Nicolai Ouroussoff's preference for a downtown location for the Southern California Institute of Architecture is understandable, but shortsighted ("A Tricky Move," Oct. 4). He disapproves of a detached location and describes my hometown of San Pedro--one possible site--as having banal housing in a surreal landscape. True. But how did we get this way?
Pictures of the harbor early in the century show a thriving community. Then the fishing industry collapsed, and the Slavs and Italians looked for jobs elsewhere; foreign competition took away shipbuilding, leaving us a huge abandoned shipyard; peace closed the fort and made needless the Navy housing; and automation turned the harbor into a people-less landscape. San Pedro lost its character.