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Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposals; political rhetoric and violence; an L.A. city councilman's ethics

January 13, 2011

Tough budget choices

Re "Brown offers budget built on pain, hope," Jan. 11, and "Gov. seeks cuts, tax extensions," Jan. 9

Gov. Jerry Brown has the horrendous task of balancing California's budget, but there is something very incongruous about where some of the major cuts will fall.

The Times reports that deep cuts will be imposed on those programs and services "that lend a hand to the needy." Welfare spending will receive significant cuts, and there will be cuts in Medi-Cal.

These are exactly the kinds of programs for which governments exist and that are most effective.

I resent the statement by the president of the California Business Roundtable that balancing the budget "requires everyone to stop denying reality and, ultimately, to sacrifice." Children should not have to bear any of these costs. In my opinion, California businesses are the greatest welfare recipients of all.

Ralph Mitchell

Monterey Park

Brown's intended cuts in spending notwithstanding, he certainly cannot expect voters to approve extending the tax increases on income, vehicles and sales.

Indeed, attempting to tie tax extensions to protecting school funds simply won't cut it, particularly when teachers unions funded his election and the education establishment refuses to rise above failing.

There will be no restoration of voters' faith in the state government without complete reform. The defeat of Proposition 23, and the voter-assisted economic suicide that will be AB 32's implementation, will see to that.

Daniel B. Jeffs

Apple Valley

Your Jan. 11 article on Brown's new budget was enlightening and thorough.

The holes, however, are not in your article but rather in Brown's proposed cuts. I find it very interesting that California is the only jurisdiction in the Unites States (of 22 oil-producing states) that doesn't have an oil extraction tax.

Because proposals to tax the four major oil producers in California — Chevron, ExxonMobile, Shell and Occidental, which made more than

$45 billion in profits in 2009 and more than $100 billion in 2008 — have failed, why isn't an extraction tax on the table?

Valerie Shaw

Los Angeles

As certain as the arrival of said pain is the continued hypocrisy of our state legislators.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), "who bitterly resisted similar reductions proposed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger," now exhibits "a different outlook."

Congratulations, senator. While things got worse and our state circled the drain, you just had to wait for a fellow Democrat to propose a reality-based budget before you'd buy in. Because of you and all the other elected liberals who postponed resolving this mess, the fix will hit harder, last longer and carry a higher price tag.

Thanks for looking beyond party affiliation and doing our state right — not.

Glenn Toth

Playa Del Rey

Last month, anti-tax activists were quick to point out that the extension of Bush-era tax cuts was not a tax cut but merely maintained the status quo.

Why do I expect that the same folks will call Brown's proposal to extend current state taxes a tax hike?

Carl Siechert

Pasadena

Poisonous atmosphere

Re "Vitriol and violence," Editorial, Jan. 11

It is clear that you try to be fair, but you cannot explain away Sarah Palin's part in the poisoned atmosphere. It was not just the map with gun sights targeting certain districts but also her constant use of gun-related metaphors and similarly hateful utterings.

Glenn Beck is stirring up a lot of hate too, having implied that the government set up concentration camps.

These are just a few examples of the speech that helps push some unstable individuals over the edge.

This is not "the left" trying to score points. It is reasonable people of both parties sickened by the dangerous levels of hate on the airwaves.

Lisa Eriksen

Redondo Beach

You write, "The right bears the brunt of responsibility for this poisoned atmosphere."

What about the campaign ad last year by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) in which he actually shot a copy of the climate-change bill?

Incendiary political debate has been going on since we became a country. Remember Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton?

What happened Saturday was the act of a lone "crazy" person.

Dafni Black

Culver City

Zine's view

Re "Zine says friend poses no conflict," Jan. 10

As your article reports, no conflict-of-interest laws have been violated because of my personal relationship. I recused myself from the final discussion and vote on an LAX construction contract to avoid any appearance of impropriety. This recusal was my choice.

In more than nine years as a city councilman, I have cast thousands of votes. Your article referenced just a few of these. You failed to state that these specific votes passed with unanimous support, and only one involved an issue in my district. They were routine matters, and no special treatment was given to anyone.

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