Los Angeles Times - - Opinion -

So let me get this straight: Hoyer was em­bar­rassed by Col­bert’s tes­ti­mony?

Well, gee, most of us are em­bar­rassed by the Democrats’ lack of lead­er­ship, lack of fo­cus and their al­low­ing the mi­nor­ity party to run the show.

Ed Mas­ciana


Whether or not one agrees with Col­bert’s “in char­ac­ter” pre­sen­ta­tion style or feels that style was some­how dis­re­spect­ful, what was made very clear is how out of touch, ar­ro­gant, pompous and self­sat­is­fied many of our elected of­fi­cials seem to be.

Not only did many of them not “get it,” but it was to­tally over their heads.

Lewis Red­ding


There is ap­par­ently no limit to the ways this Congress will find to waste our money and their time.

I guess all the se­ri­ous work has been done.

John Pic­cininni

New­port Beach

Can sales taxes re­ally wait?

Re “State is owed siz­able sum in taxes,” Sept. 28

Your ar­ti­cle re­gard­ing the amount of un­paid sales tax owed the state is truly shock­ing. As a small-busi­ness owner, I du­ti­fully pay my sales taxes to the Board of Equal­iza­tion ev­ery quar­ter. Now I see there is ev­i­dently no rea­son to do this. There seems to be no real penalty (you men­tion “sub­ject to fines for missing pay­ments”) for hold­ing on to the tax money paid to us by cus­tomers. Is this any way to run a state?

It’s no won­der that I haven’t been able to re­ceive pay­ment on an in­voice that the state has owed me for more than four months. Thank you for your lat­est ex­pose.

Bar­bara Shafer

Los An­ge­les

In your ar­ti­cle, Peter Welch of the Cal­i­for­nia New Car Deal­ers Assn. views the idea of short­en­ing the time car deal­ers have to re­mit their sales tax to be un­ac­cept­able be­cause, as he puts it, they would be “fronting” the money to the state.

If I’m not mis­taken, that money be­longs to us, the tax­pay­ers of Cal­i­for­nia. By al­low­ing deal­ers to pay monthly or quar­terly, we are in ef­fect giv­ing them an in­ter­est-free loan.

Per­haps in this time of tight money and bud­get short­falls, the state should of­fer this op­tion: keep pay­ing on a monthly ba­sis, along with in­ter­est for the short-term loan, or re­mit the tax at the time of the sale with no in­ter­est due.

Richard Kraft

West Hollywood

Though it is cer­tainly im­por­tant to col­lect sales taxes al­ready paid to mer­chants, how about de­mand­ing sales tax on in­ter­state In­ter­net pur­chases?

As a re­tailer here in Cal­i­for­nia, I am at a se­vere com­pet­i­tive dis­ad­van­tage with out-of-state re­tail­ers who don’t col­lect sales tax as I have to.

Cal­i­for­nia needs the money; I pay my sales taxes, but I am los­ing a lot of sales to re­tail­ers out­side Cal­i­for­nia who don’t col­lect sales tax. Is that fair?

Wayne Small

Lake For­est, Calif.

Our parks and Propo­si­tion 21

Re “Parks vs. bud­get­ing by bal­lot,” Col­umn, Sept. 27, and “Prop. 21, the wrong so­lu­tion,” Ed­i­to­rial, Sept. 27

An $18 yearly sur­charge, added to car reg­is­tra­tions and meant for the ded­i­cated pur­pose of main­tain­ing our jewel of a state park sys­tem, would amount to a few cents a day for res­i­dents with a car. And the sites would be saved from dis­re­pair and de­cline.

State leg­is­la­tors are clearly un­able to pass any bud­get, let alone one that pro­tects these world-class nat­u­ral places with all of their pre­cious geog­ra­phy, wildlife and his­tory.

Should we be work­ing fu­ri­ously to pro­tect chil­dren in poverty, the frail el­derly and many other pub­lic needs as well? Of course we should, but in the mean­time, wait­ing for leg­is­la­tors to get their act to­gether on be­half of all of our needs is like wait­ing for snow at the Sal­ton Sea.

Some­times, when things get dire enough, triage is nec­es­sary.

Lau­rel Telfer

Long Beach

Your ed­i­to­rial doesn’t em­pha­size the dif­fer­ence be­tween Propo­si­tion 21and the bal­lot-box bud­get­ing ini­tia­tives that hound Cal­i­for­ni­ans ev­ery elec­tion.

Propo­si­tion 21 pro­vides for a new, in­de­pen­dent rev­enue source and thus won’t take away from other pro­grams. Ac­cord­ingly, I dis­agree that Propo­si­tion 21 helps parks “at the ex­pense of, say, med­i­cal treat­ment for chil­dren.”

Of course we should raise rev­enue in “a way that al­lows the state to al­lo­cate money to the pro­grams that need it most in a given year.” But it has been im­pos­si­ble for the state to come to any mean­ing­ful agree­ment be­tween cuts and new rev­enues. We clearly need com­pre­hen­sive struc­tural re­form in Sacra­mento.

I for one am not will­ing to wait un­til the state gets its act to­gether and prop­erly sup­ports our woe­fully un­der­funded parks. I’m vot­ing yes on 21.

Ben Allen

Santa Mon­ica

I want to thank The Times for rec­og­niz­ing the mis­guided good of Propo­si­tion 21.

As an avid hiker, I spend a great deal of time in our moun­tains, beaches and state parks. Yes, parks have been un­der­funded for years and main­te­nance de­layed. But they are not clos­ing and toi­let paper has not been elim­i­nated.

Though your ed­i­to­rial made salient points about the fis­cal re­al­i­ties of Propo­si­tion 21and the long list of wor­thy pub­lic ben­e­fits that could also be funded with the ve­hi­cle li­cense fee, you left out one of my great­est con­cerns: the con­se­quences of al­low­ing free, un­re­stricted and un­con­trolled ac­cess to our beaches and hik­ing trails.

It has been my ex­pe­ri­ence that peo­ple re­spect what they pay for. When park­ing lots are a “free for all,” it at­tracts peo­ple look­ing for a place to “hang out” rather than for a na­ture ex­pe­ri­ence.

This is sim­ply the wrong ap­proach to a good cause.

Francine Oschin


Al­though your ar­gu­ments against Propo­si­tion 21 have merit in the long term, “later” is not an op­tion to fix­ing the prob­lems with the state bud­get. Now is the time to take a stand and pro­tect our state parks and beaches — the peo­ple’s re­sources. If the Leg­is­la­ture con­tin­ues to ab­di­cate its re­spon­si­bil­ity, we the peo­ple will con­tinue to take things away.

Mar­garet Light

Pa­cific Pal­isades

At the Phil

Re “The L.A. Phil’s leader, sans ba­ton,” Sept. 26

Reed John­son wrote a very in­spir­ing ar­ti­cle on Deb­o­rah Borda, the pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of the L.A. Phil.

Only in L.A. can ar­chi­tect Frank Gehry call the con­duc­tor of the L.A. Phil­har­monic “the Dude”: “She’s to­tally com­mit­ted to the Dude.”

I love it.

Bruce Lyon

Santa Bar­bara

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