Sam Hall Kaplan's "Lesson for Pershing Square" (May 5) appears to be an argument for benign neglect. The CRA has always had strong commitment to planning an urban design. While we have never suggested that doing anything is better than doing nothing, we reject the concept that if one ignores a problem it will go away.
The agency's purpose is to create an attractive, usable open space--inviting to visitors, office employees and the many residents of downtown. It would be naive to believe that all the current occupants are simply innocent unfortunates seeking a brief moment of peace and quiet. Thus, we have worked with the many communities that make up downtown Los Angeles to plan and design an environment particular to that community.
It shocks no one that we work with the merchants and residents of Little Tokyo in designing the Japanese Cultural Center. Why should it be so strange that we would seek and accept the advice of the neighborhoods of Pershing Square in planning its future?
The agency has invested not just in Pershing Square, but in the Los Angeles Actors Theater, Olympic Park and in a renovated Central Library, all aimed at creating an urban environment capable of successfully competing in the world market so vital to this city's future.
JAMES M. WOOD
Wood is chairman of the Los Angeles Community Development Agency.