Monday, November 14, 2005

L.A. Times Articles On Conservators Are A Public Service

The articles now appearing in the L.A. Times on the excesses of conservators and the failure of the legal system to adequately control them are a great public service and will probably win the Times writers a Pulitzer.

Congratulations to the writers, Robin Fields, Evelyn Larrubia and Jack Leonard. Their first two articles have been masterly.

I just hope this work won't generate more jealousy in Chicago, where the directors of the Tribune Co. have been as negligent with the newspapers they bought in 2000, including the Times, as many of these conservators are with the aged people in their care.

The articles point up something I noticed long ago, when I attended Harvard Law School, for, thankfully, only four months. That was that the legal system is mostly corrupt. The people drawn to the legal profession, with some exceptions, are dishonest. And ethical controls are totally inadequate. A hard judgment but true.

The present articles point up the fact, also, that as the population ages, social problems are increasing exponentially in the U.S. Families in many cases simply are not protecting their elder members, and the modern way of life is so complex there comes a time when many of these people cannot protect themselves.

We see it also in the new drug benefit system passed by Congress. It is so complicated most of the recipients are having a hard time understanding what's best for them. And it is riddled with benefits for private enterprise, the drug companies, that care only for their profits and not for the well being of the people they are meant to serve.

The Times has done some great work in recent years. Its pieces about negligent hospitals and inadequate medical care continue. The war correspondents take great risks, as do most of the foreign correspondents. The only part of the newspaper that has really sagged is the editorial pages.

It makes it all the more important that the Times continue as a great newspaper. I think that will only happen if the Tribune Co. gives up the paper, selling it to people as dedicated as the present and past editors have been to do public service.

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