Readers comments 6-17-16

City staff are the pacesetters

Dear Editor:

Peter Weinberger, the publisher of the COURIER, is misinformed as to the cause of slow pace, as he sees it, of the Mayor’s Police Facility Ad Hoc Committee.

It is not my place to defend the committee, but the sand in the gears slowing the committee’s work is city staff, not the attendance of the committee members.

At the first meeting of the committee last January, Chair Mark Sterba wanted to set an every-two-week schedule, but City Manager Tony Ramos would not agree and as a result the second meeting wasn’t scheduled for almost seven weeks to accommodate staff.

Similarly, on April 20, Mr. Ramos needed all of May and more to get his ducks in a row, and the most recent meeting did not take place until June. Of the 20 weeks or so since the first meeting, delays by Mr. Ramos account for 12 or 13 of them.

More than half the “slow movement of the committee” that Mr. Weinberger complains about is due to the leisurely four-day-work week attitude of the city workers and leadership.

It seems unlikely that a measure could be brought by the August deadline for the November ballot and, with the November ballot likely crowded with other tax increase measures, it might be just as well from the proponents’ point of view.

Ludd A. Trozpek



Trump and the Mafia

Dear Editor:

Donald Trump brags about how much money he has but, for very good reasons, he does not discuss the business partners who helped him make that money. Some were known Mafia bosses.

Despite his self-celebrated, deal-making genius, Mr. Trump paid double the market value for the property on which he built his Atlantic City casino (Trump Plaza). 

The seller was Salvatore Testa, a Philadelphia mobster and son of Philadelphia’s earlier mob boss Philip “Chicken Man” Testa. Overpaying for mob property is an easy and legal way to obtain mob cooperation.

According to the New Jersey State Commission’s 1986 report on organized crime, Mr. Trump’s Atlantic City gambling casino was built with the help of construction companies controlled by Philadelphia mobsters Nicademo “Little Nicky” Scarfo and his nephew Phillip “Crazy Phil” Leonetti.

Now back in Manhattan, Mr. Trump hired S&A Construction to build condominiums in Trump Tower. S&A Construction was controlled by Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, head of the Genovese crime family, and Paul Castellano, the don of New York’s Gambino crime syndicate.

Writing in 1992, long before candidate Trump emerged, investigative journalist Wayne Barnett told CNN that Donald Trump had “extraordinarily extensive” ties with the Mafia. Mr. Barrett is the author of Trump: The Deals and Downfall. Summarizing Mr. Barrett’s evidence, reporter David Johnson wrote, “Donald Trump has done business with major organized-crime figures and performed favors for their associates.”

If someone owns and operates gambling casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a mob-controlled town and industry, that person more or less has to do business with racketeers. But one does not have to like or imitate them. If you like gangster movies, as I do, you will notice that Mr. Trump’s violence, crudity and misogyny come straight out of the gangster culture there represented. No need now to wonder about the astonishing similarity. Early in his career, the mob helped Donald Trump make money (and vice-versa), he admired racketeers  and he assimilated their culture.

The web address of Mr. Frates’ article on Trump’s Mafia ties is 2015/07/31/politics/trump-mob-mafia. Wayne Barrett’s hardcover book, Trump: the Deals and the Downfall, is for sale by for $79. The current issue of Politico has assembled a battery of five biographers of Mr. Trump, one of whom is Mr. Barrett. See

Ivan Light



The war at home

Dear Editor:

When one of my former students—a quiet, studious student who I helped create a beautiful self-portrait—was killed by gunshot at a party in Ontario in 2008; when Congressmember Gabby Giffords, honored alum of a college in my hometown, was shot in Tucson in 2011; when my daughter told me that her friend went up to Isla Vista and the friend he was staying with was shot the weekend that six died and 14 were injured in 2014; when a friend talked about the hours and minutes waiting for an “all-clear” phone call from her daughter who lives across the street from a shooting incident at an out of state university in 2015; when two of the daughters of caregivers at my mom’s facility work where the San Bernardino shooting took place in 2015; when two friends who have daughters attending UCLA post on Facebook that they were waiting for word on the shootings 11 days ago…it’s time, America, to look at our gun policies. There just aren’t that many degrees of separation any more. It feels like war.

Pamela Casey Nagler



Safe Haven

For people in Orlando

and across the country

The Pulse night club was known

as an LGBTQ safe haven

a community center

a place of awareness and support

a site of love and dancing

built by Barbara Poma

after her brother

died of AIDS


On Sunday morning

June 12 it became a place

of massacre murder injury

pain outrage disbelief

The sweaty bloody bodies

of forty-nine people

mostly Latinos dead

more than fifty more


with grievous wounds


In a national atmosphere

of bigotry and discrimination

against gay and transgender

human beings

Impelled by rage

and whatever conflicted motives

an Afghan American man

himself prejudiced

and prejudiced against

used his AR-15

to massacre gay brothers and sisters


The wars of hate crimes

and terror

have no special geography anymore

they ransack our tranquil towns

invade our children’s schools

fill our elders with anxiety

Violence challenges all of us

to remember our foundations

and recommit ourselves

to a just and loving society


Is there any safe haven

anymore for any of us?

Silent too long our nation

tolerates weapons and conflict

racism sexism homophobia

poverty and indifference

Budgets and policies

domestic and international

support wars at home and abroad

that undermine the existence

of democracy and peace


There is no safe haven

for people in the Middle East

in Asia Africa Europe

in Latin America

No safe place in our own churches

theaters schools night clubs streets

All beset with the threat

and reality of targeted violence

infiltrating every level of our lives

Safety for all means

no hate speech no guns no drones


We must become safe havens

for all our neighbors

In a time of hate and terror

there is nowhere to turn

but to ourselves

and all who will join us

to transform this broken world

Building loving community

is to create and to be

the Safe Havens

we and our brothers and sisters

are looking for

Pat Patterson




What nation are we?

Dear Editor:

We were all shocked, horrified and disgusted by the terrible mass murder in Orlando this weekend.

It didn’t take long for politicians and pundits, Internet bloggers and trolls to weigh in, and their responses were often predictably disappointing.

For those looking to validate their partisan positions there was plenty of “ammunition” for all sides. But many factors of this and other acts of homegrown terrorism, including domestic radicalization, homophobia, mental illness, anger management, religious extremism, ideological intransigence and yes, easy access to guns are all part of the problem, and to begin the path toward a solution we must not leave any subject off the table.

We need more than anecdotes, glib slogans and divisive rhetoric. We need more than thoughts and prayers. They are not working. We need action. Reasonable, practical actions, based on fact and verifiable data rather than propaganda.

Propaganda may persuade some but does not help us understand the real issues or find solutions for complicated and existential issues.

This is a public health issue and should be treated as such. So let us end the ban on government gun violence research.

We are the only advanced nation on Earth that experiences this level of gun violence. We must decide what kind of nation we will be, rather than let the forces of hatred and ignorance decide for us.

In these difficult times I find inspiration in the words of forgiveness, reconciliation and love, spoken by Robert Kennedy in his impromptu comments delivered to a black audience in Indianapolis, announcing the assassination of Martin Luther King.

“In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in… You can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge… Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love. What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another…”

There were riots in most every major American city in the aftermath of Mr. King’s assassination, but not in Indianapolis.

Mike Boos



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