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Helicopter Trip

August 27, 1995

The Times ignored news when Sen. Tom Hayden and I held a news conference Aug. 7 announcing that we had just sent a letter asking Congress to shift funding from the Red Line subway to alternative technology and alignments.

The Times followed that with an inflammatory news article ("Antonovich Again Uses Fire Chopper," Aug. 16) and a shrill editorial ("Flying High," Aug. 17) regarding the helicopter trip from the Hall of Administration to the Irvine City Hall to appear before the State Transportation Commission hearing on behalf of the residents of the Antelope Valley. This is a vivid example why many have complained about biased and slanted news.

What is missing in your reporting is the fact that on Aug. 15, the Board of Supervisors meeting was scheduled to include a proposal to close High Desert Hospital. The vital need to be present at that debate to maintain the Antelope Valley's only public hospital prevented me from driving to Irvine.

The importance of the transportation hearing was illustrated by Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford, Lancaster City Councilman Henry Hearns, Assemblyman Pete Knight, the former and current directors of the Los Angeles Airport Commission and many Antelope Valley residents traveling to express their support of the need to widen state Route 138, a dangerous road where 60 have been killed and 1,428 injured between 1990 and 1994, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The county helicopters are used for county business. Having their use for this vital transportation issue was in the interest of the citizens I represent and those who are fighting to make a dangerous highway safer.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

Supervisor, Fifth District

Los Angles County

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