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Levine Piece: Just More Nonsense Before the Stock Quotes

May 18, 1997

Over the years I have learned to rely less and less on your paper for serious business news, but the L.A. Times hit a new low with "Trial and Error?" (May 11).

Prior to reading the "article," I knew nothing of Robert Levine, convicted murderer (query as to why we should care that much about this particular murder), and thanks to Michael Hiltzik's article, I can safely say that I still know nothing of the case--at least nothing about the facts thereof. Mr. Hiltzik was successful in one area however: getting me to read the entire "article," constantly (obviously foolishly) searching for both sides of the story. (Correct me if I am wrong, but there always are two sides to a story . . . especially in what is supposed to pass as an objective piece of journalism.) Perhaps this "article" would have been better suited for your opinion section, as there is very little in it other than the opinions of Mr. Hiltzik and the obviously biased convicted murderer and his rooting section.

What I did glean from the article is the following: 1) Mr. Hiltzik's opinion (backed up his own carefully chosen anecdotal evidence) that the murdered brother's fatally flawed character made his death a justifiable homicide, and 2) Mr. Hiltzik's opinion that every prosecution witness (and perhaps the prosector himself) was a liar and a cheat with a hidden agenda.

We heard nothing of the convicted murderer's character except that he was allegedly a peacemaker and businessman par excellence. If the convicted murderer is as good and wholesome as described by Mr. Hiltzik, then perhaps he should be petitioning for beatification rather than a new trial. I ask you again: Where is the objectivism?

As long as you continue to print nonsense like this, your business writing will continue to be regarded as nothing more than an obstacle between the reader and his/her perusal of the daily stock market quotations.

I will be moving away from the area at the end of the month and therefore do not need to cancel my subscription in disgust. I only hope that your remaining readers (and I know that there are many) will read your paper with the required dose of skepticism. Thank you for your time.

THOMAS W. LAMB

Los Angeles

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California taxpayers bear the costs as employment litigation cases surge ("Job Discrimination Lawsuits on Upswing," May 12). The increase in employment litigation cases is clogging California courts and points to the need to limit damages employers face in employment litigation cases and for alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration.

California employers face even greater exposure to outrageous verdict awards. This is why the California Chamber of Commerce supports Assembly Bill 1171 and Senate Bill 1278, both of which would place a reasonable limit on damages.

Additionally, the chamber opposes AB 574, which would prohibit the use of arbitration agreements in employment contracts and limit the choices available to employees and employers seeking non-court methods of resolving conflict.

Arbitration provides a means for employers and employees to resolve disputes more efficiently and to spare the parties involved, as well as California taxpayers, the high costs of litigation.

The Legislature should reject AB 574 and support AB 1171 and SB 1278.

FRED MAIN

Vice President, General Counsel

California Chamber of Commerce

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