Church, state and a cross
Re "S.D. cross unconstitutional," Jan. 5
Hallelujah! Praise the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for its rational thinking. You cannot embrace religious freedom and a state bias toward one religion at the same time.
Here's a test. Take a similar cross and try erecting it on a mountaintop outside Islamabad or anywhere in Indonesia or Saudi Arabia, or try your luck with Cairo. If you had a visceral reaction to that, then you had a taste of just what it's like to live in a nation with only one official religion. Try visiting such a country; it's an eye opener, but remember to keep your mouth shut.
To all of our soldiers who have defended the land of the free and the home of the brave, thank you. To those who want to erect crosses on public land, be brave enough to leave the pristine purple mountains unmolested, the way God created them.
I am an atheist, and were I to drive past this cross, I would probably notice how beautiful it was. I certainly would not take the time to ponder whether the government had endorsed it. The issue is just not that important.
There are certainly more egregious ways in which the government does endorse religion. The time and money that was spent on fighting this ridiculous issue could have been spent in more important areas. Maybe we could have educated the "tea party" on the separation of church and state. Its members seem to tie God to every government issue.
No, come to think of it, that would be as big a waste of time as the cross fiasco.
In the grip of Prop. 13
Re "Brown takes a hard look at Prop. 13," Jan. 5
Here we go again. The myth that Proposition 13 is partly to blame for our state's fiscal problems is resurrected by the man who opposed it at the time and failed miserably to judge the will of the people before it passed.
Perhaps there was some short-term pain when Proposition 13 was enacted in 1978, but the idea that it has contributed to the state's recent fiscal problems is a joke.
Property values skyrocketed from 2000 to 2007. Every time a house was sold and thus reappraised, revenues increased. I have owned my house for 16 years, and my taxes are about 40% higher than they were at first, even under Proposition 13.
Any state that has high property values and high sales taxes but still can't come close to balancing its budget is out of control. Don't blame Proposition 13.
Gov. Jerry Brown should take a hard look; he's one of the major reasons Proposition 13 passed.
Proposition 13 is a monument to the failure of representative government in California and a validation of the initiative process. It was not a knee-jerk reaction to people losing their homes but a culmination of 15 years of frustration watching the Legislature talk, talk, talk and do nothing.
Brown knows this; he was there.
On his first full day in office, Brown has the courage to bring up Proposition 13. This antiquated law legalized gross inequality in property taxes and is the primary cause of the state's current financial mess. It has also severely damaged public schools, libraries and many local services.
It is high time to repeal this backward law from the last century.
I am curious where politicians think all the extra money is going to come from if Proposition 13 is eliminated.
I have owned my home since Proposition 13 was passed; I am almost 85 years old. How many of those of us who were covered by Proposition 13 from the start are still in the same house or even still alive? Does the governor really want to raise taxes on a bunch of old folks?
Re "GOP prepares to flex new muscle," Jan. 4
I didn't think it was possible, but apparently congressional Republicans have reached new heights of hypocrisy.
I refer to your article in which the Republican "cut-as-you-go" rule on legislative changes will not apply to the GOP's attempt to repeal "Obamacare," thereby acknowledging for the first time that the healthcare law will actually save money.
The GOP campaigned heavily on job creation, the reduction of the deficit and restarting the economy. So what is first on the party's agenda? Scrap the healthcare reform law.
When will its agenda include working on its most important campaign platform promises?
By the way, the stock market has shown steady gains in the past two years. Can the GOP claim any credit for that?
A question of blasphemy
Re "New blow to a key foe of the Taliban," Jan. 5, and "The real blasphemy," Opinion, Jan. 5
Salman Taseer's assassination should give the entire Islamic world pause. His death represents the ugly consequences of permitting an Islamic state to criminalize blasphemy.