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Being a wealthy businessman doesn't make you an education expert

To the editor: The inundation of a local school race with money from billionaires is just another example of how the 1% seek to control government. We see this in efforts to privatize Social Security, Medicare, the U.S. Post Service, schools and prisons. ("PAC shielded $2.3 million in donations by L.A. charter school backers," Dec. 2)

The wealthy donors to Sacramento political action committee California Charter Schools Assn. Advocates may be motivated by good intentions, but they have biases ingrained by their milieu of wealth, self-importance and association with those who believe that capitalism can do no wrong.

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The Walton heirs have succeeded by paying Wal-Mart workers wages so miserly that they qualify for welfare. These 1% believe that, since they have succeeded in business, they can provide better answers to educational problems than people who work in the field.

Campaign financing must be reformed. A first step would be the enactment of the Voters' Right to Know Act.

Lloyd A. Dent, Northridge

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To the editor: This article takes common and fully legal electoral practice and turns it into "gotcha" politics.

California Charter Schools Assn. Advocates is very proud of its compliance and transparency record. The Fair Political Practices Commission and our independent auditors have consistently found our reporting to be fully compliant.

Our donors are longtime education reformers who want nothing more than to see children receive better educational opportunities. They, and we, are certainly accustomed to having that support be a matter of public record. We have never tried to shield anyone from anything. We have worked tirelessly to build political will for positive changes in public education and we will continue to do so.

Furthermore, we believe readers are more interested in examining the creative ideas and educational models, such as charter schools, that are delivering much-needed results and have the power to transform the L.A. public education system.

Gary Borden, Los Angeles

The writer is executive director of California Charter Schools Assn. Advocates.

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