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MOCA's graffiti exhibition; a big pension for a public worker in Salinas; the "birther" blowback

May 07, 2011
  • A man views the "Art in the Streets" exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters)
A man views the "Art in the Streets" exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary…

MOCA's can of worms

Re "Tagging MOCA," Opinion, May 1

Heather Mac Donald was right on the mark. Like some others, the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles chooses to glorify vandalism instead of condemning the urban and suburban blight it has brought to the L.A. area. Now we are all paying the price for the proliferation of graffiti vandalism.

Mac Donald also singled out the parents and their apparent and appalling lack of control as a major contributor to this plague. Why aren't these folks out looking for jobs instead of roaming around all night long?

Brava, Heather Mac Donald!

John Parodi

Huntington Beach

The promotion of graffiti by curators of MOCA's exhibit, "Art in the Streets," can be interpreted as an acceptance of our community's failure to address the substantial social ills (poverty, alienation and division) that generate this activity.

Because we lack the will and means to address the underlying issues that cause visual vandalism, we just redefine it as art.

Then we can try to convince ourselves that it is not so bad to have around.

Gordon Theil

Van Nuys

I'm curious to know: What if a visitor to MOCA's exhibit painted some graffiti on one of the exhibits? Would MOCA consider that "art" or vandalism?

Miriam Jaffe

Thousand Oaks

Spotlight on a big pension

Re "Retirement plan may be audited," May 3

What is missing from the article about Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare District Chief Executive Samuel Downing's pension is any comparison to that of the presidents or chief executives of private companies of similar size and with similar responsibilities.

Why, just because he worked in the public sector — there's no profit involved in the organization he worked for, only the health and well-being of the citizens and the community it served — should he not receive a pension commensurate with that responsibility?

John Snyder

Newbury Park

Re "Big pension in little Salinas," Editorial, April 30

The Times' editorial does a good job of putting forth the facts so that the readers can be better informed. But a stronger position or even outrage might have been the correct tone here.

Some of the most pressing issues facing our society involve the concentration of wealth among the few, the changing perception of worth among the rest of us, and the fact that it appears that some of the taxes of the non-wealthy

go toward bailouts for investment bankers — or, as in this instance, a simple administrator of an admittedly important organization.

But regardless of how varied the circumstances are, we hear the same story: These super special people will flee and we'll all flounder if we don't take care of them. How often must we hear that someone with a $700,000 annual salary and $150,000 lifetime pension would have access to so much more someplace else? Who's writing this script, Ayn Rand?

Steven Johnson

Redondo Beach

Case closed? Not for some

Re " 'Birthers' keep the controversy going," May 3

I actually thought the release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate would finally silence the "birthers."

During the 2008 campaign, Orly Taitz, Wiley Drake and their ilk didn't have a problem with John McCain being born in Panama's Canal Zone. The only logical conclusion is that their real motive is their conviction that a president cannot have dark skin and a foreign-sounding name.

Doris Schaffer


I thought the topic was laid to rest.

Out of respect to your readers' intelligence and with all the news in world, couldn't you devote a third of a page to a topic with more gravitas than someone from the lunatic fringe challenging the dismissal of a case against Obama regarding his birthplace?

Carol Gilbert

Los Angeles

Your health or your money

Re "A case for state regulation," Column, May 2

I'm not sure which of Anthem Blue Cross' customers are fortunate enough to see their proposed rate increases "scaled back," but our family is not one of them. Our renewal notice contained a whopping 40% increase for the same plan we already have.

Our rates have jumped from $1,000 to $1,400 a month for a plan that requires us to pay a $7,000 family deductible before benefits kick in. This translates to roughly $24,000 annually out of pocket before co-pay expenses.

It is well past time healthcare policies are regulated much like auto and homeowner plans. I completely support AB 52, which will require insurers like Anthem to seek approval from state regulators before implementing such onerous rate hikes.

Valerie Burchfield Rhodes

Laguna Niguel

A case for state regulation? To say the very least. Every article written about health insurance begs for a single-payer solution. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't have that, as well as having every health insurance company exist as a

not-for-profit. The focus must be on patients, not shareholders.

Perhaps if we got away from all the nonsensical methods of working out how to pay providers, we could get away from the game-playing that goes on.

Nora Lehman

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