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Mailbag: The Helm is a victim of lawsuit abuse

July 13, 2011

The reforms the California Legislature put in place three years ago to mitigate the problems of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) abuse are not working (Re: "Costa Mesa Bar Sued in ADA Compliance Lawsuit," July 8). Despite the California Commission on Disability Access' best intentions, small-business owners are still facing abusive ADA lawsuits.

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-San Diego) has recognized this issue in federal ADA lawsuits, and has introduced H.R. 881, the "ADA Notification Act," which would require a plaintiff to first provide a defendant with notification and an opportunity to correct a violation before the plaintiff may commence a civil action and force the business owner to incur legal costs.

If H.R. 881 were in place, the business owners would face fewer ADA lawsuits. Instead of paying a $4,000 fine per technical violation or waging a costly legal battle, they could simply bring their businesses into compliance. Sadly, the California Legislature defeated similar legislation this year.

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We need more jobs, not more lawsuits.

Maryann Marino

Regional director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Harvest stem cells from adults

Bruce Gleason fails to distinguish between embryonic stem cell research and adult stem cell research (Re: "On Faith: 'Faith in the soul is dangerous for society'," July 9). There are significant differences between the two.

The pro-life community does not object to adult stem cell research. Indeed, they enthusiastically support it. Their objection is to embryonic stem cell research, which ends the life of a viable human being.

Despite millions being spent on embryonic stem cell research, no scientific advances have resulted to date. Ignorance on this point results in hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent deaths when viable embryos are destroyed by embryonic stem cell research.

Adult stem cells should be the focus of scientific research. In fact, many scientists have focused their attention on adult stem cell research, but one rarely hears about it.

Nevertheless, the results have been impressive, indicating that a wide range of treatments for multiple sclerosis, heart attacks, diabetes and other ailments may result in positive outcomes. Indeed, adult stem cells are the basis for bone marrow transplants, and they have already saved hundreds of thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.

Finally, as providence would have it, I have discovered that doctors have given a new lease on life to a man stricken with cancer of the trachea. The doctors replaced the man's trachea with synthetic materials and the man's own stem cells. I emphasize that they used the man's own stem cells, not embryonic stem cells.

I caution Gleason against making outrageous statements about issues that are fraught with serious ethical and moral implications, and on which he is not well-informed.

Ila Johnson

Costa Mesa

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