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'City Government Run Like a Club'

May 21, 1987

Regarding the article "Lakewood Taxpayers Often Picked Up Tab for Council Spouses" (Southeast / Long Beach sections, May 17), I believe the problem in Lakewood is not so much about spouses going on city-paid trips, but rather that the council members and staff have been in power so long that they become a bit paranoid when the press, or anyone else, questions their judgment. The Lakewood city government is, in my opinion, run in the same manner as a closed social club and caters to members only.

Perhaps the only way to provide a more open policy at Lakewood City Hall is for the voters to limit council members to a maximum of two terms. However, this would take some effort on the part of Lakewood residents, and I doubt if many are willing to put out the time and work it would involve.

The last special election that was held to fill the seat on the council vacated by Paul Zeltner only brought out 10% of Lakewood's registered voters. I was one of the candidates, and I said in my ballot statement, "When the same people are candidates, or in office year after year, there is a tendency to be less responsive to the residents of the community." I still believe that is true. And until Lakewood voters learn that their indifference at the polls breeds indifference at City Hall, nothing will change.

In other words, I really don't blame the council members and city staff for their actions, but I blame the voters for letting them do it.

--R.C. (BOB) TRIMBLE

Lakewood

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