On Bruce Karatz of KB Home; the Goldstone report and critics of its author; remaking L.A.'s DWP

Toward a better DWP

Re “Empowering the DWP,” Opinion, April 21

Reading new interim General Manager Austin Beutner’s four-point plan for empowering the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, I thought I was reading from a Business 101 textbook:

Be transparent to ensure public money is well spent;

Use capital efficiently and find out why we own so much land and operate so many facilities compared with our peers;

Plan DWP’s role in the Los Angeles of tomorrow;

Pass the torch to someone who has the leadership and management skills to run the DWP well.

What have these folks been doing up to now?

The DWP needs to be told to not come looking for any rate increases whatsoever until it begins working toward these basic management goals.

This would provide the clarity it needs to get things moving.

Jim Peterson

Did the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers write Beutner’s piece on controlling costs at DWP?

I assume so, because he doesn’t say word one about excessive labor costs.

In the name of the “transparency” he touts, will he disclose the political contributions that management and the IBEW have made to the mayor and City Council, the fat compensation they have gotten in return, and by how much that compensation exceeds market rates?

Rauer Meyer
Los Angeles

The man and his report

Re “Crossing the line,” Opinion, April 21

Daniel Terris misses the point when he presents Israel’s anger at the results of the Goldstone report.

It wasn’t just that the report presented Hamas and Israel on the same moral level in conducting warfare — an absurd observation — but that its legal underpinnings were nonexistent, and biased Palestinian witness reports favored Hamas while ignoring Israel’s incontrovertible evidence of Hamas war crimes, particularly against its own people.

Ferris lauds Justice Richard Goldstone’s position as an advisor to the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University. Ethics and justice are two subjects in which Goldstone clearly demonstrates no expertise.

Perhaps Terris could comfort himself by comparing Goldstone’s treatment in Israel with that a counterpart might have received in the Gaza Strip. There, a fatwa would have been put on his head and he wouldn’t have felt safe living anywhere on the planet.

Perhaps the two sides do not share an equal moral footing as postulated in the sham report, do they?

Richard Friedman
Los Angeles

Terris decries the personal attacks on Goldstone. But he fails to point out that Goldstone’s U.N.-backed commission was designed to blame Israel for war crimes.

Goldstone himself admitted that were he in a court of law, his report would have been thrown out as evidence. Yet his report furthers the demonization of a country that only seeks peace, while surrounded by millions who promote its demise.

Goldstone’s own community is properly treating him as an enemy collaborator.

Joshua E. Dalin
Los Angeles

Terris’ essay is fair-minded and accurately describes one brand of Jewish defensiveness.

The official responses from Israel and from much of the American leadership (not all) have been disconcerting — and they demonstrate a reversion to arguing about “who is more right than whom,” rather than an ability to examine other people’s efforts at fairness.

As a member of the Jewish community and an active professional within Israel and the U.S., I have been embarrassed at the name-calling that surrounded the Goldstone report — much as I disagreed with some of its conclusions.

We are a people of discourse, it seems, until our ox has been gored.

Rabbi William Cutter
Los Angeles
The writer is an emeritus professor at Hebrew Union College.

No doubt the South African Jewish groups threatening to disrupt the bar mitzvah of Goldstone’s grandson will put out the disingenuous claim that it was his choice not to attend, and that they should bear no responsibility for his absence.

This is not only untrue but shameful. To prevent him from partaking in one of the most important and sacred days in this young man’s life is beyond reproach.

Our synagogue news-letter regularly publishes an article asking what person students wish could attend their bar or bat mitzvah. The response is often a long-deceased relative, usually a grandparent they never met or who died recently.

How sad that Goldstone’s grandson would say the same, with the added irony that Goldstone is still with us and wishes he could be there just as much.

Phillip Hain

Unfair to Tunisia

Re “A tighter Tunisia,” Opinion, April 19

Sarah Leah Whitson does not seem to know much about Tunisia.

Had she taken the trouble of ridding her mind of preset notions, she would have discovered a country that, since 1987, has established the basis of a pluralistic democracy, including nine political parties.

Unhindered expression characterizes the work of private and public radio and television stations and that of hundreds of independent newspapers and magazines, including opposition party publications.

The alleged “political prisoners” to whom Whitson refers are in reality common-law criminals sentenced in most cases after having been proved guilty of violent and terrorist crimes.

Whitson lends unneeded advice to Western nations in an effort to raise doubts about Tunisia’s anti-extremism and terrorism record. The whole international community recognizes the stands of the country against extremism and terrorism as consistent and unwavering.

She even attributes the temporary suspension of the license of one particular private college to extra-academic reasons, despite several documented serious infractions in the work of that institution.

There might be propaganda value in what Whitson claims. But unfortunately, there is no attempt to start grasping what Tunisia is all about.

Chahrazed Rezgui
The writer is first secretary, press office, Embassy of Tunisia.