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Helping the Rich

Tibby Rothman wrote last week about how Los Angeles routinely gives politically connected developers redevelopment money for pricey projects instead of using it for its intended purpose: improving blighted areas of our fair city ("Why Jerry Brown Gave Redevelopers a Haircut," Aug. 5). Misuse of the money by this city and others is the reason Gov. Jerry Brown wants to dismantle the 525 redevelopment agencies across the state and use the $5 billion they collect annually for more pressing public needs.

The story touched nerves.

Reader Rick Abrams writes: "CRA/LA has nothing to do with blight. Its sole purpose is to funnel tax dollars to private developers who then support council members.

"CRA/LA has nothing to do with making L.A. a better place to live. It's about giving tax dollars to millionaires and billionaires. It's a vast wasteland of corruption and incompetence, which has taken $3 billion of tax dollars away from the city and schools. If we had abolished the CRA/LA in 2004, L.A. would be solvent today and we would not be downsizing fire stations, laying off employees and having the worst roads in the nation."

Reilleyfam writes: "It's the same all over the state. All these RDAs do is dump precious and scarce public funds into the hands of greedy developers who build stuff that does not improve blight and would have been built anyway for profit, or use it for something utterly useless that would/should never have been built.

"No jobs (other than RDA employees) are created and nothing is improved other than developers getting an undeserved/unneeded public subsidy. The big winners are the politicians who get 'kickbacks' in the form of campaign contributions and under-the-table jobs for friends and family. In good times this would be a scandal, but with the economy and public budgets the way they are this is literally criminal."

Dee writes: "Why there has not been investigation into the millions of dollars CRA, Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Cultural Affairs and the mayor have taken from Watts." She writes that the blight in Watts "has not changed in the last 20 years. So why is Watts' fund going to other parts of Los Angeles?"

Finally, a reader takes issue with the story's characterization of Steve Barr as the visionary, ballsy founder of Green Dot Public Schools and advocate of building more schools downtown. Reader "Laweekly sucks" (apparently not someone from our marketing department) writes:

"The L.A. Weekly makes it quite clear on how they think of the privatization of public schools when they describe Barr in such nice terms. Barr and his ilk are robber barons who are stealing money to make themselves richer. The name of the game nowadays is which billionaire is richer. It doesn't matter who they rob, cheat or steal from, the game to get to the top is the most important."

Justice for Luis Santos

Another story drawing comments this week was about the continuing fight by the family of murder victim Luis Santos to reverse former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to shorten the prison sentence of a man involved in the killing ("Fabian Nuñez Riles Crime Victims," by Chris Vogel, Aug. 5). In one of his final acts in office, Schwarzenegger cut nine years off the 16-year sentence of Esteban Nuñez, son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez. Santos' parents, Fred and Kathy Santos, are suing Schwarzenegger.

Fabian Nuñez argues that the San Diego district attorney used the case to further his political aspirations and "picked on my son from day one." He also says the Santoses' lawsuit is bad use of taxpayer money.

Reader fishoutawater writes: "Incredible how Fabian Nuñez in all his gall continues to thumb his nose at the system while inflicting more pain on the Santos family. As my grandfather used to say, 'We went down to the court house to find justice and that's what we found: Just us.' Another piece of Grandpa Dan's wisdom appropos to the Santoses' hellish predicament, 'There is no justice — and there never was.'"

Jck_brt writes: "Politics as usual. Dirty, underhanded, crooked, devious, covert, malicious, evil-minded. Why bother calling Obama the 'antichrist' when D.C. and state governments are full of them."

"Domestic Violent Prodigy" writes: "Esteban Nuñez had a privileged childhood, never in need of anything. Except, perhaps, proper parenting. The result: a privileged child now sitting in prison. He exhibited violent behavior before, as his social media pages had photos of him mutilating animals."

And "Stormin A" writes: "Nuñez should be in prison for all the crimes he committed while in office. Nuñez and his son are both low-life criminals and should be treated as such."

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