Reseda Phil Spector trial Re “Spector defense expert attacked on ‘epiphany’” (Aug. 16): Even though I studied law in years past, I am amazed at the lack of common sense and simple logic in the trial of Phil Spector. Based on actual facts, and past behavior, he intended to engage in sexual acts with Lana Clarkson, and as in the past he had used his gun to “persuade” his victim. So the question I have for the judge and prosecutor to ask, and defense to answer, is a simple one: What was the purpose of having a loaded gun at that “social encounter”? Spector should be put away for life, and this ridiculous trial put to an end with simple logic, which is possible even in a legal environment. It is called common sense. – Michael A. Campos West Hills Sacramento spenders Re “All fall down” (Viewpoint, Aug. 12): Richard Little is deceptive with his analysis of fatal infrastructure. The reality is that we already pay billions of dollars in fuel and gasoline sales taxes, which are intended for transportation infrastructure. The real trouble is that the Sacramento politicians diverted these taxes to the general fund. The self-serving Sacramento politicians misuse these tax revenues to pay for their pet, vote-buying projects and illegal aliens, not for the infrastructure. Recently the California voters approved nearly $40 billion in bonds for infrastructure upgrading. The author completely ignored this as well. Now the Sacramento spenders are attempting to defraud the public once more and redirect some of the bond funds to other darling projects. – Mort Arditti Los Angeles Locals working Re “City Pandering Department” (Our Opinions, Aug. 12): You ended your editorial with a real mouthful: “So the moral is this: If you want sensible planning, instead of senseless pandering, you need to buy the politicians’ votes or scare them to death by organizing your community.” I’m not sure you really meant to be this candid, but amen to that. You guys (you know who you are) can go on buying politicians’ votes, that’s a law enforcement matter. We “locals” are proud to be able to strike fear in the hearts of city officials. Let’s hear it for organized local communities who demand and get sensible planning and for Councilwoman Wendy Greuel who refused to be “worked.” – Roberta Actor-Thomas Tujunga Fixed sports Re “Ring masters” (Aug. 12): When an animal has to have its eyes smeared with Vaseline or be weakened in order for someone to fight it, ultimately to its death, it’s hardly a fair contest. It is a sport of cowards, just like chasing a fox to exhaustion before finally dispatching it, attaching blades to the feet of birds in cockfighting (another “tradition”) or dogfighting. If these people enjoy the pageantry of the “sport,” the music and all that goes with it, just take the bull out of the equation since supposedly that’s not what anyone is there to see anyway. Or replace the bull with another man and have them fight to the death as gladiators did. I doubt people would be taking their 7-year-old daughters to see that. – James Cannon Sherman Oaks Spewing filth Re “Apartment smoke” (Your Opinions, Aug. 8): Now that we have a ban on smoking in parks, we should enact one to prevent smoking in apartments where kids are trapped in walkways, stairways and poolside by smokers spewing their filth into the very air we breathe. It is not enough that they generate secondhand smoke, but many smokers neglect to put out their smoke when finished and choose to just let it burn itself out, spewing even more of the obnoxious smell. Smokers do not realize that they can be detected from as much as 20 feet away by a nonsmoker just by the smell that lingers on them. It is a shame to have to run an air conditioner because opening the windows lets in the smoke from the apartments below and next to us. – Michael Nitzahn Tarzana Lack of oversight The latest report disclosing that LAUSD students showed little improvement over last year in state standardized test results should not come as a surprise. The fact that more than two-thirds of students in nearly all grade levels are not proficient in English and math scores, and continue to lag behind other states, comes on the heels of increasing evidence that the board of education is lacking in management oversight. Last month alone it was revealed that Belmont Learning Center costs continue to soar. Its original price tag was $45 million. The final tab will top $400 million. Then taxpayers learned that in the past five years, LAUSD officials have been forced to return all but a fraction of $62 million in state reimbursement funds because of flawed or incomplete applications. – Robert McArthur Mar Vista Society of blamers Re “Wrong way on illegal immigration” (Their Opinions, Aug 13): We cannot in good conscience continue to blame the federal government for the problems with illegal immigration. I grew up in south-of-the-boulevard Woodland Hills in the early ’60s. Back then it was a working-class area, with friendly neighbors who socialized together and spent weekends working in the yard. Thirty years later, I’m back and the neighbors are strangers to me. Their gardeners are illegals, as are their maids and the “contractors” who come to work on their homes. At the corner of Fallbrook Avenue and Ventura Boulevard, the day laborers hang out, sometimes 100 strong, disrupting traffic and local businesses. Who’s hiring them? We are. If you really want to know who’s at fault in this mess, wave to him or her when you brush your teeth in the morning. – Rod C. Venger Woodland Hills Mortgage bailout My daughter and her family live in an apartment because they know they cannot afford a home. There is no reason why they should stand by and watch Los Angeles bail out people who bought homes way beyond their ability to pay and are in danger of losing those homes. Besides, since these unfortunate homeowners are having trouble making their mortgage payments, what makes city officials think recipients of the proposed low-interest loans will ever have the funds to repay them? – Michael Wiener Encino Free Reggie Re “Reggie the escape artist” (Aug. 16): While the article describing Reggie’s latest bid for freedom was somewhat amusing, it demonstrated the plight of animals kept in captivity for the pleasure of their captors. If there were real concerns for his well-being, zoo officials would relocate Reggie to the wilds of a swamp where he could be among his own species, and seek out his own pleasures, in keeping with nature’s true intent. – Steven Sapkin, M.D. Woodland Hills Full of it I enjoyed seeing the smiling picture of Reggie the alligator on your Aug. 10 front page, but I felt something was missing. Why, of course! It was Mayor Villaraigosa that should have been right next to Reggie with his big smile. Besides their smiles, they have quite a bit in common. Both are attention grabbers (Reggie for his cuteness), both have eluded people for months (the mayor and his extramarital affair), and one is a relative of the croc while the other is full of crock. – Erin Ziliak Sylmar160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Re “Recall shakes up toy industry” (Business, Aug. 16): We, the American taxpayers and consumers, will carry all of the financial burden of disposing of the lead-laden toys. With this occurrence, along with the “dog food” fiasco and others, are there any reasonable people around who are not part of the mercantile/manufacturing financial hegemony and who still believe that we really save money in the long run by having China do our manufacturing for us? – Leonard McGinnis Granada Hills Another bad idea Re “Breeding ground” (Aug. 15): The color photo on your Aug. 15 front page is exactly what we can expect if or when the concrete washes are removed to create a riparian zone. There is not enough water to keep them flowing so the water does not just puddle and invite mosquitoes. Also, all the trash that is thrown in the streets will be added to the mix, homeless will camp and we will have more disease than we can handle. Another bad, costly idea from our politicians. – Joann Kibler
More than 400 court interpreters walked off their jobs Wednesday at courthouses in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The walkout began at 8 a.m. with striking interpreters picketing five Los Angeles County courthouses, blowing whistles and chanting “No equal treatment.” Some of the estimated 75 strikers at the downtown criminal courthouse hoisted signs reading “Interpret this.” County court spokeswoman Patricia Kelly said the walkout wasn’t disrupting court business. “All of our courtrooms are operating normally today and we don’t anticipate anything other than that,” she said. The California Federation of Interpreters, representing the striking workers, said low wages and poor working conditions have led to a shortage of courtroom interpreters. The federation said there is a shortage of 20 to 40 interpreters each day in Los Angeles. Additionally, according to the union, wages are one-third to one-half what interpreters are paid by other employers. “Interpreters have only had two cost-of-living increases in eight years,” federation chief Silvia Barden said in a statement. “We’re excluded from the salary-step system other employees have that provides regular increases based on years of service.” The interpreters, who want a step salary system giving them a 5 percent raise each year for seven years, have been negotiating over pay since May. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!