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California's new governor; gang warfare and its costs; and The Times' wish list for 2011

January 04, 2011

The wrong war

Re "Mexico army no match for drug cartels," Dec. 30

One tell-tale sign that your country is ruled by a combination of opportunists, hypocrites and dogmatists is if it wages a "war on drugs."

Mexico's rulers, at the urging of our rulers, are waging that war. They have sent in the army to defeat the drug cartels. The police have already lost the war, and it's now the army's to lose. The United States may next turn to the Mexican navy to step in so it can have a turn at losing the war.

It's pathetic and nearly incredible that American authorities have learned absolutely nothing from the failure of alcohol prohibition. The war we really need is not in Afghanistan or Iraq; it is a war against greedy or twisted minds — that is, a war on the absurd "war on drugs."

Roger Carasso

Los Angeles

The unbalanced state budget

Re "Brown plays hardball on state budget," Dec. 29

In the 1970s, then-Gov. Jerry Brown authorized collective bargaining for state employees. Over the years the process has cost California's taxpayers dearly.

Now, entering his new, third term as governor, Brown has outlined a number of steps he is considering to bring the California budget into balance. Nowhere does this article mention that state employee layoffs, reduced salaries or pension reform are being considered.

Organized labor spent millions on Brown's election. As one labor official put it in the article, "We're at the governor's service." Somehow, it would appear to be the other way around.

Don Craib


It's about time Californians pay more in taxes.

Several times at a department or electronics store I've asked the checkout clerks how many people didn't purchase something because of the temporary 1% sales tax. The answer is nobody.

Everybody who lives here and wants to buy something can handle a 1% sales tax. There's no sales tax on food, so it literally doesn't take food out of anyone's mouth, but it does cut our deficit by billions of dollars.

I'm sick of this mantra about no new taxes. Pay your fair share, especially those of you who can afford it, and stop making the needy suffer for your arrogance.

Robert Bubnovich


Goodbye 2010; hello 2011

Re "Our wishes for 2011," Editorial, Jan. 1

The Times declares in its lead New Year's Day editorial, "2010 wasn't such a bad year." This is indeed news to me.

With catastrophic earthquakes, devastating fires and floods, outbreaks of disease, two major wars (amid various simmering regional conflicts), high unemployment and foreclosure rates and an economic crisis that most of us haven't witnessed in our lifetimes, what would constitute a bad year? Perhaps the complete collapse of the already troubled newspaper industry (at least as we have known it)? I hope not!

Then again, I also would not and did not hope for the litany of tribulations listed above.

Ben Miles

Huntington Beach

The Times' 2011 wish list has many urgent no-brainers — single-digit unemployment, for example.

My wish would be to substitute some of your trivialities, such as good skiing and better cable TV, with a few game-changers, starting with reducing the power of money in politics (and its corollary: narrowing the gap between rich and poor); returning health and stability to Haiti (and its corollary: regaining a positive role for the U.S. in global affairs); and instituting better controls on pollution (and its corollary: strengthening regulatory laws.)

Jack Cooper

Van Nuys

With the continent of Africa suffering genocide, hunger and political unrest, Christians in Egypt and Iraq being killed almost every day and thousands of people languishing in Iran's prisons, you unconscionably wish for:

- The Lakers to win another championship.

- Rep. Maxine Waters to be exonerated.

- A "swimmable summer."

Shame on you.

Robert Rosati

Simi Valley

Gang violence's terrible toll

Re "Caught in the crossfire," Series, Dec. 29-31

As yet another innocent victim met an untimely death at the hands of gang-related violence, my heart is filled with sorrow for families whose loved ones have met a similar fate. As long as this pattern of destructive and wanton behavior continues, none of us are safe.

Although law enforcement is doing its utmost to bring these domestic terrorists to justice, it cannot do it alone. It will take the communities to finally stand up and say "enough is enough" despite their fears. Fear keeps people from doing what they know is right — letting the authorities know which people are committing these atrocities.

The time is now for us to take back our neighborhoods from those who have made our streets battlegrounds in their turf wars.

Doris Reed

Los Angeles

Thank you for this excellent and tragic series.

The easy availability of guns in America is an ongoing plague. Until there is the political will to promote decent, effective and uniform gun control laws, the carnage will continue.

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