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Letters to the editor

On Hurricane Irene; reforming California's initiative system; and large trucks on small roads

August 31, 2011
  • New Yorkers wade on South Street in Lower Manhattan, where Hurricane Irene -- weakened to a tropical storm by the time it reached the city -- sent water over a sea wall on the East River.
New Yorkers wade on South Street in Lower Manhattan, where Hurricane Irene… (Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles…)

Hurricane watch

Re "Irene takes last swipe at Northeast," Aug. 29

"Damned if you do, damned if you don't."

Some people actually seem disappointed that the federal and local governments went overboard in their warnings that Hurricane Irene could be a major disaster for the United States — but wasn't.

I for one think that is exactly one of the reasons we have a federal government: to protect citizens from potential disasters. A job well done.

Steve Binder


Whenever there's a big windstorm, trees are uprooted and power lines are pulled down. As our planet warms, (arguing over the causes is irrelevant), we all can look forward to decades of more powerful storms.

It's time for power companies, ratepayers and local government to join forces to move overhead power lines to underground vaults. Given the cost of restoring power after storms, the economic and human consequences of electrical outages and the danger of live wires, it's a sound investment.

And by the way, it will create more than a few jobs from coast to coast, in exactly the right places and at the right time.

Marvin J. Wolf

Mar Vista Heights

Reforming initiatives

Re "Bills would rein in initiatives," Aug. 27

I was thrilled to read that the Democrats have proposed measures to reform the initiative process in California, which was created by progressives to end the stranglehold that wealthy corporations had on state government.

Unfortunately, those progressives did not foresee that the rich and powerful would capture the initiative process and use it as a bludgeon against the will of the people.

If we are to have government that works for Californians, we need to reform the initiative process so that it functions as a voice of the people once again, instead of the voice of special interests.

Charles Delgadillo

Santa Barbara

The Democratic Party seems to have changed radically recently.

For years it claimed to be the party of the little man, the unrepresented masses. Now it seems to have taken the view that the government should be led by "knowledgeable" people only.

The initiative process was brought into our state government by Hiram Johnson in 1911. It was put in so that the people would be able to resist the tendency of the political class to do whatever it wanted.

Now the Democratic legislators have decided the people have too much control over them and want to restrict the initiative process.

Clyde L. Dotson


Reform of the initiative process in California should not be a partisan issue.

The bottom line is that it's just a really bad way to make law.

The typical initiative is put on the ballot by a special-interest group with a position to advance. It is given an appealing name.

There is no give-and-take between competing interests in formulating the wording of the initiative, such as we see in the Legislature. The initiative is worded exactly as the special-interest group desires. There may be some very appealing provisions in the initiative — but also some very disturbing ones (and the devil is often in the details).

Once the initiative is passed, the people of California are stuck with the whole messy partisan enchilada — and often a good case of nausea.

Jeffrey Stewart

Eagle Rock

Heavy vehicles, lightweight roads

Re "Hollywood tour buses feel the weight of the law," Aug. 28

Kudos to Officer Timothy Rolsen, Sgt. Christopher Kunz and the LAPD for ticketing sightseeing vans that careen through tiny canyon roads, blasting amplified tour-guide narration as they go.

These are just a few of the many oversized vehicles that use our old and crumbling canyon roads, which were not engineered for heavy truck traffic.

Cement trucks as well as school buses and delivery trucks cut through Beverly Glen; they are all too large to stay in their lane on our curvy, two-lane road.

Evelyn Alexander

Beverly Glen

Although I applaud the new diligence of the LAPD about overweight tour buses on residential streets, I am wondering why we have not seen police pulling over residents in Hummers or the myriad other SUVs that are over the vehicle weight limit.

Of course everyone is equal under the eyes of — and in the application of — the law, and I am certain that if police see someone driving their kids to school in a too-heavy SUV on one of these roads, they will be equally diligent in issuing tickets.

Jon Phillips


Art doesn't a terrorist make

Re "Incendiary painting is his bank statement," Aug. 28

Anybody who thinks deeply over the legacy of 9/11 must find irony in the story of artist Alex Schaefer's "brush with the law" over a painting of a burning bank.

Have some in our society been pushed so far toward paranoia as to confuse a symbolic protest through art with a terrorist plot? Did the detectives who suspected Schaefer of being up to no good seriously believe that a criminal would advertise his deed in advance by painting a picture of it in clear public view?

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