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Mailbag: Columnist Joseph Bell will be missed

Years ago, as Corona del Mar neighbors, we were included in Joseph Bell’s Fourth of July birthday parties featuring hilarious contests of wit and skill, and the requisite softball game in the park.

Nowadays, I cherish our occasional breakfasts where off-the-record thoughts are shared about almost everything.

As for Joe’s columns, William Lobdell says it all. As for Joe’s distinguished career, and his columns, Lobdell says it all, beautifully (“Owing love of journalism to Bell,” Jan. 7).

Bob Shelton


Corona del Mar

Facts don’t matter to dunderhead patriots

Although well meaning, Judge Gray’s article is not based on current reality (“It’s a Gray area: Politicians should take a real risk,” Jan. 2).

Arguments cannot be won without facts. However, facts seem to matter less and less whether we are talking about WMDs, climate change, evolution, Obama’s birthplace, Obama’s religion or tax breaks for the wealthy. We are faced with a persistent, stubborn, willful refusal to acknowledge basic, known, verifiable facts and the desire to make misinformation the cornerstone of an agenda.


Judge Gray, please direct your lecture on patriotism to the dunderheads who have proclaimed themselves the “tea party patriots.”

Jamshed Dastur

Newport Beach

DUI checkpoints not effective

Sobriety checkpoints — like the one planned for Costa Mesa Jan. 7 — often fail to make even a single drunk-driving arrest despite stopping hundreds of vehicles (“DUI checkpoint slated for Friday night,” Jan. 6).

A 2009 University of Maryland study found that checkpoints don’t have “any impact on public perceptions, driver behaviors, or alcohol-related crashes, police citations for impaired driving, and public perceptions of alcohol-impaired driving risk.”

Next time, Costa Mesa police should employ roving — or saturation — patrols in which officers patrol the roadways for dangerous drivers.

State supreme court cases from both Pennsylvania and New Hampshire revealed that roving patrols caught 10 times more drunk drivers than checkpoints. According to the FBI, “It is proven that saturation efforts will bring more DUI arrests than sobriety checkpoints.” Patrols also stop distracted, speeding, aggressive and drowsy drivers because officers can catch them in the act.


Sarah Longwell

Managing Director

American Beverage Institute

Washington, D.C.