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Putting Meaning Back Into Concept of Public Service

September 09, 1993

I had the recent misfortune to deal with the Los Angeles County government bureaucracy, specifically the county building and safety office located in Arcadia.

I recently called the county building inspector to ask a few questions on a correction notice that was written up on some work that I had done in the county. The secretary who answered the phone said that the inspector was on the phone and also had a call waiting. I asked her to take a message and have the inspector call me, but she gave me an emphatic "No".

The second time I called the phone rang approximately 20 times and was not answered.

On my third try I was finally able to talk to the inspector. The inspector was not only rude, but would not give me a specific answer on what I had to do to pass inspection. After speaking to the inspector, I concluded that I better take a "guess" on what had to be done and hope for the best.

On the day that the inspection was scheduled, the inspector showed up, looked the work over for about one minute and then said that everything was approved. The inspector proceeded to spend the next five minutes complaining about his employer, Los Angeles County, and how the county was proposing to cut his salary and benefits. At one point, he said that it was fortunate that he was even able to make the inspection because of his busy schedule.

With the impending county budget shortages and proposed county layoffs, the county supervisors should consider using the situation to put meaning back into the words "public service."

GREG GERLACH

Temple City

Old Manor House on Cal Poly Campus

Amid all the fuss and feathers over the Manor House at Cal Poly (San Gabriel Valley edition, Aug. 15) one immutable fact emerges: the structure is 66 years old. Like the older dowager who was a living doll at 16, she tends to become a dowdy frump 50 years later. So it is with the Manor House. The plumbing is tired; the wiring is inadequate for today's appliances. To update and renovate an old building frequently costs much more than the original construction.

Most of what was done to the Manor House since that time amounts to a lick and a promise. Because of the shortage of state funds, only a few changes were made on the ground floor. Little if anything was done upstairs to the bedrooms and baths.

Way back in 1926, W. K. Kellogg in a fit of spendthrift remorse instructed Myron Hunt, the architect, to complete the house at a reduced figure from the original estimate. This meant eliminating some of the amenities and even short-cutting structural integrity. Result: a room that was to house a billiard table was reduced to a mere sun room. An overheated furnace vent in the dining room caused a fire because of inadequate fire stops. Not that it wasn't a very comfortable place to live in. My family enjoyed the 16 years of its heyday from 1927 until the Army took over in 1943 during World War II.

The Army made changes that weren't all for the better in compliance with federal standards. Exterior paint was slathered over the "Myron Hunt White" plaster that previously turned to pink when it rained. Interior walls were doused with glossy enamel instead of the original oil stain that gave the feeling of Early California decor.

President Bob Kramer had the partition between his office and the breakfast room removed to make more room for his family of six children. President Hugh LaBounty chose to continue at his residence in Glendora until all his children finished high school there. He did move in later with a minimum of furniture and furnishings, largely from private donations.

Though the Manor House is handy to the campus, it's a mixed blessing for the Suzukis to live there. True, it saves them a commute from their home in Alhambra, and it does give the president a presence on campus. However, it would take a great deal more money than the state has available to make the Manor House a home!

NORMAN WILLIAMSON JR.

Claremont

Lawmakers' Responses to Illegal Immigration

I would like to thank some local Republican assemblymen for having the courage to stand up to radical illegal-immigrant rights groups and their legislative stooges by submitting bills addressing this issue rather than ducking for cover and ignoring the problem.

Unlike Assemblywoman Hilda Solis and her ilk, who seem to think that L.A. County taxpayers have unlimited wealth, Richard Mountjoy, Frank Hill and Newt Russell have authored bills that, to me, seem like responsible steps to eliminate the incentives to come to this country illegally.

Assemblyman Richard Mountjoy's bills would have denied workers' compensation to illegal immigrants, forced people to prove their citizenship to get a driver's license and bar illegal immigrants from attending state colleges and universities.

Bills by Sen. Frank Hill would deny workers' compensation to illegal immigrants that claim stress injuries when they lose their jobs and require the Department of Corrections to help the INS deport illegal alien convicts.

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