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Fox's Expansion Plans Continue to Draw Criticism

February 16, 1992

Jeff Kramer's story on the Fox "community meeting" ("Fox Gets Hounded," Feb. 6) makes the anti-Fox community look like a bunch of rabble-rousers who disrupted "an atmosphere of civility and professionalism" and used the meeting as "a forum to demonstrate their resolve against the project." It also leaves the impression that "Friends of Fox" are a like group of citizens simply expressing their support for the project.

In fact, many of those wearing "Friends of Fox" badges at the meeting were paid employees of firms retained by Fox to work on the project.

Of course the anti-Fox community was up in arms that day. The meeting, mandated by city law, ought to have been held many months ago and should have been (if, indeed, it was a "key group" meeting) an open forum for information and discussion of the pros and cons of the project. Your story suggests that opposition is contrary to cooperation and communication. What country do you think this is?

Neighbors had been confronted for months with biased information from both the city and Fox. And then they were confronted with a meeting designed to avoid a real forum by forcing the community into small groups scattered apart--a meeting that voided the spirit of the "key group" concept by including only presentations by promoters of the project.

The group of neighbors opposed to this major zoning change and expansion constitute a substantial portion, if not an overwhelming majority, of those directly affected by the expansion, and they deserve to be heard. Instead, Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, calling names instead of addressing issues, has labeled their protests as "guerrilla theater," and Laura Lake, a leader of the protest, as simply after his job! Demagoguery at its finest!

If Fox really wants a forum, perhaps it will organize a communitywide meeting with a discussion panel including people truly representative of this community, with questions and answers open to all sides. If Councilman Yaroslavsky really wants to be trusted in this community, he'll get his various oars out of Fox's water and begin representing the needs of all his constituents rather than a select few. And if The Times is really after the truth, it will ask its reporter to delete the sensational adjectives and start looking for the story behind the action. This community is truly in an uproar for its health!


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