Mr. Domanick acknowledges some of the specific challenges in Los Angeles County (large homeless population, many clients with mental health issues, and underfunding, to name a few). The unqualified success of Los Angeles County drug court programs, given these circumstances, is remarkable. How Mr. Domanick concludes that the Los Angeles County judicial bench unfavorably compares to Santa Clara County flies in the face of reality.
I have attended many drug court graduations and seen first hand the awesome redemptive power of the L.A. program. Children have told me that because of drug court, they have a father for the first time. Women previously living on the streets, engaging in prostitution, have obtained proper shelter and meaningful employment; many of these women have reunited with their children after years of addiction. Often these stories have brought me to tears. One of the most dramatic examples I can think of is a man who was living under a local freeway overpass when he entered the Los Angeles drug court. When I last saw him, he was completing his master’s program at USC in preparation for joining their faculty.
The amazing success achieved by our drug courts in Los Angeles County (80 percent success rate for graduates) is unquestionable. I invite anyone who wishes to experience L.A. drug courts to attend just one of the approximately 40 graduations in Los Angeles County that occur every year. It only takes one visit to be convinced.
I just wanted to thank the L.A. Weekly for having a writer who is not afraid of exposing his sanity. Marc Cooper’s opinions are right on the point, like his "Beat Bush" piece. Too often criticism is overblown rhetoric. For many of us who do care about social issues and policy differences with Republicans, we prefer real policy debates, not "the sky is falling" calls to arms.
In his May 22 column Marc Cooper blames California’s $38 billion shortfall on President Bush, but the fact is the shortfall has nothing to do with President Bush and everything to do with Governor Gray Davis, the Democrat-controlled state government and the California voters who go on shopping sprees every November 7 spending money the state doesn’t have. The president has nothing to do with it.