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Vandalism threats at California state parks; Afghanistan war strategy; suing multinational corporations over human rights abuses

Letters to the editor

February 29, 2012

No money, no park

Re "A park left vulnerable," Feb. 25

The one thing that will save Mitchell Caverns (and other shuttered state parks) is the one thing California probably will not do: The state should sell the park to someone who will take care of the place.

Owners take far better care of their property. Sure, any buyers would want to make the park profitable, but what's wrong with that?

With a little investment and promotion, Mitchell Caverns and other parks like it could become tourist attractions to an extent they never have been previously. State drones won't pick up the tab, which is why these parks are vulnerable to vandalism.

These attractions are far too great and far too uncommon to languish at the mercy of thieves.

Wayne Grantham

Sherman Oaks

As someone who has visited Mitchell Caverns more than once, this article made me ill.

There's more than one person to blame, but former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is at the head of the line. If he had not cut the vehicle registration fee, the state budget would never have reached its current condition. Everything he said about state government finances turned out to be nonsense.

I would like to invite Schwarzenegger to make amends for all the damage that he has done. He can easily pay for the repairs needed at Mitchell Caverns as well as a full-time caretaker. So how about it, governor?

Jim Cody

North Hollywood

Making sense in Afghanistan

Re "More cuts, more war," Opinion, Feb. 24

I agree with Max Boot. The Obama administration's Afghanistan policy makes no sense if you look only at the objectives of the military occupation. But the policy makes sense in the context of a reelection campaign.

Richard Nixon could have pulled out of Vietnam his first month in office and it would not have made any difference in the outcome. He probably thought losing a war would lose him votes. President Obama probably feels likewise about Afghanistan.

But over time, it will make no difference how long we stayed in Afghanistan (assuming we do leave soon).

I disagree with Boot on one point: Wars in Afghanistan have never been and will never be a threat to America's security.

Paul Henninger

Lake Forest, Calif.

There is an alternative to continued U.S. aid that would enable Afghanistan to fund its security forces.

An October 2011 Scientific American article reported that U.S. geologists have mapped what was described as Afghanistan's world-class deposits of rare minerals essential to high-tech manufacturing. The minerals' conservatively estimated value of hundreds of billions of dollars would generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually in government revenue, which could be used to fund Afghan security forces.

In short, the commercial development of Afghanistan's mineral resources by private mining corporations could provide the funding for a large security force to ensure the stability of Afghanistan's government without indefinite U.S. aid.

Basil Fiorito

San Luis Obispo

Suing to protect human rights

Re "Claiming justice for Jane Doe," Opinion, Feb. 26

Ka Hsaw Wa is right to point out that Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch Petroleum (also known as Shell) shows the dangers of corporations that have the rights of natural persons without the responsibilities.

The most urgent danger comes from the corporate military contractors that are increasingly conducting U.S. military and foreign policy, with no effective form of oversight or accountability.

The ability to bring Alien Tort Statute claims against such corporations is our best chance at maintaining the rule of law in an age of outsourced war.

Robert J. Pavich

Chicago

The Supreme Court's decision in Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch Petroleum should be a no-brainer.

Shell is claiming that corporations are not people and should not be held liable for human rights violations committed by their employees. The court has already determined that corporations are people.

Therefore, the only logical conclusion is to hold Shell liable for these human rights abuses.

However, with the conservative majority on the court, I am not holding my breath for a consistent and fair decision.

Maryanne Rose

Laguna Niguel

Medi-Cal dodge

Re "Brown's Medi-Cal plea is denied," Feb. 27

Although Gov. Jerry Brown's request to help fund Medi-Cal by requiring co-pays from the poor was denied by theU.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Brown was mining the wrong trove. The real treasure belongs to the many wealthy, elderly Medi-Cal recipients whose families pauperize them by moving their assets to avoid depreciating the estate.

Medi-Cal is supposed to be a safety net for the impoverished, but it is often just another way for the well-to-do to beat the system.

Phyllis A. Gottlieb

Los Angeles

Yes to licenses

Re "Bills introduced on immigrant licenses," Feb. 25

When I see developments like this, it gives me hope.

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