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On former Bell official Robert Rizzo's community service job; Gov. Brown's budget and 'budget dust'; and the shooting of Hearst Castle zebras

January 17, 2011

The parking lot guy

Re "Bell's Rizzo serving time behind cars," Column, Jan. 13

I had to laugh while reading Steve Lopez's column about Robert "Ratso" Rizzo. First of all, the picture is classic. He doesn't quite fit the image of someone working at a surfing museum. I loved that Lopez asked him if he surfed.

I don't believe for a second that Rizzo was there out of the goodness of his heart. He said he was a volunteer. His job there apparently was to make sure nobody parked there improperly. What was he going to do, run after me?

Shannon Colburn

Topanga

I do understand the urge to humiliate someone who has done some very bad deeds, and the magnifying of that urge when the person is of one's own ethnic or racial background. I was on jury duty once long ago when that phenomenon occurred.

The dynamics of vindictiveness and the harshness of judgment are ugly, and caused more harm than good to the person on trial and to our community. That's why I thought your columnist's visit to the car lot where Rizzo was serving his volunteer time was OK — but that his description of his interaction with Rizzo came off as snarky and not worthy of what I would normally expect from Lopez.

Jerry Lewis

Los Angeles

I do not condone the acts Rizzo has been accused of perpetrating, but I do not see the good that can come from humiliating a man when he is down.

Rizzo is an easy target, and Lopez should use his bully pulpit to educate us on something slightly more important. Read President Obama's speech from the Tucson memorial service, especially the part where he says "to sharpen our instincts for empathy."

Edward Jimenez

Whittier

Battling over the state budget

Re "Kudos for a bolder Brown," Column, Jan. 13

Republican state Sen. Tom Berryhill's smug quote about the state budget crisis — "This is really not our problem. The Democrats own this" — perfectly captures why Sacramento Republicans are sliding into political irrelevancy. They are satisfied with being irrelevant, and they receive nice salaries and perks for being so.

Jim McDermott

Pasadena

I am not impressed with "governor retread."

I would be if he had also included the boldness of placing a multiyear pay freeze on all state employees and raised their retirement age.

Why no boldness? He is doing what he has been instructed to do by the unions. What about the boldness of chipping away at the $6 billion in other costs that George Skelton identified? How about the boldness of requiring all businesses to use E-Verify?

The Democrats own this, and the Republicans should not go along with the "five-year tax increase" ballot initiative.

Glenn Bozar

Upland

I just had to comment on the Skelton piece about Gov. Jerry Brown and his 46-minute report about the draconian choices we as voters will have in the spring.

I felt that Skelton's report was, on balance, fair and appropriate, and I wished to commend him, until I read the last few words about the Republican response citing Sen. Berryhill of Modesto. Vitriol, indeed!

Ronald Moya

La Verne

Time for a little dusting

Re "Brown orders state workers to turn in phones," Jan. 12

California has a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. Gov. Brown's order to reduce the number of state-issued cellphones — projected to save $20 million — may be "budget dust" too, but this attitude of free spending of government funds needs to stop. Remember the slogan "a penny saved is a penny earned"?

Wayne Muramatsu

Cerritos

In a recent article about the governor trying to save $20 million, Sacramento insiders were quoted as scoffing and calling the amount "budget dust."

As any good homemaker knows, you can't clean house without a proper dusting.

JoAnne Sanger

Palos Verdes Estates

Why not help homeowners?

Re "House seizures by banks decline in state," Jan. 13

Foreclosures are not declining, they are just on hold because of faulty paperwork at the banks. The "bailouts" have been ineffective.

We need to worry about saving the people who are losing their homes and not the banks who put them into this situation without a remedy.

If the bank is willing to take less than the home's value on the books, then why not give it to the owner with a new loan and write off the inflated value, as it eventually will do?

We need to have the IRS give more of a tax incentive to do this rather than to write off a foreclosure.

Stephen Grande

Rancho Mirage

Killing zebras wasn't the answer

Re "Three Hearst zebras shot dead," Jan. 13

I am so appalled and sickened by the killing of the Hearst Castle zebras by nearby ranchers.

There were so many better options open to them. It showed a total lack of respect for the lives of these beautiful animals and for the people who enjoy watching them.

And for what purpose — rugs for their own selfish pleasure? Shameful.

Helen Steinmetz

West Hollywood

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