Los Angeles Times

Lives overlooked

- The writer is president of First Focus Campaign for Children.

Re “No room at inn for innocence,” July 22

We read often about the horrors throughout the world, but reporter Joe Mozingo’s piece on the horrors faced by so many children from birth focuses on a group of kids closer to home in San Bernardino.

We, as a society, have failed terribly. We ignore the growing poverty in our dense and expanding population, the huge drug addiction problem and the lack of protection­s for these vulnerable people within our own country. Billions of dollars are spent on worthless politician­s, endless wars and more, and corporate greed causes business leaders to evade their responsibi­lity to enhance communitie­s. Furthermor­e, what was once a successful public education system has become a disaster.

To begin with, we must curb population growth. We need to teach sex, health, drug and alcohol education starting at an early age. Next, we can give humans a feeling of worth through vocational training, bringing back a focus on the arts and allowing educators to control the curriculum again. I have touched many lives over my 34-year teaching career.

We all need to contribute to a better, more humane world. It starts today with each one of us.

Dee White, Dana Point

Where is the government — state and federal — to bring immediate relief to these people and especially the children? Why are the police not helping the children to get out of this hell? Why hasn’t the Legislatur­e provided emergency funds to help the people and the children?

How and why has this country become so indifferen­t to the suffering of its people? What is wrong with us?

Steve Schlein Venice Beach

Thank you for calling attention to the plight of some of our residents, curious in its juxtaposit­ion with the July 20 article on the misguided plea by Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archbishop José Gomez for the plight of those wishing to immigrate.

My heart bleeds for the children in the San Bernardino hotel, and considerin­g the crime, jail overcrowdi­ng, subpar public education system, drugs and homelessne­ss already faced by our area and the whole of our country, how can Gomez suggest we take on more?

Diane McDowell Los Angeles

Millions of homeless children face daily horrors like those depicted in your story. Adding insult to injury is that U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developmen­t (HUD) policy doesn’t consider them homeless.

Most homeless children — including nearly 260,000 attending California schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education — lead transient lives: motel one night, a friend’s couch the next. In every way that matters, they’re homeless.

But HUD says they’re not, technicall­y. So HUD won’t help them find a safe place to stay, counseling and other basic assistance. HUD’s definition and its annual count actually ignores an estimated threefourt­hs of homeless kids.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) bipartisan Homeless Children and Youth Act fixes the problem, making HUD’s definition reflect reality. If California wants change, its congressio­nal representa­tives must support Feinstein to pass this common-sense legislatio­n and help homeless children.

Bruce Lesley Washington

 ?? Francine Orr
Los Angeles Times ?? EDDIE MARTINEZ, 14, at the Country Inn in San Bernardino in January. His mother was in jail at the time.
Francine Orr Los Angeles Times EDDIE MARTINEZ, 14, at the Country Inn in San Bernardino in January. His mother was in jail at the time.

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