Re. "Commentary: Blame the Great Society for out-of-wedlock births Dec. 21: Dr. R. Claire Friend's article was very good, informative and eye-opening to the extent that whatever morals we once had regarding giving birth and being married have flown out the proverbial window.

I knew that the illegitimacy rate has risen in recent years, but going from 5% in 1960 to the current rate of almost 35% is pushing the envelope a tad too much. Change is a big part of what keeps everything going, but why and how we seem to have a superfluous amount of unwed mothers not only appears to be a popular thing but also ubiquitous in nature.

And it's not just the young who seem to defy traditional rules regarding having babies and marriage. Hollywood seems to have set up its own rules pertaining to giving birth and marriage vows. I guess if one is a movie star making millions, it's OK to bring children into the world sans a marriage license. And the thinking may be since we tend to emulate our favorite stars to a certain degree, if it's OK for them to bring an illegitimate child into the world, it must be OK for us as well.

That might be a simplified version for one of the reasons why this is happening, but facts don't lie, and unwed mothers seem to be proliferating.

Although it would have been a more apropos statement had she said, "The legal two-parent family is the backbone and strength of any civilized society."

Bill Spitalnick

Newport Beach

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C.M.'s finances

With the election, holidays, and other events behind us, Costa Mesans may now choose to take a good hard look at our "Fiscal Mesa." While some focus on guess-timated dollar figures (unfunded liabilities, etc.), the real concern should be the approach we take to address them.

The predictable rescinding of the remaining city employee layoff notices was a moonwalk in the right direction, yet pails in comparison with what inevitable forward steps must now be taken. Whether or not an interim or special election is deemed appropriate, Costa Mesa should be afforded adequate time to prepare a serious charter proposal for voters to consider. If done properly, current issues and past mistakes could be collectively addressed, thus offering the city a sensible opportunity to develop a get-well plan before adding Costa Mesa to the municipal casualty list.

James H. Bridges

Costa Mesa