Mailbag: Put your columnist on trash service monopolies

For Jack Wu's next column, he might address the entire concept of "monopoly government services," i.e., why do I have to use the government's garbageman? Why can't I hire my own?

I hire my own gardener. My own mechanic. My own home remodeler. My own housekeeper. My own barber. My own dentist. My own doctor, and on and on, ad infinitum.

Why am I forced to buy the government's choice of garbageman?

I'd also like to have a choice of suppliers of water, electricity and gas. I don't like the government-protected monopoly of the water district or Southern California Edison. Monopolies always produce higher prices, lousier service and political corruption.

Concerning electricity, there is now a dramatic scandal with regard to "smart meters." Edison acts like the monopolist that it is, and with no consideration to property rights or consumer choice, with no consideration to the homeowner's consent or even foreknowledge, Edison has invaded our backyards and slapped a surveillance mechanism on our houses. I am outraged at this and want my old analog meter back.

But back to your column ("Wu: Sanitary district case built on old grudges," April 29). Since the existing supplier for the sanitary district has been the same since 1944, you can be sure the supplier has tentacles firmly implanted into the sanitary district bureaucracy and rules them. They've probably got a contract that protects them for years, and would cost a bundle to break, assuming the City Council had the guts to try it.

To repeat: I want the freedom to hire my own garbageman.

The services of trash pickup, water, electricity and gas should be provided by the private sector where competition prevails. The city councils can thus reduce their work loads and their tax collections.

Governments all over the world are in deep doo doo. A huge crash is on the way, and it will happen just as it did in the Communist countries: overnight. Most of these government employees fighting for no layoffs are going to be laid off anyway. They would be wise to avoid the rush and get their resumes together now and start shopping for new a job in the private sector.

Don Hull

Costa Mesa


Middle East far from free

Re. Shadia: Islam's influence on the Founding Fathers (April 25):

As our Founding Fathers were forming our Constitution, I'm sure they had in mind such bastions of freedom as Tunisia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkmenistan, Lebanon, Algeria, Afghanistan, Chad, Sudan and Somalia.

Hampton Adams

Los Angeles


Where's the coverage?

What a surprise when I opened my Daily Pilot on Sunday to find not one word about the Costa Mesa Community Run on Saturday. Even if the run Saturday was too tight to go to print you could have done a small feature of the expo Friday night. This was a huge community event with different organizations and schools throughout the community and you did not print one word or picture. Shame on you.

Diane Swarts

Costa Mesa


Girls need their fathers

Re. "Commentary: Why girls need fathers for their development" (April 28):

I found R. Claire Friend's piece moving, relevant and true. My father was 63 when I was born and dying by the time I was 17. Being a native Sicilian, he had mistresses throughout my life and so our home life wasn't the cheeriest place. He wasn't around much. I fit Dr. Friend's definition of what happens to girls without a father involved. Only years and lots therapy made it possible for me to function as well as I do.

But the pain persists. Rarely a day goes by that I don't miss having had a father-daughter relationship, especially when I see friends whose daughters are thriving, due in part to having an involved, at-home father.

Fathers aren't only necessary to grow happy girls. Boys need dads too. So many boys without their dads seem to have something missing, even though they may be smart, interesting and fun. My brother was forever damaged by his lack of relationship with our dad — perhaps even more than I was.

So thank you, Daily Pilot, for a brilliant, moving article and thank you, Dr. Friend, for writing it.

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

Corona del Mar


Be aware of Lyme disease

"Got Lyme?" reads the staff shirts at a popular Martha's Vineyard Mexican restaurant — a reference to not only the island's best margaritas but also to the proliferation of Lyme disease-infested ticks that reside in the beautiful woods there.

As an annual summer visitor, the shirts always bothered me. Now they bother me more: One of my closest family members contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite here in California last April.

I'm not alone in my recent induction into the Lyme community. Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne disease in the United States.

Lyme is a scary entity. It often comes accompanied by vicious and difficult-to-detect co-infections (some such co-infections resemble malaria, i.e. babesia). It mimics many other conditions and is hard to diagnose, and there is no standard protocol for how to treat it. The Centers for Disease Control and "Lyme literate" medical communities remain at great odds on this issue.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. I encourage you to take the time to check for ticks when you've been outdoors — and most importantly, check your children. Children are the most susceptible to Lyme.

Be aware that Lyme disease is present in this paradise of Orange County, and familiarize yourself with its symptoms. This season is predicted to be the worst in recent history for new cases of Lyme disease.

Spare yourself sifting through misinformation and visit for additional information on facts, symptoms and how you can help.

Karyn Borella

Aliso Viejo


Race accident

Our deepest and most sincere sympathy goes to all the families, friends and fellow sailors of those lost. The loss of one diminishes us all. The oceans of the world need to be respected, admired and loved — so that one day, the oceans will give up their dead.

Ron and Anna Winship

Corona del Mar


Reporter was fair to Rohrabacher

William B. Anderson is ill informed and of another time era, whereby his opinions may have been viable at one time, but I feel are no longer ("Rohrabacher's character is clean," Mailbag, April 6). Promptly responding to phone calls does not qualify a politician.

Michael Miller was simply reporting the news, not creating it ("Rep. defends money to wife," March 29). Maybe Miller should look into the possibility of Anderson receiving some kind of special favors from the out-of-touch right-winger Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa). Orange County's pockets run deep for their own agendas, and that goes for the big "R" as well.

Lynn Copeland

Huntington Beach


Police choppers in H.B.

In a city as safe as Huntington Beach, why do we reduce the number of patrol officers while keeping a very expensive set of police helicopters? The last report I read said there were a total of three helicopters owned by the city. A maintenance crew, flight crews and helicopter fuel all add up to a big cost that's sure to continue to climb as gas prices climb ever higher. The costs will get bigger as the choppers get older, are less efficient and need even more maintenance and eventual replacement — let's not forget insurance.

Helicopters are high-maintenance items and are costly to fly. Not for one moment do I believe the contention that helicopters reduce the need for patrolmen. Cost-basis analysis cannot support that assertion. Save the patrolmen and ax the expensive aero squad.

Mary Fairfield

Huntington Beach


Gray to run for V.P.

I fear for our great country.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is the most qualified person to be president of the United States that I know of, not only for his principles, but also for his proven ability to lead.

He ran for president as a Republican, but they would not let him be involved in the televised debates because he didn't have good poll results, even though they did not even list his name in the polls. So now I am proud to say he is running for president of the United States as a Libertarian.

Last week, Johnson asked me to join him as his running mate.

Honestly I would not do this with anyone except Johnson. But after consulting with my wife and other friends and advisors, I have agreed to do so. But I set one condition upon my entering the race: that we would run to win. He absolutely agreed.

Yes, many people will focus upon my 20-year-old views that we must repeal marijuana prohibition and otherwise change away from the failed and hopeless policy of drug prohibition, but other issues are of equal and even greater importance: reducing the strangle-hold that government is placing upon our businesses and economy; radically addressing the true threat to our security, which is presented by government borrowing 43 cents for every dollar it is spending; regaining excellence by re-introducing competition into our school systems; using our military strength to protect and promote only what is in our national interests instead of trying to be the world's policeman; overhauling our nation's unfair and unwieldy tax system to install one that is understandable and fair; regaining excellence by re-introducing competition into our health-care system; not engaging in torture; not detaining anyone without charging them with a criminal violation and affording them a proper civilian or military trial; and assisting to bring an equitable peace to the troubled Holy Land. We actually can achieve these results, and we will.

I have taken this election personally, and will be on the road for much of the next six months giving voters the choice that I know they crave. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have led our great country in the wrong direction for much too long. Thomas Jefferson warned us that we needed a revolution every generation to protect our democracy from vested interests that would sap our strength. Well, it has been a long time, but that revolution now finally is Johnson for president, and Judge Jim Gray for vice president.

But we will not succeed unless you take this election personally as well. Please spread the word about our campaign to take our country back, and then strongly urge your family, friends and acquaintances to do the same.

The Democrats and Republicans literally have tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, to use for campaign advertising, given in large part from people who expect to be repaid with favors after the election is over. We will never have that amount of money. But we have you, and your personal commitment in spreading the word to those in your world, which can and will trump all of this money.

I will work hard to make you proud of me, but the ultimate result depends upon you. In my view, our children, grandchildren and country depend upon all of our actions in the next six months.

Life is Good. And good luck to us all.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)

Newport Beach

Jim Gray's regular Forum page column, A Gray Area, will be suspended during his run for office. His last column will appear in Sunday's edition.

Investment pool 'hammered'

The liquidity of the Orange County Treasurer's Investment Pool was hammered recently as the city of Tustin withdrew $40 million and the state of California announced its intentions to soon pull out another $90 million. It was also reported that no other member of the auditor-controller bureaucracy is willing to accept the head job, following the resignations of county treasury oversight Chairman George Jefferies and the exit of the Auditor-Controller David Sundstrom and asssistant Auditor-Controller Shaun Skelly.

In a move reminiscent of the listing Titanic telling passengers after hitting the iceberg that the band will continue to play on deck for their enjoyment, the office of the Orange County Treasurer that manages local schools payroll and savings accounts sought to reassure a Friday meeting of school superintendents that there was a "70% chance they would be able to get their money and only a 30% they would not."

The Orange County financial crisis remained invisible until the state of California filed a lawsuit to recover $73.5 million of property tax revenue Orange County had appallingly diverted from local schools mid-November of last year. The county justified its grabbing the kiddies' cash as retaliation for the state short-checking the county money in an unrelated matter.

But it now appears the real motivation was to bailout the Orange County Treasurer's Investment Pool that was suffering a liquidity crunch after the treasurer surreptitiously bought $279 million of illiquid Orange County Pension Obligation Bonds (POB) to fund a lucrative interest rate wager.

The maneuver initially allowed the county to cancel 490 emergency layoffs and encouraged the Treasurer to buy $80 million more POBs to allow the county to raise its bet to $518 million. But the lawsuit now risks an increased liquidity strain if the county has to return the cash.

Chriss Street

Newport Beach

The writer is the former Orange County treasurer-tax collector.

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