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Letters to the Editor: So who will go to jail for the latest DWP scandal?

FBI agents walk outside the LADWP headquarters downtown.
FBI agents leave the downtown headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power after serving a search warrant on July 22, 2019.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I am struck by the juxtaposition of two articles in The Times. The first reports that former Los Angeles Department of Water and Power chief David H. Wright pleaded guilty to a bribery charge in connection with his official duties. The second reports that a local real estate broker was sentenced to 10 years in prison for leading a scheme to defraud the federal government of pandemic loan money.

In both cases, crimes against the public were committed. In the DWP case, the crime was against the ratepayers in Los Angeles; in the federal case, the crime was against U.S. taxpayers (both are groups that include me).

I can only hope that our system of justice will mete out to Wright a punishment that is similar to that received by the real estate broker. I write to express this hope since too often the white-collar criminal is treated so much more leniently than others. Here, these are both white-collar crimes.

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I’m a retired attorney, and I find that the system of justice in this country is severely distorted. Comparing the punishment outcomes of these two cases should be very interesting.

Larry Ivanjack, Woodland Hills

..

To the editor: As a retired 30-year waterworks engineer for the DWP, I am distressed reading accounts of malfeasance at the department.

In any large organization one is likely to find people who are greedy and corruptible. But I would like to speak up for the vast majority of DWP employees who, over nearly 120 years now, have performed their jobs honestly and with their customers foremost in mind.

The rank-and-file employees I knew all did their jobs professionally, and I am honored to have worked alongside them.

If Wright, who joined the DWP in 2015, had been as honest and public-minded as my co-workers, the whole corruption case and the besmirchment of the utility would have been averted.

Fred Barker, Burbank

..

To the editor: This scandal is another reason my daughter doesn’t bother to read newspapers, watch TV news or listen to any political information. She’s felt hopeless and unable to effect change even at the city level for years. I don’t know when she last voted.

Is it any wonder young people feel alienated from their government when they see corruption and the flouting of laws by top public officials? Instead of leading in the political arena, many younger people have dropped out.

We have lost our moral compass. Where do we go from here?

Suzanne Brugman, La Habra Heights


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