Dear T.J. Montemer, Editor:I want to commend Lynne Bronstein on her comprehensive article about the complex and confusing ballot measures on the May 19th Statewide Special Election. Lynne captured the gist of the six ballot measures and how they affect the State’s budget deficit.I wish to make one correction: Although Prop 1B was put on the ballot to convince the teachers’ unions to support Prop 1A (Prop 1B’s education funding does not go into effect unless Prop 1A passes), theCA Federation of Teachers had decided to oppose ALL the May 19th propositions except 1B. The larger CA Association of Teachers supports the Prop 1A budget changes; the CA Federation of Teachers opposes Prop 1A. Other education organizations such as the CA School Boards Association and the CA Faculty Association also oppose Prop 1A.Politics – especiallythe volatile budget crisis- makes for strange coalitions of “friends” and “enemies”.Thea BrodkinVoter Service Director, League of Women Voters of California* * * *Dear Editor, I am writing in response to Steve Stajich’s article regarding legalization of marijuana.Hopefully, we are ALL aware that we need to make some radical changes to improve our economy. Although Steve seems to be a good writer, and I for one, don’t smoke ANYTHING, I object to his stance. Why? because if cigarettes are legal, then pot should be also. Because this is America, and if people wish to kill themselves by smoking, we might as well profit from it via taxation, lower caseloads in courts, and not needing to build bigger jails. Legalizing it would make it less of a seductive “taboo” item for young folks and reduce crime, in general. Drugs should be regulated, and taxed instead of being illegal so crime would lessen and police could have more time to catch the truly dangerous criminals and protect the rest of us decent folks.We know tobacco is the number one cause of death in the United State of America, and that it is totally preventable. “Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in our society.” according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_10_2x_Questions_About_Smoking_Tobacco_and_Health.asp. Is smoking cigarettes legal? You bet… and, the nicotine in cigarettes is addictive and it takes very little to be addicted or to damage health. According to ACS, 20% of the population smokes.We know that smoking marijuana is not addictive, but is carcinogenic. It also impairs sperm motility and reduces quantity, etc. Still, in contrast to cigarettes that have no beneficial effects, at least marijuana contains THC as it’s key ingredient, which has been studied for its healthful benefits. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ETO/content/ETO_5_3X_Marijuana.asp?sitearea=ETO. According to ACS, around 31% of the population has at least “tried” marijuana. From my personal direct research and observations (as a civilian and a professor), I do NOT think that 31% of the population are frequent users of marijuana, while the 20% of cigarette smokers are smoking cigarettes daily. Still, it seems like there is still a lot of potential revenue out there to be made, a nice reduction in crime to be gained, and for some people there are the potential medicinal benefits especially for the chronically ill or those in chronic pain if there is legalization of marijuana. We need to keep our eyes on the facts, folks, and let’s be aware that people WILL continue to smoke it, so it might as well be legalized and regulated. They can afford to pay for their pot? Good. We need more money in the state coffers, and federal ones as well.Suzy SherodVenice, Ca* * * *Letter to the Editor,Civilizations are remembered by their culture and the arts are what define us within the human experience. As we face challenges in the world, our nation, state and community, the Santa Monica Arts Commission advocates an even greater need to come together as a community. In these tough economic times, we commit to continuing to provide access to the arts and culture that abound in our city.Indeed, the arts are uniquely central to the culture of Santa Monica where forty-three percent of our residents are employed in the arts. Beyond the economic impact, the citizens of Santa Monica see their city as center of creativity as evidenced by the emphasis on culture in the City’s recent planning documents (LUCE, Creative Capital and the Civic Center Specific Plan).The Arts Commission has long focused on programs that increase access and participation –Jazz on the Lawn, Airport Art Walk, Santa Monica Festival, GLOW and the programming at the Miles Memorial Playhouse to name just a few. Individual organizations have responded with programs like “pay what you can” at various venues throughout Santa Monica.The arts are not an extra, something beyond what we need day to day. They are a necessity: allowing us to keep our sanity in tough times, feeding our soul with culture, and providing a sense of community. The arts renew us and bring us together. In times of need we must sustain our investment in the cultural life of Santa Monica.Sincerely,Santa Monica Arts Commission
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