Letters to the Editor: L.A.’s scandal-plagued ‘Eastside politicos’ also transformed California

Then-L.A. City Councilman Richard Alatorre at a news conference announcing his retirement in 1999.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Gustavo Arellano left some facts out of his column condemning the “Eastside politico.” Here are a few:

Richard Alatorre persuaded Gov. Ronald Reagan to sign the first California Bilingual Services Act and fought to bring light rail to East L.A.

Art Torres exposed the forced sterilization of Latinas at L.A. County General Hospital and did away with eugenics laws in California.


Gil Cedillo made it possible for more than 1 million undocumented Californians to get driver licenses.

Kevin de León passed transformative legislation to combat climate change.

Antonio Villaraigosa helped pass $40 billion in new funding for rail, road and highway projects in Los Angeles County.

Richard Polanco is the architect of the expansion of the Latino Legislative Caucus. California wouldn’t be the progressive powerhouse it is today without his work.

The Times should thank these men for their service, not imply they are criminals.

Lettie Ibarra, Los Angeles


To the editor: Former L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar, who is pleading guilty to federal racketeering charges, is certainly not the first of his political type. And he definitely will not be the last.

A million here and a million there soon add up to some serious corruption. Huizar’s distinction is that of being caught. Let the rest be forewarned.


Edward Duarte, Los Angeles


To the editor: While Arellano’s column was informative, it was too bleak and read like a put-down of all Latino elected officials in Los Angeles.

Not once in this column did Arellano mention any of the hundreds of Latino leaders who have served the community honestly. A major oversight was not to mention Edward R. Roybal, who served on the L.A. City Council for 13 years and was a member of Congress for 30 years.

Luis A. Carrillo, South Pasadena