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PUBLIC FORUM : U.S. SHOULD HEED VOTERS' VERDICT ON MARIJUANA.

Your editorial (``Marijuana conflict,'' Jan. 2) supporting the federal government's decision to criminally prosecute California physicians for even recommending that marijuana might be beneficial to seriously ill or dying patients is mystifying to me.

First, the government already permits the use of THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, when taken orally as Marinol. It is pharmacologically foolish to deny that when smoked as marijuana, the THC would be ineffective.

What you do have with smoking is impurities, with potential side effects. But the federal government already permits a few medical patients to smoke marijuana daily for their medical conditions, and even furnishes them the government-grown marijuana in their compassionate-use program

You also assume that medical use of a substance is telling teens it is OK for them to use it. But physicians prescribe dangerous drugs and drugs of abuse all the time. Would we deny morphine to a trauma patient with a broken bone or benzodiazepenes like Valium to someone having seizures or panic attacks because that would send the wrong message to our teens? I think not. And physicians can even prescribe cocaine and methamphetamine (speed) without endorsing these highly dangerous drugs for recreational use.

The fact that California and Arizona voters trust their physicians to use their clinical judgment to make correct choices of what medication to use for them should be enough for those in Washington. Unfortunately, it seems like America's ``war on drugs'' has become a war on doctors.

- Tom Ungerleider, M.D.

Encino

Marijuana is not the problem. The real problem is people who become addicted to marijuana.

First we need to agree that the consequences of addictive behavior - premature death, crime, violence, etc. - should be the focus of our attention.

It is now possible to identify individuals, through DNA testing, who may have a genetic predisposition to addiction. There also are available low-cost alternative treatments that are safe and effective.

Instead of being against drugs, it would be a better strategy to be for the diagnosis and treatment of addictions.

- Ronald P. Georgi, D.C.

Sunland

`Self-appointed guardians'

Here we go again with the self-appointed guardians of our morals trying to legislate behavior that even they admit is none of their business. I'm referring, of course, to the current idiotic arguments over ``romance in the air'' and recent letters from two supposedly responsible individuals, leaders of local homeowner groups, who should know better.

Gerald Silver believes that what goes on in an airplane, operating legally and safely over our city, is his business.

Get a grip. The only time you have any business even knowing what's going on in a privately owned and operated airplane in the air is if it poses some immediate danger to you. So far, I've read nothing in these pages that implies anything unsafe occurring on these flights. If someone goes out on a hired yacht and has sex in or near the harbor, do you have any business knowing or commenting about it? Or, worse yet, trying to regulate it?

Ellen Bagelman, on the other hand, shows not only her ignorance of varying weather conditions in different parts of our city, but finally her true feelings at the end of her letter. Let's examine a few historical facts about Santa Monica Airport. Santa Monica is located near the ocean. It's very close to Los Angeles International Airport. When LAX is closed because of bad weather, Santa Monica is very likely to have the same conditions. Guess what, fog forms near the beach a lot more often than in the Valley.

As an experienced pilot, I can tell you that the recent fatal crash at Van Nuys was because of a momentarily stupid pilot who could have gone out to Lancaster and landed safely, but chose to take his chances at a runway he couldn't see.

Van Nuys does indeed have a curfew, noise abatement procedures and a tower that is not manned at night. Both airports have been plagued through the years by lousy neighborhood planning and ``politics'' caused the airport commission to cut property at Van Nuys that could be used for aviation purposes by over 20 percent a few years ago.

Did anyone living near any of our local airports live there before they were built? No? So, you knowingly moved in next to an airport and now complain about the noise?

We know both of these groups want the Van Nuys Airport closed. They're not really interested in safety or anything else going on there. But they should remember one thing. When an airport closes, the airplanes still exist. They must go somewhere. Remember San Fernando Airport? It's now Home Depot. Where did the airplanes go? To Whiteman, Burbank and Van Nuys, that's where.

- Jerry Schwartz

Granada Hills

Editorial rebuttal

With regard to your Dec. 30 editorial, ``Get down to earth'':

I would like to state that I do not in any way care what others do to enhance their romantic adventures; however, I do care when a frivolous endeavor consumes precious air space.

Indeed, of great concern is the continuing and worsening noise and traffic emanating from Van Nuys Airport, and yet another plane is taking off for less than good reason is of concern in light of the fact that Van Nuys Airport is one of the busiest in the country.

- Jan Neveau-Beaghan

Encino

Population explosion

The latest news is about the ever-increasing population rate, nationally and globally. And this is true, in spite of immense tragedies all over the world and loss of life due to disease.

One can't but wonder where the future will lead us if the cycle keeps going this way. There is already a problem with feeding the world's hungry and allowing a human existence worthy for all, as well as the industrialized Western nations' overconsumption and left-behind garbage to deal with.

And as each day goes by, we find new ways of treating disease, prolonging life and preventing an otherwise natural process called death. Unless we start enjoying the present, living with respect for all and stop fearing dying and death in our culture, we are doomed.

This planet cannot sustain all people that are fighting the natural cycle of birth and death. The economy can only hold so much and it will not get easier to support the growing population while continuing to spend money so loosely.

We have to come to our senses, so that our children's children will have a standard of living, clean environment and a possible future to look forward to. There are two major ways to secure mankind's future - education and birth control, which both stagnate the population increase. It will be far less expensive and costly in the long run.

- Marie Tagenius

West Los Angeles

Handicapped parking

``Illegal parkers spur furor,'' Daily News, Dec. 29, was interesting in the fact that the legislators made it mandatory now that doctors give an explanation of a person's illness that designates him as being disabled.

That's a real joke. No one even checks handicapped parking now, let alone check to make sure that the placards they have are theirs.

I have gone shopping with my wife on several occasions and waited in my van while she goes in and shops. I have yet to see anyone come through any of the mall parking lots checking handicapped parking.

The city needs funds to start checking handicapped parking not just once a year but to keep the pressure on all year long. Glendale wrote 30 handicapped parking violations in one day at $330 a violation. You do the figures.

- Russell Spencer

Encino

Downsizing

I did not read the letter that Dante F. Rochetti wrote (``Greed destroying jobs,'' Public Forum, Dec. 18). But I would like to respond to Pat Parker's response (Public Forum, Dec. 25).

Great Western Bank's downsizing has nothing to do with maintaining a 15 percent return to its stockholders. And if this is what Parker truly believes, then Parker needs to get real and in touch with the real world. Great Western's downsizing is part of a larger plan to make it more attractive for a ``buyout'' or ``takeover.'' There will be more jobs eliminated, services eliminated, and just try to talk to a real person on the phone about your home loan, bank accounts, CD rates, and/or other information you may need.

- Patricia Meiner

West Hills

Charen used `straw man' tactic

Mona Charen's Jan. 2 column, ``Board's Ebonics decision strikes a familiar chord,'' presents what logicians would call a ``straw man argument.'' Accusing the Oakland school board of basing its decision on the contention ``that black English is a distinct language with identifiably African origins,'' she conveniently omits any mention of what those origins might be.

Spokespersons for the Oakland school board interviewed widely on this subject have made it explicit that Ebonics is a form of communication making use of mostly English words with African language grammatical construction. To anybody who has even a modicum of knowledge of differing forms of language, that makes perfect sense.

Some languages put the subject (noun) before the predicate (verb). Some arrange sentences in the opposite fashion. Some languages conjugate the verb ``to be'' in the present tense (such as English). Other languages don't even have a present tense of ``to be'' (like Hebrew).

I for one don't know how African languages conjugate the verb ``to be,'' but it's a perfectly reasonable proposition that many African-Americans still conjugate that verb the way their ancestors did when they came to America and began substituting English words into an African sentence structure that made sense to them.

Therein lies the question of how English should be taught, because one does not necessarily teach it the same way to somebody who speaks a Semitic language, a Romance language, a Germanic language or an African one.

- Jan B. Tucker

Toluca Lake
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 5, 1997
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