Is California still in a political stranglehold?

Regarding "Coup de Gray Davis" (June 24): Your editorial sets up an impossible equation when you put the secret "wealthy vested interests" on one end of the political teeter-totter and a successful and publicly identified entrepreneur on the other.

The difference is that the man putting up the funds for the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis has a long history of fighting abusive government. The funding support for the recall effort provides the outlet for the voter rage in California. There are many reasons to recall Governor Davis, and the $35 billion deficit is much more than the last straw.

Hiram Johnson was the original California reformer. His leadership led to a rewrite of the political rules. It was the real "coup de railroad lobby" that broke the stranglehold on California politics. It allowed cross-filing by a candidate of one party to run on the other party's ticket, created the initiative reform that allowed citizens to put issues directly on the ballot, and tried to keep special-interest money from having undue influence.

Mr. Davis has earned the challenge. The citizens have an absolute right to be heard. The secret ballot will make the decision.
Jack B. Lindsey
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Your June 23 editorial "Coup de Gray Davis" comes right to the point of poisoned politics in America, then neatly skirts the issue of what drives this phenomenon.

Whether in California, Washington, D.C., or any other site of government, the problem is that the two-party system maintains a stranglehold on government itself. The wealthy who would corrupt government to their own benefit need only buy off both sides of the aisle in Congress. This they have been doing for two centuries at least.

As long as this rotten system continues (by employing such tools as the anachronistic electoral college), America will continue being a victim, not a beneficiary, of its myriad governments, and "public service" will continue to attract the venal, incompetent, and corrupt into its legions.
Daryl Bell-Greenstreet
Lakeside, Calif.

Biofuel is a good idea - in theory

John Hughes's June 25 Opinion column on the future of alternative-fueled vehicles ("Any alternative fuel for dream of the open road?") accurately states that the federal government can and should help in their development. Biofuel-hybrid vehicles show great promise. Mr. Hughes, however, leaves out a critical part of the equation: the source of the hydrogen. A vast amount of electricity is needed to make the hydrogen required to fuel America's future fleet of vehicles. Were it to come from renewable sources, there would be no dilemma. But the political reality of who controls energy policy in the US makes such a solution unlikely. The approach of the White House and Congress to providing the additional electricity is still anchored in domestic fossil fuels, and, more problematically, in the construction of new nuclear power plants.
Michael Stieber
Boulder, Colo.

Endangered treasure-trove in Kosovo

Regarding your June 19 article "A resurgence in life of prayer": These monasteries are true treasures for all humanity. Your article unfortunately did not address the destruction of these spiritual bastions by Albanian extremist groups in a decades-old effort to eradicate any trace of the more than 1,300-year-old Serbian culture in the Yugoslav province. To date, more than 100 churches and monasteries have been destroyed since NATO entered the province. If NATO can't protect non-Albanians and their cultural heritage in Kosovo, then it should leave Kosovo and let Yugoslav troops into their own territory to do the job.
Michael Pravica
Las Vegas, N.M.

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