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South Gate Needs Political Reform

July 29, 2001

Thank you for the much-needed media attention to "The Savage Politics of South Gate" (by Sam Quinones, July 8). I am a 13-year employee and longtime resident of the City of Commerce, where we have issues almost identical to those in South Gate. The cancer of dirty politics, spawned by modern-day political machines led by people like South Gate City Treasurer Albert Robles, has infected not only South Gate and Bell Gardens, but nearly the entire Southeast area of Los Angeles County. As residents we need to become educated about how our cities operate financially and politically, or risk becoming the victims of self-serving politicians. The word is out on career politicians like Robles, Maria Chacon in Bell Gardens and Hugo Argumedo in Commerce. I hope voters use this information in future elections.

Jason Stinnett

Commerce

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Recently I read an article about the mayor of Compton that deeply saddened me. There were positives mentioned about his administration, but the negatives outweighed the positives greatly. Shortly after I read that the cities of Cudahy and Bell Gardens informed authorities about individuals who allegedly used their political positions to secure even more important positions. Now I read Quinones' article about the politics of South Gate, and the revelations are the most frightening and appalling of them all!

If Robles and his [associates] are allowed to continue their mode of operation, they will undermine all that is cherished in our democratic system. The cancer that is growing in Southeast Los Angeles could easily spread. With a political position comes accountability--accountability that should extend to citizens and noncitizens alike. These idiots need to be jettisoned, and quick!

Samuel Carter

Oxnard

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Quinones refers to the fact that "the town has no local daily newspaper," and this perhaps answers the question of why so many goofy things keep going on. As editor of the Huntington Park Daily Signal, I had the pleasure of being a part of the Southeast Los Angeles cities for many years. In those days, daily community newspapers flourished. We helped citizens be aware of the ups and downs of local life. Before moving out of our longtime headquarters in Huntington Park, the Daily Signal had an unusually large staff that allowed a reporter to have the single assignment of covering one city such as South Gate. I am convinced that if the Daily Signal were still here, there would be a far different South Gate, Bell Gardens and Cudahy than exist today.

Tom Hageman

Laguna Woods

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