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Commentary

Improved Council Could Halt Split

January 26, 2002

Instead of bemoaning the possible breakup of this city, The Times should be asking why this is happening. In your Jan. 20 editorial, "A Dangerous Nap," you failed to mention any of the causes that led to the movement to secede from Los Angeles. One of the major reasons is the 15 citizens (I can't call them leaders) of our City Council. If these elected people would do what was in the best interest of our city, instead of their own futures or their groups' interests, a lot of the problems we have would be solved.

I haven't decided how I'm going to vote if secession is on the ballot this November. But I do know this: If the City Council members would do the job we elected them to do, 46% of the population of this city wouldn't be thinking of leaving.

Steven Lash

Woodland Hills

*

It's like a cancer that's spreading. It's called secession and it was started by some disgruntled and unhappy citizens who are supposedly not satisfied with Los Angeles government. I see it as some conspiracy to deliberately break up our city. It's much too coincidental that three areas of this city want to break away at the same time.

The reality is that if L.A. is broken up, it will mean that the new cities will become parasites and suck us of our life's blood in the form of electric power, water and other services. Whatever happened to the requirement that a new city must be self-supporting? If these zealots want their own cities, they must make them self-supporting, not become parasitic extensions of Los Angeles.

Dennis Pierce

Los Angeles

*

I live in the Valley but I haven't heard from any of the people (or organizations) pushing for secession. I am really curious to know who they are, what they do for a living and how they personally will gain from secession. At the moment, I must assume that they will profit in some manner, i.e., political power or financial gain. When I find out what the scheme is, then I will make my decision whether or not to go along with them. But at the moment I am not convinced.

Joseph Denker

Studio City

*

Your editorial reflects your obvious bias. In addressing us as "secessionists," as opposed to angry Angelenos, you are contributing to the divisiveness. For the time being, we are a part of Los Angeles, an unhappy and often forgotten part, therefore willing to face the challenges of splitting. I won't address the often-reported studies showing that the Valley is paying more in taxes than we receive in services; I feel that those reports speak for themselves. What we're being told (sold?) is that having a downtown bureaucrat in the Valley one day a week will make us feel more like a member of the family. Your grid shows our population at 37% of the city. Need I say more?

What civic pride can we have by being a part of Los Angeles when The Times itself rarely finds a restaurant worth reviewing in the Valley? Our theater productions are given little attention. If you feel that we should have pride in being a part of Los Angeles, I suggest you demonstrate some pride in being part of the Valley. Calling myself an Angeleno isn't worth the price you are asking me to pay.

Pat Lorenz

North Hollywood

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The Times is correct to say that Los Angeles must remain unified to continue as a great city retaining its powerful influence at the state, federal and global levels. But the secessionists, while wrong about a civic divorce, are correct in calling for more local governance. There is a compromise solution: the borough system.

Some civic functions are best handled locally (schools, street repair), while others are best handled citywide (regional transit, pollution abatement). For example, the city could be divided into nine boroughs (Central, Eastside, Northside, Southside, Westside, Hollywood, Harbor, West and East Valley). Each borough would be self-governing on local issues but would send representatives to a citywide council downtown for regional issues. The entire city would also continue to elect a mayor.

The incredible geographic and cultural diversity of Los Angeles is a strength. However, diversity should not go so far as to dismember one of the great cities of the world. "In unity there is strength."

Victor Neiberg

Vista

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