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Election on Charter for Los Angeles

May 23, 1999

The independence of the office of the inspector general of the L.A. Police Commission would be significantly strengthened by provisions contained within the proposed L.A. City Charter. Today, the inspector general must receive permission from the Police Commission to initiate any audit or investigation. If the new charter passes, the inspector general may initiate audits or investigations without permission. The new charter protects the public from a "runaway inspector general" by allowing the Police Commission to stop any audit or investigation by a majority vote. The proposed charter also codifies the right of the inspector general to have access to all information within the Police Department, as well as to report directly to the Police Commission, rather than through commission staff.

As the Police Commission's first inspector general, I can personally attest to the importance of these changes. During the charter commission hearings, the public voiced its support for a strong and independent inspector general. I urge voters to vote for the new charter.

KATHERINE MADER

Pacific Palisades

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Re "Yes on 25-Member Council," editorial, May 16: Although The Times' support for the new charter is certainly well-reasoned, not so when it urges voters to increase the council size from 15 to 25. The best option facing voters is to expand the council from 15 to 21.

Council size is the only issue on which the two charter reform commissions could not agree; hence, the multiple ballot options. But a substantial majority of the individuals serving on the two commissions voted for an increase from 15 to 21, not 25. Why? First, expanding to 21 members, rather than 25, will be less expensive. Second, 21 (like 15) is divisible by 3, maintaining conformity to the two-thirds super-majority needed to override a veto. Most importantly, a 21-member council will provide more accessible representation without unduly dampening the power of each member vis-a-vis the whole council, the mayor or lobbyists.

The soundest votes are yes on Measure 1 (the new charter), yes on Amendment 3 (21-member council), and no on Amendment 4 (25-member council).

ANDREW R. HENDERSON

Appointed Charter Reform

Commissioner, Mar Vista

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The new city charter will give our mayor administrative powers that most mayors already have, clarify the legislative powers of the City Council, make our local government more efficient and accountable, provide better public services and provide a voice for the people to express their views through neighborhood councils.

Los Angeles' present charter was created at a time when the city had a smaller population and less complicated infrastructure. In anticipation of an increase in population in Los Angeles by the year 2020, we need to plan ahead by making our city government more manageable and adaptable to change.

This new city charter is the answer for all of us. It can always be amended by a vote of the people at a future election if necessary. Other cities such as San Francisco regularly amend their charters so that they do not become outdated and inoperable.

MEILING DAI

Sunland

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