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Letters to the editor

Meghan Daum on the Madoff family; "In God We Trust" debate; L.A. cracks down on barking dogs

November 07, 2011
  • Catherine Hooper, left, fiance to Andrew Madoff, center, and Ruth Madoff, wife of jailed Ponzi scheme creator Bernie Madoff, appear on the "Today" show on Oct. 31 in New York. (Associated Press)
Catherine Hooper, left, fiance to Andrew Madoff, center, and Ruth Madoff,… (Peter Kramer, AP )

Madoffs come clean

Re "Denial — Madoff style," Opinion, Nov. 3

In writing that she believes wife Ruth Madoff's and son Andrew Madoff's claims that neither was aware of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, Meghan Daum ignores the truly critical question arising from the scandal: Why did the Securities and Exchange Commission fail to adequately investigate his financial dealings despite several credible tips?

I don't really care how sorry Ruth Madoff is or how much anger Andrew Madoff feels toward his father. I want to know why the SEC did not detect Madoff's poorly concealed Ponzi scheme. Was it corruption, incompetence or intimidation?

Andrew and Ruth Madoff are not the real victims in this story, and Bernard Madoff isn't the only one who is culpable. A government agency that failed to protect Madoff's true victims must also share some of the blame.

James Klein

Culver City

I don't know what the Madoff family knew, and I'm even willing to give them a pass. After all, professional investors were taken in by this swindle, and the more people who have knowledge of the scheme, the more likely it is to fall apart. It seems unlikely a lawsuit could go forward based on the presumption that the defendants should have known.

That said, Daum overlooks the most salient fact: A huge amount of money still resides with the family, and if that money was diverted from investor accounts, those funds should be distributed to the victims of this crime.

Michael Solomon

Canoga Park

God and America

Re "What's God got to do with it?," Opinion, Nov. 4

Although they can't agree on anything that might bolster our anemic recovery, our members of Congress can agree on the compelling need to very publicly embrace God.

The current fad of demonstrating publicly our personal religious beliefs has become a parody, from praying for touchdowns at football games to joining hands and mumbling at your local fast-food joint.

I have never felt that the truly devout have a need for such demonstrations. Wasn't it Jesus who said, "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others"?

Gordon Louttit

Manhattan Beach

Isaiah 40:6 and 8 say: "All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.... The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever."

And what does the word of the Lord have to say about Michael Shermer's opinion? Psalm 127:1 says: "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."

In other words, God has everything to do with it.

Russ Meehan

Agua Dulce

What Shermer said.

It's way past time we abandon the idea of God, a concept invented by quick-minded tale spinners who scared working folk with ideas of eternal punishment if they failed to worship the imaginary boogeyman (and provide a livelihood for the tale spinner).

This country got to where it is by honest sweat and tears.

Paul J. Burke


Yapping about the dog days

Re "Council puts bite in yappy dog law," Nov. 2

I have had numerous dogs, and excessive barking is due to a lack of training and discipline by owners.

People will be fined when their dogs bark continuously for 10 minutes or more, or intermittently for 30 minutes within a three-hour period. How will this be proved? Will someone have to use his phone to record the barking?

Give dogs a break. They just want to express their frustration.

Judy R. Martin

Los Angeles

People who care for their dogs properly have no need to worry about Los Angeles' proposed "barking dog" fines.

Constant barking almost always means that a dog is bored, lonely or in distress. The most common causes of this are leaving dogs chained up, caged in a backyard or alone in a house or apartment all day while you are at work — with nothing to do but stare at the walls and try to "hold it" for nine-plus hours.

Just like us, dogs need companionship, something to occupy their bright minds, exercise and a change of scenery. Taking dogs for long walks, giving them chew toys, playing games of fetch, letting them live indoors with the family and having someone come over to care for them during the day will ensure happy dogs — and happy neighbors.

Laura Frisk


Lessons for school reformers

Re "Suit would link teacher ratings to student work," Nov. 1

It is intriguing that one of the people behind the lawsuit demanding that teacher evaluations be tied to student test scores is a healthcare company executive. What would happen if doctors were targeted in the same way as teachers?

A doctor, treating a patient with high cholesterol, gives appropriate medical care by diagnosing the issue and recommending exercise and dietary changes. The patient follows some (but not all) of the doctor's advice.

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