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Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor and the Media

August 06, 1993

Of late, Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor Susan Brooks has launched a media blitz, apparently designed to convince the local populace that she can leap tall buildings in a single bound, stop racing locomotives with one hand and catch speeding bullets in her teeth.

However, when she uses her official position and the local media to attack those who disagree with her and the often-flawed decisions of the R.P.V. City Council . . . then it is time for a truth squad to follow her in her peregrinations.

Mayor Brooks began the year with a three-column banner headlined spread in the Peninsula News (Feb. 11, '93). The front page story, entitled "RPV: A City on the Edge," was a thinly disguised editorial tract wherein Brooks excoriated those sorry city residents who could not see the wisdom of the City Council's elimination of the R.P.V. recreation program. Using seriously flawed logic, Brooks likened the reasoning of those who protested the decision to " . . . a credit cardholder who can't afford to pay his credit card bills, saying, 'What the heck . . . let's go to a fancy restaurant and charge dinner. I am so far over my head, it doesn't matter anymore.' "

The arrogance and hypocrisy of the mayor of this profligate City Council, a council that has used its dubious credit to burrow itself into a nearly $3-million deficit position with its own Redevelopment Agency, is beyond belief.

At various times, Mayor Brooks has accused activist R.P.V. residents of "threatening" her, and she accused one R.P.V. resident of "civil harassment," when this person is well-known in the community for her long-standing interest in city issues and her ability to stand up and voice her concerns.

Mrs. Brooks has demonstrated time and again that she cannot take criticism. Brooks spearheaded the R.P.V. council's drive for "New Rules of Conduct" to keep the unwashed public at bay. The rules limit public speakers to 10 minutes overall, no matter how many agenda items they wish to address, and put a three-minute time limit on residents' speeches. Most recently, Brooks insisted on keeping audience participation at the end of the council meeting (11 p.m. or midnight) and only the insistence of R.P.V. residents and the other three council members forced her to move public participation up to 8:40 p.m.

Now, Mrs. Brooks has scheduled a series of "Meet the Mayor" programs on Channel 3, government cable TV. These thinly disguised propaganda sessions (where Mrs. Brooks "meets" with City Manager Paul Bussey, for example) simply replay the usual city excuses for lack of solutions to the city's many pressing problems. Save Our Coastline 2000 herewith requests equal time on Channel 3 cable TV to rebut at least some of this media blitz. Let's have some balance and an even playing field for a change. Let the sunshine in!

GAR GOODSON

Chairman, Save Our Coastline 2000

The South Bay section of The Times welcomes all viewpoints from readers about South Bay issues. Letters should be as brief as possible and are subject to condensation. They must include signature, valid mailing address and telephone number, if any. Pseudonyms and initials will not be used. Send letters to: South Bay Section Editor, Los Angeles Times, 23133 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 200, Torrance 90505.

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