California Lawyer


October 2012

An Abuse of Power
Your July cover story ["Section 8 Tenants Unwelcome," July] glorifies the work of a vigilante, Lancaster's Mayor Rex Parris. My entire family lives in the Antelope Valley, and all too often I hear about Parris employing tactics like this (his anti-Section 8 campaign). And to what end? Lancaster's crime rate and unemployment rate are still higher than that of its rival city, Palmdale. Parris's "war" has done nothing to improve Lancaster's way of life. Make no mistake: Those who abuse Section 8 privileges should be held accountable. But that does not give Parris the right to have his storm troopers force their way into people's homes for "inspections." Changes need to be made systemically, not at the hands of one powerful, wealthy lawyer with no accountability - especially one who makes clear to everyone that when he fires a gun, "it's never a blank." This is not just political rhetoric; he really means it. The Antelope Valley has paid enough tax dollars for his bullying. I hope that one day, Lancaster citizens will have the courage to use their most powerful weapon to strike back - and vote Parris out of office.
Jeanne Grove
San Francisco

Censor Not, Lest You Be Censored
Live by the sword, die by the sword. The next time Marty Singer launches one of his intimidating demand letters threatening to punish a newspaper if it doesn't "kill" an unflattering story ["The Muck Stops Here," July], he might want to think twice about the atmosphere of censorship he's fomenting for himself and his celebrity clients, all of whom depend on the First Amendment's valuable commitment to robust freedom of expression.

When one of his own infamous letters was labeled "extortion" and therefore undeserving of anti-SLAPP protection, Singer readily invoked the very First Amendment rights he so eagerly seeks to deny to his adversaries.
Stephen Rohde
Los Angeles

The Profit Motive at UC
Thanks for an informative, mercifully balanced, and captivatingly written article on an issue that's so crucial for the working/middle classes ["Who's Teaching Whom?" May]. However, I must correct the erroneous premise of one early statement: "By the time the Campus Rights Project was up and running, UC Berkeley had been through two particularly tumultuous months of campus protests and arrests over systemwide fee hikes forced by state funding cutbacks."

Don't accept that premise - it's an administration lie. State funding was a small percentage of UC revenues. The cut in state funding didn't force tuition hikes, which had been ramping up for about a decade to pad the UC system's credit so they could build more commercial installations on campus. The political and economic climate of California has little effect on UC tuition, except to the extent that our society's radical right turn has allowed the profit motive to delegitimize the idea of publicly accessible state services.

While lectures, office hours, buses, libraries, and other academic essentials have been mercilessly cut, administrative ranks and the presence of corporate storefronts from other states have expanded dramatically. California's public students have been paying more for less.

Don't fall for administration propaganda; it is good PR to pretend their money grab is inevitable.
Aaron Dimsdale
San Diego

Los Angeles mediator Jeff Kichaven can be emailed at jk@jeffkichaven.com. The address in September's IP Roundtable was incorrect.

In a sidebar to "Justices United," (September), the name of Berkeley attorney James Thomson was misspelled.

California Lawyer regrets the errors.

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