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Police Scandal

May 21, 2000

Re "Inaction, Miscues Plagued Riordan on Rampart," news analysis, May 15:

Harsh reality has clouded the sunny image of a mayor in control of his city. Whereas Mayor Richard Riordan has always been Los Angeles' No. 1 booster, he hasn't been the best manager. Details are pesky things. And little intractable things like changing the culture of the Police Department, or being "tough enough to turn the city around," to quote a memorable campaign slogan, are harder to do than to launch a flashy marketing campaign and declare ourselves the city of the 21st century.

The Christopher Commission reform recommendations should have been implemented years ago. But to implement them requires focus and attention. In failing to connect with those in the bureaucracy who are needed to implement change, the mayor has allowed a spirit of indifference toward public accountability to reign.

FRANK ALBERS

Seal Beach

* In "Justice Department Action Makes Reform Urgent" (Commentary, May 16), Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas calls for an independent commission to investigate corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department. Well, Ridley-Thomas and all the so-called progressive and liberal politicians of Los Angeles are a little bit late. The Justice Department is already here, trying to control our dysfunctional Police Department. They had to intervene because Mayor Riordan and Police Chief Bernard Parks have been unwilling to reform the LAPD. The City Council, the Police Commission and the local political establishment refused to stand up for what is right.

Not even the Christopher Commission recommendations or the federal government pressures were sufficient incentives for local leaders to act. This inaction continued even when the Rampart scandal made it obvious that the Police Department was completely adrift. If this were a city with ethical leaders, we would expect Riordan to apologize for his political and administrative blindness and Parks to resign.

JONATHAN P. FANTINI

Northridge

* The Justice Department cavalry has ridden into Los Angeles and has threatened to take over the Police Department for alleged violations by some of its employees of one or more federal statutes. They allege violations going back over nine years.

Where has the Justice Department been during this nine-year period? If they were aware of violations of federal statutes during this period of time, why had they not taken action against the perpetrators? Where does a federal agency that, by its own admission has been derelict in its duties, get the arrogance to threaten takeover of a municipal agency, an agency that has been actively and aggressively working to clean up its own act?

JACK ISKEN

Encino

* Re "The Last Stand of a Dying Police Culture," Opinion, May 14: Joe Domanick implies a severe swing of the pendulum from right to left is in order. Parks is in serious trouble, he says. If that's so, then Los Angeles is in trouble big time. Let's make certain our city does not fail itself by overcorrecting rather than moderating at the most. Would you rather walk the streets with a more "democratic" police force than with officers willing to protect and serve? I think not.

BILL SHARP

Northridge

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