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Valley City Will Still Be Large

June 08, 2002

Does professor Shirley Svorny ("When It Comes to Cities, Smaller Is Better," Commentary, June 3) really equate a city of more than 1 million with studies of "smaller cities"? Does she really believe that a city of more than 1 million will have no "special interests"? Get real. The Valley will simply be another large city with all the disadvantages thereof and without the advantages of a world-class city.

It is unlikely that the current level of emergency medical service or fire protection can be sustained in a Valley city or the remainder of Los Angeles without an increase in taxes. Does Svorny believe that when brush fires sweep across Northridge, Tarzana, Chatsworth or Woodland Hills, those responding all come from Valley fire stations? A very high percentage of fire companies working any large brush fire come from Central L.A., South-Central L.A., West L.A., Venice and other areas. She will also find that fire companies from "the other L.A." spend far more time in the Valley than Valley companies spend there.

Further, it is unlikely that the Valley city will be able to afford the Fire Department helicopter service that provides fire protection and air ambulance service for the Valley. I cannot imagine how Svorny believes that putting control of emergency services at a council district level will do anything but provide less cost-effective services.

William Neville

Assistant Chief, LAFD Ret.

Penn Valley, Calif.

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According to Svorny's reasoning, Compton would be model city, but, alas, as has been well documented, it is not. I am sure that in smaller cities, people are generally more involved. The problem with her argument is that the cities in the studies probably are true, small "home-grown" cities that have an identity, not ones artificially cut from a larger entity.

This use, or more correctly misuse, of facts is what I find so frustrating by those on both sides of the question. The people of Los Angeles deserve some honest and non-sensational arguments for and against the secession of all the possible new cities. Neither "The loud sucking noise you hear is the sound of your money being stolen by downtown" nor "If you vote to secede, your taxes are going to skyrocket" qualifies as a good argument. In fact, I find such blathering offensive and wish that both sides would start acting and speaking in a manner that befits such a large decision.

Joan A. Maggs

Granada Hills

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The controversy between the Daily News, which favors secession, and The Times, which is against, offers the public a chance to evaluate the best course of action ("The Times Faulted for Downplaying Secession," May 31). To me, the issue is, how do we elect politicians who will fairly represent all of the city? Los Angeles used to be a good place to live. No more. The voting public has long ignored local issues, so that a small group of activists now runs government, each one with his or her own following and objectives. They have packed city government with people who are at best arrogant and unresponsive.

This is what has led to the secession movement. I want to know how secession will provide better government. My Los Angeles City Council member, Dennis Zine, has already established himself as one of the undesirable city politicians. He has declared that if secession happens, he will run for the new City Council. Given the power of name recognition, he would probably win the seat. So how are we ahead? If those who support secession can come up with a plan to attract better people, I will vote for secession.

Sion Colvin

Woodland Hills

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I winced at Proposition 13 being described as "populism" in Bill Boyarsky's "The Jarvis Effect" (Opinion, June 2). Populists fought against the control of government by big-money business interests, not against taxes to provide social services. In the 1890s the Populist Party suggested income taxes--graduated, of course.

Boyarsky describes the impetus for Proposition 13 quite well but fails to mention its results: underfunded educational, medical and recreational facilities. The decaying buildings, lack of textbooks and crowded classrooms of the LAUSD are as much the harvest of Proposition 13 as the result of managerial ineptitude. The horrifying near-closure of dozens of public libraries in 1994 due to a lack of funding is likewise forgotten.

Boyarsky describes Proposition 13 as having "forever limited the growth of government." I would argue that if my wages were stagnant, the "growth" of my family would not be limited. However, it would be less furnished with basic services and our standard of living would decline.

Lanore Galvin

Los Angeles

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