– Patrick Weir Chatsworth Term limits qualifies Re “Term-limits initiative qualifies” (Sept. 5): It is interesting to note how quickly state lawmakers act to help their contributors qualify an initiative for the February 2008 ballot to keep them in office a few more years. But let’s not forget that in 2005, legislative leaders promised “to do redistricting reform the right way” if voters defeated Proposition 77, which they did. Good arguments can be made to modify California’s term-limits law. However, such a reform should be coupled with another proposition to remove legislators’ roles in drawing their own political boundaries. The clock is ticking on lawmakers to qualify a redistricting reform on the February 2008 ballot, and their actions on whether to fulfill a promise from two years ago are being closely watched. – Brendan L. Huffman President & CEO Valley Industry & Commerce Association Where is the border? Re “Mexican president protests crackdown on U.S. border” (Sept. 3): Please tell me that Mexican President Calderon was misquoted when he said, “I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border.” Mexico’s officials believe that they can solve the problems stemming from their corrupt governing by encouraging their poor and their criminals to slip across the U.S border illegally. Why shouldn’t they? Illegals with no licenses and no insurance can now keep their cars. Heavily laden trucks are now allowed to cross the U.S. border with impunity. All thanks to the weakness of our government officials. – Carol Milton Woodland Hills Yacht buyers skate by Re “Yacht buyer’s gain is car buyer’s loss” (Their Opinions, Sept. 5): I agree that there is a huge problem with high-end purchases being transacted outside of California to avoid our high sales tax rate. The “yacht tax,” which did affect purchases of other items, was an effective way to enforce the existing law. Unfortunately, greed is at work and the law has expired. It is unfair that car buyers must follow the law while others do not. Maybe there should be a tiered tax and high-end items could be taxed at a lower rate. Not only RVs and yachts are delivered elsewhere but also airplanes, etc. Collecting a smaller tax is far better than collecting none. – Marianne Goluch Glendale Always broken LAUSD Re “Now broken LAUSD” (Your Opinions, Sept. 2): Ellen Oppenberg must be greatly misinformed about the history of the Los Angeles Unified School District. I had six children at various schools in the district all through the 1980s, and “fairy-tale endings” were not part of the curriculum. The system was just as broken then as it is now. The solution then and now is to break up the behemoth district into manageable sizes, with no more than 50,000 students per district. Then wrest control from the downtown bureaucracy and give it to local parents and teachers who actually care about educating children. That’s the fix. – Lu Little Northridge Is the surge working? Tuesday’s Daily News Poll question “Is the surge working?” will undoubtedly be answered “yes” by the same bunch who believe that outsourcers, arms dealers, stock manipulators, overdevelopers and bathroom perverts are acceptable. As long as they’re Republicans. If the surge is working, perhaps George Bush could lead a throng of jubilant Iraqis through the streets of Baghdad while waving Saddam Hussein’s pearl-handled pistols that he keeps in his office. This week the Bush administration will ask Congress for an additional $55 billion and that is why the dog and pony show went to Iraq – to silence dissenters who will be labeled as “not supporting the troops.” Somewhere, Joe McCarthy is smiling. – Chuck Heinold West Hills Keeping cool Re “Heat wave blamed in 12 deaths” (Sept. 5): It’s unfortunate that there were so many deaths attributed to the heat wave. A simple solution would have probably eased most of their suffering. Sitting in a tub with just a couple inches of water in it, one can read, eat, rest, etc. Wetting down their clothes works, too, or breathing into a wet cloth also helps. Any one of these or a combination might have made all the difference. – Mili Lang Woodland Hills Absentee president Re “Bush, Vietnam” (Your Opinions, Sept. 5): In the Vietnam War, many men from wealthy families avoided the draft by going to college or joining the National Guard. Even in the National Guard, President Bush was missing in action. He is also missing brain cells, too. Using our National Guard to fight a combat war in a land that has been fighting each other before Christ was born doesn’t make sense. Perhaps President Bush should be truthful now and secure the oil refineries and send everyone else home. We need the National Guard for climate disasters, homeland security and to protect our borders. – Carla L. Henry West Hills Law, not policies Re “93 U.S. Attorneys” (Your Opinions, Sept. 3): It is about time someone clarified to your readers the procedure and rights of every elected new-term president to choose his own U.S. attorneys as well as his Cabinet and staff. Our present administration has led the average American to believe the firing of their own choice of U.S. attorneys, while in term of their office, should not be questioned because Clinton did it. But they leave out the fact that Clinton and every president before Clinton fired their predecessor’s U.S. attorneys upon entering office, not during a president’s term of office. The U.S. attorneys are appointed by a president to carry out the laws of the land, not the policies of the executive branch. – Nina Trotta-Sutton Simi Valley DWP’s doing its job Re “People, not fish” (Your Opinions, Sept. 5): Ned Roberts rightly complains that a tree-hugger judge has ruled that fish are more important than people and, as a result, there will be less water available for SoCal’s needs. Then he makes the makes the outrageous claim that somehow, it is DWP’s fault. I feel for him and his high utility bill. DWP is doing its job. There were no major blackouts; the quality of the water we are supplied is best in the county. Want a smaller bill? Conserve more. Water in the early morning, set your A/C controls to 78 degrees, and to 80 degrees during the extreme heat like I did. It may not be as comfortable as 72, but it’s tolerable and I have a lower bill as a result. – Rod Luedke West Hills Waste not, want not Re “People, not fish” (Your Opinions, Sept. 5): Ned Roberts lives on a fixed income, from which he must pay a $780 power bill from the DWP, and the fish up north should die so he can have plenty of water for his personal use. Well, if his electric bill is any indication of how he plans to use water, then it’s a good thing the judge sided with the fish. Who is wasteful enough to run up a $780 power bill in one month? Is his A/C set to artic freeze mode? He even declares he has a fixed income; then he shouldn’t be spending outside his means. – Howard Barr Santa Clarita160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! – Barbara Mah Sylmar Water rates will rise Re “Water shortage ominous” (Sept. 6): Without exception, every dry spell in our history has been endured and our water sources have recovered. Recall with me the drought of the 1980s, which was a “seven-year drought that comes every 50 years.” Citizen response to voluntary water conservation was so great that the Department of Water and Power cried that there was not enough revenue to keep things going. Our voluntary efforts were rewarded by the DWP establishing our voluntary usage volume as a base with a penalty for usage beyond that base. When we consider that the city and county get a percentage of DWP revenue, it should cause us to consider what is true and what is deceptive. One thing we can bank on – water rates will go up. Lots. Re “Water shortage ominous” (Sept. 6): There has been a lot in the paper recently about (the horrors of) water rationing. Well, I am actually glad that it’s coming and surprised that it hasn’t been done already. We live in a desert; remember that. I see so much water being wasted – people taking half-hour showers, brushing their teeth with the water going full blast, instead of turning it off, etc. Water is a vital resource, for our species and all others. So what if it is “just a smelt,” as I read in some letters? That smelt supports many other species and is important in the overall ecology. Rationing is not the worst that could happen. We could have to walk miles to the nearest (dirty) stream to get our water and cart it back.