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Governing Los Angeles County

June 25, 1988

Eight years ago when I was a candidate for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, I probably would have agreed that major reform of the board was needed ("Fiefdoms Under Fire," editorial, June 12). The several attempts to secede by several areas of the county, followed by Proposition 13 that ended runaway government spending, led to a county government totally unable to match available dollars with demanded and required constituency needs and services.

The change to new leadership on the board in 1980 and implementation of a sound businesslike approach to the management of Los Angeles County government has put this county in the forefront nationally. Privatization of many services that can be provided for less money and more efficiently has been very successful, and privatization has spread to all areas of government throughout the country.

Sheriff Sherman Block commented at a recent management conference that Los Angeles County has one of the most efficient and uncorrupt governments in the nation, and I believe that most people agree.

Los Angeles County has a unique system of government. The county provides the basic human services through a close liaison with the 85 cities in the county. The county works in concert with these cities to meet the basic day-to-day needs of our citizens in the areas of zoning and other local services through readily accessible local mayors, city councils and commissioners. The cities have the option of contracting the basic services with the county if they deem it more economical or desirable.

The U.S. Justice Department has told the county that it must redraw the district lines of the five supervisorial districts to ensure adequate representation of the Hispanic population. I want to assure The Times that this will be done in a timely and orderly manner without disruption of our efficient and uncorrupt system of county government.

We have only to look north to the financially troubled county-city executive form of government of San Francisco with its 11 supervisors to question your proposal for unneeded change.



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