ATTACK IT, NOT THEM

The older I grow the fewer the number of things I can say with certainty that I know.

I have learned that my opinion is just that: an opinion, not a fact. Before I am prepared to take a stand, I have learned to test my beliefs in dialogue with people who hold an opposite opinion. I am not interested in hearing from people who think I’m wrong without sharing the basis for their own views.

But to learn and grow, we must respectfully listen to opinions other than our own. As a mediator, one of my favorite sayings is “attack the problem, not the person.”

~  DEBORAH ROTHMAN

VIA EMAIL

ROBBERY DEFINED

A recent letter referred to charter schools as “corporations” that take money from public schools. Charter schools are not corporations. Most of them are nonprofits. The two business terms are not interchangeable. If public school advocates insist that charters are corporations, that means they don’t take money from public schools.

Most corporations on the Fortune 500 have dividend yields of 1 or 2 percent, such as Apple and Disney — if they pay dividends at all. If charter school investors are robbing taxpayers of 1 or 2 percent of a charter school’s budget, I don’t care. What I do care about is  CalSTRS’ $100 billion unfunded teachers’ pension liability which will be billed to taxpayers.

That’s what I call robbery.

~ MATTHEW OKADA

PASADENA

MORE LIGHT, LESS HEAT

As 16-year residents of Arcadia, our (Peruvian and Anglo) family has been truly blessed by friendships with both the newly arrived Chinese and longtime residents of Arcadia. Lynne Curry’s excellent article (“Change Comes with Benefits…”) clarifies that cultures (both Anglo and the very diverse immigrant Chinese) are neither static nor possessing of traditions, all of which require preservation.

Beyond the superficial “Three Cs” (costumes, customs and cuisine), healthy cultures that evolve as a social group successfully respond to social, economic and political forces, now in an increasingly diverse and rapidly changing world. New or worthwhile “traditions” encourage a broader sense of inclusion and promotion of healthy spiritual virtues, especially among the youth.

Long-cherished beliefs that no longer serve to help, or that sadly seem to be dying off, upon closer inspection may have an underlying assumption of materialism, racism or superstition. Ironically, it is at the intersection (“clash”) of cultures where the spark of truth appears, forcing folks to reflect on long-held notions.

If this universal cultural experience, this “unity in diversity” reality, eventually produces more light and less heat, then both the recently arrived and longtime residents of Arcadia have more to be grateful for than they currently realize.

~ STEPHEN LICATA

ARCADIA

SAFETY HAZARD

There is a math error in California law for traffic signal calibration.

Line 1 of the calculation indicates cars move at constant speed while slowing down when the yellow traffic light is illuminated.

It does not work like that. Cars do not move at constant speed while slowing down.

This makes the yellow light duration about half of the correct value. That is short enough that it is barely possible to stop on dry pavement and impossible in the rain.

Traffic signals seem to be adjusted to this short value mostly in and around low-income neighborhoods and freeway off ramps. This public safety hazard and the resulting red light traffic camera tickets do not appear to be evenly distributed.

About 800 people a year are killed at controlled intersections in the US. I believe this is a contributing factor.

The document can be found here:

http://www.dot.ca.gov/trafficops/camutcd/

~ GREG WILSON

OXNARD

LETTERS WANTED

Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com or by dialing ext. 114.