YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


L.A.'s 'Gold Card' program for taking care of traffic tickets; the Israeli-Palestinian peace process; Judgment Day that wasn't

May 24, 2011
  • L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel talks about an audit of the city Department of Transportation's parking citations process. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times )
L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel talks about an audit of the city Department…

Parking pass

Re "L.A. officials get special clout on parking tickets," May 20, and "L.A. drops its parking Gold Cards," May 21

Sporting event tickets, concert tickets and now parking tickets: It's been a tough year for L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The city continues to cry poverty and look for ways to increase fees and taxes, and yet it paid a contractor to provide favors to insiders by reducing parking fines or voiding tickets entirely, without explanation.

Reviewing City Controller Wendy Greuel's findings, I have a suggestion for filling L.A.'s coffers: If you actually collect on the tickets for which police and firefighters have been given a pass "for many years," you could probably help pay the salaries of those police officers and firefighters enough to stop threatening them with layoffs because of budget constraints.

Gary R. Albin

Long Beach

In my 34-year career in law enforcement, one of my assignments was to manage the parking enforcement program of an L.A. suburb. Parking enforcement, while necessary, creates a good deal of resentment among the public. My experience was that we had a constant battle to avoid improper pressure to void or cancel citations for people with political connections.

Los Angeles (despite some hollow denials) institutionalized special treatment for people with political connections with the aptly named "Gold Card" program.

As with so many of these sad issues reported by The Times, I am reminded of Orwell's phrase: "All animals are equal , but some animals are more equal than others."

Chris Keller

West Covina

Toward peace in the Middle East

Re "Netanyahu pushes back in U.S. visit," May 21

If President Obama is going to impose on Israel that acceptance of the pre-1967 borders with land swaps is the starting point rather than the end point of negotiations, why doesn't he also impose on the Palestinians acceptance of the reality that the claims of Palestinian refugees and their descendents will be resolved outside the boundaries of Israel?

As the statements of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Nakba Day demonstrate, even for so-called Palestinian moderates, this conflict at its core is more about 1948 than 1967.

Rick Stampler

Los Angeles

It seems very odd that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others insist that the pre-1967 borders would be "indefensible" when Israel did such an amazing job of defending them in 1967.

Netanyahu's insistence on keeping Israeli troops on the Jordan River, in effect maintaining the border between the West Bank and Jordan, and his insistence that otherwise commonly accepted bases for peace are unacceptable only emphasize that the Israeli government has no intention of negotiating toward an independent Palestine.

Jack Fertig

San Francisco

California's business climate

Re "Not 'job killers,' " Opinion, May 19

Donald Cohen of the Cry Wolf Project would have you believe that the economic consequences of California's disastrous policymaking aren't real; rather, it's just business interests "crying wolf"

Cohen is surely one of a handful of people in the state who can still repeat this fiction with a straight face. Even a progressive politician like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently traveled to Texas to find out how that state has managed to attract so much investment while California struggles to keep businesses from leaving the state.

Meanwhile, California is ranked the worst state for job growth for the seventh year in a row, according to a survey of chief executives, and at nearly 12%, the state's unemployment rate is still among the highest in the nation. If Californians are seeking proof that bad public policy is a "job killer," they should step out their front door.

Michael Saltsman


The writer is a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute.

The Chamber of Commerce tends to be a champion of the status quo. Its knee-jerk reaction to new regulations is to cry "job killer." The bills it decries are often intended to protect Californians, and many times they create new opportunities.

If the intent is to make sure business has no impediment to make profit at any cost to society, let's face it: Wages are the top job killer in the state. If employers didn't have to pay their employees, they could hire a lot more of them.

Bill Elmelund

Los Angeles

Earth may yet see doomsday

Re "For these true believers, it was apocalypse … not," May 22

Oakland preacher Harold Camping wasted millions predicting that the world would end on May 21. Camping's prediction has been revealed as the bunch of bull I already knew it was.

But the "21" in Camping's delusional prediction is not off the mark. The 21st century may see the end of the world as humanity has known it if we don't stop dumping about 27 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the planet's atmosphere every year.

Los Angeles Times Articles