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Richard Alatorre’s Legal Problems

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Crime doesn’t pay? (Unless it’s white-collar.) Richard Alatorre [former assemblyman and Los Angeles city councilman] receives probation and is ordered to pay $12,970 in back taxes after admitting he accepted $42,000 as a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from parties seeking influence (Aug. 28). The L.A. Department of Water and Power rewards him with a consulting contract at $7,500 a month, and now the Compton Community College District hires him at $5,000 a month. Ever wonder why there is cynicism about politicians?

Dan Pellow

Los Angeles

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Re “Illegalities Irrelevant, College Says,” Aug. 28: With a cast of characters worthy of “The Forty Thieves” and a script drawn from “Alice in Wonderland,” the people associated with fleecing the public via the Compton Community College offer fantasy explanations of the worth of their services.

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I kept thinking the article must have been written tongue in cheek. Alas, it was apparently about the real world of cronyism, political favors, padding government payrolls and a hypocritical feast on public dollars. It would be humorous if it were not for the real people who suffer from these abuses--the honest students, faculty and dedicated community people who care about the college and its mission. It is not just the taxpayers who are being fleeced but also a valuable institution--and then the community suffers the consequences.

Who or what government agency has oversight for this institution? Where is the cry for investigations? The Times has started the process in the court of public opinion. Now we need these people to face a court of law.

Chris Keller

West Covina

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You may scoff all you like at the idea that Compton College could value Alatorre’s consultant services at $5,000 month--while he’s serving a sentence for tax evasion. The fact is that after all the allegations of corruption, abuse of office, etc., the government could only convict Alatorre on a minor matter, resulting in essentially a suspended sentence.

This shows that he has tremendous skills in cutting deals with federal, state and local agencies--just what a college with unexplained cost overruns and a history of incestuous politics needs.

Gary R. Albin

Long Beach

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