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Zaferia Described as Poor but Clean

May 12, 1991

I am a member of the Zaferia Neighborhood Assn. responding to an April 28 article in The Times.

1. In sharp contrast to earlier Times articles about us, this one lumps my association with others who represent "affluent" parts of Long Beach and are "influential." Have you seen the bulk of our neighborhood? (I would describe it as poor but clean.) Are you aware of the crime level? (I personally have been robbed three times in the last year.) Quite frankly, if I were "affluent" and "influential" I would move.

2. Long Beach Planning Commissioner Nancy Lattimer bemoans the fact that "it has been difficult to find where high-density will fit in the city." Oh really? Maybe that is because cramming too many people into too small a space is such a bad idea to begin with.

3. Commissioner Tony Tortorice implies prejudice by stating that neighborhood preservation means people saying "don't bring anybody in here that doesn't look like me." In point of fact, most of my neighbors are black, Asian and Hispanic. In addition, not one of them resembles me personally.

Anyone who has tried to drive across the nearest main street, has waited in lines at any store in our area or who has seen the prostitutes positioned on neighborhood corners can attest to the real motivations behind our group: overcrowding, the crime that seems to come with it, and the frustrating lack of mobility increased density brings to an area.

With regard to prejudice, I noticed that Planning Commission members and The Times included our group among the "influential" and "affluent" only AFTER seeing and hearing us. Most of our members are white--with a growing nonwhite membership--and are articulate and intelligent people. This apparently denotes--to some--education, clout, affluence. I think you would be interested to know that I am the proud possessor of a high school diploma and am employed as a clerk.

JERI ANN HALBROOK

Long Beach

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