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Preserving the Watts Towers; concealed weapons permits for state lawmakers; a no-fly zone over Libya

March 18, 2011

Power of the towers

Re "Watching over Watts Towers," Editorial, March 14

As a first-grade teacher in the 1970s, I remember reading to my class "Beautiful Junk" by Jon Madian, a dramatized account of an eccentric man and the building of the Watts Towers. How thrilled they were when we took a field trip to see them. They were able to climb on the towers at that time, and they came back to school bursting with enthusiasm and pride for what one man had accomplished.

These 6-year-olds learned history, art and literature. But what they really learned was the determination and commitment of one man to build a monument of his dreams. I will never forget the excitement of sharing this experience with my class.

Yes, sign me up on a committee to ensure that children can share in this remarkable history for years to come.

Carol Katzman

Los Angeles

As an artist and L.A. native, I have always had a profound appreciation for the creation of Watts Towers. They are a treasure in our midst.

With all the money in this town, I hope someone can come forward and assure the long-term care of the towers so we can be sure they will be safe for many years to come.

Ilene Starr

Valley Glen

Shooting from the hip

Re "Legislators want a break on gun law," March 14

Some California legislators want special permits to carry concealed weapons. Why all this special treatment? Does state Sen. Lou Correa plan to shoot "guys [who] physically come up to me ready to punch me out"?

Why not work toward renewing the federal assault weapons ban, or making the list of people who are prohibited from owning guns (due to mental illness or criminal behavior) more up to date?

Why not pass AB 809, Assemblyman Mike Feuer's effort to improve crime gun tracing so that the database of purchasers of rifles and shotguns is maintained in the same way as handguns?

There shouldn't be separate laws for officials and the rest of us. Let's make everyone safer.

Roberta Schiller

Los Angeles

Did any of the legislators quoted in The Times read the article on Page A10 of the same issue, where one police officer shot another police officer in confusion when some guy pulled a knife?

That's all we need, more gun-toting do-gooders protecting themselves or one another.

Martin A. Brower

Corona del Mar

I find it ironic that the very same legislators who have made it impossible for average citizens to obtain concealed carry permits to protect themselves from street crime now want to pass a law to bestow on themselves special treatment so they can protect themselves from an electorate fed up with their fiscal excesses.

They have forsaken us, and we have no stomach to watch them grant themselves the privileges they deny to us.

Their sponsorship of this legislation demonstrates that they fail to understand escalating voter frustration, which even they consider dangerous to their safety.

Kyle Kirwan

Los Angeles

This isn't America's job

Re "Arab League backs Libya no-fly zone," March 13

It appears that the world is leaning toward support of a no-fly zone over Libya. I would suggest that the Arab League itself, along with European nations calling for such an intervention, impose a no-fly zone, with the U.S. voicing support but committing no forces.

This would be a shock to all who wish for the developed world to "do something" about pending catastrophes but who are unwilling to do the heavy lifting, preferring instead to leave it to the U.S., which they will then rail against for doing what they were unwilling to do themselves.

Let those calling for a no-fly zone do it. If a civilian is then killed, we can fire our verbal shots.

W.A. Sauvageot

Tustin

It is interesting that the Arab league has called for a no-fly zone over Libya but apparently expects somebody else to do it.

The Saudis have a considerable number of F-15 fighters, the Egyptians have F-16s, and Jordan also has fighters, as does Algeria. The Saudis also have aircraft equipped with airborne warning and control systems.

Why have these countries not stepped forward?

Bob Harris

Oak Park

Death penalty denouement

Re "Done with the death penalty," Editorial, March 14

The Times put it clearly: Our zeal for executions is expensive. Let us be done with the visceral satisfaction embedded in the death penalty.

Eliminating executions would save an estimated

$1 billion over the next five years. Whether taxpayers agree or disagree on moral issues, we know it costs too much to kill convicts.

Illinois and Mongolia stopped. Let California do the same — this year.

Judith Favor

Claremont

I support The Times' position, but I would hope we would not follow the example of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who commuted the sentences of 15 death row inmates to life without the possibility of parole.

Many years ago I went head to head with a teacher who told a family member she could not get a grade higher than a C if she missed a single book report. I said that to close the door permanently for the rest of the semester was simply untenable.

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