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Letters to the Editor: Don’t trash Steve Cooley just because he lost to Kamala Harris in 2010

Jackie Lacey and Steve Cooley at a 2012 news conference.
Newly elected Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey joins her predecessor, Steve Cooley, for a news conference in 2012.
(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

To the editor: Your editorial “How Kamala Harris Has Grown as a Political Leader” calls former Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who ran against Kamala Harris for California attorney general in 2010, a “frumpy white guy.” It seems as if you are trying to distance yourself from your endorsement of Cooley.

Here is what you wrote about him back then:

“Cooley ... is familiar to most Angelenos and has received this board’s endorsement in his previous races. As D.A., he has been principled and brave, a solid custodian of the public trust and public access. Cooley came to office in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart scandal and used that crisis to modernize his office’s procedures for sharing information with defense lawyers. His so-called Brady policy — a written protocol for prosecutors to determine which evidence must be shared with defense lawyers — is a model for other agencies. Cooley raised principled objections to the state’s blunt three-strikes policy; his guidelines, which other Republican prosecutors throughout the state have vigorously opposed, should provide a template for district attorneys as they search for ways to apply a bad law to real life.”

Now you diminish him by referring to his race, gender and appearance. It was irrelevant then and is irrelevant now.

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You made the right choice in 2010, and now you owe an apology to the man you endorsed.

Joseph Charney, South Pasadena

The writer is a retired Los Angeles County deputy district attorney.

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To the editor: In your editorial, I was described somewhat derisively as a “frumpy white guy.”

It should be noted that in the 2010 general election for California attorney general, I received 17 of 18 major daily newspaper endorsements. Fifty-seven law enforcement groups gave endorsements; I received all 57.

Not bad for a frumpy white guy.

Steve Cooley, Rolling Hills Estates

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The writer was Los Angeles County district attorney from 2000 to 2012.


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