SECTION REDIRECT: news

Letters to the editor

Be charitable to Nuñez

Re "Nuñez used a charity to funnel donations," Nov. 2

Not only is it OK for elected officials to support worthwhile charities, it is their civic responsibility. Their status as leaders in the community make their support invaluable.

Our member agencies work with elected officials all the time to help them raise the resources they need to serve vulnerable children and families.

We are quick to criticize elected officials for being self-serving; we need to be just as quick to commend them for serving others. We applaud Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez's (D-L.A.) efforts to help charities in our communities.

Carroll Schroeder

Executive director

California Alliance of Child

and Family Services

Sacramento

With the power and influence that Nuñez wields, he could loot you without going into your house, rob you without using a gun or fleece you while hundreds of miles away.

The only thing public about this public servant is that he uses public funds to line his pockets.

I hope that he continues to be investigated for any alleged crimes and indiscretions and charged appropriately.

John Brammer

Covina

The Times suggests that there was something improper about Nuñez's sponsorship of several Los Angeles charity events.

Donors to these events, which include organizations supportive of, opposed to and neutral on the speaker's policy agenda, have helped distribute more than 9,000 toys and 6,000 books, along with scholarships for local students.

As a community leader in a district with a lot of disadvantaged neighborhoods, it would be improper if Nuñez hadn't been involved in raising these charitable contributions.

Statements by unaffiliated, nonprofit leaders and even the former head of the Internal Revenue Service department that oversees such matters contradict the assumptions and allegations made by The Times.

It's unfortunate that, in its zeal to go after Nuñez, The Times tars a small Los Angeles nonprofit group that has received significant support in the community. It's a shame that what amounts to a paperwork failure should take away from the organization's community work.

Beth Willon

Press Secretary

for Speaker Fabian Nuñez

Sacramento

I keep looking for the news in The Times' investigative articles on Nuñez.

Nuñez spends non-taxpayer money on trips to visit and confer with world policymakers -- all legal and properly reported.

Describing his spending as lavish is disingenuous if you have experience traveling abroad on business.

His humble beginnings as the son of immigrants is mentioned, and I wonder how this information is relevant to his duties as Assembly speaker?

The Times reports that Nuñez gets wealthy businesses to give to charities in Los Angeles and puts his name on some of these charity events. The Times puts its name on charity events alongside large corporations. Should we assume that these corporations expect something from The Times?

You know what would have been interesting reading -- did Nuñez gather any useful information on these trips that could help California? Could you check?

Margaret Hoyos

Los Angeles

Orwell today

Re "Why Orwell matters," Opinion, Nov. 4

Essays regarding totalitarianism appear biased, implying that political extremism and use of language are a one-way street. Political conservatives are portrayed as masters of political deceit, whereas political liberals are pure. I am neither conservative nor liberal. But I am entertained. Stalin manipulated language as much as did Hitler.

Christopher W.

Williams

Valencia

I was pleased to see these essays, although they did not capture the true spirit of Orwell. As much as Orwell railed against propaganda, he would have been obligated at least to point out our negligence and complacency with today's state of affairs. Even the Cold War didn't produce abridgments to the Constitution. To ask if Orwell still matters is somewhat redundant when one should be asking: Does the Constitution really matter? I think Orwell would have been outraged not just at the totalitarian mind-set but at our complacency.

W. Marshall Moseley

Baltimore

What to do about Pakistan?

Re "Pakistani police arrest hundreds in crackdown," Nov. 5

In 1999, Gen. Pervez Musharraf overthrew a democratically elected government in Pakistan, and, in return, Washington showered him with billions of dollars in aid. Most recently, in March, this dictator outrageously fired the chief justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court, but Washington looked the other way.

And finally, in one of the blackest days in Pakistan's history, Musharraf declared emergency rule as the Supreme Court was hearing arguments on his eligibility in the next presidential election.

Why is it that the U.S. continues to maintain a double standard? Why is it that the most preeminent example of democracy in the world supports brutal dictators?

I am a loyal, patriotic and proud citizen of the United States. But today, I am ashamed of what we stand for in the world.

Junaid Sulahry

Winston-Salem, N.C.

The shortsighted decision of the U.S. government to continue to bankroll an unpopular and illegal dictatorship in Pakistan could very well backfire.

Living under a dictatorship leads people to desperation, and it is not unlikely that an Afghanistan-like situation could erupt in Pakistan if Musharraf continues to stay in power.

A much more strategically wise decision would have been to block all aid and impose sanctions on Musharraf's martial law regime until it collapsed and democracy was restored. Not only would that win the U.S. friends among the Pakistani population and further the cause of democracy in the country, it would also serve U.S. strategic interests in the region.

Haider Ghaznavi

Chicago

Musharraf institutes extraordinary measures to counter the rise of Islamic extremism in Pakistan, and the U.S. threatens to suspend aid. Isn't that akin to offering aid and comfort to Islamic terrorists embedded in Pakistan? Maybe the frothing advocates of sanctions against Pakistan have changed sides in the war on terror, or is it just politics as usual?

Jack Bailey

Studio City

Pakistan: Another victory in Bush's war on democracy.

Larry Markes

Hollywood

A tax on all their McMansions

Re "Democrats calculate risk on taxing the rich," Nov. 2

So President Bush thinks the Democrats "believe in raising taxes, and we don't." Of course he doesn't. It is obvious after almost seven years that he believes only in borrowing money. "Play now and pay later" is his motto. Let our children find the money to pay off the incredible debt his administration accumulated after wasting the surplus left by President Clinton.

And by the way, George, the "we don't" obviously does not include either your father or Ronald Reagan. Have you ever picked up a history book?

Sandor Stern

Beverly Hills

Wouldn't it be more helpful to report how real incomes, productivity and unemployment have fared under the current tax system versus focusing on how to tax the rich? I do not believe the income gap is the issue.

The point is how our people are faring today versus prior years. I believe that would lead to a much more interesting front-page story.

Don Black

Rancho Palos Verdes

When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he famously replied: "Because that's where the money is." Why tax the rich? Because that's where the money is.

Marvin Lewis

Palm Desert

Motherhood is no reason for mercy

Re "Woman living in church hopes for reprieve from deportation," Nov. 5

Liliana, an illegal immigrant claiming church sanctuary in Simi Valley, says, "I'm a mother, not a criminal." Unfortunately one does not preclude the other. She is a criminal who broke the law by twice entering this country illegally. At the time of her first border crossings, she was single and had no children. Immigration enforcement agents gave her the courtesy of an extra five days to get her affairs in order before deportation. But rather than give herself up, she went into hiding. After breaking two laws and her word to the United States government, she wants mercy and compassion? Because she is a mother? Her fertility has no bearing on her plea to remain here.

Jeri Taylor

Indio

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