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Lee Baca

November 08, 1998

Lee Baca's victory is a large step toward the professionalism the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has always touted itself to possess, but has many times failed to apply when working with its constituents, particularly with those who have now brought Baca to the department's leadership.

This expression of the new, Eastside voting power will not be a blip on this century's horizon, but will carry on into the next millennium. Let us pray that the gran politicos and humbled news media of Los Angeles County cooperate with Baca in his quest to have his department provide the best services possible to all.

Good luck, Mr. Baca. Keep a well-honed ax and focus on your department's bloated and mostly ineffective top and middle management.

ANGEL M. ALDERETE

Novato, Calif.

* In the eternal debate over whether lesser public officials should be elected or appointed, it seems clear that the office of sheriff of Los Angeles County has always represented the worst of both worlds. Nominally elected and therefore "unfireable," the sheriff never faced credible opposition and so, in practice, was unremovable by the voters.

Meaningful public oversight requires either competitive elections or elected officials empowered to remove an appointee. Congratulations to Baca for demonstrating that the former is possible. Let us hope that it remains so, even when future sheriffs are in top health.

MIKE OLIVER

Los Angeles

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