Demanding transparency

Re: “Lieu bill proposes increased transparency of donations to political campaigns and ballot initiatives” (Argonaut, Dec. 6).
State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Marina del Rey) wants more transparency when it comes to political donations. In Senate Bills 2 and 3, Lieu proposes that the state levy penalties for failure to disclose campaign contributions. The bills also require greater disclosure on mass mailings, including from non-profits.
Instead of transparency at election time, the voters deserve to see more transparency when it comes to who funds our elected officials’ campaigns and how our government spends the taxpayers’ dollars.
The voters deserve to understand why legislators like Lieu claim progress that a “mere” $1.5 billion budget deficit remains, covering up the ongoing budget shortfalls with rosy projections on the dwindling number of wealthy people in the state of California.
Forget about full disclosure of political donations to “super PACs” (political action committees). Why doesn’t Lieu disabuse himself of his own political contributions? According to Maplight.org, Lieu receives 89 percent of his dollars from interests outside of his district.
The vast majority of his funds reportedly comes from union interests, with the Service Employees International Union topping off with $34,800, followed closely by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
The SEIU bolstered the weak union protests at Los Angeles International Airport and Walmart. The ILWU fomented a “crippling strike” at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Lieu gets campaign money, the unions get a raise (or at least they get to raise hell in the streets), and the rest of us are left picking up the tab or making up for lost time.
Lieu’s former colleague in the Assembly, Betsy Butler (D-Marina del Rey), lost her seat by a narrow margin in part because she helped kill SB 1530, legislation which the California Teachers Association killed by pulling her strings. The CTA has also funded Lieu’s campaigns, giving voters more reasons to suspect his allegiance to the South Bay.
Sen. Lieu, money cannot buy voters ($2 billion spent on the presidential campaign, with the nation as divided as ever), but it sure seems like special interests are buying your vote.
Arthur Christopher Schaper
Torrance

Keep the marketplace thriving

Re: “Losses felt at marketplace” (Argonaut letters, Dec. 13).
I agree with the letter writer concerning the losses felt at the Marina Marketplace. It was such a pleasure to be able to walk across the street to see a movie and go to the bargain matinee.
I am afraid all these “upscale” changes to our restaurants and movie theaters are going to bomb.  I love living in an “upscale” community but I also love the convenience of affordable entertainment.
Will they bring back the things we loved living here? How about bringing back the restaurants we use to have and adding some good ones like the Outback Steakhouse or an Olive Garden. I miss the Soup Plantation and the Marie Callender’s.
I like the new curb appeal but not what is inside.
Let’s hope the changes will be more user-friendly and keep our community thriving with familiar shops and new ones, and a movie complex where you can get a matinee ticket and eat a bucket of popcorn.
Patricia Harris
Marina del Rey

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