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Costly trips are not OK

March 12, 2009

Re "Lawmakers report trips and tickets," March 9

Have our lawmakers no shame? While the people they represent are forced to take two unpaid days off a month and to have their tax refunds delayed, our lawmakers are partying at a resort and taking Jeep trips through the Sierra.

Thank goodness we were reassured by a political spokesman that because political discussions took place, lobbyists paid the bills. They had the chutzpah to say that their generosity had nothing to do with getting their agendas approved, but as reported in The Times' article, most of their goals were met in the February budget process.

I remember the pictures of the legislators sleeping on their desks during budget negotiations. I had assumed they were tired from working for us. I now think it was too many late nights at the health spa retreat.

Debbie Wright

Rancho Santa Margarita

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The sense of civic duty expressed by the Consumer Attorneys of California lobbyists that "the consumer attorneys are proud to participate in the democratic process" has inspired me to make a modest proposal to all lobbying groups whose goal is the enhancement of our democracy: Why not have labor, industry and nonprofit interest groups fund an organization whose sole purpose would be to arrange and furnish the junkets, dinners, weekend retreats and foreign seminars at which all these important issues of public interest are discussed?

The costs of the event would be collectivized under the association banner, and individual lobbying entitles would remain anonymous, thus avoiding all the scurrilous charges of serving their own interests and legalized bribery, and furthering their participation in the democratic process.

Robert Silver

Los Angeles

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