn't fully address the issue.

What about those of us who have dogs and need disposable bags to clean up after them and other pets? Now we must buy bags for this purpose? This seems wasteful. Gelson's Markets started using stronger, greener bags, making them easier to reuse after you bring home your groceries.

If you don't want to use paper or plastic, fine, bring your own bags. But the point is that you have a choice.

Wendy Churukian

Pasadena

Legislature's secret business

Re "Open the Assembly's books," Editorial, Aug. 10

Now that state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) is challenging the speaker of the Assembly over the Legislature's secret spending habits, suddenly there is front-page interest in the issue.

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