The fires were a disaster to thousands, but here come the hucksters, shysters. If we did not learn from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake about flaky contractors, then we need to review the laws for a contractor to even be in business: He needs a valid license in the state of California; has to be in good standing with the State Contractors Board. They need absolute proof of workers’ comp insurance. They need to be able to post a bond for the amount of work being done. We are going to be inundated with these flakes; how are we are going to know who is real and not? Here’s a real challenge for our mayor. A photo op in having inspection stations for contractors to be able to do business in Los Angles County. – J. Don Buchanan Van Nuys AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m. Fireproof homes For nobody knows how long, wildfires have been a part of Southern California. Year after year, people lose houses in these fires. If they are going to live in these areas, they should be forced to build fireproof houses. Some years ago, a fire wiped out a neighborhood, except for one house the owner built to survive a fire. A picture made the covers of news magazines, one house, intact, surrounded by ashes and rubble. So building fireproof houses is possible. – Mike Kirwan Venice In black and white The difference in response time of governmental agencies, between the fires in Southern California and hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, is equal to the difference between black and white. Need I say more? – Harriet C. Kenion Lake View Terrace Fire information It was a scary time for my family on Sunday afternoon when the sky turned black with a red glow. We live on a wildland-exposed street in Chatsworth. Listening to broadcast media, there were constant references to the “fire in Chatsworth,” but no details. Should we stay or evacuate? I checked out several media Web sites. Nothing about Chatsworth specifically. I choose not to call the overloaded emergency lines for information. Just as with road conditions (Caltrans), I wish there had been a Web site and telephone number where you could get ZIP-coded information on evacuation orders, etc., for your area. This information would then be available to anyone – residents at home or out of town. This could also be connected to the reverse 911 that seems to have worked fairly well in San Diego. – Diana Dixon-Davis Chatsworth Cynical manipulation Re “City Hall’s double lie” (Our Opinions, Oct. 18): I applaud the Daily News editorial regarding the telephone tax “emergency,” but I think you missed one important point. By having the phone tax measure declared an “emergency,” the threshold for voter approval is lowered, from two-thirds to just a simple majority. Remember how pathetic the voter turnout was in the last election? Well, cut that in half (so we’re now at, what, like 3 percent?) and that’s who ultimately decides if we all continue to pay. It’s the voters’ fault, of course, for not paying attention. But it’s the politicians’ cynical manipulation of the system that creates voter apathy. – Linda Coburn Northridge Phone tax Why does a phone tax pay for city services not associated with the use of our phones? Why does it go into the overall budget? I pay enough taxes to cover all city expenses except, of course, the bilking and stealing that goes on, or the “disappearing” of funds that cannot be accounted for. Every time a service comes our way that allows us to not be robbed by the politicians, they figure a way to steal from us anyway, i.e., the Voice over Internet Protocol. I switched over to this new affordable means of communication so as to not be “fined” (taxed) by the city (even though it has its drawbacks). I’m extremely tired of being nickeled and dimed to death. The city politicians need to be stopped before we can no longer afford to live in Los Angeles. -Elaine Neff Mission Hills Teacher sex offenses Re “Sex offenses by teachers stay secret” (Oct. 21): Sex offenses committed by teachers are startling, but one has to wonder why the “blood suckers of America,” lawyers, haven’t picked up on this. Could it be that there are no big bucks to be made representing the victims and suing the schools, like they did with the deep-pockets Catholic Church? – Ben Delgado North Hills `Perfected’ Re “Coulter’s C-bomb” (Viewpoint, Oct. 21): I don’t think Ann Coulter is in any way anti-Semitic. She believes, as many committed Christians do, that Jews aren’t “perfected” unless they accept Christ. I know many Christians feel the same way. That is part of their faith. I, as a committed Jew, have my own faith. My commitment to Judaism is such that I can fully understand how Christians feel, and I do not consider them to be intolerant, anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish. I just don’t happen to agree, but I will not challenge their right to express how they feel. Christians who follow their faith are true friends and supporters of Jews and of Israel, even if some of them feel we aren’t “perfected.” – Gary Aminoff Studio City Basic tenet Re “Sympathy for the she-devil” (Viewpoint, Oct. 21): I am quite bewildered by Mariel Garza’s being insulted by Ann Coulter’s comments. I hate to break it to her, but Coulter’s hoping people will become “perfected” in their relationship to God is a basic tenet of Christianity for the past 2000 years. The “problem” is not with Coulter, but with the teaching in the Bible. Besides, why should Coulter, or anyone for that matter, adhere to a religious faith that was so impotent as to not want others to believe in it as well? – George W. Harris Thousand Oaks We’re winning Osama bin Laden’s latest tape has confirmed that the surge is working and al-Qaida is losing the war. Sunni sheiks have rejected al-Qaida, and Anbar province, which used to be one of the most dangerous places in Iraq, is now one of the safest. Bin Laden has never before admitted mistakes and negotiated from a position of weakness. We are starting to see the current strategy work, and al-Qaida start to lose this war. Despite the Democrats’ and liberals’ attempt to sabotage our efforts, America has found a way to win. When we win this war, and we will, the liberal Democrats are finished. According to Harry Reid, we have already lost the war. I guess someone forgot to tell Osama that he had already won the war and did not need to make this last tape. – Craig S. Hawley Reseda O’Reilly’s whitewash Re “Good news in Iraq is no news in U.S. press” (Viewpoint, Oct. 21): The Iraq war isn’t “evil”? Let’s see. Secretary of State Powell stated twice in 2001 Iraq was not a threat. But President Bush lied relentlessly to get his war and slimed critics who dared speak the truth. Britain’s MI6 remarked on his lies, as did the 9-11 Commission and the Senate Report. Alan Greenspan stated: “The Iraq war is largely about oil.” War is evil; the Bible forbids coveting, lying, stealing, and killing. Dressing it up as virtuous is evil; Christ despised hypocrisy. Pope John Paul II condemned the invasion as “immoral.” I prefer his clarity to Bill O’Reilly’s whitewash. – Ian Freeman Thousand Oaks O’Reilly at it again Re “Good news in Iraq is no news in U.S. press” (Viewpoint, Oct. 21): While decrying the statements of Bruce Springsteen and David Crosby that America is doing “evil” in Iraq, his definition of doing “good” must be the killing of approximately 100,000 Iraqis, almost 4,000 American troops and tens of thousands of injured guys and gals in our Armed forces. I think he should go back to school to learn the meaning of these two words. – Albert Cohen Sherman Oaks Rant and ravings What does Iran having the capability of one nuclear bomb in 10 years (U.S. intelligence agencies) have to do with raising the specter of World War III, as trumpeted by President Bush? This sounds like the rant and ravings of the fundamentalist right and Armageddon nuts – or is it nuclear brinkmanship that Bush is aiming at? It is inconceivable that the president of the United States can make such a boastful statement. World War III would decimate the planet and bring extinction of the human family. What was George Bush thinking? And keep this man away from the button. – Ron Lowe Grass Valley160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!