Opinion

Donations from developers? We should call them 'bribes'

To the editor: Kudos to The Times for its story on the big projects of big real-estate developers and their obvious — and probably natural — approval by the elected representatives who get large amounts from them as donations. These worthies include Major Eric Garcetti and other Los Angeles City Council members who get what ought to be called bribes from people like developer Rick Caruso, whose projects are claimed to be discussed and decided in City Hall based purely on their merits. (“Political donations flow as Rick Caruso seeks approval for a 20-story tower near the Beverly Center,” Dec. 28)

What honesty! What transparency! 

These politicians don’t care if there is a clear conflict of interest. Would they consider these projects purely on merit if there were no donations to go along with them? Must voters accept this has become an essential part of the political process? The pay-to-play culture pervades and has polluted politics, yet voters keep putting the culprits in power. 

Is there no one who will not expect and accept these kinds of donations and rise above the culture of corruption?

Yatindra Bhatnagar, Tujunga

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To the editor: Let me say at the outset that I know none of the details regarding the proposal by Caruso to build a 20-story building near the Beverly Center. I am, however, a longtime resident of Pacific Palisades, where Caruso and his companies are rebuilding the community’s shopping district.

Throughout the many years of planning and now construction, Caruso has been both transparent and responsive to the community. He has personally presented plans to community groups, listened and responded positively to local input and has worked to mitigate the impact of construction. 

I join with many of my neighbors in looking forward to completion of the project in 2018.

James W. Osterholt, Pacific Palisades

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To the editor: The location of Caruso’s proposed 20-story tower is one of the most gridlocked intersections in Los Angeles. If the tower is built, it will further tie up traffic in three directions: north-south, east-west and diagonally northwest-southeast on San Vicente Boulevard.

Who will protect the residents of Los Angeles and those of adjacent cities who must deal with the consequences of L.A.’s overdevelopment? Does the “pay to play” endemic to Los Angeles’s zoning variance approvals violate some law at some level of government? 

Daniel Fink, Beverly Hills

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