‘Fast Times’ begin when Waxman out
The Argonaut ran an article Aug. 15 featuring Amy Heckerling’s 1980s flick “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” which defined a generation. Sadly, not this one, and not in the Santa Monica Bay.
I cannot think of a better title to describe conditions in the 33rd Congressional District than “Hard Times in Santa Monica Bay,” where residents still struggle to find work, pay their bills, and provide for their future. I imagine a darker comedy, headlined by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Venice).
Businesses are fleeing the heavily-taxed and regulated anti-business climate in the area. Instead of “Hey, bud, let’s party!” Santa Monica Bay residents are wondering why their health care premiums are rising, why they may be losing Saturday mail service, why there are so many homeless veterans still on the street, and why President Obama has been monitoring our phone calls and reading our emails.
LA Weekly reported that Waxman has gotten into turf wars with Rep. Maxine Waters about the expansion of Los Angeles International Airport – hardly the easy-going Jeff Spicoli type. Residents in Mar Vista, Venice, and El Segundo should share Waters’ disappointment.
Like the overbearing “Fast Times” teacher Mr. Hand, Waxman has extended government encroachment, ignoring our nation’s diminishing entitlements – instead chasing after climate change. The Ballona Wetlands has not received due attention. The Clean Water Act remains unamended. Obamacare is hurting the health care industry. Two historic Venice and Santa Monica post offices are closing, partly because Waxman co-sponsored legislation which required the postal service to fund health care for employees 75 years in advance (Obamacare for the mailman). And how can anyone party when there’s no “Subway to the Sea” to avoid the time-wasting commute on Wilshire Boulevard?
The real party will start when Waxman is no longer in office. Then “Hard Times” will end in Santa Monica Bay.
Arthur Christopher Schaper

Record hiker sends strong message for vegan diet
Re: “SMC professor completes record Pacific Crest Trail hike to raise awareness against animal cruelty,” (Argonaut, Aug. 22).
Josh Garrett’s record-breaking trek is truly inspiring! Not only does he join the ranks of countless other strong, successful vegan athletes (Olympic track and field gold medalist Carl Lewis, triathlete Brendan Brasier, mixed martial arts champion Mac Danzig and multiple pro football players to name just a few), but he is spreading the word about the benefits of a plant-based diet.
The medical community is finally recognizing that plants alone contain everything we need to be strong and healthy, and that consuming animal products can often lead to a wide variety of diseases. However, the public is still not well-informed. Most medical school curricula continue to spend little time on nutrition and most doctors do not have the correct information to pass on to their patients.
Lobbyists for the animal product industries fight hard to discredit this information (such as the dairy industry’s questionable TV commercials that attempt to smear non-dairy milk because of its “weird” color and the fact that it needs shaking). And, just as importantly, some local governments are trying to keep secret the horrific abuse factory-farmed animals endure (as well as the unsafe working conditions and possible environmental problems on these industrial “farms”), something of which a great majority of the meat-eating community would not approve were they made aware.
Mercy for Animals, the group for which Garrett raised money, works hard to uncover that abuse and make it public. They should be applauded, not stymied, in their attempts to uncover the truth.
Thank you, Josh, for all of your hard work in raising public awareness about such important issues. Stay strong!
Dr. Jane McGarvey
West Hollywood

City Council ‘wins’ ability to avoid meaningful change at DWP
New details of the ongoing secret negotiations between the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) and the City Council were discovered to contain what many council members described as conditions “getting better and better.”
But what concessions have been made? All the City Council has gotten was the permission to “revisit” loopholes in the DWP contract later.
This is essentially the same thing as saying that we will “shoot for dealing with these things next time.” Then the City Council points to salary raises being only 2 percent instead of 4 percent. On the surface, that looks promising.
But the loopholes that aren’t dealt with provide employees with the ability to double their salary through overtime. Those are salaries that average $100,000 already.
Allowing those loopholes to continue in the DWP contract does not help the city or taxpayers better manage employee salaries. It’s arguable that any salary concessions are meaningless when employees have such a free-flowing spigot of overtime.
And the DWP is still not paying anything for health care.
I think we should consider letting the employees go on strike if this is the best we can get under the negotiations as they are currently being run. It would focus the rest of the city on what is basically a runaway system of a budget that operates in the shadows, behind closed doors, and entirely to the benefit of the DWP at the cost of the ratepayers.
Odysseus Bostick

Proud to be vegan
Re: “SMC professor completes record Pacific Crest Trail hike to raise awareness against animal cruelty,” (Argonaut, Aug. 22).
Thank you for the article about the vegan hiker. I have been vegan for 10 years now and feel amazing.
Animals are beautiful and no different than we are. They want love, families, freedom, sunshine, and no one to harm them or kill them.
There is absolutely no need whatsoever to eat animals when there is such an abundance of food to choose from. The best way to see for yourself is to try it out! At least for a year.
Andrea Boyd
Mount Pleasant, SC