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Not an Endorsement of Michael Milken

July 04, 1993

I'm surprised that you didn't endorse Mike Milken as a write-in candidate for some office or other in the L.A. election. Sure, the fact that Milken is a felon would make his candidacy illegal, but even a retraction for a "technical" error would be another chance to celebrate the "rehabilitated" hero lauded in the June 5 article, "A Different Michael Milken Surfaces."

Nancy Rivera Brooks' paean to Milken, who served "nearly two years (reduced from 10 years)" and paid "$1.1 billion in penalties and lawsuit settlements," is full of sympathy for his suffering: cleaning toilets at the federal work camp and enduring jokes about his toupee. The real admiration, though, is lavished on his involvement in the after-school DARE-Plus program--designed, along with other goals, to reduce participation in inner-city gangs and crime.

Clearly, Mike's criminal conviction is an insignificant detail. He is still a hot one-man profit center. We're supposed to admire him for his court-assigned social service. We're supposed to admire that, in his free time, he can work on an Educational Entertainment Network cable operation and sign up Michael Jackson. And, no doubt, when he writes about his experiences, he and his publishers will make a lot of money.

Mike is the hero who stumbled but did not fall. He reflects the values of our society, and Brooks' article shows just how eager some of us are to embrace him again.

MARCEY HENSHEL

Los Angeles

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