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Saving California, $260 each; a call to boycott Wisconsin; in defense of movie theater popcorn

March 27, 2011

The $260 to save our state argument

Re "Your $260 can save the state," Column, March 23

My $260, along with every man's, woman's and child's, can save the state? That's a bit disingenuous, Steve Lopez, and don't bother asking state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) for the real-world numbers. It behooves most Democratic leaders to spew out this pabulum for the masses and hope it slips through unnoticed.

First off, children, the incarcerated and illegal immigrants don't count in this new fuzzy math. Secondly and most importantly, studies show that 40% to 50% of all U.S. households owe no federal income tax at all. Why should they figure into the mix?

My guess is, in light of the aforementioned, the $260-per-person figure should be doubled for those who do pay taxes. Infantilizing us only brings about voter apathy with no real solutions.

Mark Aaron

Santa Monica

Lopez tells us that the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce "at first was inclined to balance the books with nothing but cuts." Then its chief, Gary Toebben, played with the budget-balancing calculator on latimes.com and "kept coming up short." Eventually he accepted the need for more taxes.

In other words, these supposed business experts who have been screaming for tax reductions for years, secure in their conviction that the government spends too much, had never bothered to actually look at the numbers. When they finally did, they discovered (surprise!) that their worldview was false and selfish.

One wonders what they would say about someone who ran a business without ever examining the books.

Geoff Kuenning

Paremata, New Zealand

My wife and I say sign us up! We are really excited that it will cost us only $260 apiece to save the state.

Oh wait, it's $260 for every man, woman and child. Does anyone know where my three school-age kids can get jobs to pay their $260?

Tim J. Keel

Redondo Beach

If Wisconsin is shunned

Re "Boycott Wisconsin," Opinion, March 23

Garret Keizer believes that what is occurring in Wisconsin will lead to the end of life as we know it in America. When will people like Keizer acknowledge that there is a difference between private and public unions?

Unlike the private union, the public union does not sit across the table to negotiate with the people paying the bills. No, the other party at the table is a politician, whose biggest concern is getting reelected and not the interests of the taxpayer. This is inherently unfair. The great lion of the progressives, FDR, knew this more than 70 years ago.

Maybe someday Keizer will get a clue.

John C. Vita

Huntington Beach

After reading Keizer's Op-Ed article, I'm convinced I did the right thing when last year I canceled a trip I had planned to Arizona. My daughter and I were going to attend a painting workshop sponsored by the University of Arizona, but we decided after the infamous anti-immigration bill was passed that we could not in good conscience visit that state.

I know from experience that boycotts have an effect. As an individual, I was curious to know how many people are boycotting Arizona and was surprised to learn on the Internet that dozens of organizations right here in Los Angeles are doing so.

Trudy Goldman

Marina del Rey

Keizer writes an eloquent condemnation of the Wisconsin legislative decision and a rousing (and rosy) defense of organized labor.

Though I consider myself a moderate progressive and don't agree with what happened in Wisconsin, I bristle at these simplistic portrayals of organized labor (benevolent defenders of workers' dignity) and its opposers (unpatriotic moneyed interests.) The greed, excesses and distorted perspective pervasive in latter-day organized labor have hurt many outside of big business, and the movement must take some responsibility for the backlash.

Juliet Hotchkiss

Oak Park

Life in harmony with nature

Re "Talking back to nature," Opinion, March 21

Gregory Rodriguez says humans and engineers will have more success in combating natural disasters through better engineering. Perhaps we should design dams for a 1,000-year flood rather than a 100-year flood. Maybe an 80-foot seawall should have been built at the San Onofre nuclear power plant instead of a 30-footer.

Naive nature worship is not at fault in floods, tsunamis and earthquakes.

I have a better idea: Let's not build on cliffs that erode, rocks that break or plains that flood. Even some of the early Native Americans had it right: Move to the mountains in summer and the deserts in winter.

Perhaps if there were fewer smart people living in unintelligent locations, fewer humans would experience forces of nature.

Gary Simpson

Maywood

What a shame. Despite the unremitting evidence, we Western human beings are so reluctant to embrace the fact that nature rules.

Nature does rule, like it or not.

Sylvia Lewis

Thousand Oaks

Just win, baby

Re "Bombs bursting — what for?" Opinion, March 22

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