Letters to the Editor: In politics, is age nothing but a number?

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President Trump and Joe Biden challenge each other's fitness, a study says they're healthy enough.
Skeptics have fretted about Donald Trump and Joe Biden's age hindering their ability to be president. (Associated Press)

To the editor: Kudos to Michael Hiltzik for his timely analysis of ageism and public service. I became the oldest freshman constitutional officer in California history. At 85, I am one of the most active members of our five-member Board of Equalization overseeing the valuations of California property for tax purposes, and my colleagues run to keep up with me. This month we debate my quest to move several of our monthly meetings out of Sacramento and into Southern California so we can be closer to constituents. We can always do better, and our most experienced officers often lead the parade.

Mike Schaefer, San Diego


To the editor: I was waiting for this article from Hiltzik justifying the cognitive decline in Joe Biden that even some of his supporters have acknowledged. His approval rating recently hit an all-time low of 37%. The average citizen knows when they see the leader of the free world stumble over his words, scripted and not conducting free-flowing press conferences. A nonpartisan article would address what the world sees and offer alternatives to his candidacy. There are many other candidates that can fill Biden’s shoes.

Jeff Butler, Coto de Caza


To the editor: Hiltzik outdid himself in his May 10 column. He made many good points, but perhaps the best was his observation that “news organizations such as CNN have helped make [Biden’s age] a hot topic.” This describes many news outlets’ breathless reporting of trending topics without any underlying analysis of their validity. It reminds me of television comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s routine whereby his staff interviews passersby on Hollywood Boulevard, asking them what they think about a “news” story that the show writers have fabricated. Many interviewees earnestly convey their thoughts about the nonexistent controversy or “news,” glibly going along with a false premise.

Unfortunately, many media outlets simply parrot concerns that have been raised by the public regarding the age of politicians, without analyzing whether those concerns have any validity — much less raising points that contradict the premise of this hot topic. Much of the media’s approach to questions such as this is not that far from Kimmel’s. News reporting should not mimic comedy, but unfortunately, too often it does.

Michael Krumme, Los Angeles

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.