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Haiti in ruins; limiting the number of lawyers; in defense of Sen. Dodd

Haiti in ruins

Re “Destruction in Haiti ‘unimaginable,’ ” Jan. 14

To the credit of the Obama administration, the U.S. had disaster aid on the ground in Haiti after a 7.0 quake in less than 24 hours.

It is heartbreaking that a disaster of this magnitude should happen to the poorest of the poor. It was heartwarming to see a homeless President Rene Preval in the street, helping his people with no concern as to where he would sleep, both his residences having been destroyed.

We give so much money to unappreciative nations around the world. I hope in this case we will be even more generous to these poor people, who are our neighbors and who love and respect the United States.

Phil Wilt

Van Nuys

Natural disasters like earthquakes and man-made disasters like war create so much suffering. Hopefully we can use our nation-building skills from our wars to bring about a better, safer Haiti.

Selby Jessup

North Hollywood

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Antonio, Gustavo, City Council, community in general:

How about a citywide effort to help Haiti? “Help Haiti Day” could include marathon poetry readings, concerts, garage sales, auctions and more.

Let’s show the world that the “Angeles” in our name is not just another word . . . let’s do it!

Manisto Navarro

North Hollywood

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Re “Robertson links quake to devil,” Jan. 14

Pat Robertson’s recent comments on the Haitian earthquake catastrophe -- in which he suggested the disaster was a potential “blessing in disguise” and evidence of that nation’s cursed status thanks to its “pact with the devil” in the 18th century -- were nasty, ignorant and heartless.

Robertson’s comments, and indeed the man himself, are an utter embarrassment to the evangelical Christian community. To those within that community: I hope that he is roundly condemned and removed from any position in which he may claim to speak for our faith or community in any way, shape or form.

To those without: I sincerely apologize, on behalf of evangelicals everywhere, that we have allowed such an immoral and delusional nut job to remain a public figure for far too long.

I would humbly draw your attention to the many evangelical groups (such as World Vision, the Mennonite Central Committee and others) that are working hard to actually help the devastated people of Haiti as a more accurate picture of Christian charity in response to human suffering, rather than Robertson’s callousness.

Kurt Werthmuller

Azusa

The writer is an assistant professor of history at Azusa Pacific University.

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Cruel, divisive Robertson has his theology reversed.

Promising to serve the devil makes one rich and powerful -- not helpless, injured and destitute. Satan offered Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world” if he would worship the demonic one. Remember, Pat?

Serving the devil is supposed to pay big dividends. Look at Haiti. Where are they?

Geri A.

Mellgren-Kerwin

Burbank

Limit lawyers? Objection!

Re “No more room at the bench,” Opinion, Jan. 8

Mark Greenbaum thinks the government should consider steps to stop the flow of new attorneys. Balderdash! Isn’t this the country that lets one study as one wants?

It is the individual who takes responsibility for student loan debts, passing the bar exam and finding employment. Would-be clients choose whom to retain. And not everyone who attends law school goes on to practice. Nobody needs the likes of Greenbaum to spare them the cost and competition.

I attended classes at an unaccredited school on nights and weekends, held down jobs, took out loans and paid them off. I graduated magna cum laude and worked for the San Diego County public defender’s office for 20 years.

Why not tend to your own knitting, Mr. Greenbaum? Or are you bummed because you can’t hack the competition from newbies willing to work for less?

Linda P. Hughes

Lakeside, Calif.

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Even if Greenbaum’s solution is not highly questionable as a simple matter of free enterprise, nonaccreditation by bar associations does not close down a school -- nor, in California at any rate, does nonaccreditation prevent graduates from taking the bar exam and practicing law.

Apart from the “kill all the lawyers” resonance of Greenbaum’s complaint, there is more than a hint of elitism.

D. Zara

Winnetka

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Greenbaum asserts that we need to limit the number of new law graduates so that existing lawyers and future graduates can find gainful employment. I agree with his points, but he fails to even mention the most damaging effect of too many attorneys: too many lawsuits. An oversupply of attorneys may be bad for attorneys, but it’s even worse for the rest of us.

Crista Worthy

Los Angeles

In defense of Sen. Dodd

Re “Dodd bows out,” Editorial, Jan. 8

This Times’ editorial mischaracterizes Sen. Christopher J. Dodd’s (D-Conn.) personal financial dealings. He did not receive a “sweetheart deal” or “special terms” on the loans for his homes in Connecticut and Washington, and he did not underpay for a vacation home in Ireland.

Dodd and his wife received market rates and terms for their mortgages when they refinanced their homes in 2003. After spending more than a year reviewing the transactions, the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee determined that “there is no evidence that the interest rates for your [Dodd’s] Countrywide mortgages were below prevailing market rates.”

In 2002, Dodd purchased at full value William Kessinger’s two-thirds share of the Ireland property. The value was determined by a 2002 bank appraisal of the property. Dodd also paid all closing costs and assumed and paid off Kessinger’s share of the remaining mortgage liability. The value of the home listed on annual Senate financial disclosure reports was based on the most recent appraisal. Each of Dodd’s reports was carefully reviewed and approved by the nonpartisan professional staff of the Senate Ethics Committee.

Though you note that Dodd was “so often right about political issues,” it’s unfair and irresponsible to emphasize and legitimize partisan political attacks that have been proved untrue.

Bryan DeAngelis

Washington

The writer is press secretary for Sen. Dodd.

Santa Monica’s loss

Re “Ken Genser, 1950 - 2010,” Obituary, Jan. 11

Ken Genser’s passing is a great loss. His passion for affordable housing and compassion for people will be missed. He was a sincere and effective advocate and city official, both as mayor and as councilman for the city of Santa Monica.

I knew him first as a student in the early 1970s at SCI-Arc, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, a school that I founded with six other faculty and 75 students in the fall of 1972 in Santa Monica. Today, located downtown in the Arts District and with an enrollment of 500 students, the school is internationally respected with some 3,000 alumni working, teaching, writing and, as in Ken’s case, legislating all over the world.

Ken’s faith, courage and energy were a part of the beginning of the school. Because many of our classes involved social issues as well as design, I would like to think that perhaps the seeds of his passion and compassion began at SCI-Arc.

I am proud that SCI-Arc has such an illustrious alumnus as Ken Genser. I know he will be missed.

Ray Kappe

Los Angeles

The writer is founding director of SCI-Arc.


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