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Reading the Constitution in the House; hikers and mountain bikers on local trails; choking off guns to Mexico

January 09, 2011

Taking on healthcare and job creation

Re "Their job is to create jobs," Editorial, Jan. 5

Though I agree with your editorial urging the new Republican House majority to focus on jobs rather than a repeal of "Obamacare," I do find it interesting that nowhere to be found in this editorial was the fact that two years ago, Democrats were wasting a ton of time passing Obamacare as the unemployment rate soared.

Yes, the Republicans will force Democrats to document their position on Obamacare via a repeal vote. This will not take long.

Then the work on job creation will begin, including additional efforts to roll back the job-killing provisions in Obamacare and replace them with something that will work.

Jeff McCombs

La Palma

The writer is a health economist at the USC School of Pharmacy.

Constitution — and then some

Re "Law of the land," Editorial, Jan. 5

I strongly believe that all nationally elected officials should have a refreshed understanding of the Constitution, but I would also like to see all members of Congress attend a nonpolitical immersion seminar in present-day global, government, business and Wall Street economics.

A sound knowledge of how economics really works today, as opposed to relying on catchy campaign rhetoric, would be far better for them as intelligent legislators, and for the future of this country.

Stuart Fink

Los Angeles

Your editorial describes reading the Constitution aloud in the House as a "symbolic sop to the 'tea party.'"

House members take an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States," as prescribed by Article VI. The Constitution is their prime purpose for being there.

Would you also describe reading the Bible aloud in church as a symbolic sop to the pious?

Mike Anzis


I would like to suggest that members of Congress spend the next week reading aloud the Los Angeles phonebook in the well of the House, to remind them of the millions of ordinary people who desperately need the concerted efforts of government to help them survive in this cruel economy, especially during a period when our largest moneyed interests are intent upon using their aggregated resources anonymously to buy legislators who agree to serve on their behalf.

Richard J. Steckel

Santa Barbara

I resent your sneer at people who keep a pocket-sized Constitution on hand.

When I was studying for my U.S. naturalization in the 1990s, each member of the class got a copy. I carry it daily; wherever I am, I always have something worthwhile to read.

Susan Borden

Los Angeles

Separating riders and walkers

Re "Park trails, bikes aren't to mix," Jan. 2

The article rightly mentions trail damage and safety issues from multiple users on dirt trails.

But most important, hikers seek a peaceful experience in nature that is greatly compromised by fast-moving bikes. The article also should have emphasized that cyclists already have fire roads and trails in the mountains and city parks.

Narrow dirt trails are fragile natural resources that need special protection. Mountain bikes can park at trailheads (and remain there), along with cars and other machines. That allows everyone to help preserve open space while enjoying the benefits.

Mary Ann Webster

Culver City

I have been riding bikes on trails around L.A. for 45 years and have never had a problem. This is what I do:

When I can see far ahead and there is no one else on the trail, I go as fast as I can. When I am on blind curves, I never go fast.

When I encounter adult hikers, I slow down, announce my presence and pass them safely.

When I encounter kids or dogs on the trail, I stop and let them pass.

When I encounter horses, I dismount and move off to the side of the trail. I chat with the riders and the horses until they have passed me to reassure the beasts that I am nothing to fear.

More trails should be opened to mountain bikes with rules clearly posted at all trailheads

Matt Horns

Los Angeles

Hikers on back-country trails here in Orange County used to carry pepper spray for the possible mountain lion encounter, but for years now it's the wise hiker who carries a canister for self-defense against a far more numerous species proven to be just as dangerous, menacing and unpredictable: the mountain biker.

Regardless, and in all fairness, bike-only trails must be established.

Ron Romanosky


The real gun battle

Re "A weapon against drug cartels," Editorial, Jan. 5

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has called America's firearms retailers its "first line of defense" in alerting it to possible illegal purchases. Unfortunately, the proposed multiple sales reporting requirement will only serve to put blinders on these sentinels.

Under the proposed regulations that require retailers to report multiple long gun sales, straw purchasers (individuals who are illegally buying firearms for others) will quickly learn how to avoid suspicion by purchasing firearms from multiple dealers or recruiting additional purchasers to each buy a single firearm.

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