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Culture of Perks Among Politicians

April 11, 1993

Orange County Supervisor William G. Steiner is to be commended for his "brown bag" luncheon conference ("Steiner Serves Notice of a Brown bag Era," March 24). He is making an excellent start. Supervisor Harriett Wieder is also to be commended for trying to provide a new code of ethics.

However, such things bring forth some questions. Namely: Why is a new code of ethics even necessary? What kind of people do we elect to offices who consider such perks as fancy lunches in fancy places to be paid by persons doing business with the county as perks the supervisor (or other politician) deserves? What kind of people do the politicians hire who also consider such perks as their due?

Many years ago, I was in the contracting officers billet as a civilian for the U.S. Navy. The first order I gave to my people was that they were never to accept anything from any contractor except a cup of coffee. I then contacted all of the contractors and informed them that under no circumstances were they ever to offer anything to any of my people except a cup of coffee. Needless to say, those orders cleared the air, and as far as I know, there was never any hint of any influence nor any wrongdoing.

Why can't the politicians do the same thing. It would do so much to let people trust them.

R.J. JENSEN

Anaheim

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