Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference about the arrival of the Navy hospital ship Mercy at the Port of Los Angeles on March 27. (Associated Press)
To the editor: You claim that the coronavirus pandemic has plunged California into worst budget deficit in state history. That is not true.
The spiraling unemployment, economic losses and budget deficit were due to the governor’s March 19 stay-home order. Was that order a justified response to the COVID-19 threat?
On March 18, the governor wrote a letter to the president stating, “We project that roughly 56% of our population — 25.5 million people — will be infected with the virus over an eight week period.” Apparently the governor also believed that the case mortality infection rate was at least 1%, meaning there would be at least 255,000 deaths in California.
Today, the number of confirmed infections is fewer than 70,000. Reported deaths total less than 3,000.
The March 19 action of the governor that resulted in the economic apocalypse and our historic budget deficit was not rational or justified.
Ned Leiba, Culver City
To the editor: I acknowledge COVID-19 has caused a monster budget deficit for California. But before Sacramento considers raising our taxes, I say it should consider killing the high-speed rail project between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The success of telecommuting proves it’s not really needed. Plus, it really won’t be truly high speed since it will have to slow down in cities and towns.
The rail line is an obvious target for terrorists, and when the next pandemic comes, it will be safer to drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles than to take a train.
Let’s put a stake in this money-sucking project now.
Steve Paskay, Los Angeles
To the editor: The L.A. Times Editorial Board is correct to praise Gov. Jerry Brown and his successor Newsom for setting aside billions of dollars in a rainy-day fund. But I have to take issue with the assessment that California put its financial house in order prior to the pandemic.
As unfunded public employee retirement obligations increase each year, the politicians did not do enough. With lower-than-anticipated returns from public employee pension investments in the stock market, workers gaming the system to increase lifelong benefits, and a greater number of retirees due to prolonged life expectancy, we have the makings of a tsunami of crushing debt.
Jerry Glass, Lakewood