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Letters to the Editor 

Defense or Prosecutors' Choice?
In his column, "Wide Open DA's Race" (Politics, April 29), Clancy DuBos makes reference to recent ads by candidate Ralph Capitelli touting the endorsements of former assistant DAs. He concludes that Capitelli will run as "the prosecutors' choice."

As a candidate for DA and the only career prosecutor in the race, I am compelled to challenge this conclusion.

The attorneys on the list are indeed "former" assistant DAs but most, like Mr. Capitelli, have not prosecuted a case in more than 20 years. Significantly, they are, like Mr. Capitelli, defense attorneys and have been for many years.

My colleagues and supporters who are currently actively employed career prosecutors cannot make endorsements. Federal prosecutors are strictly prohibited from making political endorsements and state prosecutors who face an uncertain future are wise not to make one.

To imply that these endorsements make Mr. Capitelli "the prosecutors' choice" is disingenuous. To conclude that he is the defense attorneys' choice would perhaps be more accurate.

Linda Bizzarro
Candidate for Orleans Parish District Attorney

They Still Need Your Support
Thank you for your article about the complex situation facing Vietnamese Americans in New Orleans East ("Laying the Groundwork," Cover, March 18). Father Vien Nguyen has been, and continues to be, an important figure in the Vietnamese community, as his story is one of perseverance and continuous growth and adaptation.

In my work with Vietnamese Americans in the Gulf Coast, specifically in New Orleans, I frequently have heard how they are respected for their "resilience." In many ways, this characterization is true. However, I think it is important to remember that many Vietnamese-American and other Southeast-Asian communities in Louisiana still live in isolation, with little or no support from Katrina aid agencies.

For example, many were not familiar with FEMA resources, let alone the Road Home program. Often, they have been unable to navigate the red tape required to access assistance. In this sense, I would like your readers to know that not all Southeast-Asian communities have been able to get back on their feet, and some are struggling, particularly the elderly, fishermen and shrimpers. People like Father Nguyen are an inspiration for everyone who wants to see these communities succeed. It is up to us to make sure their efforts are nurtured and recognized.

Seth Siegel
Boat People SOS Program Manager

Hats Off
Your Commentary ("Keep the Helmet Law," April 15) is very short sighted and gives much wrong information regarding motorcycles and helmets.

The leading cause of death on a motorcycle is cars and trucks. They violate the right of way of the motorcycle, claiming they did not see it. With this being the leading cause, why is it that no group seeks to have driver training and testing include drivers looking for motorcycles?

Helmets do not offer any real protection to a biker. Studies have shown that above 35 mph they offer nothing. Studies have indicated the Snell-rated helmet (which has been tested by the Snell helmet-testing laboratories), supposed to be better the one, causes more brain slosh and injuries.

The weight of the helmet has been shown to cause death by breaking the spine at the base of the skull. Insurance studies have indicated that the DOT (Department of Transportaton-certified) helmet would save many head injuries if required for all on bicycles and in cars. More head injuries happen to passengers in cars than on motorcycles, yet this is not addressed? Why?

When Gov. Kathleen Blanco began her effort to reinstate the law, the insurance industry was asked for supporting information. It had none to offer and was absent in the push to get the law back on the books.

If you look at the number of deaths, in relation to the number of bikes on the road, during the period the law was removed and then returned, I think you will find that the percent has not changed much. How is it then that a helmet absolutely reduces deaths? Where does this come from?

As a rider, firsthand experience has shown that cars not watching for motorcycles are the problem. It is easier to create feel-good legislation that does not solve the problem than it is to work toward a solution that would actually help.

As a reader I would appreciate your getting facts in order before making such a strong statement. George Lasseigne


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