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California Controller John Chiang; Alabama's new immigration law; Tim Rutten on the California GOP

June 23, 2011
  • Peaceful: Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks may develop about 120 acres at its Hollywood Hills site. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Peaceful: Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks may develop about 120 acres at its…

Alternatives to burial

Re "Replacing trees with stones," June 17

Where is the forest in "Forest" Lawn? I think the Hollywood Hills cemetery is missing a business opportunity in choosing to cut down a forest of oaks, sycamores and walnuts to make way for more casket burial plots. Many of us baby boomers seek an alternative to the environmental impact of traditional burial.

Forest Lawn President and Chief Executive Darin B. Drabing says it is a human impulse to say "remember me." Personally, I would prefer that my grandchildren walk in a forest and remember that I was thinking of them when I rejected a casket in the ground for a living tree (a small plaque would do).

For those of us choosing cremation, a forest saved makes perfect sense and would allow us to take our business to Forest Lawn instead of one of its competitors who "gets" this growing idea.

Vanae Ehret

Sherman Oaks

Busted for their budget

Re "Legislature to forfeit pay, Chiang says," June 22

Congratulations, Controller John Chiang, for having the integrity and guts to do your job.

It's time for California's legislators to act like grownups, get out of the sandbox, and start doing the work they used to get paid for. Pay for performance: What a concept!

Californians have voted. We want a balanced budget, and there are consequences for not doing your job.

Judith Fenton

Costa Mesa

For all of their political careers, liberal legislators have been spending with impunity, using funds taken from the public's pockets to further their agendas. Now that they have been hit in their own pocketbooks, they are crying foul. How dare they.

The people put into place a law for their employees to meet certain budget requirements or face the consequences. Well boys, how does it feel to have the shoe on the other foot?

Harry Esayian

Newport Beach

Alabama was forced to act

Re "Alabama targets students," Editorial, June 17

The Times identifies the potentially negative educational effects of Alabama's new immigration law but fails to recognize the reason behind the provision in the law calling for the establishment of students' immigration statuses.

Alabama is constitutionally required to maintain a balanced budget, and the state has been forced to pay for the federal government's lack of immigration enforcement. Understanding students' immigration status is critical to evaluating the fiscal impact of Alabama's undocumented population.

Many of these issues would be solved if the federal government, through immigration enforcement and border security, did its part to ensure that state governments are not left with the bill for illegal immigration.

Elizabeth T. Robinson

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

I am sure that no one in the Obama administration or at The Times wants already overburdened taxpayers to be forced to pay even more so that those here illegally — adults and children — can claim benefits reserved for those here legally.

So how about totaling up every cent that illegal immigrants cost the U.S. and send their home countries a bill? I would imagine that most of these countries are already getting money from the U.S., so how about deducting the amount of money that their citizens are costing us from these aid packages?

Annie Caroline Schuler

West Hollywood

Pointing fingers in California

Re "No turning back in budget mess," Opinion, June 18

Tim Rutten's column is an accurate depiction of what's wrong with this world. Each person of this set must become a member of a subset and be diametrically opposed to every other subset. Whether we be Christians, Jews, Muslims, Democrats, Republicans, managers or workers, we must impose our will on each other or else be doomed to domination by the other.

Whatever happened to a group of grown-ups getting together and paying for services with the available resources?

Thomas Z. Taylor

Yucca Valley

Rutten's description of the California Republican Party as "a sort of political Taliban taking its anti-tax dogma from talk show imams and Internet heresy hunters" is spot on.

He should extend his characterization to the national GOP and give "credit" to the two grand inquisitors who anathematize any Republican officeholders and aspirants who stray even slightly off the orthodox path: Grover Norquist (the anti-tax monomaniac) and Dick Armey (of the badly misnamed FreedomWorks).

Kelley Cartwright

Los Angeles

Did Rutten fail to mention that the Legislature is controlled by Democrats and that California has a Democratic governor? How can we take this analysis seriously when he labels the GOP a political Taliban that takes its dogma from talk show imams?

The fact is that the Democrats are holding out because of their ties with public employee unions.

So the governor threatens to submit a balanced budget with more cuts because the voters don't have the stomach for more taxes in this economy. Sounds like the GOP is on to something.

Terry Johnston

Newport Beach

House of Saud

Re "U.S., Saudis in Mideast tug of war," June 19

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