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Don't Blame the Planners

December 18, 1988

Sam Hall Kaplan's column (Nov. 13) regarding redevelopment plans for South-Central L.A. attacks planners.

The issues and ideas he proposes are old, he provides no new thinking or solutions, a must for any good critical evaluation. He is justifiably frustrated with the planning process and bureaucracy. I think many planners are too.

The planners, the public and the political decision makers all play a part in what has made the planning process what it is. Long-range planning and even his grass-roots, instant implementation city-improvements ideas all take a bureaucracy to be organized and to ensure there is an equitable distribution of costs and benefits. Bureaucracy is initiated by citizens and political demands, and grows with each new demand. It is obviously going to take a certain degree of expense and administration to develop and operate a program that will benefit an area like South-Central L.A.

I think Kaplan should be upset at citizens for not becoming involved. He should help to educate the public about how to become involved with this process. I also think he should direct some of his frustration at our elected officials. Politicians are not making immediate decisions with long-term consequences, partly to protect their own political base. The planning process is victim to our society's values. Planning must satisfy the needs/demands of many people and it still has to be effective. His criticism should be directed at the inanimate aspect of planning, which needs to be improved, not the planners.

GEORGE PROCTOR

Glendale

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