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Los Angeles Charter Reform

March 29, 1998

You are absolutely right to advocate in favor of smaller councilmanic districts (editorial, March 22). If the city of Los Angeles is to be responsive to its citizens, it must have City Council representatives who are more directly responsive to the people they are supposed to represent. New York and Chicago each have 50 or more coun- cilmen/aldermen. Those elected representatives know their constituents and their constituents' problems. It is impossible for the councilpersons of Los Angeles to know the 225,000 people they are supposed to represent.

The current budget of the Los Angeles City Council is approximately 0.2 of 1% of the city budget. The council should be enlarged as you have suggested and the cost of operating it should be capped at its present cost, subject to increases caused by inflation.

Finally, smaller council districts will be an effective way of empowering neighborhoods without resorting to so-called "neighborhood councils," which would balkanize land-use planning without any fiscal restraint.

O'MALLEY M. MILLER

Los Angeles

* I agree with your editorial that we should increase the number of councilmanic seats from 15 to 35.

There is no doubt many of our civic problems have come from this great lack of real representation. The present problem, however, is that the current City Council is not going to give up power easily.

Best proof of this was the way they approached charter reform. They not only picked their own reform panel but also kept control of any recommendations it comes up with, unlike the elected panel, which can do what it wants without being hampered.

JOHN F. MENDEZ

Los Angeles

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