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Jewish Journal

JewishJournal.com

August 17, 2000

Letters to the Editor

http://www.jewishjournal.com/letters_to_the_editor/article/letters_to_the_editor_20000818

Coverage of Republican Jews Needed
As a Jewish Republican, I am constantly fighting my growing belief that The Jewish Journal is biased in its coverage of everything political. While I hold out hope that professional journalistic ethics would prevent this, your cover story ("Conventioneer Confidential," Aug. 4) only serves to prove otherwise.

The editors decided to dedicate an entire story, covering many pages, to the participation of Jews in the Democrat National Convention. This type of story should command that type of recognition so other Jews can learn that political involvement is within their grasp and should be celebrated. But in glaring contrast, the same editors decided not to dedicate the same space to highlight some of the many Jewish Republicans who were delegates to the Republican National Convention. It would seem that basic journalistic fairness has been neglected.

The fact that members of our Jewish community hold leadership positions at the highest levels in the California Bush delegation makes the decision all the more troubling. For the record, and probably surprising to Jewish Journal readers, Jewish Republicans occupy the volunteer leadership positions of state chair, L.A. County chair, San Fernando Valley chair, and a half dozen congressional district chairs.Even though the majority of Jewish Journal readers are probably Democrats, I believe it is a disservice to the community as a whole to pass over the political contributions and accomplishments of those Jews who happen to be Republican. I hope that this was due to an oversight rather than a conscious decision. Jewish Journal readers deserve no less than a fair and balanced reporting of the news.

Joel L. Strom
California State Volunteer Chair
Bush for President

Moskowitz Article Inaccurate
Tom Tugend's article ("Corruption in Hawaiian Gardens?," July 21) was replete with misrepresentations and inaccuracies.

The article makes reference to Dr. Moskowitz as receiving a "scathing report from the Legislature." In fact, there has never been any official report from the California Legislature's Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC). The "report" referred to in the article is simply the unsubstantiated opinion of Assemblyman Scott Wildman. The City of Hawaiian Gardens' contribution to the casino project was legal, because the Isenberg Bill, which prohibits city funds for casino projects, did not become law until April 1, 1996, and grandfathered projects agreed to earlier. Dr. Moskowitz' project agreement with the city was completed in August 1995. The article conveniently omits relevant undisputed facts such as: The chairman of the JLAC, Assemblyman Scott Wildman, was urged by Rabbi Dov Beliak to investigate the City of Hawaiian Gardens and Dr. Moskowitz. Beliak has made, and has urged his colleagues to make, political contributions to Assemblyman Wildman. The political motives of the investigation and Beliak are not discussed anywhere in the article. In 1997, the California attorney general issued a gambling license to Dr. Moskowitz after thoroughly investigating his fitness, including his compliance with all applicable laws, statutes, ordinances, rules and regulations. The city is, for the first time in 10 years, out of financial jeopardy: it has a balanced budget, its bills are being paid, it receives between $4 million to $5 million in revenue annually from Dr. Moskowitz' casino. The city's $9.5-million contribution to the project will return the city between 843 percent and 1,052 percent on its investment over the next 20 years. Rather than praising Beliak for his allegedly noble efforts on behalf of the downtrodden, he should be chastised for his misrepresentations and abuse of his position as a rabbi.

Beryl Weiner
Selvin & Weiner & Weinberger

Tom Tugend responds:

Beryl Weiner, as attorney and spokesman for Dr. Moskowitz, mounts an able defense for his client and himself but seems to have some problems of his own with accurate reporting.

Nowhere in my article was there any reference to a "scathing report from the Legislature." On the contrary, it was clearly stated that the report was issued by committee chairman Wildman, and it is a matter of perspective whether a 149-page staff report can be described as "unsubstantiated opinion."Weiner's figures on the moneys accruing to the city of Hawaiian Gardens from the casino operation were reported in my article, as well as his "vigorous" denial of the report's charges as "flawed and biased" and fit only for the garbage can.

I was aware of the gist of Mr. Weiner's rebuttals but found that they were contested, in turn, by Assemblyman Wildman's office, various critics and other reports on the long-standing case. Most of the contested points hinged on fine interpretations of law, and, regrettably or not, the scope of a newspaper article did not allow for an interminable back-and-forth discussion of these points. For the same reason, I omitted numerous other charges leveled against Dr. Moskowitz.

Ovadia Yosef
I don't know what to say in a polite way to the remarks of "spiritual mentor" Ovadia Yosef ("Two Insults Too Many," Aug. 11). The only appropriate language cannot be printed in The Jewish Journal.

Barbara Rona, Culver City

Corrections
In the Aug. 11 edition of The Circuit, Todd Morgan was listed as CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Morgan is chairman of the board of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.Also in the Aug. 11 Circuit, the photo of L.A. Dodger Shawn Green with Jewish Big Brothers Doug Braun and Rob Steinberg and their Little Brothers was accidently reversed.

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