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Huffington's Senate Campaign

August 29, 1994

* Re "Huffington on Defensive in Key Goal of Eluding Welfare," Aug. 19:

Republican candidate Mike Huffington's plan to replace welfare with private philanthropy is emblematic of his U.S. Senate campaign as a whole--vacuous and cynical. The facts that Huffington does not even know the cost of the very welfare system he would abolish and that his own record of "volunteerism" only began after he entered the Senate race prove that he has no credibility whatsoever on this, the so-called "central theme" of his candidacy. Even more laughable is the notion that this proposal is what motivated Huffington's Senate bid, rather than the other way around.

Apart from barraging voters with a multimillion-dollar blitz of negative television commercials, the only other talent Huffington has revealed is the ability to propose flaky, empty-headed legislation that has no realistic chance of ever becoming law. California's choice in November could not be clearer. We can either reelect Dianne Feinstein, one of the most productive and effective first-term senators in recent history, or take our chances with "Senator Nothington."

JOHN J. MANIER

Los Angeles

* I read your article "Huffington Ad Calls for an End to Welfare" (Aug. 5) with amazement. Finally a leader is trying new and innovative ideas to end the welfare state.

Huffington donates his salary to charity while his opponent, who is worth something like $50 million, keeps her taxpayer-financed salary. Hats off to Huffington for backing up what he believes in with his own money. Huffington's got my vote!

KEN OWENS

Los Angeles

* I did not read Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington's book "The Fourth Instinct." However, I understand it explains how doing wondrous deeds makes one feel warm all over. Mike (formerly Michael, formerly Texan) Huffington wants to assure that his friends never feel cold and to that end he wants the federal government to allow unlimited tax deductions for charitable contributions.

This is where it pays to have some religious education. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan. It teaches that charitable acts should be unheralded, unrecognized and unclaimed (as to Form 1040 Schedule A), and done more often than in election years.

So to make the Huffingtons and their friends feel warm all over they should donate their time without press releases and photo ops (even on bad hair days), and forgo the tax deductions. Now, that's hot.

DONNA HANDY

Santa Barbara

* Re "The Soul Mate With All the Ideas: Mrs. Huffington," Opinion, Aug. 21:

I was extremely disappointed to find that The Times has taken to devoting part of its Opinion section--on the front page, no less--to a rehashing of stale gossip. Stephen Games' piece was nothing more than a warmed-over compendium of rumors and distortions.

It is absolutely astounding that you would devote such time and space to what amounts to little more than a glorified tabloid column about the spouse of a Senate candidate. If it is your new editorial policy to titillate those who turn to the respected Opinion pages with old news of weddings and wardrobes, readers with inquiring minds might well turn to the supermarket newsstands instead.

For the record: Games characterizes a speech I delivered on Aug. 4 as a "dining club address" at the Biltmore Hotel. It was, in fact, a Town Hall meeting attended by government, civic and business leaders--but an active citizenry hungry for informed debate and fresh ideas. Then there's an outrageous statement from a "member of Dianne Feinstein's staff," that Mike and I have proposed "out-of-body experiences, walking on coals and buying crystals as a way to solve problems." The staffer, whoever it was, must have had an out-of-mind experience when he/she concocted this despicable quote.

Any conscientious editor would have required Games to back up such anonymous bile with hard facts. Yet you let Games get away with it. Games is no impartial journalist, but a former Green Party candidate in England in 1992 with a left-wing platform all his own. His aim has little to do with informing readers and digging up facts. It is, rather, to distract, deceive and distort the truth to fit his personal and political agenda.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

Santa Barbara

* The Times has carried numerous articles on the California Senate race, but we only hear about two candidates--Feinstein and Huffington. I do not feel comfortable supporting either of these candidates. Earlier this year over a million California voters signed petitions to put the Single Payer Health Care initiative on the ballot. Neither Feinstein nor Huffington is a supporter of this initiative, but at least two of the other candidates (Barbara Blong of the Green Party and Elizabeth Barron of the Peace and Freedom Party) are active supporters.

It is important to the democratic process to consider as many different points of view as possible.

PAMELA COXSON

San Francisco

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