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Pricey Items in Sheriff's Budget

November 10, 1996

Sheriff Sherman Block and his Comedy of Errors are at it again. Erroneous release of convicted felons. Successful lawsuits by inmates detained beyond court-ordered release dates. Now $466 toasters, premium coffee and Block's three county-provided sedans (Nov. 3).

When are the people of the county going to realize that the problem is Block himself--send him packing in his $27,000 Mercury. In all fairness, however, he should be honored when he's sacked. We've named facilities in the past for former law enforcement chiefs--Parker Center, Pitchess Honor Rancho, Biscailuz Center, etc. For Sherman I say let's name the sheriff's main station after him--"Blockhead Quarters."

JOHN H. NICHOLS

Rancho Cucamonga

* Your article on the sheriff's budget did not take something into account. The deputies supervise and the prisoners supply the manpower for most work done in the system. To keep this "work force" on the job without pay may be worth a couple of cents per day per inmate.

Also, do your own math: 19,000 prisoners times three meals a day times 365 days a year equals 20,805,000; this figure divided into $20 million equals 96 cents per meal. Can McDonald's do the same?

JOHN PEGUEROS

Lakewood

* It was appalling to learn of the excesses of the sheriff's operation. The Board of Supervisors would do well to take a look at one sheriff's operation over in Arizona; he really knows how to run a jail.

The apparent lack of oversight of the sheriff's operation by the supervisors strongly suggests that they may have lapsed into a similar sort of a debacle experienced here in Orange County. This should be a wake-up call for all concerned.

MARV GONSIOR

Fullerton

* Why don't we allow Sheriff Block to appoint the supervisors. This way the county would save the cost of elections since they all do his bidding anyway. With the cost of toasters (shades of Pentagon $600 toilet seats) and the leather seats that are necessary to haul the sheriff around, no wonder the county has financial problems.

Are the supervisors just for show or is their only function to do what the sheriff says? They quibble about what to call the chairman instead of doing what they are elected to do. Where's the beef?

W.F. MILLAR III

Los Angeles

* Your article on the Sheriff's Department budget is a painful reminder of the absurdities of our county budget process. As a long-time volunteer in the pediatric unit of the county-operated Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, I've witnessed the results of county budget cuts. All too frequently, children come to Rancho because of serious injuries and diseases, many of which result in quadriplegia and being dependent on a ventilator for every breath. The numerous cuts to the Rancho budget severely limit the ability to provide quality-of-life activities for these patients--even their annual Halloween parade was canceled this year.

Now we learn that the prisoners at county jail facilities are enjoying HBO, gourmet coffee and cookies. How is it that the lowlifes of this world are able to have "quality of life" along with free room and board, while innocent children must make do with the bare essentials?

Once again, we are witnessing the results of poor judgment and lack of common sense by our elected officials.

WENDY BRUBAKER

Whittier

* My wife and I are planning a winter vacation, possibly a cruise or a stay at a five-star hotel. She loves high-quality gourmet foods, especially pricey chicken entrees, fresh salmon and aged cheese. She is fond of premium coffees, and spends much of our family food budget on lattes and specialty coffees with costly flavorings. Do you think it would be possible for hotelier Block to book us into one of the county suites for a week without giving us a rap sheet?

GARY HERTZBERG

Redondo Beach

* Let the prisoners eat baloney (sic); there's plenty of that available in L.A. County. Put Block and the Board of Supervisors on short rations at the same time!

SHEILA S. BANKEN

Palos Verdes Estates

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