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Going Another Round With 'Fighting Words'

March 05, 1995

I could not believe my eyes as I read the story concerning real estate advertisement no-no's in these P.C. days ("Fighting Words" by Kirsten Lagatree, Feb. 12). Since everyone seems sooooo sensitive to even the hint of discrimination I suppose I will have to write my home-for-sale advertisement as follows:

House for Sale

I must not mention that it is walking distance to an elementary and junior high school for fear of offending the motor impaired, those who do not have school-age children, or those who have no children at all. I dare not mention the view of three snowy mountain peaks because I might discriminate against the visually challenged. Perish the thought that I should say you can hear the birds sing because I might offend the deaf. I will not mention the horse corrals or barn for fear of discouraging those who do not ride. I will not say that the air is clean because someone might think I'm looking only for a buyer with asthma. Shame on me if I mention the number of bedrooms (maybe a buyer has nobody to fill them), family room (no singles need apply), large kitchen (excludes the non cook), vegetable gardens (no meat eaters wanted here), the square footage and the fact that it is located on 14 acres (definite discrimination against the geometry incompetent) or the price (pity the income challenged). And while I'm at it I'd better not say it's Spanish Style, either, because all those Albanians, Burmese, Germans, Greeks, Argentinians, Canadians, Turks and every other ethnic group out there will think I'm excluding them as buyers.

As usual, the only ones who will benefit from this ridiculous situation are the lawyers who must be buying extra copies of The Times, reading the ads very carefully, and rubbing their hands together in anticipation of profits to come from a single "wrong" word.

SUSAN FROMMER, Menifee Valley

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Re "Fighting Words," with the exception of a few offensive words, it is nauseating to think someone can be sued successfully for using perfectly good words in a real estate ad. I think the solution to this kindergarten mentality is to establish the fact that every juror has a working brain; obviously, we can't depend upon the lawyers who present such cases to have one.

GAIL HARTOP, South Pasadena

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After reading "Fighting Words," I was somewhat bemused initially thinking it was some kind of joke. After some thought, I was alarmed. My reactions were how can some blockhead politicians promulgate such nonsense and have it signed into law. Then, California, not satisfied with this idiocy, contrives even worse rules.

The sad part is that a newspaper went under as a result of publishing an ad using the banned words. It would seem to me that the real estate and newspaper industries would rise up in indignation over something as stupid as this. It is unbelievable that such action is tolerated.

The concept of being politically correct, while ludicrous in itself, has gone too far. What has happened to free speech? In addition, there are bureaucrats who actually enforce these ridiculous regulations! Where does one find such narrow minded people to carry out enforcement?

CHARLES G. VOELKER, Sun City Palm Springs

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