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Children who work the mines in India; Chevron's feel-good PR campaign; L.A. Unified librarians under siege

May 17, 2011
  • Minor miners: Youngsters work at a coal depot near Lad Rymbai, in India's Jaintia Hills district. (Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images)
Minor miners: Youngsters work at a coal depot near Lad Rymbai, in India's…

Children who labor

Re "Where coal mining is often child's work," May 15

The harrowing article and pictures depicting child miners in India who are paid a pittance for body-racking labor and doomed to an early death show the inevitable result of unrestricted corporations coupled with an impotent labor force.

Those who would destroy labor unions and denigrate workers' rights — while fighting for unfettered corporate excesses earned on the backs of cheap labor — should look to the reality of children worked to death for the sake of higher profits.

Phyllis Golden Gottlieb

Los Angeles

Good news — at least for Chevron

Re "Chevron's feel-good, misleading ad campaign," Business, May 13

As a public relations professional, I have been admiring Chevron's ad campaign, in which — knowing it would report huge profits — the company got out ahead of the announcement and admitted that its profits would be huge rather than sitting back and waiting for a reaction.

Of course, a good public relations campaign relies on facts, and I, much like columnist David Lazarus, have been suspicious of the facts.

Martin A. Brower

Corona del Mar

Lazarus' diligent but unsuccessful attempt to find out precisely how Chevron is "investing" in the common welfare is great journalism. I hit the mute (anti-vomit) button every night when Chevron's self-serving, loose-with-the-facts TV ad comes on.

Do oil giants really believe the average voter buys their spiel while we have just had to pay more than $4 at the pump? I guess they already know it's not what we peons believe but how their friendly (well-financed) members of Congress vote.

June Maguire

Mission Viejo

Defending librarians

Re "Disgraceful interrogations," Column, May 13

I was saddened by Hector Tobar's column regarding Los Angeles Unified School District librarians testifying in a district courtroom as to their value in the school system so they can keep their jobs.

As a professor of history and social science at a community college, and as a mother of a 13-year-old, I do not understand the depths into which our society has fallen. I am disheartened at the continued draconian cuts in education. Someone please explain how it is that we do not value the services of librarians? For my courses, they are the most important resource available to my students.

My heart just breaks from the complete

ignorance that accompanies these unfathomable measures.

Elizabeth Kronbeck


Thanks to Tobar for keeping us posted on L.A. Unified's crackdown on those eternal enemies of civilization, school librarians. There's no better use of limited funds than paying attorneys to harass educators who've devoted their lives to helping our children.

I also applaud the valuable presence of armed police officers at the hearings; you never know when a librarian will pull out a book and start reading.

Bennett Tramer

Santa Monica

After reading about the shameful way the school librarians are being treated, does anyone wonder why teachers and their union distrust the district's administration?

If we want literate students, we need books for them to read, we need to give them guidance for research, and we need that all-important individual attention that only librarians can give them.

As a former teacher, I can attest to the invaluable knowledge of school librarians. They have all the up-to-date information on our complex and ever-changing Internet sources, and they teach the students how to be lifelong learners. To deny students these important tools is doing them and our society a lasting disservice.

Alexa Smith Maxwell

Los Angeles

Thanks to Tobar for spotlighting this issue. Disgraceful is too mild a word for this one-sided inquisition of professional librarians and teachers. Our society will be much better off if we keep librarians in our schools and the district lawyers out.

Ed Carstens

Santa Clarita

Tax trap

Re "Got taxes?," Opinion, May 13

If each city, county and school district is allowed to raise taxes to cover the costs of their services, you'd see everyone move to the cheaper cities and there would be no one left to pay those taxes.

The only way out of this budget mess is cutting back. No one wants to give the government more money to spend badly.

State Sen. Darrell Steinberg's (D-Sacramento) plan is retaliation against the GOP for daring to stand up to excessive government spending. We the people would rather see all excessive pensions cut, the waste eliminated and some fiscal control from our leaders.

Cindy Ryan

Woodland Hills

Safe parks

Re "O.C.'s war on sex offenders," Editorial, May 13

As the author of Megan's Law on the Internet, I worked to put the residence location and information about a registered sex offender's conviction history on the Internet for full public access. The public has a right to be fully informed about where sex offenders are living and loitering.

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