The Bell pay scandal; the need for government regulations; L.A.’s jobs bill


Be careful what you wish for

Re “State accuses Bell leaders of secret plot,” Sept. 16

For years we have heard the cries for government to be run “like a business.”

Apparently, for just as many years, that is exactly what the city of Bell has been doing.

Like so many health insurance, energy and financial corporations, the city has been gaming the system to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

Isn’t that what free enterprise is all about? Could a leveraged buyout of the state of California by a well-heeled corporate CEO be next?


Robert Rincon

Rancho Palos Verdes

Let me get this straight. State prosecutors are thinking of demanding the return of some of the salaries, and perhaps limiting the pensions, of the Bell officials who tried to rob their citizens?

So if a common criminal holds me up for cash, and I catch him later, he gets to keep some of my money that he stole?

How about we use their pension money to foot the tab of any incarceration?

Douglas L. Hall

Los Angeles


Should you write him off?

Re “Author! Author! And so much more,” Opinion, Sept. 15

I can’t recall ever having a belly laugh so early in the morning. And, thanks to John Kenney’s piece, I now realize Jonathan Franzen’s books must be placed next to my copy of the Bible, or maybe between the Bible and Mitch Albom, or between the Bible and John Grisham, or …

Sandra Soloff

Santa Monica

Sycophant! Sycophant! That’s the best way to describe Kenney’s drooling.

Some of us have no trouble separating the man from the book. When you set aside the who and look at the what, “The Corrections” tumbles hard. Rambling, paragraph-long sentences turn every character, no matter his or her age, education or intelligence, into astute observers of every aspect of everything, even their own brain chemistry.

It’s only in a Franzen novel that a 7-year-old can spend an eon analyzing the underside of a table.

And why does every character in “The Corrections” seem to be a stereotype: of a conservative and boring Midwestern couple, a brilliant but misunderstood socialist, a banker whose money just can’t seem to buy happiness?

The other Times fawns, but isn’t that why we read the Los Angeles Times — to escape the self-serving insanity of Franzen’s uber-intellectual buds?

Robert Epstein


Kenney’s Op-Ed piece was about as insightful as a blog post written by a jealous teenager about a classmate. It was unworthy of a place on your page.

If you had published a critique of the themes in Franzen’s newest novel, or a review that addressed an alternative perspective to the glowing reviews, that would have been constructive.

Kenney’s diatribe was petty. I look forward to reading the latest novel by this accomplished American writer.

Hap Freund

Santa Barbara

Much more than a doctor

Re “Renaissance man looks back on a remarkable life,” Column, Sept. 12.

Recently I was reminiscing with a medical school colleague of mine: “Whatever happened to Dr. Bing?”

We were referring to the revered Wayne State medical school professor and chairman of the department of medicine from 1959-69.

As students, we were well aware of congenital heart disease due to his pioneer work.

We were proud and in awe of a true giant in cardiology who was immortalized along with his colleague, Helen Taussig, in the Taussig-Bing syndrome, a congenital heart malformation.

Thank you, Steve Lopez. For those of us who were privileged to know Dr. Richard Bing, it’s good to hear that he is still sharing his wit and vitality.

As he said, “There’s much to learn.”

Every day is a symphony of sights, sounds and joy that we can embrace in bringing meaning to a life well lived.

Jerome P. Helman


Being a young 78, I appreciate the piece on Bing. He is an inspiration.

I hope the power company pays up.

Robert Fournier


Thank you so much for the wonderful account of such a remarkable senior and a wise and fine gentleman as Bing.

It is truly inspirational to read such a profile.

I cut it out of the paper to show to many friends when they complain of age and weariness!

Elaine Livesey-Fassel

Los Angeles

Why regulations matter

Re “ Salmonella found 9 days before recall,” Business, Sept. 15

“Inspections showed rodents crawling up massive manure piles and flies and maggots too numerous to count.”

Why wasn’t Wright County Egg better monitored? Why has this facility not been shut down?

It’s certainly not the first time it has violated safety standards. And why are these factory egg-laying facilities — with far too many chickens in them — allowed to exist?

Susan Antonius

Redondo Beach

For those who grouse about too much government regulation, the news shows the horrific results of not enough government regulation.

Because apparently there were no required automatic shutdown devices in the San Bruno conflagration, there were none. The result was hours of death, injury and destruction.

And in the massive egg recall, it appears that the more than 400 positive salmonella tests were not reported to the FDA because the firm apparently was not obligated to do so.

Business cannot be trusted to police itself — profit precedes even the gravest issues of human risk and jeopardy.

Phyllis Gottlieb

Los Angeles

Two views of Meyerson

Re “Priming the jobs pump,” Opinion, Sept, 14

Harold Meyerson is wrong. With a “local preference” ordinance for city contracts, companies may “move” to L.A. (change their address to get the contract), “creating” jobs, but it will be the same workers and no new jobs.

If instead of calling it “local preference” it was called “higher costs for everything we buy,” people would see how silly this plan is.

Shirley Svorny


Three cheers for Meyerson on the Op-Ed page. I always learn from his analysis and knowledge of the Los Angeles and California political scene. He was much missed from the pages of the LA Weekly.

Leni Gerber

Los Angeles