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NIXON WAS A LIBERAL

The cover and the two articles on Richard Nixon (Joel Beers' "Dick Nixon's Orange County" and Anthony Pignataro's "Even Then, a Son of a Bitch," Aug. 6) implied that the Weekly looked for any and all traces of Nixon in Orange County . . . good or bad. You did a hell of a job on the bad things, but what about the good things? Like every animal in Orange County whose habitat is protected by the Endangered Species Act? Or every creek protected by the Clean Water Act? Or the very air we breathe protected by the Clean Air Act? What about all those good things?

Nobody—not the witches who run the Den at the Lab, apparently not editor Will Swaim at the Weekly, not the dudes at the Surfrider Foundation, not the hoo-hahs in the Bolsa Chica or the Laguna Canyon protection groups—not one person who claims to love the environment has the balls to tell folks that Richard Nixon was the president who signed every one of those Democratic Party-sponsored bills into law. These were Democrats without a large enough majority to override his veto on any of those acts. Nixon signed every one of them anyway.

Nixon was not a saint. Saints don't make good presidents. In his first two years in office, another 18,000 American kids died in Vietnam, four more were shot to death at Kent State while protesting the war, we had our first nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, and a river in Ohio actually caught fire because of all the fuel-oil and gasoline products dumped into it. Something had to be done to save our kids—and our world.

Real history shows in no uncertain terms that Richard Nixon did more than just his part; he made history. If you would open your eyes and your minds, you'd see the evidence in Orange County everywhere you turn.

My family settled here in 1887—before "here" was called Orange County—and all of us who are still here today proudly say, "Thank you, Mr. President."

—Gene Clasen, Orange County

I appreciated Beers' richly detailed article about the vanishing traces of Nixon in our area. However, I was surprised to find no mention of one of the neatest ironies: the Richard M. Nixon Freeway. This pathetic, half-mile stretch of Imperial Highway, just east of the Yorba Linda Boulevard intersection, once had the RMN Freeway sign, but that disappeared awhile ago. I have often wondered if it was removed because it was an embarrassment (for both pro- and anti-Nixon groups) or if some vandal has proudly hung it in his room. I also wonder if that is still the official name for that section of road.

Considering that Nixon was accused of trying to establish an "Imperial Presidency," it is an added touch of irony that a section of the Imperial Highway was chosen to bear his name.

—Robert E. Spenger, Fullerton

I enjoyed Beers' Nixon tour, but I think he needed to spend some more time in San Clemente. The Nixon busts were not "stolen" but taken by the San Clemente Historical Society for display at its museum, which is now located where El Camino Real meets Del Mar in the center of the old downtown (the museum is not to be confused with the Heritage of San Clemente, located a few blocks north).

Other signs of Nixon's San Clemente years are the street named for his living here (Del Presidente, a public street on the way to Cypress Shores and Casa Pacifica), his voting place (Concordia Elementary, on Del Presidente), and a picture of him golfing (now hanging in the lobby of a condominium by the San Clemente municipal golf course, where he used to play, at 2501 S. El Camino Real). I also seem to remember from my childhood another "spontaneous" demonstration for Nixon 25 years ago, when his helicopter landed at the Coast Guard station in San Clemente.

Love him or hate him (more people the latter in scary South County), you've got to think it funny that the notorious redbaiter went to the People's Republic of China and worked for better relations with the Soviet Union, all while dropping millions of tons of bombs on Vietnam. Also, the supposedly conservative president was more liberal than Billy-boy Clinton on domestic matters, trying to push for universal health insurance, a strong Environmental Protection Agency and price controls.

But he sure was a Dick.

—Bill Ashbaugh, San Clemente SOBER MOMENT

Re: Rich Kane's coverage of Coors beer ("Beer Brawl: Gay groups spar over Coors support," Aug. 6):

Many years ago, while I was president of the PTA in our local school, just before graduation, a greeting card came out in the stores. I saw it in a store in which I was shopping. I picked it up because I knew some youngsters who were graduating, and I was looking for some cards.

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