We, along with all our neighbors, I am sure, want to send out our total gratitude and appreciation for our Fire Department. They truly are heroes who don’t receive the recognition nor glory they deserve. They carry on, just “doing their jobs” and yet most of us tend to think about them only when we need them. With their expertise and bravery, they saved an unbelievable amount of structures and lives. Whatever their salaries are, it is not even close to what they deserve. Personally, I have always felt the utmost admiration for firefighters, but when they are standing two blocks from your home battling a tremendous blaze with their equipment and trucks, suddenly it becomes more than admiration. Ellen and Michael Chris West Hills City of Angels Re “What went right” (Oct. 1): Assigned to open the Red Cross shelter at Canoga Park High School as a manager and the next night as a manager at Birmingham High School, I find disasters (by definition) to be a chaotic event. This time I was so amazed at the efficiency and cooperation of all public agencies. At first I thought it was the result of Katrina (having just returned from that assignment as a volunteer). I now believe it was due to all the organizations working together. Both Canoga and Birmingham administrators were cooperative and extremely helpful. What really amazed me was that we now had Animal Services there also and showing they have learned how important pets are. Another new event was having both paramedics and police assigned to the sites on a 24-hour basis. I and all the other Red Cross volunteers were very impressed. But all the agencies, from public health to the dogcatcher, were amazing. Police and fire are always super. I think Los Angeles is living up to its nickname, City of Angels. Sue Hammarlund Northridge Now, fix the levees Re “What went right” (Oct. 1): Logistics, planning and mutual aid agreements between a multitude of California cities and agencies resulted in overwhelming success with the Topanga Fire. We won the battle, but the war plans started years ago when mutual aid agreements among local, state and federal agencies were developed. Had the winds increased, we may have needed out-of-state and federal assistance. Thankfully, it wasn’t needed. What a role model for FEMA. Planning and preparation really paid off. Thank you for being there for all of us and for a job well done. Finally, let’s fix the levees on the Sacramento Delta now before we have problems like New Orleans and Southern California loses a main source of water. Alan Heukrodt Calabasas Agriculture program Re “Grant High cutting agriculture program” (Sept. 29): Regarding agriculture and similar departments: Don’t abandon these most successful programs. It is here that students learn to apply what they learn in their other classes. Math makes more sense when they calculate how many plants will fit in the greenhouse, what it will cost to grow them, and if they can make a profit. They see biology in action, not just in a textbook. English skills are tested when they create marketing materials. Public speaking ability is proven when they have to sell the finished product. Employers and university professors alike are looking for students with these abilities. Sue Sweetman Arleta Middle class Re “Shrinking middle class” (Editorial, Oct. 1): As a teacher, with 15 years of experience, I make $52,956. Great, I only need to find $18,144 more and I’ll have enough to “scrape by.” Of course that assumes there are four of us. Alas, we are five. Yes, when the twins were born prematurely, we had medical insurance to pay the doctors. Yes, with my pension, I can devote money that should go toward retirement toward my children’s college funds. Fortunately, I have a plan to span that remaining gap. The twins will only eat every other day. So, “state and local politicians are more interested in catering to the organized lobbies instead of the people”; uh, sure they are. Brent Smiley West Hills A religious idea Re “Newdow ought to thank God” (Viewpoint, Oct. 2): Chris Weinkopf says the Pledge of Allegiance’s nonsectarian, third-person reference to God is a tribute to the nation’s founding ideals. That is absolutely wrong. The establishment clause was inserted into the Constitution because the framers wanted government and religion to have nothing to do with each other. The idea of a deity is a religious one. So, a law that inserts the name of a deity into the Pledge of Allegiance is a law respecting an establishment of religion. Weinkopf goes on to say that in America our rights come from God, not the state. In fact, our rights come from the Constitution. And the Pledge of Allegiance shouldn’t be effectively telling students that something exists when it doesn’t. Josh Rivetz Northridge War desperation Re “Has anti-war faction gone overboard?” (Their Opinions, Sept. 28): Bridget Johnson has joined Rich Lowry and Bill O’Reilly on the list of administration shills desperately trying to muster support for the Iraq war by attacking war protesters in general and Cindy Sheehan in particular. No wonder the sense of desperation – Sheehan’s simple, heartfelt spark of irrefutable truth has helped kindle a firestorm of nationwide protest while public support for Bush’s war, sinking like a stone, has dwindled to 32 percent. As civil war rages in Iraq, the purported “justifications” for Rumsfeld’s ill-conceived and poorly executed occupation no longer pass the red face test, so Johnson resorts to sophomoric ad hominem attacks. The chickenhawks used to sound scary. Now they just sound pathetic. Grant Gullickson Northridge It’s an affront Re “Unconstitutional” Sept. 30): Did I read Max Yost’s letter to the editor correctly, that America is a “Christian nation”? When exactly did this happen? We non-Christians are owed an answer. America may be a lot of things to a lot of people – but making the argument that this country is a “Christian nation” is more than a little short-sighted. It’s an affront to Jews, Muslims and all other non-Christians who, like myself, are proud to call this country home. Thomas R. Atkins Sherman Oaks Provoking letters Re “John Wisdom Dancer” (Your Opinions, Sept. 29): As someone who seldom agreed with John Wisdom Dancer, I always respected his opinions. His voice will be missed. The Daily News was wise to publish his thought-provoking letters. I’m sure he is now telling God how to straighten out heaven. John Flock North Hollywood Yalta, years later Re “Leaders’ grandsons reflect on Yalta, 60 years later” (Oct. 2): Hidden on Page 25 of your Oct. 2 paper was an article on the grandsons of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin and their reflections on Yalta, 60 years later. Three of their conclusive notes: Stalin viewed the United States and Britain as implacable enemies; nobody got what they wanted from Yalta except the Russians (communists); the United Nations was created at Yalta. Maybe this explains why the United Nations has never been on the side of the more free nations and supports terrorists and terrorism – always. The U.N. is not a friend of the U.S. and we should withdraw support and financial aid to that organization and move it out of our country. Bob Sharp Arleta Immigrant benefits Re “Illegal aliens” (Your Opinions, Oct. 3): Paul Gonzales complains that despite all of the benefits that American citizens receive from illegal immigrants working in our country, illegals are still not receiving their fair share. The last time I checked, I live in the state of California. Gonzales lives in the state of denial. Dennis Wilkinson Canoga Park AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!