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Letters to the editor

The Occupy movement; California's expensive bullet train; UNESCO admits the Palestinians

November 04, 2011
  • Shortly after new barriers went up to protect a fountain and a memorial at City Hall, paint-bearing Occupy L.A. protesters get to work to make use of the surfaces. (Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times)
Shortly after new barriers went up to protect a fountain and a memorial at…

Occupy this and that

Re "Occupy L.A. gets two new canvases," Nov. 2

The protesters at Los Angeles City Hall want us to know how noble they are, yet they have:

- Climbed to the top of a historic fountain to "meditate."

- Vandalized the historic fountain and memorial with chalk. The city had to build a fence to protect them.

- Sprayed graffiti on the fences.

- Held yoga classes in front of the fences.

- Damaged the park at City Hall (though they love the environment).

Al Garner

Laguna Woods

Re "All talk, no action for 99%," Column, Oct. 30

Is Occupy Wall Street all talk and no action? Not quite. For example, Occupy CSUN (I am a professor emeritus of philosophy at Cal State Northridge) marched to nearby bank branches last week and urged depositors to transfer their accounts to credit unions.

The broader message is that the Occupy movement is symptomatic of deep dysfunction: That so many people cannot find work or pay their mortgages or bills, and can only demonstrate their frustration by camping out, shows a profound defect in the ruling structure.

In a democracy, citizens should be able to turn to government. But because of the power of wealth to influence politics, government cannot respond to the people's needs.

Charles Crittenden

Lake View Terrace

Re "Aiming at Wall Street, hurting vendors," Oct. 31

I was captivated by your story on protesters destroying the livelihood of local street vendors. The "99%" seem to have a real problem finding the "1%."

Perhaps L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa should aid the vendors by giving them a contract to serve the protesters' needs: free, taxpayer-subsidized Kool-Aid.

Donald E. Wiggins

Yucca Valley

Re "A revival, without much religion," Oct. 29

While The Times is correct that organized religion has been too often missing in action in the Occupy protests, this article omits the growing interfaith movement.

One person in the article asks: "Where are the mainstream Protestants? Where are the Quakers?" On Oct. 7, 14 Protestants, Catholics, Quakers, Jews, Muslims and others were arrested at the downtown federal building in a nonviolent antiwar demonstration that was endorsed by Occupy L.A.

The action was organized by Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace. Many other interfaith organizations were involved as well.

Stephen Rohde

Los Angeles

The writer chairs Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace.

A lot of money for a fast train

Re "Projected bullet train costs double," Nov. 1

The most likely outcome will be that no high-speed rail system will be built in California. Too many people will have to give up something they value: their property, their business and so on. Every special interest will rise to defend something.

A tremendous amount of public money will be consumed in environmental studies, technology studies, preliminary designs for trains and stations, traffic congestion studies, lawsuits, counter-lawsuits and, oh yes, consultants.

California once led the nation in implementing this kind of infrastructure, but that time is long gone. We should abandon this pipe dream and use some of the money for education and job training.

And, maybe save some it. What a concept.

Mike Liewald

Los Alamitos

Infrastructure projects like California's proposed bullet train are considered real job creators. In a time of high unemployment, the extension of its completion date to 2033 is really troubling, especially because it comes with a more than doubling of its cost to nearly $100 billion.

This project should be put on the fast track like the Chinese did recently with their high-speed rail development. Developed countries such as Japan, France, Germany and Spain that have high-speed rail systems have proved the benefits to the population and the environment.

Gabor Tamasi


Palestinians and statehood

Re "Using the United Nations," Editorial, Nov. 2

The Times has in the past criticized Israel for acting unilaterally. While you emphasize that the road to peace is at the bargaining table, why is it that you don't level the same criticism at the Palestinian Authority when it acted unilaterally by seeking membership in the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization?

Palestinians are trying to win their state through United Nations recognition, not negotiations.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze settlements for a full 10 months in November 2009, at President Obama's request, the Palestinians took more than nine months to enter the negotiations. They demanded another freeze. To reward such behavior would be foolish.

Perhaps the Palestinians, in an effort to avoid recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, think they can circumvent the peace process by going directly to the United Nations.

Bob Brown

New York

The UNESCO vote to allow Palestinian membership underscored the lopsided approach the United States has taken

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