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Clean Air Plan for L.A. Basin

July 31, 1994

* EPA Administrator Felicia Marcus (Commentary, July 18) asked that we get involved and send comments to the EPA.

In spite of Herculean efforts by most of the parties involved our air is still the worst in the nation. Why? It seems obvious that the root cause is population growth, and although that may be the most difficult problem to overcome, anything else we do is a Band-Aid approach. It may be politically difficult but if we don't address this issue everything else we do is effete.

Since we can't directly control population, our cities must stabilize their growth. It will take a state law to insist that a percentage of a community not be developed.

Many towns believe that if they build on every square foot of land their community will be enriched; the opposite has been true. Ironically, communities that have remained small have become havens for the very few affluent who can afford to live there. (Many of whom became affluent by building homes and strip malls in other towns!)

Building codes were created for the safety of the community after Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over that lamp. Now the safety of the community has taken on new meaning and the "fire" we face is considerably more threatening than the one that razed Chicago over 100 years ago.

We need a building code that says what percentage of the land can be built on and what the density can be in every community. More freeways are not the answer, they are the problem.

BILL HALPIN

Long Beach

* In the article about EPA's plan to clean up the air in the Los Angeles Basin ("Anti-Smog Proposal Would Hobble Transit and Shipping, Industries Say," July 19), you quote transportation officials saying Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors would lose business to ports that do not face smog fees, such as San Diego.

Any loss to San Diego would be minuscule. The heavy hit would come from the Pacific Northwest; the folks in Puget Sound would grab the land bridge faster than you can say adios.

I have lived and worked in the major ports of the Pacific Coast and in all of those ports there is an acute awareness of the economic importance of their port--except Los Angeles. I can guarantee that you will become aware of that importance after the EPA has done its job.

HAROLD ERICSSON

Harbor City

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