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Preservation of Historic Buildings

May 26, 1986

William C. Baer attempts to state a case in favor of a Los Angeles completely devoid of its own history or sense of past. What a truly enlightened individual this man must be! Yeah, let's listen to him, and tear down all the old buildings! We could start with the Los Angeles City Hall (a good spot for a National Lumber), then Bullock's Wilshire (a wonderful new insurance or bank building), then the Beverly Hills' City Hall (lots of expensive boutiques), then Grauman's Chinese Theater (plenty of cheap novelty shops), the the entire downtown area of Pasadena (one huge galleria). These are simply wonderful suggestions, Mr. Baer, you're an absolute genius!

In truth, the mere fact that you're an associate professor of urban and regional planning at USC only confirms my worst fears about the people we entrust with our priceless historical heritage. Mr. Baer would have us believe, that our restrictions on tearing down our glorious past, will somehow compromise the future. He's absolutely correct though, but for all the wrong reasons. It's a compromise of the very best kind. A compromise that allows the old to mingle with the new. He would have us blindly and naively open our arms to some unknown future: "Trust me! Have I got a future for you!" No, Mr. Baer, fortunately, we don't trust you. One of the major lessons of L.A.'s past has been: A few people making a quick buck at the expense of the general population--that's the future Mr. Baer believes in, Los Angeles' infamous business practices.

I would hope, since Mr. Baer is on the USC faculty, that he's made the appropriate suggestions about improvements on its campus. Such as, tearing down the ivy-covered brick walls and replacing them with wonderful stucco. How about leveling Widney Hall (the beautiful white colonial structure, circa 1880)? According to Mr. Baer, this building should have been a parking lot years ago.

PETER ADUM

Los Angeles

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