To the Editor:

The debate has started again as to whether the US Constitution should be amended in order to change the presidential election process. Some promote eliminating the Electoral College in favor of a direct popular vote for president while others believe the Electoral College should remain unchanged. Just as compromise solved the initial problems of the framers so it is that compromise can solve this problem.

The solution is to change the electoral votes to electoral points and reward each candidate a percentage of points based on the percentage of popular votes received in each state. This would eliminate the “winner take all” system thus allowing for all the votes to count. A voter is more apt to believe their vote counted when a percentage of popular votes are taken into account rather than the “all or nothing” system currently in existence. Further, this new system would integrate the desire for a popular vote for president with the need for the individual states to determine who actually gets elected.

For 2020 multiplying the percentage of votes each candidate received (in each state) times the number of electoral votes (in each state) results in the following: Biden 267.23 and Trump 252.33. Multiplying the percentage of popular votes each candidate received (nationwide) times the total number of electoral votes (538) results in the following: Biden 274.92 and Trump 253.40.

Joe Bialek

Cleveland, Ohio

To the Editor:

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti was recently quoted as saying, “It’s time to cancel everything…” and, by implication, one assumes “cancel everyone.” The LA County Board of Supervisors and Dept of Public Health have been effective at destroying the jobs of restaurant servers, cooks, busboys and managers by disallowing outdoor dining—even when there is no evidence that this contributes to the spread of COVID 19.

I’d suggest we cancel Mayor Garcetti, the LA City Council, the LA County Board of Supervisors….and let’s not forget Barbara Ferrer—the LA County Director of Public Health, who does not hold a doctorate in either medicine or public health.

Harry V Vinters, M.D.,F.R.C.P.C.,F.C.A.P.

Venice, CA

Credit: Tim Tunks

Open streets would make outdoor dining safer

“You gotta be pretty stupid not to understand what happens when people without face masks spend time together,” my old college buddy said.

The science is now clear that the source of nearly half of COVID-19 virus transmission comes from the mouths and noses of asymptomatic people who have no idea at the time that they’re dangerous carriers. The more time people spend together, the more dangerous it gets. A third of those carriers will never get sick, but YOU can certainly get sick and many old people like me never recover—so I take this issue personally.

The Santa Monica Main Street outdoor dining areas that attracted enough customers to make back some of the money invested in their parklet improvements were infection stations when they were busy and overflowing with happy eaters and drinkers. I say everyone has a right to be happy and our Constitutional acceptance of all men guarantees our right to be stupid, but it does place limits on what harm we can do to others.

When we understand all that and then think how we might improve community transmission mitigation when the Main Street restaurants reopen for outdoor dining (those who manage to financially survive this latest closure), we have to see that we can and should do better.

The restaurant business associations are fighting for their lives with the argument that there’s no data that shows outdoor dining is any worse than a number of other activities. This is a false equivalency argument that papers over what is potentially a very risky activity. Imagine if they chose instead to focus on making it less risky.

One obvious risk reduction would be to spread out the spaces where outdoor dining happens to reduce concentration of virus carrying aerosols so fresh air can better dilute them—something that could happen if we open the street by closing the wide thru traffic corridor, to make room for effective social distancing. It’s hard to understand why open street configurations don’t get the consideration they deserve.

Tim Tunks

Santa Monica, CA