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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Middle East peace process; a lucrative pay package for state social services chief William Lightbourne; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's out-of-wedlock child

May 19, 2011
  • Visitor: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes to the U.S. Friday. (Sebastian Scheiner / Associated Press)
Visitor: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes to the U.S. Friday.…

Who wants peace?

Re "Expectations dim for Netanyahu's U.S. trip," May 17

The canard that the U.S. or Israel must make a hoped-for "bold move" to further motivate the Palestinians to come to the table to negotiate for their state is another example of either misguided optimism or downright malice toward the Jewish state.

The statement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during his trip to the U.S., is "going to have to give Obama something to work with if he wants America to help" is particularly vexing. How about the Palestinians having to give something to convince the Israelis and President Obama of their peaceful intentions?

The Palestinian Authority's "unity" pact with Hamas, whose goal it is to destroy Israel, doesn't feel like that "bold move."

Irving S. White

Los Angeles

That's some pay package

Re "Official to get lucrative pay deal," May 14

I am outraged that state social services chief William Lightbourne's salary is set higher than Gov. Jerry Brown's, and it will be paid at a time when the state has to reduce the benefits for recipients of the programs Lightbourne will oversee.

Because the state is also shifting the responsibility of some of these programs to local authorities, Lightbourne will probably be paid more for doing less. Still, California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley, the author of this bloated salary package, has the nerve to defend this insanity.

I guess if the needy can't afford gas or bread, they can always sit home and eat Twinkies.

Angela Black

Long Beach

Lightbourne will be paid about $343,000 annually. That compares with the average annual CEO salary of $11.4 million for companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index in 2010.

The fact that Brown's salary is less than $200,000 only goes to show how unimportant we think government service is.

You get what you pay for. Maybe that's why all levels of government are in such a fiscal mess.

Robert J. Banning

Pasadena

How many more times can we read that a bureaucrat gets a huge salary so we can retain top talent while services to the needy get cut? And California wants to raise my taxes to close the deficit? It feels as if public exposure of salaries in the newspaper is the only tool taxpayers have.

This is not a case of envy; we're facing a huge deficit. This is like Rome is crumbling while our leaders have a toga party.

Jennifer Childs

Los Angeles

Schwarzenegger and child

Re "Schwarzenegger's failings," Editorial, May 18

To live a lie for more than 10 years, as former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did — and especially for his own political benefit — is the most shallow type of behavior.

Supporting a child and being a father to that child are not one and the same. A decent human being would have admitted to producing an out-of-wedlock child and then invited him to be part of his immediate family, along with his other children.

Hopefully, California is finished experimenting with celebrity-style politics.

Jim Redhead

San Diego

There is no basis on which the harm Schwarzenegger has done to his family and the harm he has done to the state can be compared. To attempt a comparison would detract from both harms.

But the electorate should see — no matter how critical we should be of politicians in general — that a novice with no sense of governance is a poor choice for public office.

Les Boston

Sherman Oaks

The governor's budget plan

Re "A broken budgeting process," Editorial, May 17

A recent Times editorial asserted that I had broken my campaign pledge to let the people vote on whether to extend taxes.

The Legislature has not yet provided the two-thirds vote needed to schedule an election, but I remain optimistic that compromise is possible. I am willing to sign a bill that extends taxes on a temporary basis, subject to subsequent voter approval.

This is a compromise I am willing to make to avoid devastating cuts to public services. To be clear, however, I will not sign a tax extension bill that does not require voter approval.

Jerry Brown

Sacramento

The writer is governor of California.

Gov. Jerry Brown breaks a campaign promise (and a pretty critical, central one) but because he's doing it, in your opinion, for the right reasons, he's less dishonest than Republicans whose budget proposal displeases The Times.

I'd say it's The Times that is "more dishonest."

Peter Wilson

Los Angeles

Something for the millennials

Re "The millennials have a moment," Opinion, May 15

I have been trying to figure out why I have been disturbed by the outbreak of glee surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden. Thank you, Craig Fehrman, for your article. When I saw all the young people celebrating, all I could think of was people in other countries celebrating our misfortunes, from the time of John F. Kennedy to 9/11.

The killing of Bin Laden was a necessary evil; isn't that why we went to

Afghanistan? But America is better than that, cheering and celebrating the death of an (albeit evil) human being.

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