I would like to thank Nancy Graham and Art Streiber for their outstanding article on the Ash Wednesday ceremony at St. Joseph center (Times, Feb.21). Their sensitive reporting and photographs will help St. Joseph's rise "up from the ashes."
There is also a way each of us can help St. Joseph's and other centers serving the poor and homeless in our community. That is to demand that the county Board of Supervisors eliminate the 60-day penalty regulation, which throws an average of 5,000 people onto the streets each month.
Because many of these people are retarded or mentally/emotionally handicapped, even a penalty of one day of homeless-ness is too much. And for those who work 70 hours a month to repay the entire welfare grant, yet may be an hour late for an appointment, a punishment of 60 days of homelessness is beyond cruel.
A letter written to the county Board of Supervisors today may keep 5,000 people off the streets tomorrow.
MARY BRENT WEHRLI
Jewish Press Controversy
Public discussion of the Jewish Federation-Council's recent decision to allocate more than $600,000 in charity funds to upgrade its house organ, the Jewish Community Bulletin, should bear in mind the following facts:
(1) Practically nobody really "subscribes" to the Bulletin. It is sent free to an estimated 75,000 households every week, to contributors and non-contributors alike. On the other hand, the independent Jewish newspapers must deliver to paid subscribers ONLY. If we sent our newspapers free to every name on a huge mailing list, the postal service would revoke our second-class mail permit. No wonder our circulation is smaller!
(2) The Bulletin has all the benefits of a tax-exempt charity, including the use of volunteers and free office space, provided by charity funds. If we had these benefits, plus huge cash subsidies from those tax-exempt charity revenues, I assure you that we could afford a lot more reporters. Unfortunately, we have to pay our own bills, just like any other private business.
(3) The directors of the Jewish Federation-Council publicly bemoan the fact that no single Jewish newspaper dominates the market in Los Angeles. So they are planning to "rectify" the situation. It doesn't seem to bother them that their strategy will eventually destroy the healthy diversity of viewpoints expressed by the independent Jewish press, and that this is being done in the name of the Jewish community!
(4) As our lawsuit with the Los Angeles Federation will bring to light, other Jewish Federations in cities across the United States have taken or plan to take similar steps to seize control of the Jewish media. This is a nationally coordinated effort, and we have seen its results in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, northern New Jersey, and even Charlotte, N.C.
If we lose our struggle, the Los Angeles Jewish community will have but one voice--that of the Jewish communal establishment. There will be no investigative journalism. There will be no publicity vehicle for causes not affiliated with the Jewish Federation Council. There will be no diversity.
In short, Los Angeles will have a Jewish Pravda.
DAN BRIN, editor
Would you please explain why the Westside section sneers at the rich ("Rodeo Drive Opts for Sterling Image--and Prices," (Times, Jan. 13), while the View section has breathless articles admiring them ("Haughty Hangouts")?
How do you explain this editorial contradiction?
MARY LOUISE FINCH
The Westside section of The Times welcomes all viewpoints from readers about Westside issues. Letters should be as brief as possible and are subject to condensation. They must include signature, valid mailing address and telephone number, if any. Pseudonyms and initials will not be used. Send letters to: Westside Section Editor, Los Angeles Times, 2716 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica 90405.