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Doyle McManus on GOP efforts to repeal healthcare reform; on pension reform for public employees in California; and locking down L.A. schools

January 24, 2011

This state doesn't fly

Re "Boeing to lay off 900 at C-17 plant," Jan. 20

I found myself sad and angry reading the article concerning layoffs at Boeing's Long Beach factory. I remember that when I entered the Southern California aerospace industry in 1952, business was booming and jobs were plentiful. When I retired in 2005, aerospace was virtually dead in the region.

The main reason for the decline relative to other states is the cost of doing business in California. Forbes lists California as 39th out of 50 states for business friendliness. When Boeing took over what was left of McDonnell Douglas in 1997, it had the opportunity to use available aircraft assembly facilities to build the 737, 757 or 767 aircraft.

Boeing decided to continue aircraft assembly in the state of Washington. Could it have something to do with Washington being ranked fifth on the Forbes list?

Mario Bonura

Santa Ana

Another debate on healthcare

Re "Healthcare, one more time," Opinion, Jan. 20

Doyle McManus is right: Last week's vote to repeal the healthcare reform act "wasn't really legislation; it was politics." OK, give it to the House Republicans: They fulfilled their national campaign pledge. Still, I wonder how many historic, groundbreaking laws have been gutted just months after they were approved?

The outcome of the vote never was in doubt, but what about the timing? It fell hours short of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's stirring inaugural address. I was 12 then.

With this thought in mind, I believe the GOP vote to kill healthcare reform was the most cynical, crass, political act in my lifetime.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Excellent article breaking down the two sides of this debate.

Question: Why do Democrats call healthcare a right, just as they do with education? Neither is mentioned in the Constitution. What about food and water? We can all live without healthcare and education for 30 days, but we cannot live without food and water. Why are they not "rights"?

Where does all this wealth redistribution end?

Bob Guarrera

Laguna Niguel

One almost wishes that Democrats were a minority in the Senate so the party could filibuster the healthcare reform repeal.


Patraic Kelly


The perils of pension reform

Re "Pension reform or else," Opinion, Jan. 18

Marcia Fritz writes: "Capping public pensions at California's average household income would provide a sustainable plan that, combined with Social Security, would provide about 90% of the pay received during the final year of employment."

Fritz left out the fact that because the majority of public employees in California do not pay into Social Security, they are not entitled to collect it. Those whose careers included enough employment covered by Social Security are subject to federal provisions that greatly reduce or eliminate any Social Security award. The intent and the effect of these laws has been to decrease the amount that public employee retirees can receive.

Any expert in retirement planning should know these facts, including an accountant like Fritz.

Sally Deveze

San Dimas

Fritz's proposal to cap public pensions at California's average household income is the most elegant solution to our state's fiscal crisis that anyone has yet proposed. Its fairness is self-evident.

If Gov. Jerry Brown really cares about our state, he should champion this proposal and be prepared to sacrifice union support. That's the kind of leadership we need. Fritz and her organization should lead the charge for a ballot initiative that will do the job if necessary.

By a simple act of legislation, we can end the pension abuses, return our state to fiscal health, restore essential government services and end the uncertainty most pensioners face, jump-starting the state's economy in the process. The alternative is too ugly to think about.

Greg Konar

San Diego

Fritz's radical suggestion to alter the terms of pensions for current public employees makes me wonder how she would react if her fixed-rate mortgage lender, when faced with financial problems, unilaterally decided to triple her original monthly payment. Undoubtedly, she would howl that her contract was being violated — just as her proposal to alter civil servants' pension contracts with state and local governments would do.

Robert Stock


There's a reason for lockdowns

Re "Parents irate over LAUSD lockdowns," Jan. 21, and "LAUSD is rocked by a 2nd day of violence," Jan. 20

For many years I volunteered at my sons' school and worked on the emergency preparedness plan. We did have one instance of needing to "lock down" our campus, and we learned from it and put more procedures in place.

The alternative, of course, is to not have a lockdown procedure at all and let students go about their business with an armed suspect still at large. You cannot have it both ways. Your children are all safe; they may have been hungry or may have needed to go to the bathroom, but they are alive.

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