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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Intelligence 'Fix' Fails to Inspire Confidence

August 13, 2004

Re "Officials Debate Spy Czar Plan," Aug. 11: It is disconcerting to me that the decision-makers are focusing so much of the debate on whether or not centralizing the intelligence community is the best remedy for our national intelligence breakdowns. I fear that this more bureaucratic "fix" will not address the cultural issues that are fundamental and foundational (e.g., more open communication, more decentralized decision-making, quicker response time, shared responsibilities).

If defense and effectively addressing the terrorist issues are indeed a high priority, I would like to see equal time given to deciding on ways to fix the cultural issues that have plagued our intelligence community for years.

Karl Strandberg

Long Beach

Re "Bush Selects Congressman to Head CIA," Aug. 11: Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) is an excellent choice to head the CIA. Too bad the job has about as much tenure as a Hollywood studio exec who green-lights a big-budget film that's lackluster at the box office.

Mike Nally

Garden Grove

So the guy whose lame leadership of the House Intelligence Committee for the past seven years, also known as the weakest, misdirected and sloppiest years at the CIA, is being honored with the responsibility to champion the new and improved CIA? Was Dan Quayle not available?

Stuart Fink

Los Angeles

#S#

The Biggest Threat to Public Health: Guns

Seventeen people died violently in Los Angeles County last weekend, most killed by guns (Aug. 10). On the other hand, just one person died presumably from West Nile virus. Yet the press, the public health community and citizens have us believing we are in a crisis, and money and effort are being spent to drain standing water, advise people to wear insect repellent and spray for mosquito infestations. The possibility of a cure and even an inoculation are being pursued.

Did the public health community enhance its search for prevention strategies for gun violence? It is intolerable that so little is done to change the environment that breeds violence. And so little is done to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and youth. How many will have to die before we call gun violence a public health crisis?

Ann Reiss Lane

Chair, Women Against

Gun Violence

Los Angeles

#S#

Curbs on Wal-Mart

Los Angeles City Council members want an anti-Wal-Mart ordinance because they claim to be concerned about the effect on neighborhood businesses (Aug. 12). For decades, they've known that small businesses have been burdened with a mountain of federal and state regulations regarding payroll, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, American With Disabilities Act, Family Leave Act and the crushing workers' comp system.

But now that Wal-Mart wants to come to town, they suddenly are concerned about the plight of the small-business owner. Either they are being politically expedient or Hades has frozen over.

Mark A. Overturf

Reseda

So, the L.A. council votes to restrict Wal-Mart until it submits studies that the council will vote on? Most of us see through this union-sponsored smoke screen. The whole thing stinks!

Gerry Wallace

Long Beach

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