I would like to respond to Bob Sipchen's Sept. 8 article, "Reagan's Vacation." I am an executive in downtown Los Angeles with advanced degrees in business and public policy. For the past three years I have volunteered many, many hours to the Los Angeles volunteer advance staff for the White House. I was very surprised that this article so blatantly left out the many professionals and students who volunteer numerous hours, at no expense to the taxpayers, to assist the President and the First Lady in their trips to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and help reduce costs.
This volunteer group is made up of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara people who work professional jobs during the day and dedicate their evenings and weekends to make sure that things run smoothly for the President and his staff. We organize hotel arrangements for the out-of-town staff, work with Washington staff people on event coordination and press credentialing and man the staff office. Many students are also recruited to help during the day as drivers and event assistants.
I think it is important that readers also understand the importance of protecting the President of this great country, and that this does take a lot of time and money to orchestrate, but there are many expenses that are saved because of volunteers in these cities who dedicate their personal time to the President. Without volunteers, you could easily deduct thousands of dollars more from the taxpayers' pockets.
West Los Angeles