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Of Boroughs and Breakups

June 15, 2002

Re "The Best Way to Bust Up L.A.," Opinion, June 9: The proposal of former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg to divide the city of Los Angeles into nine boroughs is brilliant. The process of making many of the decisions important to the local areas would be done very close to the community of interest while other important services--police and fire, for example--could be provided on a citywide or regional basis. These services are best provided on a regional level.

There is no reason to break up Los Angeles if the borough system can be implemented. The major question now is whether the politicians downtown can look beyond their own partisan interests and vote to put the proposal on the ballot.

Mike Reardon

Fallbrook

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The opposite sides on the secession issue might be better served if they switched their focus from, on the anti side, deploring the possible breakup of a great city and, on the pro side, whining about how they are ignored by that big, brutish, poorly run un-great city. Joel Kotkin and Fred Siegel suggest a sensible path toward conciliation, although they too can't resist calling L.A. a great city--even comparing it to "other great cities" like London.

L.A.'s supporters consistently argue that the city would not be world class if it were broken up. But maybe both sides could be appeased if each decided--together--to try to make L.A. into the city that too many, now, can only assert it to be. A city with better schools, responsive politicians, zoning that improves quality of life, green space and concern for the average citizen that equals that for the high-roller and the developer.

I believe the borough system is a terrific step--albeit only a step--in that direction. Living in Santa Monica, I have seen that interested citizens can become involved in their government in a way they cannot in the place that is the not-yet-world-class Los Angeles.

Ron DiCostanzo

Santa Monica

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Enough already! Let's not act like Afghanistan in creating more tribal leaders. Instead, let's simply eliminate the city of Los Angeles and have the Board of Supervisors run the county and city.

Richard Waldron

Anaheim

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The hatchet job you did on Gene La Pietra in your June 11 editorial was unfair and uncalled for. He cannot appoint and/or anoint himself mayor of Hollywood: He would have to be elected. Political ambition and the willingness to put one's time and money into an effort to bring about positive change is called democracy.

Jim Tartan

Los Angeles

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With all the heat surrounding secession, one intangible factor remains unmentioned--pride in the place one lives. If the Valley secedes, we will live in a city with no museums, no sports arenas, no music center, no baseball stadium, no harbor, no beaches, no great cathedrals or temples and no "cultural center" but Universal CityWalk. (And maybe not even that.) All the great cities of the world are made up of numerous, diverse neighborhoods, each offering something unique to the whole. Los Angeles, as the second-largest city in the U.S., is one of them. We have a history and a tradition that goes way back, and if we destroy this entity, we destroy the city's essential character.

If secession is passed, those of us who live in the Valley can take little pride in our new "hometown." We will have broken a major American city and willed ourselves a pile of problems instead.

Jean Sapin

Sherman Oaks

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If renters in Hollywood outnumber homeowners 3 to 1, and homeowners pay property taxes, which segment of the population is going to have more influence and power in a new Hollywood city? Certainly not the majority population. Before voting, all L.A. residents should read George Orwell's "Animal Farm." The secessionist rhetoric will sound eerily familiar. (I just picked up a copy at the Los Angeles Public Library.)

Roberto Bacalski

Los Angeles

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Am I the only person who is tired of reading about the proposed secession of the Hollywood and Valley areas from the city of Los Angeles? Frankly, if the proponents of these pornography- and drug-selling-infested areas of L.A. had placed as much effort on the cleanup of their own neighborhoods as they have on these breakaway efforts, there might not be the need to secede.

What makes them think they can run these proposed instant "cup-of-soup" cities better than the current government? I doubt that any of them has experience running a city on a daily basis. It's one thing to be a disgruntled complainer; it's an entirely different matter to run cities on a daily basis and provide the services that an electorate dictates be provided.

I am still not sure why Los Angeles would even want to keep these undesirable areas within its own borders. If the voters in these areas think they will be better off without the city of Los Angeles and approve secession, I say to them, "Don't let the door hit you in the rear on the way out."

Steve Colin

Redondo Beach

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