LETTERS: MINKOW STINKOW
You can't keep the one-time wunderkind Barry Minkow down; so says Beth Barrett in last week's cover story ("Barry Minkow 2.0," Oct. 15) on the former ZZZZ Best founder/scammer cum born-again jailhouse preacher and media darling cum fraud buster. Minkow's new business, the so-called Fraud Discovery Institute, has profited by leveling contrived allegations against companies. A Miami judge says Minkow is lying. But if you're expecting 60 Minutes or The Wall Street Journal to retract or revise their earlier puff pieces on Minkow, don't hold your breath. Weekly readers, meanwhile, didn't hold back:
"Excellent article," writes the aptly named X. "A lot of trusting people went down with ZZZZ Best: Careers were ruined, and money that meant something to people — real people, not banks and investment trusts — was lost. Lives were shattered. I cannot believe that this guy is trusted again by anyone. Less than a decade after Enron's collapse, and a year after Madoff's unmasking, and gullible media, perhaps too young to remember Minkow or too lazy to check him out, are credulously parroting whatever he says. I guess there really are suckers born every minute."
"Minkow is a first-class con man," says James Samuels. "Always has been and always will be. Now the onus is on the SEC to prove that they really do care about preventing fraud and market manipulation. Excellent article, and long overdue."
"So much for our Fourth Estate," adds Mal. "Basically, the mainstream financial media was asleep at the wheel during Minkow's shakedown of various individuals and companies. But hey, it was such a great 'feel good' story, kind of like a fireman getting a kitty out of a big tree. Seems very much a part of a larger lapse in journalistic standards: Wall Street and other financial sectors employ the Best and the Brightest and yet not one of them saw the mortgage-meltdown crisis, AIG, Bear Stearns. It seems once again the guy on Main Street knows a heck of a lot more than the guys on Wall Street. BEWARE!"
Allen Marks wonders, "When will the SEC wake up and get in front of these scams?!?"
The last word — two, actually — goes to Sylvia: "Scumbags abound!!!"
MEG, MAIDGATE AND BIG BIZ
Weekly staffer Gene Maddaus last week detailed how Meg Whitman's undocumented maid had undercut her support among Latinos ("Whitman's Housekeeper Problem," Oct. 15). "The real problem with Whitman," responds reader Peter Reich, "of which maidgate is only a symptom, is her lifelong detachment from anything not directly associated with climbing the corporate ladder. Not voting, never serving in any elected or even appointed public office (as Tom Brokaw noted), and assuming her maid could take care of regularizing her status by herself are all parts of the same aloof snobbery. Latinos, and everyone else for that matter, need a governor with knowledge and commitment rather than one who is all ego and nothing else."
Adds James R. Nolan, "Electing some businessperson who tells us what we want to hear while lining their own pockets and consolidating their political power just doesn't cut it anymore in the 21st century."
More malodorous goings on in the South Bay, as reported by Paul Teetor ("A Stink in El Segundo Over Cadillac Salaries," Oct. 15)! Cops and firemen earning $175,000 and $210,000, respectively? In a city not exactly overrun with crime and/or forest fires? WTF?! And a cop harassing one of the whistleblowers?! Not surprisingly, readers from the South Bay are all over this.
Mewo Nix writes: "This is yet ANOTHER example of dirt-bag cops with entitled attitudes using their position as a law enforcement officer to harass a citizen for being critical of his own corruption. ... Whoever approved these salaries should be prosecuted for misuse of public funds."
Says Joe Blow Citizen, "Why would the council members risk closure of libraries, pools and recreation centers just so police and fire can retire at age 50-55 on 90 percent of their salaries? El Segundo is slowly being run into the ground by a bunch a lunatics."
Marianne notes, "The police union demanded and received 15 percent in guaranteed raises during this recession, while everyone else was pinching pennies. Similarly, the firefighters union demanded and received 11.25 percent in guaranteed raises during this recession. The police and firefighter unions were way overpaid before these raises, and are the main cause of the city's financial problems."
Reader Frank offers a different perspective: "Our police are proactive and they are the sole reason crime is low and our city property values remain high even in this depressed economy. Our police have earned a no-nonsense reputation in the South Bay and criminals avoid or tiptoe through our city. Bottom line, you get what you pay for and I choose to pay for the CADALIC [sic] of police programs."
A number of readers speculate as to the true identity of the afore-quoted Frank, including David Burns, the blogger/whistleblower featured in Teetor's story. Writes Burns: "As I have repeatedly stated in my blog, public service was never supposed to be about making our public servants fantastically wealthy, especially in a town of our size, demographics and call volume. And yet it has, and if something isn't done soon to end it, our town will be ruined, as 188 of the approximately 245 full-time city staff are making over $100,000 annually — folks, that is 73 percent of our staff."
Bryan puts it another way: "I know for a long time these people do not serve and protect people; they serve and protect themselves abundantly."
YOUR ADD HERE
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