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Letters to the editor

Opening up Children's Court to the media; Catholics, contraception and healthcare; remembering the Challenger disaster

February 10, 2012
  • Lucias Bouge, 19, a former foster youth who works with the California Youth Connection, joins a group on the steps of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in downtown, objecting to the order opening court hearings to the public and media.
Lucias Bouge, 19, a former foster youth who works with the California Youth… (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles…)

Breath of fresh air

Re "Media gain access to L.A. County children's courts," Feb. 8

As a two-attorney couple who adopted a teenager from L.A.'s foster care system, we applaud Presiding Judge Michael Nash for removing the "cloak of invisibility" over the children's court. This was a reasonable step after decades of stalemate in Sacramento.

The photo that accompanied the article showed a teenager holding a protest sign. He apparently doesn't mind having his name and picture published, so long as it's in the service of keeping the media from learning about other foster kids' experiences.

Our daughter's sign would probably read, "If The Times had come to my court hearings, maybe I wouldn't have moved 11 times before finding parents." Her mom and dad's sign would say, "Let the sunshine in."

Anthony Segall and Deborah Dentler


The church and contraception

Re "An affront Catholics agree on," Opinion, Feb. 5

Charlotte Allen is guessing about "liberal" and "conservative" Catholics agreeing on President Obama's enforcement of contraception coverage for employees of Catholic institutions.

No religion has the right to enforce its theology on non-members. To allow an exemption for the Roman Catholic Church would open the door to exemptions for all faiths regarding any doctrine.

I am a Catholic woman who welcomes society's support of female laity in a church that relegates women to inferior offices. As a historian of religions, I know that church theology changes at the will of the hierarchy. Any institution that imposes a ban on preventive medicine for its members of one gender only is unjust.

Catholic women practice birth control in defiance of the modern popes who banned it, and they take Communion with a clear conscience, knowing that Jesus and Paul allowed women leadership roles in their movement.

Jean E. Rosenfeld

Pacific Palisades

This controversy is a perfect example of why health insurance should not be sponsored by


Why should your employer determine what kind of health insurance you have? Why should workers who do the same job but at different companies have vastly different healthcare? Why should your employer's religion determine what health services are covered?

If there ever were an argument for Medicare for all, this is it.

Linda Browne

Granada Hills

Challenger's fate

Re "Engineer tried to halt shuttle launch," Obituary, Feb. 7

In putting forth the story of Roger Boisjoly, The Times rightly points out that he and his fellow engineers knew that launching the space shuttle Challenger in cold weather could be disastrous. The article rightly places blame for the decision to launch on senior managers.

Then the article calls the Challenger explosion "among the great engineering miscalculations in history." It was not. It was management hubris and political irresponsibility on a tragic scale.

The managers who created this tragedy have largely escaped responsibility. The politicos who applied the pressure to launch are revered by their acolytes.

As always, engineers are left with the bitter "if only."

James E. McDonald

Los Angeles

Off the rails

Re "High-speed rail … or fail?," Column, Feb. 5

I'm glad that Steve Lopez may have finally seen the light regarding California's high-speed rail project. But why is new project leader Dan Richards looking to save it?

In the real world of business, when a product or service projection is off by 200% — as in this debacle — it's over, no question or doubt about it. It is disconcerting that this was minimized by Richards and then made even worse by his effort to defend this epic miscalculation by citing inflation.

What about the colossal incompetence of the accountants? Or could it be intentional misrepresentation to the voters?

Dave Mulnard

Newport Beach

Putting in place some pot rules

Re "Compassionless crackdown," Column, Feb. 4

If marijuana is to be used medicinally, treat it like real medicine and distribute it through the legitimate pharmaceutical system. Let those who need it purchase it at a real pharmacy, as they would any other medication.

The issue with the dispensaries is all the illegality that goes along with them. Underage kids are obtaining marijuana at these dispensaries, whether through fake "medical marijuana" cards or simply by hanging around outside the dispensaries and offering cash to a customer going inside.

I don't think anyone wants to deny a medical substance to someone who really needs it. But take the illegal activity away. The marijuana these dispensaries sell is mighty potent, and it is gaining some mighty young fans.

Nikki Batalis

Santa Ana

Sandy Banks points out how the years of "conflicting rules [and] hazy regulations" give no direction to authorities or those selling or buying pot for medicinal purposes. But Banks doesn't address the real stupidity of marijuana regulation.

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