Birds of a feather

President Trump’s tsunami of pardons and commutations has been such an effective guide to the most loathsome individuals in today’s America that it’s hard to know where to begin in pulling out case histories.

But here’s a standout: It’s the case of Philip Esformes, who was convicted last year in what federal prosecutors termed “the largest healthcare fraud scheme ever charged by the Department of Justice.”

Esformes’ crimes involved $1.3 billion in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for services at his network of nursing and assisted living facilities in Florida. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 20 felony counts. Noting that the charges on which he was found guilty carried combined maximum sentences of 255 years, prosecutors had asked for 30 years.

This was not one criminal act, but hundreds of choices to break the law, even thousands, for more than a decade.

Esformes, 52, served a bit less than 4 1/2 years. Now, thanks to Trump, he’s a free man. I think the Liar in Chief and Mr. Esformes are best friends. Birds of a feather flock together.  

Looking forward to hearing from the Trump supporters on this topic.

William A. Collins III 


Happy New Years

AV College president said it well in the discussion of hiring legislative assistance in Sacramento. “We are isolated” he said and with us being only a part of a much larger legislative body will only aggravate that situation. That is true in much of this valley but paradoxically it makes it a much nicer place to live.

In expressing local pride the mayor of Lancaster also spoke very well in referring to ownership of a new corporate owned business, stating we prefer “locally owned business”. Well said.

Both the mayor and city manager of Palmdale expressed pride in announcement by the California State Auditor of the sound fiscal management of the city. Both cities are well managed unlike many other regions in LA county. The new local taxes will be well unitized locally.

AV hospital has been doing and will continue to do an outstanding job in the extraordinary burdens and responsibilities imposed by the current pandemic. This outstanding hospital has superb management and equally superb doctors, nurses and exceptional employees throughout the entire organization.

We are indeed different in this valley from the rest of Los Angeles County and despite the inevitable controversies that exist in all human endeavors it is an exceptional place to call home. Development and inevitable controversies will continue as expected. Embrace the differences despite the nay-sayers that will always be part of the human family.

With trepidation a new year is beginning. Let us hope it is indeed a “Happy New Year.”

John Manning


Transportation secretary

A lot of people are wondering how Biden decided to put Pete Buttigieg in his administration as transportation secretary.

This is what I heard. One of Biden’s advisors came to him and said that since a lot of younger voters like Pete Buttigieg he should consider him for a job in his administration.

Biden looked a little surprised and said Pete Buttigieg? Get outta town. The advisor’s eyes got real big and he said that’s it, sir, that’s absolutely brilliant. We’ll make him transportation secretary. And that’s how it happened. Just kidding!

Marty Scepan


Good luck

In 1940 when I was six years old, a dollar was worth $18.59 in today’s money. Our politicians get elected by passing laws that cost money. They pay for it by printing more money. Before long a dollar won’t be worth the cost of the paper it’s printed on. Good luck.

Vance G. Kirkpatrick

Leona Valley


Oh Jim Gardner! You gave me an early Christmas present with your recent letter about Nancy Pelosi.

You said she had said some pretty scurrilous things about senior citizens on Social Security. Unfortunately, you quoted directly, and without attribution, from a source called which is a satire website.

The article you quoted verbatim was labeled “Satire or conservative fan fiction.” The “about us” on Bustatroll’s page says, “Everything on this website is fiction.”

Satire is difficult for people who are not critical thinkers. My 9th grade English students had a hard time with it.

Kathleen Parks

San Diego

Change is coming

Culture was is a term commonly used to describe a struggle between two social groups for the domination of values, beliefs and life styles.

America is one of the most culturally diversified countries in the world which makes it fuel for a culture war.

Multiple languages, food, religions and races dominate American life. Without a doubt the GOP is losing the present culture war, they are suffering from a culture lag, the failure to keep pace with a changing culture. 

Confederate statues are coming down, product names are being changed, morals and drugs are changing attitudes and racism and police brutality attitudes are changing.

America has a long way to go to end culture wars, backlashes are already in the works.

Benjamin W. Hawkins


Hunger takes no time off

Thank you for the stories, articles and information on the generosity of the fine folk of the Antelope Valley.

In the week prior to Christmas, and after, great, inspiring reports on many folk, organizations, who willfully donate much needed money, gifts and time for the badly needed help of so many in need. Thank you.

No, I did not receive help. Thankfully, I am not in need. Sadly, many are and while what was given in love, sadly, won’t cover the coming weeks. You see, hunger never takes time off. Please remember that when you encounter one who is in need.

God bless you, everyone.

Skip Thacker


Pick up the green waste

We get a major inundation of leaves at this time of year and we keep getting excuses from waste management about the collection of the green waste cans. 

I am fascinated as to what the next excuse will be in the coming week. Hey waste management sorry for the inconvenience but I do not want to pay you or anyone else does not want to pay you? 

Amazing junk device at least the people that dig through trash still come around!

Jordan Eisenman


Seeing clearly

Growing up, I always associated the numbers “20/20” with the ability to see clearly. Looking back, this year has brought a lot of things into sharper focus for me.

I see, for example, the cruelty of a society that underpays the very workers it deems essential. I see the flaws in measuring an economy by its stocks rather than by the loss of jobs and homes. I see the hypocrisy of those who claim to be pro-life flagrantly choosing personal and public health decisions that jeopardize our most vulnerable. I see the disconnect when our leaders claim to take safety protocols seriously in public and then flout them in private. I see the thin thread of good sportsmanship on which our democracy hangs. I see the way that too many of us choose to dismiss facts in favor of our social media feeds.

But that’s not all I’ve seen this year. I’ve also seen communities rally in support of local businesses. I’ve seen politicians forego partisanship, if only for a few weeks, to help their constituents via the CARES Act. I’ve seen citizens choose competence and kindness on Election Day, and I’ve seen elected officials of both parties courageously stand by those results, even under immense pressure from the President. I’ve seen us build a world that is more accessible to those who will be homebound long after this pandemic ends.

As we enter this New Year, I hope we can all see its potential and realize its promise.

James Tilton


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