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WIN SOME, LOSE SOME
Great job on the election endorsements [February 25–March 2]. I have been depending on you to do a lot of my thinking for years.
Thank you so much for your voting guide and the endorsements. They are so helpful — especially the voting guide. As it is always wise to know what the
enemies of our country are up to, I will be sure to check your recommendations and then vote exactly the opposite.
I want to thank you for your in-depth coverage and analysis of the March 7, 2000, election. Your voter guide was invaluable! In the interest of full disclosure, I also saved the L.A. Times endorsements and compared them with yours. You’d be amazed at how closely aligned the Weekly and Times are in their voting preferences. (Yeah, I know, there are probably a few ink-stained wretches in both newsrooms who keeled over after reading that last line.)
I had the benefit of reading the state voter pamphlet during jury duty. Even with this block of time to read and analyze, the initiatives proved perplexing. I dreaded having to go over them, but with your help, I got through it with nary a scratch and with the confidence that my votes were based on sound information. In light of how now, more than ever, it’s important to go to the ballot box well informed, your paper performs a valuable service in letting us cast our vote with the knowledge that we’re doing the right thing.
—John D. Chavez
Regarding your endorsements: I’m new in town, so I was curious to see what your political principles are. Alas, I was disappointed to discover you don’t have any. Oh, you have an arbitrary grab bag of positions, to be sure, but what’s the point of that? Without the cohesion of integrating principles, one might as well wear a blindfold into the voting booth.
For example, in your critique of one candidate, you lambaste his record against abortion rights, ostensibly suggesting that an individual’s right to choose is an important principle. Okay. But if a principle is, as I was taught, a general truth upon which other truths necessarily depend, then it’s absurdly arbitrary, at best — and at worst, brazenly hypocritical — to invoke that principle for some human activities (those you approve of), while denying it to others (those you don’t).
One need go no further than your Initiative 1A [“No”] to discover the sham. On the matter of abortion, you recognize that individual human beings are the only entities to whom the concept of choice could possibly apply. But regarding gambling — and on many other matters — you replace the individual with your reified superentity: society. The idea of the teeming multitudes making choices you don’t approve of — and can’t control — scares you to death.
In the interest of objective journalism, stop calling yourselves “pro-choice.” It would be much more accurate, and certainly more honest, to label yourselves “pro-choice-on-one-and-only-one-issue.” In most else, you’re a bunch of puritans. In fact, between your worship of the Divine Collective and your blind faith in Big Government, you could quite appropriately be characterized as the Religious Left. And no less silly than its counterpart.
I found your endorsements to be very helpful as I tried to make intelligent decisions for Tuesday’s election. I was frustrated, however, that you did not cover the U.S. representative race for the 25th District, the state Senate race in the 19th District or the state Assembly race for the 38th District. Why were these areas left out? Without your guidance, I had to vote Democratic straight down the line, and hope I wasn’t supporting some schnook!
Anyway, thanks for clarifying some pretty muddy issues!
THE EDITOR REPLIES: Sorry. Columbus never reached India, and we haven’t made it yet to Palmdale, Simi Valley or the farthest reaches of Northridge.
The “L.A. Cucaracha” cartoon printed in your March 3–9 edition, stereotyping heterosexual marriage as an argument against Proposition 22, was weak and degrading. If you want to fight for equal rights, wonderful. But to take down one group in argument against another is counterproductive. If those in favor of 22 ran an ad characterizing what they view as a stereotypical homosexual couple, it would be viewed as politically incorrect and probably homophobic.
SPECIAL INTERESTS AND LAUSD
Re: the Weekly’s interview with LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines [“The Hot Seat,” February 18–24]. Any plan for education reform in Los Angeles must include an examination of the relevant political and socioeconomic policies. Any worthwhile examination will include not only the legislatures, city halls, and corporate and union headquarters, but also the living rooms of those middle-class families who are footing the taxpayer bills and whose attitudes toward public education are key to any chance for success.
Unfortunately, the basic truth educational reformers have refused to see is that, for all intents and purposes, this taxpaying, home-owning, “native-born” middle class either has been driven out or has abandoned public education. Instead, these families strive to send their children to private schools, where, despite the inconvenience and the cost, they can demand institutional accountability without fear of a curriculum “dumbed down” to the lowest common denominator. Such parents regard their local public schools as depositories for “other” children in whom they have little real interest.
As for big business, if it is their stated intention that California’s population infinitely grow despite finite environmental resources, then they — not the homeowner, who has no need for the cheap housing tracts and strip malls mushrooming across the state to fuel corporate profits — must pay the bill. Big business’s political handmaidens in both Sacramento and Washington should have the courage either to acknowledge the situation and legislate proportionate fiscal responsibility, or envision an alternative.
As for the teachers’ unions, they have simply failed to deliver. It is obviously in the union leaderships’ self-interest for the student population to grow. More students means more unionized teachers, which means more dues, new union offices, perks, conferences, photo-ops, op-eds, speeches, and clout in the capitals. It has not meant better working conditions for teachers, who are still mired in decaying, overworked facilities bursting at the seams while bureaucrats squabble and squander any and all hope for relief, as the Belmont debacle so richly illustrates. Because the unions have taken the position that their teachers must educate everyone, in the end we educate no one.
Had the unions truly had teachers’ interests in mind, they would have supported Proposition 187, despite the howling from both the left and the right, as a means for calling big government and big business to account for policies that have driven population growth and demographic change without providing the requisite educational resources to deal with them. As it stands, the treasury is full and our schools are impoverished; corporations are crowing over profits while the district is a laughingstock; businessmen are counting their bonuses while teachers remain underpaid objects of professional pity.
—Kevin C. Glynn
Los Angeles High School