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Story Did Not Give Begley a Fair Shake

January 16, 1994

* Ed Begley Jr. and the eight-member Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Board did not get a fair shake from your Dec. 30 story "Ed Begley Jr. Nominated for Conservancy Board."

It is too bad that most of your story was taken up with information about someone who didn't get the appointment. Anton Calleia's wise counsel and experience will be missed, but Begley is an excellent person to serve both the city of Los Angeles and the conservancy. Begley is nationally known as a committed environmentalist. His personal commitment is extraordinary: When he can't bicycle, he drives his electric car. He knows the Santa Monica Mountains from his own experience. Begley's concurrent position on the Environmental Affairs Commission will bolster coordination between the conservancy and the city.

If the conservancy board is low profile, as the article intimates, perhaps this is because reporters--including those from The Times--almost never cover its meetings. We hold our meetings in the evening (after The Times' deadline) to accommodate public participation. Calling staff afterward does not give your readers the true flavor of the deliberations. No wonder, in the minds of your reporters, the board "does not have the highest profile."

A conservancy board meeting is an example of successful citizen government in action. Volunteer board members thoughtfully resolve difficult environmental problems. If reporters covered these meetings, perhaps then we wouldn't see any more snide references to "park agency to the stars." The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is the park agency to all 10 million Southern Californians who enjoy the 20,000 acres we have protected.

JEROME C. DANIEL

Malibu

Daniel is the chairman of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

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