Thursday, December 28, 2000
Thank you for your good, detailed coverage of our local heroes ("Ghostbusters," 12/14-20), who uncovered the compromised land-use practices that had been allowed to flourish between developers--attorney Tony Lombardo and the county. Pat Bernardi, Michael Stamp and Fran Farina, with help from Richard Rosenthal and Jane Haines, took on a monumental task for all civic and environmental "watch dogs," and for the public at large who deserve objective and honest government.
Speaking as one of those "watch dogs," while many of us knew something was very wrong, we didn't know exactly how much was amiss until the September Ranch case and this subsequent Bernardi suit. Now we know the public and decision-makers had often relied upon environmental analysis and "Findings" which were not the work of impartial planners, but instead were created by the attorney for the developers who had huge financial interests at stake.
Mr. Lombardo was doing the county's job, in one of the most consequen- tial and critical functions the people grant to government. The county should spare no effort to make sure this game is completely over.
CHAIR VENTANA CHAPTER SIERRA CLUB
Impeachment in Order
The Constitution states that federal judges shall hold office "during good behavior." In judicial parlance, "good behavior" refers to conduct that is in keeping with the dignity and impartiality of the judiciary.
One of the clearest violations of the good behavior standard is conflict of interest. Ruling on a case in which a judge has a financial or political interest brings the impartiality of the judiciary into question and thus constitutes bad judicial behavior, an impeachable offense.
In the Supreme Court decision that concluded the 2000 presidential election, justices Scalia and Thomas both had unmistakable conflicts of interest. Scalia's son works for the law firm that represented Bush in the case, while Thomas' wife is on the Bush transition team. These justices' failure to excuse themselves, raises the question as to whether they should be impeached.
It will be argued: a.) that an impeachment proceeding will further divide an already divided country, and b.) the endeavor has no chance, given Republican control of the House.
As a practical matter, the latter is undoubtedly true, but the seriousness of the issue demands an impeachment inquiry. Congressman Sam Farr could do his nation an enormous favor by raising this question on the floor of the House.
ROBERT KUHRY, MONTEREY