“Re NoHo rising” (June 11): Alarmingly, the lengthy article expounding the virtues of the MTA redevelopment project provided a very oblique description of the Valley Plaza plans. The developer, J.H. Snyder, plans to build 1,050 units on the Robinson-May lot. Besides condos and town homes, he is asking for a variance to build 11 six-story buildings containing 734 apartments. The prospect of 4,000-plus residents in what is now a vacant parking lot is staggering. Traffic, parking, crime and diminished property values are only partial concerns. A positive alternative for the area could certainly be mixed use, which would combine residential and retail at the Valley Plaza site. The City Planning Department is holding the first meeting to accept public opinion on the project June 15. – Mindy and David Tennen – Eric Prescott Los Angeles Coincidence? Re: “Commission appointments criticized” (June 10): While no one would be surprised by Gov. Schwarzenegger’s efforts to pack the Coastal Commission with pro-development votes, the news that Speaker Fabian Nu ez is abusing the system to push an effort to cut down 18,000 threatened trees is a bit more of a surprise. It is actually quite shocking that the speaker would take such unethical if not illegal steps and help the Pebble Beach Co. level a forest for yet another golf course. Could this have anything to do with the June Pebble Beach golf fundraiser, which has allowed the speaker to raise more than $1 million? – Laurie Bailey Sherman Oaks Change? Re: “Latinos to hold congress in L.A.” (June 9): So, the Latino community wants to hold a national Latino congress for strengthening immigrant rights, health care and education. We have lived in Southern California for 65 years, and in that time have met many immigrants, from Ireland, Norway, Germany, Spain and Malaysia to name a few, and never once did any one of them ever suggest that they needed to organize to change anything in this country. – Ardyne Blackstone and Myrna Bixler Burbank Free speech, free vote Re: “Outside mailer generates woes for Quintero” (June 9): The lesson learned from the Paul Krekorian/Frank Quintero Assembly race is this: Free speech protects nearly all kinds of campaigning, but the right to vote can be very powerful. Negative campaigns can be useful if they directly and squarely associate the person with undesirable action, ethics or legislation. Any other campaign style is a high-risk maneuver. The penalty you face is the right to vote by those offended. Those offended in the Krekorian camp mobilized in a most genuine way this past Tuesday. Only in America do the freedom to speak and the right to vote have an interesting encounter as occurred in the 43rd Assembly District. This encounter will be a very useful case study for those aspiring to elected office. – Mickey Jannol Valley Glen Like rats Re: “Road rage more than rudeness” (June 9): The more we over populate L.A., the more road-rage crime we’re going to have. Scientists know if you put too many animals, any kind, in too small an area, you are going to get some mean fights. As our roads get more congested, the more incidents you will see. – Jerry Piro Sun Valley Pill for everything I observe that most of the letter writers commenting on the notion of road rage as disease castigate mental health professionals for labeling every problem a disease and being prone to treat it with a pill. While that is likely true for some, as a retired psychiatrist, I can attest that much of my time was spent with patients trying to persuade them that a pill was not the answer to the problem they brought. Sometimes I was successful and sometimes the patient went to someone else who would comply with their demand for a pill. – Alan Pollack, M.D. Woodland Hills Rio Hondo program Re: “LAX cops” (Your Opinions, June 5): Los Angeles Airport police officers are among members of almost 60 law enforcement agencies trained at the Rio Hondo Police Academy – a program that is approved and certified by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training. Los Angeles Airport police, and all others trained at the Rio Hondo Police Academy, receive more than 898 hours of basic training, 200 more hours than required for POST certification. Rio Hondo also provides advanced training for thousands of seasoned police officers. The LAPD is one of the many agencies utilizing Rio Hondo’s quality program. Contrary to Monica Harmon’s opinion, the officers of the Los Angeles Airport Police Department are highly trained professionals who are extremely capable of protecting our airports and the people who use them. – Joseph A. Santoro Dean, Administration of Justice program Rio Hondo College Validate this Re: “Bush validation” (June 12): Michael Duarte asks in regards to al-Zarqawi’s death if Bush is validated in invading Iraq and fighting the War on Terror there. The answer is no. Bush lied to the American people and the reason he gave was that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, i.e. nukes, bio or chemical. There were none. Halliburton and various big-oil-related companies, all supporters of Bush, have made billions in profits from USA citizen tax dollars (also known as war profiteering); hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens are dead; thousands of fine American soldiers, men and women are left scarred for life with VA benefits being cut. – Robert Barr Burbank Defining innocent Re: “Finding the innocent” (Your Opinions, June 9): Lawrence A. Calabro wrote that “it’s hard to find innocent Iraqi civilians.” Let me help. Innocent Iraqis are any Iraqis who have not been convicted of a crime in a court of law. That would include the 24 mothers and babies killed by our troops. On the basis that some of them may have been complicit, those troops set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner. That is as un-American as it gets. – Denis Feehan Simi Valley Not much to it Bush and Rumsfeld proudly announced that they had killed al-Zarqawi by dropping two 500-pound bombs on the house he was in. As proof, they displayed pictures of his corpse, and said that papers and computers were retrieved, which will help track down other al-Qaida members. How big is a 500-pound bomb? One bomb would blow a 30-foot-deep crater out of a city block. Bush and Rumsfeld dropped two bombs, guided with lasers and GPS for a direct hit. So tell me, how could they extract such seemingly certain proof from so smithered a wreckage? Sounds doubtful to me. – Bruce Joffe Piedmont Name dropper Re: “Arnold could endorse Democrat” (June 9): If Republican Gov. Schwarzenegger were to endorse Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein in her bid for re-election, that would make him an, er, Benedict Arnold. – Ken Green Burbank160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Valley Village Death of elephant Re: “Zoo elephant dies as care debated; necropsy ordered” (June 11): First Tara, now this. Gita’s untimely death at the Los Angeles Zoo should not be allowed to disappear into yesterday’s news. I implore readers of the Daily News to urge the Los Angeles Zoo, the City Council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to scrap plans to expand our elephant exhibit, and to release Billy and Ruby to an elephant sanctuary before they, too, die far short of their natural life span.