Living less large
Re "Valuable property or UC 'money pit' "? Oct. 4
I am the father of a junior in the UC system and frequently receive fundraising solicitations.
As we are paying substantially more for tuition and fees compared with three years ago, our family feels our UC contributions are more than adequate.
If Chancellor Mark G. Yudof can't get by on his $591,000 base salary and the $11,500-a-month housing rental from the university, I would invite him to have dinner with me and the wife in the one-bedroom apartment we downsized into after a layoff and sending a child to college. We could give him some helpful budget tips.
We have a daughter ready to graduate high school who has already made the decision to leave California for her higher education. We are laying the groundwork to relocate ourselves. I wish Yudof and the UC system the best in their difficult housing conundrum.
Thanks for letting us know about the Blake House property.
California is broke. Underfunded school systems are being raided. Fairgrounds are being sold. The governor is rightfully trying to sell off state-owned property.
This Blake House deal is a no-brainer. Sell it.
Maybe a future president could be housed in less than luxurious yet comfortable digs. Maybe a suite in a college dorm? That president would no doubt be more connected with his student body, and that'd be a payoff in itself.
Those who get the big bucks
Re "Echoes of Bell in CEO salaries," Column, Oct. 3
Michael Hiltzik hit the nail on the head by pointing out direct parallels between the practices of Bell's administrators and those of some corporate leaders and their confederates on boards and compensation committees.
What has seemed to justify the actions of these people is the philosophy that anything goes if you succeed in getting away with it.
By standing both morality and justice on their heads, and by implying that increasing the take-home pay and pension entitlements of chief executives constitutes a "social good" — while these corporate leaders proceed to export American jobs, deprive workers of their livelihoods and benefits, exploit the employees who remain (e.g., "increase their productivity"), take away workers' pensions and even contribute to the conditions that deprive them of their homes — these modern-day moguls make a mockery of free enterprise.
This is the largest bank heist we have ever witnessed in America.
Richard J. Steckel
Hiltzik gives the same old vilification against highly paid executives of publicly traded corporations while ignoring Hollywood's top earners, as though they are exempt from the same accusation. Are Hollywood and the music industry off-limits?
Bell's fiasco is due to voter and community apathy. Officials there bypassed regulations by manipulation and then stole the money.
The CEO fraud is intentional. As Hiltzik notes, it keeps getting worse. Wall Street business leaders and Republicans even make the argument that if you capped CEO salaries, you wouldn't be able to find good talent. It's time to stop bashing immigrants, gays, unions and government workers. Let's start bashing Wall Street and the CEOs.
Is earning too much money a crime? If so, how much is too much?
While you're at it, please explain why Ray Irani's compensation is any of your business.
Also, please explain why you're not upset about the much higher earnings of professional athletes. Is playing a great round of golf more valuable than running a multizillion-dollar company? Just wondering.
James B. Davis
Companies pay the going rate for talent. Companies can only choose from executives who are available, able and willing to do the job. Executives with the qualifications to run a billion-dollar company — even those who sometimes falter — are a rare breed, as are their salaries. Hiltzik's argument against their salaries is nothing more than a trendy rant against free-market capitalism.
Though the heads of large companies may be overpaid in your personal view, their compensation is not illegal, is fully disclosed and is not even remotely comparable with what happened in Bell. If we try to control executive compensation, we will start down a very slippery slope to, say, controlling the salaries of athletes who are too lazy to be in shape for an upcoming season, and maybe even journalists' pay.
Kevin M. Minihan
Cruising on welfare
Re "California aid drawn out of state," Oct. 4
I consider myself a liberal, and I'm always for helping the poor and unfortunate. But when those unfortunates are vacationing in Hawaii or Las Vegas, I don't think they need our tax dollar help any longer.
Whose idea was it to cut 15 investigators from an anti-fraud unit in Orange County to save $900,000 but allow "an estimated $9.6 million in suspected fraud payments"?