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Letters to the Editor, July 2010


Published Jul 1, 2010 8:00 AM

Reader reactions to the April '10 issue

The Chancellor's message last month ["At Issue," January 2010, page 5] and the panel article this month ["Saving UCLA," April 2010, page 20] compel me to give a simple input. "California, balance your budget!" Your unbalanced state budget permeates all the funding issues mentioned in the article — the 9 percent number, the furloughs, the salary restrictions, class sizes and cuts, and the 32 percent tuition increase. I'm a UCLA lifetime alum and have a nephew (postdoc) and two nieces (grad student and soccer team starter) currently enrolled — a very proud Bruin family! I teach at an Arkansas community college — our state as well as Texas (and others with balanced state budgets) have experienced no cuts, no layoffs, no furloughs, and see simple 5 percent tuition increases this year.

The funding issues you mention permeate California's public schools as well. Thousands of teachers recently laid off! I would suggest that the chancellor and panel members all expand their outlook beyond the political discussion in the article. Failure to recognize the common cause — massively unbalanced state budget — places the panelists amongst the endless posturing that characterizes the entire state's recent political process. California and its historically excellent educational system have afforded its status as a leading-edge state for decades, as mentioned in the article. The "need for a consistent message that comes out of all 10 campuses" in fact can be the simple message that all educators should be voicing. "Please, Mr. Governor and state legislators, balance your budget."

Bruce Schulte M.S. '81
North Little Rock, AR

Kudos to Balu Balakrishnan, EcoSmart inventor and Power Integrations CEO ["Power Player," page 14] for also solar energizing his home. My latest monthly electric bill is $1.76; that really is a local utility tax, thanks to my 400 solar shingles ... My small (2 kilowatt) roof shingle system absorbs the daylight sun, causing the electric meter to run in reverse; with greater night electric use, it runs normally (forward). As I write, only the refrigerator and an incoming communications cable system are operating throughout the household. My TOU-D-1 (time of use-day) set-up means that the cheapest energy can be used between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. every day.

To start, hire a company to conduct a thorough energy-use audit of your home. (Your utility will do a cursory one for free.) You may want or need to upgrade insulation and windows at the outset. Then look to your home and family needs; i.e., electric usage per month, to determine the size of the system you will need. After that, as Mr. Balakrishnan suggests, check out the state and federal subsidies. You will likely be very surprised to learn how quickly the payoff period will be. Finally, whether it be solar shingles or panels or something even newer (nanotech may be around the corner), you will be reducing emissions greatly, besides saving coins.

Bill Younglove Ed.D. '83
Lakewood, CA

I enjoyed the historic postcards toward the end of the April 2010 issue ["It's All in the Postcards," page 56]. During my time as a grad student in the early 1980s, the "Men's Lounge" of 1930 [in Kerckhoff Hall] had become the Alumni Lounge and was one of my favorite study nooks. As a refuge, freely available at all times to anyone in the UCLA community, it was a unique and historic resource. This makes it all the sadder that the study lounge was transformed into the Charles E. Young Grand Salon, used only for special events. Moreover, given the perennial shortage of study space on campus, it is nothing short of astonishing.

James W. van Scoyoc M.L.S. '84
Los Angeles, CA

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