To the editor: While I support limiting campaign spending, I feel the need to point out that the millions in campaign money spent this election cycle — including by LA mayoral candidate Rick Caruso — was not money set on fire or dumped in the ocean. It was money paid to companies, which paid people to do jobs. (“What $104 million could buy, instead of a failed mayoral run,” column, Nov. 27)
There are usually better things that someone’s money can buy. But making our economy healthy by employing people who then spend the money, thereby contributing to the employment of yet more people, has great value. This is a case where “trickle down” actually applies.
Much of the millions spent did end up in the pockets of local citizens, including those who work for The Times.
Parrish Hirasaki, Culver City
To the editor: One of the things I have learned in life is not to tell people how to spend their money. Caruso earned his money and he used it as he desired — to try to become mayor of Los Angeles.
If columnist Gustavo Arellano wants to buy a whole lot of enchiladas (as well as all the other things he suggested Caruso could have spent $104 million on), he can use his own money.
Peter R. Pancione, Thousand Oaks
To the editor: I suspect that many of us have wondered how on Earth anyone can spend billions of dollars. It’s tempting to say that such fortunes can fund enormous amounts of charity work, or that people of great wealth should give most of it away.
The reality is that there is a limited amount of “stuff” people can buy with such fortunes. How many private jets, mansions and yachts can a rich person use?
Wealth can also buy power. For Caruso, that didn’t work. That, to me, is comforting.
I am aware that much power has been purchased by billionaires over a long period of time. Power is elusive and enticing and very expensive to purchase. Nothing will change that.
But every now and then money doesn’t work. May we live to see a time when our values cannot be purchased by enormous amounts of money.
Diana Wolff, Rancho Palos Verdes
To the editor: I am sure everyone has an opinion on how Caruso could have spent the $104 million he put toward his unsuccessful campaign.
Isn’t it time to put a limit on how much a person can spend when running for office? There are many qualified individuals who would run for office, but they cannot afford the cost.
Arellano failed to mention the thousands of homeless individuals who could have received housing vouchers, been put up in motels or received mental and physical assistance. All that money could have built some of the housing that Caruso wanted the city to build if he had been elected mayor.
Last but not least are the veterans who need much more assistance than is provided, the animal shelters in need of repair and more social workers to improve the foster care system. The list is endless.
Judy R. Martin, Los Angeles