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Patt Morrison interviews Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; the toll on horses from racing; and Lancaster's attack on Section 8

March 28, 2012
  • Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds a copy of his new children's book, "What Color is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors," in New York.
Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds a copy of his new children's… (John Carucci/AP Photo )

Still a winner

Re "Still hooked," Opinion, March 24

Kudos to Patt Morrison.

There is so much more about us than the tragedy

of probable homicide or one more mentally troubled

pop star.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a caring, thoughtful superstar with top-of-the-line mental and physical agility and ability; our renaissance man, promoting knowledge of ourselves. A true role model with unmanufactured celebrityhood.

F. Daniel Gray

Los Angeles

I cheered after reading this interview. As a teacher who has spent years trying to inspire the next generation while preparing them in mathematical thinking, I can tell you that Abdul-Jabbar gets it.

He gets it that the fate of our country depends on the education of our youth.

He gets it that although athletes and entertainers have a role in society, so do those who know mathematics and science. Inventors empowered by this knowledge come in both genders and all colors.

He gets it that giving back to society, being a role model and developing character is what differentiates the heroes from the rest of humanity.

For all of us who believe in the potential for transforming youth into responsible, contributing human beings, Abdul-Jabbar is a hero, not only for his stratospheric basketball accomplishments but for learning — at John Wooden's side — what it means to be a winner.

Pamela S. Clute


Horse racing's mounting toll

Re "Santa Anita leads in track deaths," March 25

I'm not a PETA member, a racetrack aficionado or a horse person.

But what if American professional sports combined had 100 deaths in two years, let alone in California? As you wrote: "At tracks across California, 186 horses died after racing and training accidents during the last fiscal year, according to statistics from the state horse racing board."

We can barely handle football concussions or intentional hits. And human professional athletes are volunteers.

Horses may like to run, but medicated and with injuries about which they can't complain and may not understand?

Forcing animals to entertain us under conditions about which they have no voice (and where they can't perceive the consequences), where no scientific benefit will accrue, is the definition of cruelty.

John O'Donnell

Los Angeles

Who cares what kind of surface the horses are running on if hundreds of animals are dying each year just so someone can bet on them?

I don't care how many millions of dollars change hands, or how many people the industry employs, because when it comes down to it, animals are dying for our pleasure.

Haven't we progressed beyond this?

Lisa A. Landres


Sorry state of legal affairs

Re "Young immigrants are paying for parent's choices," March 25

At the age of 24, Jiovanna Campbell tries to legalize her immigration status on the wrong legal advice of a notary public and gets stuck in Mexico for 10 years.

And this is how we treat and target our neighbors to the south? Those from the country that attacked our World Trade Center were treated better — some of their student visas had been extended.

So what happens to the notary public who is really practicing law without a license?

Rogelio Quesada

San Diego

Section 8's many problems

Re "Lancaster goes after Section 8," Editorial, March 25

Missing from the Section 8 enforcement situation is a discussion of the impact on neighborhoods.

Many Section 8 recipients make lousy neighbors. Because of Lancaster's relative housing value, many of these rentals — larger houses — are in fact occupied by more adults than are legitimately assigned.

This leads to social activity that spills out into the neighborhood and hours of disturbance, sometimes throughout the night.

Quality of life and property values are among the collateral damage.

Enforcement of the rules is not punitive. The neighbors have a right to a tranquil home.

Michael Komins


By supplying Section 8 housing vouchers, the federal government is simply putting more pots under the leaky roof instead of fixing the roof.

But a new problem is also being created. People are relocating to a far-flung area of Los Angeles County where there are few jobs. Illegal immigrants are becoming dominant in central L.A. County where there are many jobs.

Any action from the federal government to fix the problem? Our two U.S. senators mostly reside near Washington, and the president can ignore California because it will be reliably Democratic in the November election.

Bob Munson

Newbury Park

L.A.'s newest light-rail line

Re "Expo line set to roll April 28," March 24

Big deal. When they get around to finally running any line from the Valley to West L.A. and offer the rest of us a real alternative to the 405, call me; I'll be waiting.

J.M. Schwartz

Santa Clarita

What about the line's greatest benefit — not having to pay for downtown parking? That alone should make it worth the extra travel time it might take, or the cost to ride it.

David Olmstead


Fighting terrorism today

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