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Letters to the Editor: Mark Ridley-Thomas doesn’t deserve our sympathy just because he’s a dad

Mark Ridley-Thomas speaks to reporters after voting  in Leimert Park in November
Then-Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas speaks to reporters after casting his ballot in Leimert Park in November.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Columnist Nicholas Goldberg is wrong to feel sympathy for parents like suspended Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and actress Lori Loughlin because their crimes (alleged, in Ridley-Thomas’ case), both of which involved USC, were committed to benefit their children.

My brother and I grew up in a middle-class family in Brooklyn. We were not wealthy or even comfortable. We worked our tails off to get good grades, high test scores and New York state scholarships that allowed us to pay for an Ivy League education.

Our parents were encouraging and supportive, but they also cracked the whip to make sure we did our schoolwork. They never could have afforded sending us to Cornell without those scholarships, and we didn’t expect it.

If Ridley-Thomas did what he is accused of, then he committed a crime likely because he believed his status alone earned his adult son a spot at the USC School of Social Work. If he’s guilty, he should go to jail.

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Paul Weissman, Pasadena

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To the editor: Ridley-Thomas allegedly used taxpayer money to bribe USC for his benefit and that of his family. The federal indictment alleges 20 counts of criminal activity — yes, 20 counts.

I was saddened to read multiple pieces in The Times supporting him for the good he has legitimately done or expressing sympathy for him. But doing good things as part of his job and then allegedly doing evil things behind the scenes is not commendable.

I confess I’m angry because I voted for Ridley-Thomas to become a Los Angeles County supervisor. If the indictment is true, then he betrayed our trust and we deserved better.

Paulette Benson, Culver City

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To the editor: Goldberg’s empathy with parents who steal for their kids crescendos when quoting a judge’s “callous” remark in 1911: “If a man cannot rear children decently, he has no right to have them.”

On the surface, that is so imperious as to be immoral.

But consider overpopulation. It’s the greatest problem in the world by far. We’ve heated up the planet, it’s so bad. It causes wars over possession of land. It degrades livability. It means we use plastic by the tons and oil by the billions of barrels, and then destroy our natural habitat with these.

Zero population growth is desirable, but regional reduction is insignificant compared to the multitudes around the globe who cannot rear their children decently, hence a degraded environment for everyone.

The judge had a point.

Joel Athey, Valley Village


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