Last Day at the Races

Two weeks ago, Mike Seely reported on the closure of horse-racing mecca Betfair Hollywood Park (“Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” Dec. 13). Simfar22 responds, “I'm surprised the article seems to completely miss the basic fact that Americans just aren't interested in horse racing anymore. It doesn't even acknowledge the rising perception that horse racing is inherently cruel and dangerous, with animals being routinely drugged to race while injured, as well as being overbred for centuries to have pencil-thin legs supporting a massive body. There is an excitement to the track and a faded glamour, no doubt, but this is one of those 'ways of life' that I don't feel bad to see going away.

Robbie33 blames Inglewood: “The neighborhood isn't the only reason the track is failing, but it is one of the reasons, for sure. The fact is, Del Mar has a huge on-track attendance every day, and the exact same trainers, horses and jockeys run there. Why, you ask? Because it is in a better neighborhood and it is populated mostly by affluent white people. That is REALITY. If the money stays away, so does your business.”

Defending iPads

Beth Barrett's story about LAUSD's iPads-for-all-students program had readers fuming (“iPads in LAUSD,” Dec. 20). Writes Richard Starr, “There are a number of very legitimate concerns about the program, and for some reason most are not mentioned in this 'article.' Frankly, this reads more like a propaganda piece with a sop of truth added to appear less biased. Worse, it fails to mention the far cheaper and more effective alternatives.

“For one thing, the money used to fund this program came from bonds designed for building/repairing schools and long-term equipment. The iPads do not qualify. It is quite likely this use is illegal, and I have no idea how the money will be recovered nor how those who pushed such use will be punished.

“For another, why accept software terms that allow it to vaporize itself and instead require a renewed license? Other school districts in different states have apparently implemented programs at a fraction of the cost. Why were case studies of these programs not reviewed and used instead?

“They could have easily looked into something like the one-laptop-per-child initiative, which manages to supply children around the world with durable, child-friendly tech rather than these expensive, fragile toys that all too frequently get stolen or 'lost.' I see a boondoggle here on the scale of the health care website.

Adds Geronimo, “Who the hell is saying technology is a bad thing? Talk about straw men: 'I wish I could tell you why there is all this hostility toward making sure poor kids have access to technology,' says LAUSD board member Tamar Galatzan — as if the people against the iPad initiative are Bull Connors sicking German shepherds on L.A.'s children.

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