Opinion

Letters: Buying votes with gifts

Re "L.A. set to raise limit on gifts to officials," Oct. 26

Supporting the City Council's call to raise by $50 the limit on gifts from those who have a financial stake in a decision at City Hall, Council President Herb Wesson says he does not believe his colleagues would sell their souls for $150.

I am worried not about the selling of souls but of politicians' votes to gift-givers. Besides, council members, who earn more than $170,000, can afford to buy their own tickets to concerts and sporting events and do not need that $150.

Our elected representatives should not be accepting gifts — period. Wesson is heading in the wrong direction, when he should be setting an example for all elected officials by refusing to accept gifts from anyone who has business before the City Council.

Charles M. Weisenberg

Los Angeles

Did anyone else notice the irony in Saturday's paper? On the same page that this article appeared was another piece reporting court testimony that former Bell administrator Robert Rizzo actually made far more than previously thought via special payouts.

Next to one report of unrelenting greed and cunning, there was another of pending corruption.

What we need is someone of prominence, experience and ample financial means— perhaps the soon-to-retire mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg — to lead a nationwide effort to identify and potentially prosecute any elected or appointed official who treats public service as a private entitlement program.

With this kind of scrutiny, there's no telling how much governance might improve.

Godfrey Harris

Los Angeles

I have a better idea for the City Council: How about capping gifts at $0? Let the lobbyists and their ilk contribute their "gifts" and other items to worthy charities.

And unlike politicians, I have to pay for tickets to cultural and sporting events.

Ephraim Mochson

Los Angeles

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