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City Contract Awarded to Well-Connected Firm

January 26, 2003

Re "Firm Under Cloud Gets $33-Million Airport Pact," Jan. 22: You can't stop politicians from taking bribes under the guise of political donations. A state referendum could easily be passed allowing all such "donations" but disallowing the politician from discussing or voting on any measure directly involving that charitable donor.

Penalties included must be stiff, including jail, immediate loss of position and loss of all government retirement. Here, the only recourse may be to have an independent inspector check every detail of construction and have the power to redo whole sections, as necessary.

John Bartlett

South Pasadena

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If you insist on dredging up The Times' 10-year-old Metropolitan Transportation Authority "thin tunnel wall" story in relation to Tutor-Saliba, then for clarity, completeness and certainly for fairness, it would be most appropriate to include the following facts:

The contractor did place all of the concrete required by contract. An independent engineering review concluded that the completed tunnels were (and are) twice as strong as required by contract. The voluntary repair work performed by Tutor-Saliba on the tunnels was grouting intended to reduce water intrusion, not structural reinforcing.

Edward McSpedon

Former Director of Design

and Construction, MTA

West Hills

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