Prop. 13 and gov­ern­ment power

Los Angeles Times - - Opinion -

I read the poll; the ques­tion asked sim­ply if the pres­i­dent had knowl­edge of the 9/11 at­tacks be­fore­hand.

Any­one who knows of the daily brief­ing that warned of Al Qaeda hi­jack­ing air­planes could rea­son­ably an­swer yes. The ques­tion did not im­ply that the pres­i­dent was “in on” the at­tacks.

Ted Salins Rich­mond, Va.

I have heard of but have not seen this poll in­di­cat­ing that many Democrats be­lieve Bush was aware that the 9/11 at­tacks would hap­pen. It is a sad com­men­tary, but it does il­lus­trate how many Amer­i­cans think poorly of Bush.

Still, it seems short­sighted to ac­cuse Democrats of be­ing crazy for be­liev­ing this. Doesn’t Gold­berg re­mem­ber when most Repub­li­cans be­lieved that Iraq was in­volved in 9/11? Were those Amer­i­cans con­sid­ered to be crazy, or just vic­tims of dis­hon­esty by our gov­ern­ment? And Gold­berg won­ders why many Amer­i­cans dis­trust Bush. Steven John­son

Re­dondo Beach

With Bush’s ap­proval rat­ing hov­er­ing around 30%, Gold­berg de­votes a col­umn to a pos­si­bly “se­ri­ous” prob­lem for the Demo­cratic Party. What the devil is that tune he’s whistling in the dark? Ge­orge Miller

Los Osos, Calif.

It is sad that Gold­berg ma­ligns many Democrats for be­ing sus­pi­cious of Bush know­ing about 9/11 be­fore­hand. Many peo­ple, in­clud­ing re­spected aca­demics, be­lieve that Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt had prior knowl­edge about the Pearl Har­bor at­tack but needed a rea­son to get into World War II. Many who be­lieve this still have re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion for him as a pres­i­dent.

If his­tory has taught us any­thing, it is that peo­ple need to be sus­pi­cious of the rea­sons why gov­ern­ments start wars. Robert E. Grif­fin

Forty Fort, Pa. Re “Gov­ern­ment by bake sale,” Opin­ion, May 13

Ezra Klein takes a whack at Propo­si­tion 13, say­ing it has de­prived gov­ern­ment of rev­enues needed for ba­sic ser­vices.

We know that Propo­si­tion 13 is to a big spen­der like sun­light is to a vam­pire, but this is just non­sense. Re­peated stud­ies have shown that af­ter ad­just­ing for in­fla­tion and pop­u­la­tion growth, all lev­els of gov­ern­ment have more money than they did be­fore the pas­sage of Propo­si­tion 13. Cal­i­for­nia al­ready ranks in the top 10 states in per capita tax­a­tion, and we sup­port, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. cen­sus, the high­est-paid state em­ploy­ees in the na­tion.

There is plenty of money to pro­vide es­sen­tial ser­vices while con­tin­u­ing the pro­tec­tions that Propo­si­tion 13 pro­vides. We al­ready have given big­ger gov­ern­ment a chance, and it has shown it­self to be wholly in­ept with our money. Jon Coupal

Pres­i­dent Howard Jarvis Tax­pay­ers Assn.

Sacra­mento

Thanks to Klein for point­ing out this de­cep­tion that con­ser­va­tive “pri­va­tiz­ers” have been foist­ing on us for decades: Un­der-fund, mis­man­age and de­fang all gov­ern­ment agen­cies and use their pre­dictable fail­ures as ev­i­dence that ev­ery­thing should be pri­va­tized.

They love to claim that private sys­tems of­fer more free­dom. Many Amer­i­cans, how­ever, do not con­sider con­sumer free­dom any­where near as im­por­tant as po­lit­i­cal free­dom; and po­lit­i­cal free­dom — hav­ing a voice in your own demo­cratic gov­ern­ment — means noth­ing if that gov­ern­ment lacks the power to ef­fect any change. Andrew Matthews

Los An­ge­les

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