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Protesting the Koch brothers; jets and the Santa Monica airport; tax breaks for Big Oil

February 02, 2011

Seeing dollar signs

Re "Billionaire brothers undermine democracy, demonstrators say," Jan. 31

Heaven forbid that brothers Charles and David Koch host a meeting to discuss conservative causes and how to support them. How undemocratic! Worse yet is that they contribute financially to those causes.

Now comes the ultimate in hypocrisy when a retired teacher says: "It's putting democracy in the hands of people like the Kochs and others. It's not who you vote for; it's how much money you've got." I guess he forgot about the teachers unions and others.

By the way, I liked all the professionally made signs the protestors were carrying. They must have cost some big money.

Don Ruh


The Koch brothers' funding of numerous far-right causes is well documented. I wonder how many "tea party" members are aware that their purported "grass-roots" organizations are funded by some of the biggest billionaires in America? Do they know from where their marching orders originate, and for whom they are carrying water?

Whatever gains the tea party may make, the only beneficiaries will be the Koch brothers and their cronies.

Chuck Almdale

North Hills

I share the concerns of those who were demonstrating against the Koch brothers.

I fully support their next protest, which, I assume, will take place at the next meeting held by George Soros.

H.A. Velasco

La Verne

Santa Monica's airport issues

Re "The little airport that can," Editorial, Jan. 29

We appreciate The Times putting the spotlight on Santa Monica Municipal Airport and the issues arising from a busy jetport in a dense residential neighborhood. However, the issues are far more complex than The Times acknowledges. Its sarcastic suggestion that the city hold a fundraiser to pay for major safety projects diminishes the dialogue.

Airport safety and the health of neighbors are paramount concerns. We are embarking on an ambitious plan to gather community input and assess all options for the airport's future when the current operating agreement expires in 2015. We will consider all community needs and will study best practices from around the world.

The future of the Santa Monica airport is one of the most important decisions facing the city and region. We must carefully consider its challenges, options and destiny.

Richard Bloom

Santa Monica

The writer is mayor of Santa Monica.

You hit the mark: Santa Monica should accept immediately the Federal Aviation Administration's offer of an "engineered material arrestor system," the barrier of crushable concrete mentioned in your editorial. City Hall had turned it down for the dubious reason that the FAA money might require the city to continue to support an airport in Santa Monica.

The barrier system works. The one installed in 1996 at New York's JFK airport has successfully stopped three aircraft, including a Boeing 747. The one installed at Burbank's Bob Hope Airport stopped New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez's jet during an overrun. These barriers are a proven safety enhancement.

Reynold Dacon

Santa Monica

There are so many good reasons why jets should not be allowed to take off in our neighborhood; pollution wasn't addressed.

It is no secret that jet emissions produce very high concentrations of ultrafine particles, and these particles are infiltrating our community. They are toxic, and yet nothing is done and jets continue to take off several times a day.

I think the issue of pollution should be enough to ban jets from the Santa Monica airport.

Phyllis Chavez

Santa Monica

Unless members of The Times' editorial board live next to the Santa Monica airport and are fine with the danger, the paper is insulting airport neighbors with the suggestion that the city should accept an ineffective safety proposal.

The FAA's inadequate safety proposal will also not protect residents from air and noise pollution from jets. Nor will it protect Los Angeles, as well as Santa Monica's neighbors, from planes overshooting the runway or crashing into homes. We are not talking about toy airplanes here.

May I suggest that you leave this issue to airport neighbors, the city of Santa Monica and the FAA.

Regula K. Ziegler

Santa Monica

Taking stock of Big Oil

Re "Big breaks for Big Oil," Editorial, Jan. 28

I was pleased to read your Big Oil editorial; I learned more about the absurd tax breaks that Congress gives to very rich companies.

I see the oil industry's selfishness as unpatriotic. Our troops sacrifice daily, as do law enforcement officers and most of those who work for wages. So why, when their profits are in the billions, do we allow giant petroleum producers to raise gasoline prices so high that they affect the economy adversely? There are a lot more motorists in this country than there are Big Oil stockholders.

In 2012, I hope voters remember who voted for gifts to Big Oil.

Lou Jacobs Jr.

Cathedral City

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