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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca's gift list; the killing of Osama bin Laden; electing a president by popular vote

May 05, 2011
  • Lee Baca: The L.A. County sheriff says he has properly reported all gifts and contributions. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Lee Baca: The L.A. County sheriff says he has properly reported all gifts…

Handling gifts

Re "Baca's gift list is a long one," May 1

My heart goes out to Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca upon reading the dilemma he faces when he receives gifts from many sources (and he has received many gifts, totaling more than $100,000, according to the article).

Baca's dilemma appears to be that there is no law — state or local — that prohibits him from receiving gifts, some of which were given to him by people vying for business with the sheriff's office. He said he wished there were such laws.

I say, "Sheriff Baca, just say no."

Hugo Pastore

Torrance

At several semiconductor companies, one of my tasks was the selection of test equipment costing up to $1 million. The standard protocol was that salesmen offered things like buying us dinner at an expensive restaurant or the use of their sailboat and condominium in San Francisco.

While I was willing to have them buy me lunch, anything more was off the table, as "bribery" might affect my ability to make the best decisions for my employer. Of course, I grew up in a small Midwestern farm town, where fair dealing and honesty were the lessons we learned.

On the other hand, my college political science teacher told the class that we could not say how we would react to taking bribes until we were in government and were offered them.

Roger Newell

San Diego

It would appear that Baca, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa all attended the same ethics class while grooming themselves for office. I believe it was titled, "See No Evil 101."

Alex Fernandez

Lakewood

On the killing of Bin Laden

Re "Bin Laden's fate sealed from outset," May 4

Is no one else disturbed by the fact that our president essentially ordered a man murdered in a sovereign country not our own? Are we not a country of laws in which any accused, no matter how apparently heinous, is considered innocent until proven guilty?

I have to recoil from this harshening of the American spirit, if not an out-and-out violation of international law, personified by President Obama's action and cheered by the majority of Americans. Open, state-sanctioned murder does not represent the country I grew up in.

Dave Strickler

San Simeon, Calif.

What's the difference if Osama bin Laden was armed or not? His murderous minions have their hands on the trigger constantly. Bin Laden did not deserve the courtesy of normal rules of engagement.

As for the Navy SEAL's "Team Six," the triggerman and his team members are the true heroes of the day. As for Obama, good timing on his part; he should apply the same skill and luck to the rest of America's problems.

And oh yes: Thank you too, George W. Bush.

Theodore Carl Soderberg

San Francisco

If Israel could capture, try and punish Adolph Eichmann for his heinous crimes rather than assassinate him, why couldn't the United States do the same with Bin Laden?

Stephen May

Los Angeles

Other ways to elect a president

Re "A popular vote president," Editorial, May 1

Let me get this straight: Whichever candidate for president I cast my vote for would make no difference, as the California electors would automatically vote for the candidate with the largest popular vote in the nation? Why would any Californian bother to vote at all? Whose ridiculous idea was this?

It seems to be a plus that neither Republican nor Democratic candidates spent much time in our state in the last election. That translates into fewer mail advertisements, so-called personal telephone calls, and TV, radio and newspaper ads, which means less money to be made by the media. Oh.

Nancy Asper

Santa Ana

Your editorial misses an important point. In the winner-take-all system, the votes of the minority do not count.

A better solution would be to have electoral college votes count as a proportion of votes cast for each candidate. For example, if the Democratic presidential candidate in California won 60% of the state's popular vote, that person would receive 60% of California's 55 electoral vote. In this way, all popular votes in a given state would "count" regardless if they were for the majority or minority candidate.

Richard Luft

Pomona

The electoral college was set up to keep the smaller states (read rural middle America) from being run over by the big populations in large cities. It has worked well, so leave it alone.

Rick Howell

Oak View

Broken Bell

Re "Bell-inspired bill dies in committee," May 3

The state Senate failed to pass a bill that would have eliminated pension benefits for public officials convicted of certain felonies because it would harm innocent family members.

Yes, it would do that, but it's often the case that, when someone is convicted of a crime and is ordered to pay restitution or spend time in prison, innocent family members suffer.

This is especially true for white-collar criminals.

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