Re "Stand Tall With Hernandez," by Fabian Nunez and Juan Jose Gutierrez, Commentary, Sept. 24:
The problem that L.A. City Councilman Mike Hernandez grapples with is not illness, but lack of character. Any city or state employee would be fired for the same behavior. This man is an elected official who sets an ugly, morally bankrupt example, and to excuse him because you share his political ideology is utterly self-serving.
I am sure there are many honest, non-drug-using individuals who could effectively serve as a representative of his current district. Rather than supporting Hernandez, his constituents should be calling for his resignation and searching for a replacement who possesses character and sound judgment.
* I live in the 1st District and Hernandez is my councilman. I, also, deeply regret that Mike made the same mistake that millions of Americans have made, and became a user of cocaine. But he deserves a second chance to prove that he can rehabilitate himself.
It is wonderful to know that so many people in the district are so perfect that they can scream for his resignation. I want him to continue as my councilman because he has been good and caring about the district and its problems. He has fought harder for the district and its people than anyone has fought for a very long time. You folks who are howling for blood do not speak for me!
MARCIA D. KELLOTAT
* To consider allowing Hernandez to return to his post indicates that we, as a community, still have not come to terms with the sad reality and consequences of drug abuse. Drug abuse affects the addict's community, friends and family in painfully direct ways. An addict lies and cheats and eventually steals to support a habit, no matter how wealthy or poor, public or private he is. The desires and needs of an addict supersede any momentary question of morality, virtue or compassion toward family, friends or community. Addiction does not happen overnight, it is a result of long-standing emotional conflicts that the user unsuccessfully tries to conceal through drug use.
The compassion and support Hernandez has received in his decision to enter a drug rehabilitation program are commendable, but we should not forget how he got there, with the prospect of a felony and jail time hanging over his head.