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Letters to the Editor 

Goldring A great choice
In selecting Bill Goldring the New Orleanian of the Year 2003 (Jan. 6), I think you made a great choice. I have had the pleasure of knowing Bill since my college days at Tulane, and he is like a beacon in this community when it comes to charitable works. There are so many institutions that he and his family have touched that the article probably could have been twice as long. I applaud Gambit Weekly for being far ahead of the curve vis-#224;-vis The Times-Picayune's Loving Cup. The TP usually awards someone for a lifetime of achievements in the sunset of their lives while Gambit has taken a young man who has blazed a trail and has many great years ahead. Finally, I have had the pleasure of serving with Bill's son Jeff, who is the newest member of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Advisory Council and his son-in-law, Alan Franco, in various organizations. New Orleans can rest assured that the Goldring legacy will be carried on long after The Times-Picayune awards Bill the Loving Cup. --David Oestreicher

Making Claims
Your feature article regarding the "Claim Game" (Jan. 6) might as well have been penned by an insurance company because it certainly was nothing but insurance company propaganda. While there certainly are fraudulent claims made, the vast majority are not. I have been representing injured people for 22 years and I can certainly say that I and the vast majority of plaintiff attorneys do not pursue claims unless we think they are meritorious, nor do we encourage people to go to a doctor if we do not truly believe they are injured.

Insurance companies like juries because many jurors have been poisoned for many years by the constant onslaught of insurance propaganda like your article. If jury trials were held in all civil actions as proposed in the article, our court system would be subjected to unbelievable gridlock and it would take many, many years for cases to go to trial. It makes sense to only have jury trials in the most serious cases. Insurance companies want to have them in all cases because they think they will get away with paying less than fair compensation. In the end, insurance companies do not care about being fair; they care about making money and paying as little as possible on claims. Cheating legitimately injured people out of fair compensation is the true and most prevalent fraud in the system.  --Trey Mustian

The cancer of corruption
Gambit Weekly's commentary "Daunting Tasks" (Dec. 16) captures perhaps the most fundamental, pressing need in Louisiana -- rooting out political corruption. The reality and perception of public corruption cripples our economy and breeds hopelessness in our citizens. It is a metastasizing cancer that erodes our great state far worse than the Gulf of Mexico's pounding waves and storms.

The New Orleans division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently seeking additional funds to enhance the public corruption squad in Baton Rouge. Support from each member of Louisiana's congressional delegation is essential for the FBI to be successful. Concerned citizens, civic and business groups, and dedicated elected officials can take action by contacting our senators and representatives to secure their support to acquire the funding.

An enhanced FBI public corruption squad is also an exceptionally cost-effective economic development tool. Imagine if companies came to Louisiana expecting a fair shake instead of a shakedown. Concerned citizens working together can change Louisiana's banana republic image. The FBI has the expertise and remarkable dedication to mission and integrity for this job.

The time to act is now. If not, the bad guys win and hopelessness prevails. --Paul Forbes

All's Not Well
Thank you for "Resolutions We'd Like to See" (Jan. 6). You sure let the School Board off easy!

As for the cruise ship industry -- and the port and the maritime industry and the lawyers -- I don't think anyone should take a cruise ship from New Orleans until the Coast Guard is given a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) -- especially with the availability of GPS now. After completion of its report on the Bright Field wharf collision (near-miss on docked cruise ships), the National Transportation and Safety Board strongly recommended a restored VTS for the Port of New Orleans. Shame on the river pilots for opposing a VTS. Imagine if a cruise ship plummets to the bottom of the river! All is definitely not well with homeland security.

Thanks for your initiatives always.

P.S. The Times-Picayune completely ignored industrial pollution and the pathetic Department of Environmental Quality. Thank you for keeping that issue alive! --Carolyn Krack

Artist Not Activist
I thank you for the inclusion of my show at LeMieux in Hot Seven (Oct. 20). I have been given undue credit for being an animal rights activist. I am somewhat involved in environmental activism and mentioned the dairy and cattle industries harmful practices in an interview a couple of years ago, but animals who saw the review must be scratching their heads and wondering what I've done for them lately. --Kate Samworth

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