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PARADIGM SHIFT

Let's see: it's four years since I stopped directing the Register's editorial page, and I find I'm still called to account (R. Scott Moxley's Press Clips, July 7). Fair enough. But quoth Moxley: "Both Reg editorial directors Cathy Taylor and Ken Grubbs . . . have been unable to resolve their gung-ho libertarian dogma with the ugly financial realities of the TCA [Transportation Corridor Agencies]."

Moxley knows a lot. He also knows my current thinking on this? Pretty impressive.

My position, then as now, was not uncomplicated (which makes it undogmatic). It was to encourage movement away from state ownership and control to private enterprise and competition. The toll-road arrangement did present a problem. It was one of those trendy private-public partnerships, dressed in neither feathers nor scales. It did represent, at least halfway, a welcome paradigm shift, and it deserved cautious support, rather like perestroika.

Big caveat, though: in a partnership where one party bases itself on competition and the other on coercion, guess which one ends up as the senior partner? Right. The bureaucracy. The TCA, which seems to possess no marketing skills whatever.

Probably we should, at the Register, have thought more skeptically about the toll roads as proposed in the early 1990s. In fact (and I don't have the archives available), I'm quite sure we did argue for the complete privatization of the project, still knowing the political climate wouldn't allow it.

The Weekly is right, of course, that the TCA has turned into a taxpayer ripoff. And Moxley is due some credit for railing against it.

But when it comes to divining someone else's thoughts, Scott, a reminder from Journalism 101: don't assume. Ask.

K. E. Grubbs Jr. Irvine R. Scott Moxley responds: I said Grubbs stupidly predicted the toll roads would be a good thing, and then he goes and writes a letter proving my point. Because of their blind adherence to libertarian thinking, the Register's editorial writers were unable—or unwilling—to see that there's no meaningful revolution in such public-private partnerships as the toll road, just a greater likelihood that mere stupidity will produce multibillion-dollar financial disasters.

DIDN'T GET IT

Re: "Bush Shocker," July 7: The Shocker is that Matt Coker and the OC Weekly attempted to pass this story off as a serious news item. It is not. It is a pedestrian conflict over who owns the trademark for the "Points (Pointes) of Light" name. The article failed miserably to establish a meaningful connection between the Bush 2000 campaign and this rather mundane dispute. The article did establish that Coker and the editors are fanatical Bush haters and masters of hyperbole.

By the way, anyone can sue anyone for anything for any amount. I could sue you guys for a billion dollars for being lousy journalists. However, I don't need to sue to make that point: your journalistic endeavors speak for themselves.

Keith J. Schoose Long Beach Matt Coker responds: Keith, Keith, Keith. Go back to the quotes from the Bush campaign spokesman. Read them three to five times. Now go to a brick wall. Thrust your head against the wall seven times (remember, the bleeding only makes you stronger). Now find something to wipe off your forehead, and go back and read the Bush campaign section again. Get it? No? Okay, back to the wall, mister.

NO ONE IS SAFE

At the risk of sounding heartless, I think Shantae Molina is guilty only of being a rather stupid young woman (R. Scott Moxley's "I . . . Shot My Son," July 14). After the gun misfired twice in another room, why was she not more cautious when entering the room her baby was in? How hard would it have been to make sure the gun was pointed away from the child? She made one reckless move after another, something that would've been a little easier to understand had she actually seen an intruder. But the real villain in this sad story is David Guest, the testosterone-toxic sheriff's deputy whose ego and personal opinions apparently are more important than anything like mere justice. If someone proved him wrong, I suppose he wouldn't be able to get it up, and we couldn't have that, now, could we? As long as men like Guest occupy positions of power in so-called "law enforcement," none of us is safe.

Bob Miller Orange

DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS

We should have mentioned that Santa Ana private investigator Ian L. Sitren of the Intelligence Company Inc. provided valuable research assistance in Nick Schou's story on the Anaheim man U.S. authorities say is linked to global terrorist Osama bin Laden ("The 'Terrorist' Next Door," July 14). We regret the omission.

Three—not two—people faced drug charges in a recent Irvine pot bust reported in Daniel C. Tsang's Civil Unliberties column ("Drug Stink," July 14). As reported, two defendants pleaded guilty. The third's case has yet to be adjudicated. Also, UC Irvine police Detective Jose Riveros actually said his force has not made combating marijuana use a high priority.

 
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