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In today's pages: ACORN and right-wing nuts

ACORN The Opinion Manufacturing Division straddles the ideological divide today, offering red meat to both sides of the aisle. The Times editorial board blasts ACORN, the community organizers at the heart of conservative talk radio's favorite conspiracy theories, for failing to acknowledge and correct its serious internal problems in the wake of "devastating" hidden-camera exposes. And Op-Ed columnist Tim Rutten peers behind the newfound celebrity of Rep. Joe "You lie!" Wilson (R-S.C.) to find all sorts of fringe-group, umm, creativity. In particular, he examines the roots of the tea party movement and the intellectual underpinnings of the "10thers" -- anti-government conservatives who claim the 10th amendment gives state lawmakers authority to reject many acts of Congress and Supreme Court rulings.

Elsewhere on the Op-Ed page, David A. Lehrer, president of Los Angeles-based Community Advocates Inc., argues that anti-Semitic attacks are declining -- contrary to dire warnings from the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Similarly, Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection, contends that tragedies such as those involving Dae'von Bailey and Lars Sanchez -- two children killed despite the supervision their families were given by county child-welfare officials -- are the exception, not the norm:

As it turns out, it is a serious mistake to pull children out of their homes just because their parents are poor or imperfect, just as it is a mistake to leave them in homes where parents are dangerous brutes. A landmark study of 15,000 typical foster care cases showed that children placed in foster care usually fared worse in later life than comparably maltreated children left in their own homes.

Back among the editorials, the board urges Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign AB 2, a bill by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) to limit the ability of health insurers to cancel policies retroactively. And while it praises the announcement that the Irvine Co. would transfer 20,000 acres to Orange County for parks, it calls on the county to reveal more about how it will manage the windfall:

The county also should provide specific information about its ability to take financial responsibility for 50% more park land. Because the 20,000 acres can never be developed no matter who owns it, its main value as a public asset is the extent to which the public can use it for recreation. The county should have detailed plans for that to happen before accepting the land.

Photo: Police in Nevada gather evidence from an ACORN office in 2008 as part of an investigation into voter fraud. Credit: AP Photo / Jae C. Hong

-- Jon Healey


Comments () | Archives (15)

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"the community organizers at the heart of conservative talk radio's favorite conspiracy theories"

So, here we have an organization that has been in trouble with the law for years over voter fraud issues, has members relaying how they avoid taxes and helping strangers set up underage prostitution rings, all under the guise of impartiality despite many of its leaders and workers openly campaigning for Obama, and doing so with millions in taxpayers' money. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is apparently a "conspiracy theory".

Journalism sure has gone to hell in a handbasket.


Referring to the comment before me; I find it humorous how those that say "Journalism sure has gone to hell in a handbasket", are the same ones who perpetuate partisan politics and gather their information from entertainment sources such as radio and cable.

People speak of ACORN receiving millions from the federal government, yet those people do not have the same passion against those that receive money from lobbyist, -in this day in age- health care lobbyist.

Last year 18,000 people died because they had no access to health care? And yet we ought to be led to believe, that the ACORN issue is paramount to Americans lives. The integrity of elected officials is bought and American lives compromised.

Underage prostitution has been in issue in the U.S. for sometime, but only now does it become a prominent issue at the forefront of peoples talking points to rally behind. Its seems that ideology rather than righteousness, prevails in the end.

People believe in death panels, say the president wasn't born in the U.S., guns are brought to debates, racist words and signs are flown at rallies, people are afraid their guns will be taken from them? Yes, many of those people believe in conspiracy theories.


As a survivor of clergy abuse, for decades I've seen US reps', it's citizens and Catholics' apathy, and malicious disregard for child sex abuse victims and kids at risk of the victims abusers and enablers.

So what's the country's interest in "Acorn" when our representatives 1) won't hold a genuine congressional hearing on the Catholic Church's sex crimes against kids 2) won't put one of the 2/3 of US bishops in prison who aid, abbet and harbor sexual predators and 3) won't dare take away any church's tax exempt status for covering up thousands of child sex crimes?

Is the outrage about tax payers' money or kids being abused? Or secrets being exposed? Where's the truth.

One child abused anywhere by any person or institution is one child too many. I hope the truth will be exposed, but I doubt anything truly meaningful will be done to stop abuse of kids in this country when you look at the how our US reps keep dragging their feet for decades trying to avoid dealing with the Catholic church sex abuse scandal, more importantly it's victims.

SAD, SAD, SAD, will this just be another process of desensitizing more people to kids being raped, sodomize, pimped or sacraficed to clergy or anyone else for that matter? Who cares? and how much?

Would someone pls explain that...I truly don't understand.

andrew nelson

When community organizers attempt to take the moral high ground usually associated with charity and good works, they can't indulge in criminal activity. Nor can they create, encourage, and facilitate systemic, organized, criminal activity.

One incident, okay - it's not a pattern. Two, you start to be concerned. Three the alarm bell goes off. Four, then five, then six? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

The problem with this article's premise is that it would clearly champion the Mafia as community organizers who are victims of "conservative talk radio's favorite conspiracy theories".


Wow, where did all of these self righteous sanctimonious hypocrites come from? I saw the 'hidden camera' footage of a self described pimp and ho looking for tax advice at an ACORN office. What fake outrage! So they were given some do it yourself advice, so what? It was nothing different than what they would have gotten had they used Turbo Tax. It wasn't as if if the ACORN people were actually preparing the returns or even claimed to be a cerified tax preparer. I have yet to meet anyone in my entire life that has not tried to slip through loop holes in the tax code. Jeez, businesses are the worst at cheating or misrepresenting on their returns. Show me a person who has never padded their itemized deductions or claimed the computer in their den is a home office or never driven somewhere personal but deducted the mileage etc on their return, or refused to take that 10,000.00 deduction for their hummer and I will show you a LIAR. And as for the underage sex ring, what difference does it make? The minors were not there. Why would anyone even believe that someone dumb enough to actually admit it would also be clever and ruthless enough to do it? I suppose all you pseudo angered people would only be happy if the ACORN woman whipped out her .45 and cuffs and made a citizens arrest based on the unsubstantiated claims of what some idiot kid said. For your benefit I hope the next time your called into an audit by the IRS you are arrested because your friend, spouse, child etc was a bit creative when doing your taxes and afterall TurboTax said even without receipts 99% of returns that have a number between X and Y on this line here are not audited. Too bad for you criminal that it didn't say 100%, enjoy prison.


Barack said Acorn would have a seat in his Administration. On the left side of Barry there are the communist Czars and on the right side of Barry is ACORN. Wow....we are in good hands folks... Change we can believe in !!!!

Belinda Gomez

ACORN's been in trouble for a while. They didn't want to pay minimum wage in California. The founder's brother embezzled, but wasn't prosecuted.

Dan Clayton

I wonder if Congress knows how disgusted we are with them. Can a group of lawyers bickering over who looks worse, or who is infected with more disease really create anything productive for America.

We have a crisis today, much bigger than any other crisis. It is a crisis of perspective. What got us here, who built it, and what breaks down if we being to tinker with it? I wonder what our grandparents and great-grandparets would think of the self-serving attitudes today?

David Chittenden

Here is the current situation -- the land is in the Natural Conservancy and the Irvine company has the responsibility and any expenses associated with the land.

Here is the new situation -- the Irvine company gives the land to the County thus eliminating its responsibility and any expenses associated with the land.

Here is the future situation -- the County decides to privatize. The profit making Irvine company is hired to manage County Park lands. It is rather plain that this is the long term Irvine Company plan - how else can the managers of the Irvine Company remain employed when their land is fully developed? Now the Irvine Company will be paid to manage the land which formerly had of potential costs for them. They remain in charge; Orange County taxpayers will pick up the extra costs. Dave Chittenden


Referring to Phil's comment that referred to my comment, Phil has no idea where I "get my news" or that I "perpetuate partisan politics." He just pulled that out of his nether regions. Along with the rest of his off-topic rant.

James O

It may have been a sting operation but ACORN employees shouldn't be giving advice on how to circumvent or flat out break the law, especially if it's getting taxpayer money. This may be only a couple bad apples but it looks bad and they had some other issues. It provides fodder for right-wing pundits and the left is wise to distance themselves from this group. There is quite a propaganda war going on in the media in all forms. I hope there will be a good way to finally separate the wheat from the chaff and have accurate information that's not flooded over by spin and misinformation.

Tommy D

ACORN is under investigation for voter fraud in 14 states. Over 30 ACORN employees have pleaded guilty and another 60 have charges pending. Criminal behavior is nothing new at ACORN.

Sharif Lone

This study which shows that: A landmark study of 15,000 typical foster care cases showed that children placed in foster care usually fared worse in later life than comparably maltreated children left in their own homes., is shocking. It only proves that foster homes need an overhauling, and in a big way. Children are our future and need all the care and love we can afford. We must create a society where children are first and foremost priority.

andrew nelson

As more and more fact about ACORN see the light of day, the questions start to focus on the investigative reporting skills and the editorial competence of the LA TIMES.

If contemplate your motto, "The best in Southern California opinion journalism", we have to ask ourselves "Compared to what?". None?


ACORN, and the mainstream media's (which today is not mainstream) lack of coverage of the deep and widespread corruption is a major story because our President has deep and long-standing ties to the organization. He is on tape during the campaign saying they and SEIU "will be at the table" when he makes policy. The guy was their lawyer and taught community organizing to the group for G-D's sake!

LAT, NYT, ABC, NBC, CBS on ACORN: nothing to see here; move along. An how about that racist Joe Wilson?



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