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R. Scott Moxley and Anthony Pignataro's article on the Cox Report has been the only one to cut to the heart of this issue ("Cox, Dicks, No Balls," June 4). The arms race is the most profitable business in the world—even more so than the drug trade. America's military-industrial complex has made a reality everything that President Dwight Eisenhower once warned of in his farewell address.

From the New Mexico nuclear-bomb project of 1944-1945 to the Soviet collapse, military technology always seemed to easily find its way to the Soviet Union. By not allowing the Soviets to fall too far behind and greatly exaggerating their capabilities, America's defense contractors made staggering amounts of money, and all the while, Americans were taught that every dime spent was necessary to contain the "Evil Empire." Why was the Soviet Union evil? For the same reason China was "evil" until fairly recently: IT WAS NOT CORPORATE-FRIENDLY.

America's military-industrial complex would like nothing more than to create a new adversary, one that will have an economy to support an all-out arms buildup that will in turn push the U.S. back to a Reagan-era Pentagon budget. Perhaps one day they will get the public to ante up the $40 billion or so for the missile-defense system they have been coveting for years. I hope we use El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in the least expensive way possible; the Pentagon might take it back in about 10 years.

—Gary Cross, Orange PIPE BOMBED

Re: Bob Emmers' "Crack's Back: Or perhaps it never really left" (Feature, May 21):

As I read Emmers' "brief adventure" story, I was appalled and quite confused as to why he felt he must describe in detail the different ways to master the unscrupulous, obviously life-depleting act of "acing" the "straight-shooter" effect.

The story rambles on for pages on the terrors and scandalous behavior of users and how most of them end up homeless mainly because of the drug. I found there was absolutely no need for the list of different variations and the step-by-step instructions, which seemed to suggest how one could become an ill-legit, crack-pipe smoker.

—Amy Fraser, Chino HillsWE HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY

Thank you for R. Scott Moxley's article "Loathe Thy Enemy: County school board trustee Ken Williams joins the Reverend Lou Sheldon for good, old-fashioned gay-baiting" (The County, June 4).

Apparently, these people consider it their right to threaten, maim and even kill gay people for sport. Any laws to the contrary would thwart that, which is why they've become so political. Anyone who is tempted to vote against protection for people who are gay should be forced to read this article, so they can see what gay people face.

—Gary Rimar, Washington, MI HITTING ROCK BOTTOM

I look forward to reading Rich Kane's column every week, but a slight correction needs to be made to his item on Beach Fest '99 (Locals Only, May 21). Hit Rock Bottom is not a band. It is the slogan of Rock Bottom Brewery in Long Beach. The name of the band is Sweet Otis, which was at Beach Fest to draw people to our booth (we were there to promote the restaurant, enter the chili cook-off and Mr. & Ms. Beach Fest contests, and have fun). Apparently, the band was more memorable than our chili, judging by the mention in Kane's column!

—Jill Garrett, Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant, Long Beach SPRAWLED OUT

Re: R. Scott Moxley's "Sympathy for the Devil: The Register's upside-down campaign for sprawl" (The County, May 14):

The OC Board of Supervisors is structured to promote sprawl. Three of the five supervisors (Cynthia Coad, Chuck Smith and Jim Silva) have districts that have essentially no unincorporated county areas for which they can grant development approvals. In fact, they have almost no county business to do at all in their districts (a few parks and flood-control channels account for most of their responsibilities). Looking at the campaign-finance reports from the "Big Three" shows that 75 percent of their campaign funds come from outside their district, 75 percent of which is from the development industry (landowners, consultants, builders, lobbyists, etc.).

Virtually all county land that the Board of Supervisors can use to generate the campaign contributions that seem to motivate their development approvals are in the districts of Todd Spitzer and Tom Wilson. Those two guys can rage against the airport, huge subdivisions and unneeded highways until they are hoarse, and they can never change an approval. In fact, one can suspect that their ambition for higher office (Spitzer has talked to the Republican kingmakers about a state Senate run) makes their "opposition" to South County sprawl safe and preserves their populist reputations, at least until they run for Congress or a North County state Senate vacancy.

The multibillion-dollar subsidy to developers that the county's transportation corridors represent is a classic example of privatizing gains and socializing costs.

—Alan Nestlinger, Santa Ana